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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 05/24/2016 (6333 reads)
green drake I was looking through my photographs from last year and found a Green Drake snapshot, which is one of my favorites. Green Drakes (Ephemera guttulata) are one of my favorite flies to observe, too.

I say observe as I usually find myself on Penns Creek fishing while a huge Green Drake hatch is coming off and I am doing anything, but catching a lot of trout. The mixed hatches that occur during this time of year are exciting and frustrating as many angler's would agree.

So this year I am going to stop practicing the fine art of talking to myself during the hatch and I might even throw on a sulphur or a should I dare say a emerger on during the madness?

The Green Drakes can starting showing up around May 20th and are complimented by the Coffin Fly spinners which provide equal splendor during this time of year. So sit back and get ready to enjoy the show.






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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 02/29/2016 (2661 reads)
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By Brian McGeehan

I caught the fishing bug as soon as my dad put a bamboo stick in my hand when I was three. As the addiction grew I couldn’t get enough of it and by the time I was ten was checking out every fishing book I could from multiple libraries in a tri county area. Far way rivers such as the Madison, Yellowstone, Gallatin and Missouri mesmerized me. Now I am fortunate as an adult to call these my home rivers and they are in our backyard. There were other legendary rivers in the books of my youth that I discovered and they were even more mystifying to a young kid: the Malleo, Alumine, Limay, Collon Cura, Traful, and Chimehuin. These rivers were in a faraway land in a region called Patagonia. I saw photos of my heroes like Joe Brooks, Mel Krieger and Joan Wulff holding huge trout on big rivers in an empty landscape. These rivers always lingered in my thoughts… so far away and exotic. Patagonia, Narnia and the Hobit’s Shire all had an equivalent hold of my mind in those formative years: magical places of legend where the boundary between reality and myth were yet to be determined.

The objectives of recreational travel vary: an excuse to spend time with friends, seeing new places, pursuing a hobby and in some cases making a pilgrimage to a location with meaningful connections to our past. Our recent trip to Argentine Patagonia managed to check all of the above boxes. Our epic journey would encompass both the Northern Patagonia region near San Martin de los Andes and the remote Southern Patagonia region near Rio Pico. The first leg of our adventure had special meaning to me because we would be fishing South America’s most famous rivers – the same that I had fantasized about as a kid. There is something special about living out your child hood dreams. Whether it is meeting your boyhood sports idol in person or fishing a river that ran through magazine covers of your youth these experiences always forge new memories to be cherished for years to come.

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The foundation of the trip began over a year ago when Jason Cook contacted me for advice on where to go in Patagonia. The Northern region of Patagonia was one of the few locations in Chile or Argentine Patagonia that I hadn’t visited on past trips. I had studied the rivers and programs for years and it seemed like a great first trip south for the group. Our friend Travis Smith of Patagonia River guides had also opened a prime slot for us in mid January which is very difficult to get. PRG is widely respected for running one of the smoothest operations in South America and I knew that Travis would pull out all of the stops for us so we worked out a great customized itinerary. Our goal with the trip was to have a mixed experience of waters but also to see as much of this region as possible since it was the first trip to South America for most of the guys. We eventually built a great group of 9 guys to embark on this memorable adventure that would combine several rivers, large ranch stays and a multi-day remote river camping program.

Travel South
On our Patagonia trips we nearly always build in a city day on the way down. Buenos Aires is one of the world’s great cultural cities and not to be missed. The extra travel day also provides extra little margin for error in case any flights are delayed or cancelled to ensure no fishing time is missed. On this trip the bonus day paid off since some of the crew missed a connecting flight in the states and arrived several hours later than expected in BA – inconvenient but luckily we were all on track to still get to Patagonia on time. For the rest of the crew flights were smooth and we all arrived in BA on a Friday morning. After a quick cab to our hotel we went for a stroll in the great neighborhood of Recoletta and enjoyed an outdoor lunch at a famous café along the edge of a park. Following lunch we toured the historic cemetery which is difficult to describe – it is like a small city of mausoleums housing many of Argentina’s famous personages such as Eve Peron. After catching up with a nap at the hotel we ventured out in the evening to one of our favorite BA steak houses a few blocks away to enjoy an amazing traditional Argentine cuisine. The next morning we took a quick 2 hour jet flight south to the large Patagonian ski resort town of Bariloche where we were met by our shuttle driver Guido that drove us to Estancia Huechahue. Driving across the Patagonian countryside is one of my favorite aspects of the trip and the big sky scenery and lack of development is always a treat. The landscape is reminiscent of Colorado and New Mexico (about the same distance from the equator) in this part of Patagonia. Once at Huechahue we were greeted by our host and guide, PRG North director Alex Knull. Alex and the hostess Diane helped us get settled into our rooms (single occupancy at Huechahue, a nice bonus!).

