Welcome to our new (only) twice annual newsletter

     Dear friends, I and everyone here at Hemispheres Unlimited hope you are enjoying a great 2018 so far and with lots and lots of fishing on the home fronts to occupy your time between work and trips.  This email is our new twice yearly newsletter, which you are receiving because you'vefished with us before and we look forward to fishing with you again.  In the event that for any reason you wish not to receive it in the future simply unsubscribe; otherwise enjoy the news, updates, videos and photos; then get in touch and let's go fishing!

 

It's been quite a year for us here at Hemispheres, with new program developments in Alaska, Mexico, and Argentina, plus a complete overhaul of our own signature Trout Bum destination in my old home town of Rio Pico, then the planning of our next big hosted trip and catalog exploration - Mongolia!  There's only so much space to tell the stories here but plenty of links for more information; plus we're always ready to pick up the phone and talk fishing, so feel free to give us a call any time.   

                                                                                                                                               ~Justin Witt

New Trout Bum Alaska Program? Why not?

It's no secret that Hemispheres Unlimited's own Trout Bum Program down in Rio Pico Argentina is one of our most popular destinations from the entire catalog.  So when everybody started asking us why we didn't set up similar programs in other parts of the world, well, we listened!  It's a process that will be unfolding over the next few years as we travel, but to start off with a bang let us now introduce the newly developed Trout Bum Alaska program. 

So in this last northern hemisphere summer we paired up with an experienced pilot who owns three of the less than one thousand de Havilland Beavers still in service, and who has been flying them around the Alaskan back country now dropping off and picking up boats and gear and anglers for many years.  This guy knows his stuff.  And so after quite a lot of hours of flying around with him looking at different rivers and their put ins and take outs and specifics with respect to fishing them and running them and everything else about them we could learn in a single summer, we developed a catalog of these rivers with diverse enough characteristics to accommodate any need.  We're now offering both guided and unguided trips to these rivers at prices true Trout Bums can afford, and we are happy to spend all the time necessary with anyone who wants to consider these figuring out which river and which week of the season will be best for exactly what they are looking for in the trip.  Check out the video at the top or my more detailed blog post here to see what our float down American Creek in July was like, then get in touch to find out which river is calling you this summer in Alaska!   

Roosters in Mexico

If you are like most of us, this one has been on your list now for a while.  Who can resist those crazy dorsals and the overwhelmingly spectacular architecture of these fish?  I couldn't; that's for sure.  But since the award winning film Running Down the Man first made this fishery in Baja California widely known, there had been a great deal of interest but a dearth of information on how/where to get into it.  As we poked around though we eventually managed to find exactly what we needed right in our own back yard of acquaintances.

 

As it turns out, Buelah Flyrods owner James Shaughnessy had been running a little known program at Bahia de los Suenos in the best spot on the peninsula for over 20 years.  So last October we threw together a hosted trip with eight long time clients and went down to check it out and see what we thought.  The result? Roosters!  Not to mention all the Yellowfin Tuna and Dorado we could ask for, plus a host of other species including sailfish we could choose to target.  The trip could not have come off any better than it did, and Hemispheres is now proud to include this program in our catalog and planning to keep doing hosted trips every year! (In other words, we liked it a lot)  Check out the video below and our more detailed blog post about the week then give us a call and sign up; we're already more than halfway booked for October!    

Rio Pico Trout Bum Program Overhaul

 

Over the last ten years since we started our first Trout Bum program down in Patagonia, we've watched the thing evolve in a lot of ways, many of which were surprises even to us.  Initially we set out to develop a program that would provide affordable access to the incredible fishery around Rio Pico for a market that we felt was then (and still is) under-served, namely, fly fishing guides.  We ourselves had guided clients all over the world in spectacular places that we could never afford to fish ourselves as clients, and so the idea was to create a program that focused almost entirely on the fishing with very little luxury, at a price point that our own peers could afford.  This worked, and the response from that market was actually astounding.  The guides came down and found themselves right at home in our little culture, with the flexibility to fish how they wanted and as much as they wanted every day of the trip, with everything else they needed provided in between, and a price tag they could afford even after the airfare.

