Journal of Dan T. Cook - Fly Fishing the Globe
Traveling 75,000 miles around the world in search of fish and friendship.
November 9, 2007 - Location: Gobernador Gregores, Patagonia, Argentina
Hola from Patagonia! Visiting this part of the world has been on my wish list for a long time and now I'm finally here. The Argentinean people are wonderful and the fishing is, as I'll describe shortly, incredible. But I'd be remiss to leave out the few weeks leading up to this point.
Tenerife, Canary Islands
I want to thank Lauris and Carmen, my teachers at the Don Quijote School. Despite my frequent "deer in headlights" expression, they persevered and were able to instill some knowledge of the Spanish language into my thick noggin. And a big "thank you!" to Tomoko, my Japanese house-mate who allowed me to "check" my work against hers to "ensure its accuracy."
Buenos Aires, Argentina
First order of business was to contact Dip Ser SRL to get the lowdown on the customs process. I had been warned by a couple of people that it can be "quite an ordeal." So with much trepidation I gave them a call and they said it should be ready to by Friday. Sadly, my first impression was "Ah huh. Heard that one before." However, by now I had built up enough customs clearance karma that things actually went according to plan! I'd sincerely like to thank Pablo, Sebastian and Estevan for their super-efficient work and for also helping me acquire the necessary vehicle insurance. And for helping me find my way out of BA.
During the few days I had in BA I hit a few of the "must" spots. The presidential residence called "Casa Rosada" and Plaza de Mayo where Don and Eva Peron gave stirring speeches to enormous crowds. The Plaza de Congreso...... which is nice. I saw many statues of people on horses and stern-looking people in uniform. I visited a few parks as well. I frequented some lovely restaurants. As I wanted to try a "taste of the culture," I ordered various dishes from the extensive menus and was a bit surprised upon presentation to find they were all steak ("chorizo" is steak here?). Since steaks are the culinary pride of the country, I gave a nod to good fortune and gobbled them all up.
I can tell you that it is not an easy place to get to. Upon receiving directions I was informed that the last 30 kilometers would take about 3 hours to traverse. It seemed a bit ridiculous but it was correct. A small price to pay, I figured. When I finally made it to the lake, nothing about the appearance was extraordinary. Never-the-less, I continued on the road till I ran into Diego and Pollo and the Las Buitreras fishing camp. They were a bit astonished to see someone drive into their camp. After the brief introductions I was invited into their large domed kitchen tent for a cup of coffee. Diego and Pollo were with Tim on the initial trip to the lake; the lodge set up a camp; the fishing is very, very good. Not wanting to intrude on their camp or their clientele, I asked them if there was another good spot that I could fish. They said "yes, follow us" and proceeded to lead me back over the nasty road for 30 minutes to show me the spot. As I mentioned, Argentineans are wonderful. These guys figuratively and literally went out of their way to be hospitable, kind and help me catch some really big fish. I owe them a big debt of gratitude.
After about 15 minutes of fishing I caught my first Jurassic Rainbow. It was enormous. Definitely the largest Rainbow trout I had ever caught. As it turns out, it was an "average" fish. The pictures tell the story..... there are really big fish in this lake..... and a lot of them. This is not "try to out-think the fish, clever/crafty" fishing. This is "throw the line and hang on for dear life" fishing. The sight of seeing a 20 lb. fish tail dance across the water is awe-inspiring. Most of the fish go airborne multiple times. Some fish just take off for deeper water and burn off a few swaths of backing. Either way, it is an incredible spectacle that every serious fly angler should experience at least once in their life. I can now concur with Diego's assessment of Jurassic Lake; "There is no other place like this on Earth."
The only practical way to experience the "otherworldly-ness" of Jurassic Lake is with Las Buitreras Lodge. Located on the famous Rio Gallegos (my next stop), they offer a visit to the lake as an add-on to fishing the river for sea-run Browns. I can't really think of a better combination. More information can be found here: Jurasic Lake
I hope to be able to report on my experiences and fishing with reasonable frequency during this portion of the trip. So please stay tuned as things "get good." Thanks again to everyone for their support, especially Kris Shelton and the crew at Brookside Flies. Fish on!