Estancia Huechahue
Estancia Huechahue (pronounced “way-cha-way”) is a working cattle 15,000 acre cattle ranch that has been run by the Woods family for 4 generations. The Estancia has 8 miles of access on the Alumine and Collon Cura rivers and is also a very central location for fishing many of the regions legendary waters making a great base for targeting a variety of fisheries in Northern Patagonia. The Lodge and associated cabins offer 10 single occupancy en suite rooms. The grounds are carefully maintained and the atmosphere and food are outstanding.

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Estancia Huechahue is a 25,000 acre working ranch on the Alumine river with a central location that allows easy access to numerous rivers in Northern Patagonia

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Day 1: Sight Casting on the Malleo, Collon Cura floats and Lago Tromen
On day one our group headed off to several different directions including river floats, hunting big fish on a lake and wade fishing. Jason and Barry headed to Lago Tromen based on a suggestion from the guides. At first many of the guys were skeptical about lake fishing but I encouraged them to give it a try based on my own positive experience fishing lakes across Patagonia. We just don’t have the same equivelant lake fishing in the states: fishing big dries on lakes with amazing clarity. Lakes aren’t always a good option and when the wind is blowing they can be tough. When guides are drooling to go to the lakes it is always because they know the weather is favorable. The lake didn’t disappoint and the boys came back grinning from ear to ear. Jason Cook ended up with the big fish of the week on day 1 from the lake – a big 29” brown that inhaled a large beetle pattern.

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Several of the guys also floated the Collon Cura near the lodge and also reported a good day. Randy fished as single with guide Santos and spent a few hours hunting big browns in some of the backwater lagoons of the river. These spring creek like channels hold big fish which have to be hunted before making a cast.

John Gerwack and I teamed up with Alex Knull to fish the famed waters of the Rio Malleo. The Malleo is one of the most famous dry fly fisheries in the world and is reputed for productive hatches and rising trout. It starts near the Chilean border and is the outflow of Lago Tromen inside the National Park just below the towering Lenin Volcano that dominates the skyline. We accessed the river from a large estancia. Before walking to the river we found some rising trout in a small side channel of the river and spent an hour hunting browns in a spring creek environment. After some fun with that we headed to the river. John and Alex headed upriver to stalk some nice browns in a large flat while our assistant guide Teo and I headed downriver. The morning fishing was productive as trout sipped up and down a large float. After targeting a few sippers I moved into a great beat of pocket water and riffles and worked the water with a small Chernobyl ant. The bigger fish were in the fastest water and I managed to hook up on a few great browns and rainbows just shy of 20”. The Malleo is a big wade fishing river but can be crossed at most tail outs. The river is very fertile and there were a plethora of mayflies and caddis hatching throughout the morning. In the late morning we moved into some long glides and began targeting individual fish. These trout had more time to inspect flies but were still willing to eat as long as the flies were placed with a nice presentation – my kind of fishing!

In the afternoon we worked a blend of small side channels and large flats. On the flats we crept through the willow lined banks to target browns holding tight to cover and made short casts from low positions to intercept their feeding lines. The small channels also produced some nice fishing.