But what we noticed was that as those guides went home and talked about us and the program's public profile grew, we were suddenly seeing bookings from an entirely different market.  Honestly we were a little unnerved at first to suddenly find ourselves checking surgeons and lawyers and bankers into Paulino's place up on the hill and then feeding them their asado sitting around the fire on cut stumps out back, but what we soon found was that this was exactly what they wanted.  Many of these clients were new, but many were also folks we had guided at one or another five star lodge in the past, and when we asked why they had come down for the Trout Bum they told us the same things our young guides did: that they didn't care about the thread counts on the sheets or the cleanliness of the trucks, they just wanted to fish hard with good guides and have an opportunity to really sink their teeth into the actual local culture along the way.  Who knew?

Since then the program has continued to grow and evolve across the better part of a decade, and as we have gotten the thing dialed in bit by bit over the course of those years it has evolved into a pretty darn well oiled machine that actually has far more creature comforts than it started out with, but maintains the flexibility and fishing time focus it always had.  This past season saw our biggest total bookings ever, and more than half of those were repeats from previous years.  We've now got three different lodging options, a full time cook so that the guides get some rest in the evenings, and even more area waters to fish than ever before (I just found a totally untouched spring creek full of big brown trout a month ago).  This last part is hard to believe considering how long we've been down there, but as Roderick Haig-Brown once said "Everything moves and changes, and no two days are ever alike for a fly fisherman". There is just so much water around us down there; and so the explorations continue!  Come on down.

The Best Lodge in Alaska?

Okay, so that may be presumptuous since we have not yet been to every lodge in Alaska, but to be honest our standards this summer as we toured around looking at potential catalog additions were very, very high.  Iliamna River Lodge not only met those standards, it set new ones even for us.  In lots of places across the state anglers are forced to choose between better scenery, or better fishing, and of course we by default always err on the side of the fishing even if it means we'll end up sloshing through bogs every day on our way to it.  Iliamna is the first actual lodge we encountered that honestly had the best of both, and it turned out to be run exactly the way we like things run for our clients to boot.  The focus of Iliamna's program development is definitely on the fishing (which is incredible), but through the meticulously well thought out devotion of lodge owner Bill Betts and his team of guides, chefs, and assistants, this place just flat out runs like a well oiled machine.  And luckily that machine is surrounded by an almost constant blitz of mouse crazy rainbows, huge char, and sockeye right outside the door, plus everything else from king salmon to grayling and even pike that you might want to fly to in the immediately surrounding area.  In fact the only thing that looked like a downside to our adding this incredible program to the catalog was that there really isn't a huge amount of vacancy on their calendar for us to occupy.  In then end though we just couldn't pass it up.  This place is awesome.  For available dates and further details give us a call or shoot us an email today.  And in the meantime enjoy this video to see just what we mean about the fishing!

Two new programs in Argentina

The Golden Dorado River Cruiser

In keeping with our policy of never adding a destination to the catalog that we don't know first hand, or that we can't keep our fingers on the pulse of, when we were invited to take a look at a couple of new ones in Argentina even though they are both offered by already trusted partners, we went ahead and checked them each out on our own.  

The first one is a completely unique operation that is fairly new but developed by folks who definitely know what their doing.  The Golden Dorado River Cruiser is actually not just a boat as the photos from outside might make it seem, but an actual mobile lodge, complete with all of the amenities and comforts one might expect from any of the other lodges on the Parana.  Except this one moves!  As such, there is never any reason to fish the same water twice, and we have the ability to always be located in whatever stretch of the river is fishing best at any given time.  Add in the fact that the program starts and ends in Buenos Aires with no additional flights required, and you've got a perfect bolt-on destination for any of our other programs in Patagonia to the south.  A total win-win and at a very affordable price point to boot. 

The fishing on the lower Parana is not something we sell as a search for trophies; it's more of a numbers game.  Average Dorado in this area weigh around four pounds, but each week fish are landed that are over fifteen, and the main attraction is the almost constant action and the fact that in the evenings we are often fishing dries.  Did I say dries?  I meant mice.  No joke.  There are fish to be caught all day long on the standard streamers but the action at dusk on the mouse patterns is almost always what can only be described as a blitz. 

