Season day one is definitively for friends. And as a tradition we like to start with one of our favorites fishes, Brookies.
This place is probably one the last sanctuaries of brook trout were trophies can be found in every fishing session. Located right a few meters from the Chilean National Park Paliaike. This river is a typical spring creek where water doesn´t flow to fast, surrounded by a very productive ground.
I´ve seen big fish many times but the really big ones are extremely hard to hook. Some old local fishermen that used to fish these waters talked about waiting for a hatch to have a chance on these monsters at some very precise windows before sunset.
Brooks, to be honest, are quite unpredictable. Some pools can have many fishes and all of them will take as many flies as you throw, and the following morning the same pool has no activity at all. Black streamers are always the best option when nothing else is working. This is, in fact, what they have been feeding on for decades; kind of small cat fish called “puyen”, black with a small tail without shape, native from this waters and not easy to find nowadays.
Pollo, Claudio and I jumped in the #Hilux as the sun came out to try on this fishes. As we arrived, water as usual on beginning of the season was not crystal clear. Some rain on Chile had colored the water just a bit, around 50cm of visibility. What we couldn´t scape was the storm wind that was blowing since 2 days. Around 70 kilometers per hour, yes crazy! But quite usual for this place. We started high up on the most picturesque volcanic valley with a bunch of guanacos as spectators. On the way to this place you go over a lava field very similar to Island landscape. Pumas shelter there in big caves, formed as air bubbles in lava thousands of years ago. This environment is hostile for sheep and cattle, but as soon as you go down on the “vega” the grass is high and productive.
We set up gear with cross S1 490, old loop reels, Rio lines and Patagonia Rio Gallegos (our home town) waders. We tried the new solid jacket “Volterra”, pass the wind test perfectly.
Water was cold enough to put brooks down in this area. With no activity on the surface or fish spotted we decided that some MATE was the best plan.
After lunch we went downstream. Even though wind was still high we started with 3 good fishes in the home pool. Between a kilo and kilo and half and very strong and healthy. In my opinion there is no fish as beautiful as this. Some quick photos and back to the pool.
Trying different techniques and different lines we covered the water with nymphs and streamers. I´d even skated a mouse on the surface to see if something would wake up (I had success before) but nothing happened. I must say that brooks love flies that disturb the surface, with foam basically, but the same flies with no movement are useless. Also matters the time of the years you fish for them with those patterns. In these latitudes brooks start getting together to spawn around March, by April they are already exploding on red, black and white colors. But season of course ends before that!
We got to the main pools and pigs started to bite. Jigging the fly a bit made the difference in some narrow pools surrounded by weeds. They wait a meter below the surface and attack very close to it. Voraciously three females rounded like a rugby ball came to streamers and nailed them. Definitively the sun warmed up a couple of degrees and made a big change on them.
We were getting to the last piece of water, not fished usually and we saw fish feeding on the surface. A small channel with some movement and 2 meters wide was holding some nice fish. I hooked a two kilos white female right at the end, and Pollo who was beside me told me that a bigger fish moved twice on the surface behind me. So I step back a few meters and cast again. Something heavy took my fly and as I try to lift the rod it cut the 0,27mm tippet with one head shake. There is nothing I hate more than fish keeping my fly in their mouth; I like to believe all this theories that their body spit the flies within a few days. Barbless hooks should help. Before I was cursing, Claudio saw Pollo waving his hand again behind me showing a good separation between his hands (big fish). Claudio followed the signs and within a cast he got into a massive female around 2,5 kilos. Way to finish day 1
Written in Argentinian English by Juan Manuel Biott