Day 2: Willow Worms on the Alumine, Filo Hua Home and Lago Tromen
The Alumine is a large river that reminds me of a slightly larger version of Montana’s Bighole River. It originates at the outflow of the Alumine Lake close to the Andes near the Chilean border. Eventually it forms the Collon Cura along with the Chimehuine. It offers a great blend of long pools and fast pocket water. On our second day we followed Alex’s advice to attempt a float high on the upper river where he had a hunch we might see some willow worm action. The week before some of the guides had attempted this section with mixed results but Alex felt we needed to try it as the worms were on schedule to show themselves.

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The willow worm (Nematus Desantisi) is a bright green larva of a moth like butterfly. The small worms are about a half an inch long and spend their days eating the willow leaves. They aren’t very nimble and a gentle breeze is all that is needed to knock them off their perches and into the water where they are promptly devoured by hungry trout.
As we drove to the upper waters of the river about an hour from the lodge – we began to notice that the willows along the river had a sparse canopy. Upon closer inspection many of the leaves had been chewed down to the twig – the willow worms had arrived!

We had two boats on this section of the river. Jason Cook and I teamed up with guide Hernan Zorzit while brothers Tom and Barry Matlack fished with Andres Hermosilla. Shortly after putting in Hernan rowed us across the river and beelined for a stand of willows that leaned over the river. Within seconds we spotted several nice rainbows in the 15-18” class that were patrolling the large slack water hunting for worms. When trout are feeding on worms the move out of the faster pocket water for lazy backwaters and eddies under the willow trees – apparently there is no need to waste energy fighting current when you can inhale willow worms by the dozens with a few flicks of a caudal fin. Hernan had us rigged up with longer leaders and 4x tippet to help fool the trout in the gin clear water – in the slower currents they have plenty of time to inspect the fly. We were on the early cusp of the “hatch” and the fish were very eager to take our flies. Hernan had tied some chartreuse chenille worms that we ginked up with floatant frequently. Some of the other guides also used a larger beetle pattern with a subsurface worm fished just 8 inches below the dry. We had no problem hooking trout as long as we made a good presentation and had few refusals. Hernan explained that as the trout became more accustomed to the willow worms they became more and more selective – almost like spring creek trout over a PMD hatch. He mentioned sometimes the trout only want them on the surface and other days the only want them subsurface but only if they are slowly falling through the water column. The guides have experimented with neutrally buoyant worm patterns that sink at a very slow rate to simulate the naturals falling through the water.

The number of willow worms was amazing. In some of the backwaters there was literally a worm either on the surface or just below the surface every inches. The trout were literally swimming slowly in circles gorging themselves.

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It turned out to be a beautiful day with nearly non-stop action from launch until takeout. The fishing definitely wasn’t brainless and most of the day was spent targeting individual fish and then making delicate but accurate casts to intercept the cruisers – very high quality stuff! Although we found a few browns sprinkled in the fishing was dominated by extremely strong fighting, plump rainbows. We hooked and landed several in the 18-21” class to round the day out with dozens in the 14-17” range. A great second day of the trip and definitely one of the high points of the trip for me.
When we arrived back at the estancia the crew that had returned from Lago Tromen were grinning ear to ear. Mike and David had slayed them again and although didn’t match Jason’s 29” bruiser had well over 20 trout over 19” to the net.

Randy and John had made a long drive to the Filo Hua Home river. The Filo Hua Home is on a private estancia that is inside of a National Park. The estancia was grandfathered in after the park was established so it is a unique situation with privately accessed water inside of a National Park. The river is gin clear and most of the fishing is site casting to large browns. Randy and John were also glowing after an incredible day.

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Day 3: Limay Medio camping trip
On day three the entire team embarked on a 3 day river camping trip to the Limay River. We were fishing the remote Limay Medio section (or “Middle” Limay). The Limay is a massive tailwater with big flows and big fish. Imagine the Missouri River on steroids. The Limay collects all of the waters coming off of the Andes including the Alumine, Chimehuine, Malleo, Collon Cura, just as the Missouri collects the waters of legendary rivers such as the Madison, Jefferson, Beaverhead, Bighole, and Gallatin at home in Montana. The landscape is vast and spectacular with arid semi dessert vegetation and large red rock cliffs towering along the river.