Our writer friend Zach Matthews and photographer Rebecca Shaneyfelt and I were literally astounded our first evening in one of the skiffs that are fished out of off the mothership when the guide couldn't even keep up with the landings and unhookings as Dorado after Dorado after Dorado smashed our flies.  Luckily this is not normally a problem since there are usually only two anglers in the boat (I'm a bit of a tag-along).  On top of the Dorado we also caught plenty of the saber-toothed Payara, and even Piranha up to three pounds.  Food was spectacular, guides were excellent, and it was an obvious and enthusiastic Yes! for us to offer it to our guests.  Check out details on our website here and consider booking some days with the Golden Dorado River Cruiser as an add on to your next Argentina adventure.     

 

Lago Strobel Lodge

Next on the list of new destinations to check out was the newly opened Lago Strobel Lodge, situated on a far shore of the lake that I had explored on foot years ago when no one else that I knew of had even fished it with a fly.  The new lodge was built from an old estancia house in a protected spot that is actually surprisingly lush compared with the surrounding lunar landscape.  A natural spring provides water to this little alcove in the rocks, and as such there is quite a lot of greenery and even flowers, providing a very different view than those seen out the windows of the few other buildings that exist around the massive lake.  Our friend Zach Matthews was along for the ride on this one as well, and in fact already has an article on the trip coming out in this next issue of Gray's Sporting Journal - check it out once it goes to print; all of the photography in the piece was shot by

 

Rebecca Shaneyfelt, who was also with us those days.  Fishing conditions were tough with high winds and a cold front moving through, but on Lago Strobel it hardly matters.  The lake is just plain full of massive trout.  For those of you who aren't yet familiar with the body of water in my now home country that is often referred to as "Jurassic Lake", it is a naturally occurring anomaly even within the trout-rich country we inhabit south of the 40th parallel. 

What makes it such is a combination of chance conditions: a lake so full of scuds the trout can graze on them like cattle on grass, the right water chemistry and temperature for rapid sustained growth of healthy fish, and a relatively short stretch of spawning water in the Rio Barrancoso (the only river that enters the lake, which also has no outlet) that keeps the fish from overpopulating and as such experiencing the inevitable shrinkage that always accompanies that occurrence.  It's just a perfect system for what it produces, which are all day action numbers of ridiculously massive trout.  The lodge was comfortable, the food was good, and this section of the lake is truly still being explored and revealing its secrets to those who are willing to walk, although there is also an easily accessible and wind protected bay just below the lodge.  As such, we were happy to add it into the catalog as well, and look forward to spending more time there with clients as the years go by.

            

Mongolia 2018 Exploratory Hosted Trips

Mongolia Here We Come!

Not sure if you can tell but we are really excited about this one.  Mongolia has been on the list for quite a while, but the stars just never quite aligned until now.  Already having planned to spend the summer up there though feeling out fisheries, imagine our

surprise when we ran into Dan Bailey at the boca of the Corcovado fishing brook trout, and he invited us to tag along on some of his own programs there and see what they're all about.  Sometimes the stars align, you know? 

Dan was actually down visiting our good buddy Travis Smith over at Patagonia River Guides, and so right from the start I knew I could assume he was the right sort of guy.  We did our homework anyway though, and as it turns out he's been fishing exactly the areas of Mongolia we were interested in since 1991, and everything looks like exactly what we've been trying to find. 

That leaves only one step - we've got to go and check it out first hand!

Available spots at this point are fairly limited and we've already filled one of them, but anybody else who wants to tag along on this exploratory is welcome.  As of right now the dates I have openings for are:

July 16th-July 26th (1 rod)

August 28th-September 7th (1 rod)

September 7th-17th (2 rods)

September 13th-21st (1 rod)

October 3rd-13th (1 rod)

October 11th-20th (6 rods)

These are all float trips on designated Taimen Sanctuary rivers, with accommodations in ger (yurt) camps and everything included from your arrival in Ulaanbaatar to your departure from there; and we've even got the perfect travel adviser to get you there and back without a hitch.  This post barely scratches the surface of the information we'll respond with once you contact us expressing interest of course, so just shoot us an email and we'll get back to you with all of the details.  Who's in?