Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Looking back at the this "dark month", it does brings many memories that have nothing to do with darkness.
I can remember many Decembers, that it was the beginning of summer, long, warm, sometimes extremely hot days, going to the beach in Australia to watch a bikini contest, or hiking in the Mountains of New Zealand, sitting lakeside in southern Chile swatting enormous black and orange 'horse flys', drinking wonderful wines and eating empanadas, and, of course, fishing in Patagonia Argentina. Walking and casting up stream to rising trout sipping on Mayflies in back eddy's under the intensely green willows that grow along the rivers edge.
For half the planet, this time of year is summer, the longest days of all twelve months. I have spent 14 out of the last 20 seasons in the Southern Hemisphere, enjoying the warmth of long summer days. Still, I would have to say that December ranks near the bottom on the scale of 1-12. From a fishing perspective, December can be the best month to have incredible trout fishing in the Southern Hemisphere, it is the equivalent to our June here in Montana. Some years June is by far the most productive month, it is dependent on one thing, water levels. It is the same for December in the S.H., water levels are crucial for trout fishing. It is a real hit, or miss circumstance, that can be epic when it all comes together. Case in point, I was living on the Traful river in Southern Patagonia in 1997, it was in December, about this time of the month. There were no clients staying at the lodge, and no body was scheduled for another week or so. I awoke that morning to a perfect sunny, high pressure, windless day. I was eager to get down to the river to start fishing, and decided to walk the mile or so to the rivers edge and work myself down stream and end up at the best pool, the "Gate pool". (La Tranquera). I was married at the time, and told my wife (Magdalena) that I'd be at the gate pool at 2:00 and please come and pick me up for lunch. She said she would, and she would come early to do some fishing there as well.
It was one of those 'magical" days, if you fish long enough and hard enough , you might get to experience something like this day, if you are very lucky!
I started the day in a "run" that holds land locked Atlantic salmon. This river has some that have been caught, up to18lbs., most are in the 4-7lb range, a large Salmon would be 8-12 lbs . In this run, I have never seen any Salmon over 5lbs, and on this wonderful morning I was lucky to land two in the smaller size, both around 3lbs. It was a good start, but, I felt like it was going to be really a special day so I kept moving downstream. I passed on some water that is difficult to get a proper drift, and concentrated on only the 'hot spots". The next run down, I "bumped" another salmon, but, I was too wound up, and, set the hook to soon, so I kept moving. Just below here I rolled another salmon, then caught my first rainbow of the day, a 4 lb hen that fought very nice. I moved down and made a good cast down and across the run and quickly was into a good sized rainbow buck of around 5 lbs. I was really wound up by now and had to" reel in" and walk around the "'falls". I stopped to look at the white cascading water crashing over the terraced granite outcroppings forming the falls. What a sight, and what a spectacular day. I was thinking, maybe I should just skip this water and walk down to the "Tranquera" and try for some huge trout. I had been fishing with a hi -d sinking tip, and was thinking of changing lines to a floating Weight Forward. This would allow me to either nymph fish, or fish large dry flies. For now this water below the falls would be much easier to continue with the sink tip, and I did. First cast, 3.5 lb rainbow, I got him in quickly, and made another three cast, boom, a gorgeous brown that was close to 4 lbs. after several more cast, nothing, time to move, I didn't want to waste time just fishing water, it was not a day for that.
After the falls, the water is a long quiet pool for around 300 yards, it holds nice sized browns and salmon. The water was just a little bit high to get in and fish it properly, so I skipped this stretch and moved down toward "La Tranquera". It was about another 10-15 minute brisk walk past riffle water that would have been also just a little fast to fish and get a drift.
I changed lines by the side of the river, just above the gate pool, out of the wind , to rest just for a minute, and, to look at the water near the shore known as the "Pisci". Here if one takes the time, one can see huge mouths coming to the surface to feed on stoneflies, mayflies and caddis, but, one has to really look to see them. The surface is broken riffle water and the bottom is covered in a dark colored moss. It takes a trained eye to spot these trout in between the small waves created by the water pounding over the "bowling ball" sized rocks. I tied on "Traful Wasp", in a # 8, a black rubber legged, foam fly with a elk hair and crystal flash wing. It was 1997, we were fishing alot of similar flies, and, developing many other patterns that have different names today.
I started at the bottom of the run, it is only around 50-75 yards long, at times the fish are stacked in this area. The water is shallow, at the deepest maybe 3 ft deep, most of the run is between 1.2 -2.5 ft in depth. I took 6 very nice trout, 5 rainbows and one brown , all between 4-7lbs, on the "wasp" in around 45 minutes. It was the best I'd seen in that run, it was just the day, and I had not even cast a fly into the best water, La Tranquera pool . Tune in tomorrow...You can click on the link http://www.aguasdelmundo.net/ (Daly Blog)