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I teamed up with Alex solo in his skiff and the rest of the guys paired off in different boats. Our strategy was to swing for the fence and hope for a large 25-30+” brown. There aren’t many rivers that grow browns over 30” but this was one of them. We had two rods rigged – a stiff six weight to throw huge Chernobyl ants and a 7 weight with a 250 grain sink tip to strip streamers. We fished the huge dries in the middle of the river across long swift flats. The technique was to cast quartering downstream while back rowing to slow the boat allowing the flies to slowly swing across the current while using small mends and strips to allow the fly to pulsate with the long rubber legs dancing on the surface. Within a few minutes of casting I had a big rainbow boil behind the fly – I set too soon and wasn’t able to hook the fish. It reminded me a bit of the first day of a bonefishing trip where my trout setting tendencies take over and instead of strip setting and keeping the rod low I lift the rod in a traditional trout set. The lift of the rod too quickly often pulls the fly from the fish. With this technique it is important to give the big trout some time to take the fly and then use a strip set just in case they don’t have it yet allowing the fly to remain in the water.

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The glides on the big river were swift and deep but the water was gin clear and big trout would come up out of 7-8 feet of water to take the dries. When the current would neck down into powerful riffles we would stop and swing big streamers deep along the seams. Along the way we passed numerous pods of 19-21” rainbows aggressively midging in back eddies and on seams. It was pretty difficult to pass up these fish – how often can you throw small dries to big fish like that? But the only way to catch a 30” trout is to skip the 20 inchers so we stuck to the plan. The fishing was not red hot – sometimes 2-3 fish in a row and other times an hour or so between takes but by the end of the day we had about 10 fish to the net including a huge 25” brown that Alex roped on a big dry and several other fish in the 20-22” inch class.

The rest of the guys had similar luck with the afternoon producing steady action after a sporadic morning. Nearly all of the fish were large and unbelievably strong. Alex indicated that sometimes on the trips they will fish dry dropper and spend more time in some of the riffle drops like you might do with a nymph rig on the Bighorn – each of these buckets can produce 8-10 fish. The guys in our crew were all fairly experienced fly anglers and opted to stick with the huge dries and the excited takes the produced.
After a great day of fishing we floated into camp. The “unplugged” camps are very similar to our Smith River camps in Montana with a big wall tent serving as the kitchen, large Cabelas outfitter tents for sleeping complete with cots and sleeping pads. The guys also had a great on demand hot water system rigged for showering which was very welcome. The cook team were hard at work preparing steaks over open coals while we enjoyed the full bar set up along the river – not a bad way to camp!

Day 4: Limay overnight continued
Day three produced nearly identical river conditions to our first day on the water. We continued our pursuit of big fish on big dries. The action was similar to our first day with steady success targeting bit trout on the size 2 chernobyl ants. I had a few great streamer takes and managed to land a few along the way – I think I enjoy clear water streamer fishing where the takes are visual just as much as skating the big dries. The camp on night two was even more spectacular than the first night with the camp tucked under a canopy of tall willows along a towering wall of cliffs. In the evening a massive lightning storm skirted the camp producing one of the most intense light shows I have ever seen, along with some pretty stiff wind that managed to blow down the “groover” tent.

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Day 5: Limay and the Collon Cura
On our last morning of the overnight we awoke to a river that had quadrupled in size. There are 5 reservoirs on the Limay River that are part of an extensive hydroelectric system and periodically water is moved from reservoir to reservoir to meet electricity demands in Buenos Aires to the north. The system had risen several feet and the flat where we had enjoyed cocktails the night before was completely underwater. Although there was still about 3 feet of clarity in the river, plenty for fish to see streamers, trout never like such an abrupt change in flows. The guides devised a backup plan to provide a new option as a result of the flow spike. Alex spent breakfast on the radio with the support team running shuttles and determined that we would take out about an hours float from camp and then head to Quemquentreu estancia earlier than planned with the hopes of getting a short float on the ranch waters later in the day.

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With the higher flows we gave up on the prospects of surface action and I rigged up a large tandem hook streamer on my 7 weight with the 250 grain head. Alex indicated that although the high flows can significantly lower catch rates on the rainbows it can push the huge browns in the river out of the main channels and into the soft water. With the knowledge that we only had about an hour on the water I through the streamer with reckless abandon – no need to worry about conserving arm strength. About 200 yards from the take out the fly stopped in a jarring strike and I had what felt the tell-tale low frequency head shaking of a big brown. Just as my hopes began to sale the hook released leaving only my imagination to ponder the prospects of what was on the other end of the line.

Estancia Quemquemtreu
After taking out we made a long drive to Estancia Quemquemtreu (pronounced kem-kem-tray-oo), this massive 200,000 working ranch is steeped in history and tradition.
The ranch is so large that when you first arrive at the outer edge, you still have another hour of driving dirt roads to get to the ranch headquarters and lodge. The guides opted for a short cut to save 2 hours of driving which required fording the Caleufu River (yet another productive Patagonian river). When we arrived at the crossing Andres’s diesel Volkswagen truck was stalled in the middle of the river. Apparently he attempted the crossing with a little too much velocity and the water pushed up into the grill and entered the air filter. After some conferencing on the far side Santo dropped his boat trailer and attached a pull strap. We all held our breath as Santos dropped his Toyota Hilux into 4-lo and attempted pull the stranded truck out. The prospects were not good if the plot were to fail with the nearest town over 2 hours drive. After 2 failed attempts the Toyota gained traction and successfully pulled Andres to the far shore. After inspecting the engine the air filter was sopping wet and the engine wouldn’t start. We decided that Alex and I would remain with Andres while the rest of the guides would take the remainder of our crew to float the Collon Cura. Luckily we had some cell service and were able to get a mechanic in San Martin on the line to provide some long distance guidance. After about an hour of fiddling with the truck it started, much to the relief of Andres, and we headed to the lodge.

The ranch headquarters and lodge are tucked away in an expansive stand of mature willows and poplars. Guests are housed in a combination of the large estancia house and some cabins. The lodge is nearly 100 years old and has a warm and charming feel with old floor boards, antique wood accents and numerous windows overlooking the carefully manicured lawn. Also on the grounds are a huge asado area for gathering during traditional Argentine barbques as well as a bar and game room area. We were greeted by hour hostess, the warm and inviting Paula …, who helped get me settled in with a quick tour of the ranch house.

The bar room is filled with photographs of numerous fly fishing legends that have made the pilgrimage to Quemquemtreu over the years along with some great works by local artists. The game room is complete with a pool table, ping pong table and some traditional coin tossing games.

When the rest of the crew arrived after fishing we sat to a deliciously prepared family style meal in the estancia house. Most of the components of the meal including the beef, vegetables and homemade pasta and freshly baked break had their origins right from the estancia.

Day 6: Quemquemtreu Creek and the Collon Cura river

Since the estancia is so vast generally when you stay at Quemquemtreu you only fish the estancia waters. The good news is that with 20 miles of Quemquemtreu creek and 30 miles of the Collon Cura there is no shortage of great water at hand. Our plan for the final day was to float the Collon Cura. We were going to send 2 boats to the middle float and 3 to the lower float. On the way to the river Alex and I stopped for a quick 1 hour session of wading on Quemquemtreu creek.

Quemquemtreu creek turned out to be a fantastic fishery. It was infested with small to medium sized rainbows in the 10-15” class that aggressively smacked a small fat albert. The creek has great structure with a blend of riffles and deep undercut bank pools. It is just the right size with enough deep runs to hold some larger trout yet easily crossed at every tailout. I was quite pleased with the hard fighting 12-14” bows that were in abundance but even more surprised when a big 17” brown inhaled my fly. Alex mentioned that the creek actually holds some browns over 20” and the guides have landed a few in the 25” class over the years. I loved this kind of fishing and could have spent the day there but we had part of the group lunch in our cooler and headed for the Collon Cura.

The Collon Cura on the ranch is nothing short of spectacular. Although smaller than the mighty Limay which it feeds, it is still a formidable river and reminded me of the Yellowstone River between Livingston and Big Timber. In fact the 30 miles of water the ranch has is about equal in length to that section of the Yellowstone – except without any other boats on it! The rivers structure is enough to make any avid trout angler drool with productive long riffles, cliff wall runs, long seams, glides, etc. The river changes dramatically while it crosses the ranch and each float has its own character providing a lot of variety and several different ways in which it can be fished.

We headed to the lower float at the bottom end of the ranch. Just as on the Alumine we saw evidence of the willow worms in the trees along the river. Alex explained that you can choose to fish the large river or the smaller side channels and “lagoons”. We opted to spend most of the day hunting for larger fish in the spring creek like lagoons and side channels. The side channels are much different than a typical side channel on the Yellowstone River – they seem as if they are completely separate from the main system and lack the large gravel washes of the bigger water. Some of the channels go on for miles and are influenced heavily by spring seeps. The name of the game in these channels is spot and stock and we crept along the willows looking for fish. With a few minutes we discovered a nice 19” rainbow slowly patrolling a back water. On the second cast the rainbow did a figure 8 around my willow worm and eventually inhaled it. Most of the trout we encountered in the channels were browns – almost all good fish. After a great lunch on the river with the rest of the guys floating the lower waters we headed for one more elaborate side channel system where we spotted a big 21” brown. The fish was living under a willow overhang and was holding in a subtle current. He was in a very difficult lie and there weren’t a lot of alternatives. We discussed trying to approach from the far side of the channel, and while I was confident I could get a cast under the overhanging branches I was worried that the fly would begin to drag before it arrived at the brown holding in the slack waters. From my past experiences you usually only get one shot at a fish like this and if he saw the flies with even the slightest of drag it would be game over. I eventually opted to try a bow and arrow cast while hidden behind some brush. Alex set up below the fish while I crept up along the bank behind some downfall, I couldn’t see the trout but knew that he was almost directly below me. I have had great success using the bow and arrow cast on spring creeks and find that as long as you stay out of view, keep a low profile and approach very slowly you can get within just a few feet of even the biggest trout. The advantage is that since you are nearly right on top of the trout you are rewarded with a drag free float.

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I held the fly in my left hand on a short line and slowly extend the road tip beyond the deadfall so that it protruded over the water. As I extended the rod the fly put a nice bend in the graphite. Once it was adequately loaded I adjusted, aimed and let the fly sail out of view. Almost immediately after pulling the trigger Alex screamed “he ate it”. I lifted the rod into a deep bend – the big brown held fast and simply shook his head for several seconds before plaining out across the channel. This was the moment of truth in the fight – the big fish had plenty of steam and there was no shortage of downed branches for him to wrap around. I hurdled over the deadfall and into center of the channel. Luckily the big fish was putting up a determined bulldogging fight but remained out of harms way. On one or two occasions he made a run for some timber but each time I was able to change the direction of the rod and put some heavy pressure on him to change his course. Eventually we landed the heavy trout – a gorgeous specimen!

In the last hour of the float we returned to the main river to work a few riffle drops just before the river entered a huge reservoir. This section of the river is home to the famous “minnow run” that begins in mid February and extends into April. Small minnows move into the river from out of the reservoir by the millions. The inch long baitfish are a favorites of big trout and a big push of large lake rainbows follows the minnows out of the lake to join with the resident river trout. The rainbows will work in small schools to push the minnows into entrapment areas such as gravel shelves and cliff walls where they will attack the clouds of baitfish just as jacks will do in the channels between ocean flats.

As the day ended we reconnected with Tom and Wendel’s boat at the takeout. Tom was grinning from ear to ear after a great day of fishing the willow worm. Wendel had managed to rope a huge 26” brown in one of the side channels and had a great photo to provide evidence of the monster.

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Trip Summary
As the week ended most of our crew headed to Bariloche to catch flights home. Randy and I had a long road day to continue south to the Rio Pico region for another week in Patagonia (see part 2 of our Argentina trip report soon to follow). There is certainly a lot of water in the San Martin area and while we certainly didn’t see all of it in 6 days of fishing we definitely sampled a great variety. Each fishery had its own personality and they all delivered in their own way. The Estancias were exceptional and provided a wonderful and authentic experience and we all enjoyed both the traditional cuisine and the warm hospitality. The guides were nothing short of fantastic – an incredibly experienced team of guys that all held their own but also worked effortlessly together as a team. I’m already daydreaming about my next opportunity to head back to visit some new friends and incredible waters.

Please contact Brian McGeehan if you are interested in joining him on one of these great trips. Montana Angler offers domestic fly fishing trips in Montana and Yellowstone National Park as well as international trips to Argentina, Chile and the Bahamas.


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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 12/15/2015 (1709 reads)
Here's the latest from our favorite fly fishing guide Hank Paterson. Here's the trailer for his feature film! Hank Patterson & The Mystery of The CuttyRainBrown! To learn more get over to HankPatterson.com Snap It!

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Published by Jeff [Aducker] on 10/28/2015 (1310 reads)
I’m fairly new to fly fishing and found the paflyfisher.com site about 4 years ago I began reading everything on the forums, posting questions and taking advantage of what the site had to offer. I attended my first newbie jam in spring of 2012. Then a brush up jam that summer and another fall brush up the same year. Since then I have been attending the mini jams and have attended the main jam the past two years. In this short amount of time I learned so much, met many people who spent time answering questions and taking time to show me how to fly fish.

Montana flyfishingSo this past winter I felt I was ready to plan a trip to Montana. Not that I would consider myself an accomplished fly fisher, but still thought I was ready to fish Montana with some success. Searching our forum for information on where to go and when to go it seamed like July was the best time to go but I couldn’t make this July and I found hints of information that were saying fall was also a great time to go. So fall it was. Now knowing when I could go it was time to find a guide service. I did more research on our forum and the internet and decided on using our very own site sponsor “Montana Angler Fly Fishing

My experience with Montana Anglers was perfect right from the beginning. In August I filled out their web form and was immediately contacted by Brian McGeehan, the owner of the guide service. We spoke about my fishing experiences and what kind of trip I was looking for. Within 20 minutes I booked my trip on the phone for late September. We confirmed and finalized all the details with a couple emails, including my lodging. A coupe weeks prior to the trip I was contacted again to confirm everything, make sure I had any questions answered and to obtain my guides name and contact information.

On September 27th I left for 3 days of guided fishing in Montana. I stayed in the Murray Hotel in Livingston, which I found to be very nice. Brian had booked an excellent room for me. I was contacted by my guide, Tony Nahorny, the afternoon of my arrival and again confirmed my Monday morning meeting and fishing.

Montana flyfishingMy first day of fishing was terrific. I fished alone with Tony. We drifted the Yellowstone River north of the park. I explained my skill level and what I was unable to do. Tony and I began a 3 day adventure that I will always remember. We gelled like we had known each other all our lives. Tony was patient with me as he taught me how to catch trout bigger than I ever had before. He showed me everything and his goal was to make sure I had a good time and caught fish. We drifted and fished and also got out of the boat and fished the riffles. All day long I caught fish after fish and I was learning how to land the big trout on a big river. For a beginner like me this was a dream to be able to do this in my short few years of fly fishing.

The second day we fished a private ranch on the Mussleshell River. We had another great day of fishing. We also fished a large pond on the ranch and caught some huge fish.

We had no set place to fish the 3rd day. My guide pretty much was seeing how I was doing and what type of fishing I liked as we fished and talked on day 1 and day 2. So on the 3rd day Tony said he had someplace special to fish. When we arrived it was like he had read my mind. We fished another private access river in a deep canyon that we hiked down to. Again I caught a lot of fish and had wonderful day fishing.

Thanks paflyfish.com and what everyone does to contribute to help a new person like me to the sport and thanks to Montana Anglers for making my first trip to Montana a great experience.

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Published by David Weaver [Fishidiot] on 07/07/2015 (7051 reads)
JOHN BROWN’S BASS
By
Dave Weaver
Photographs and artwork courtesy of author

Potomac Fly Fishing


Harper’s Ferry is a quiet place where the gentle hiss of river current is the only consistent sound, especially at night. It was quiet a century and a half ago on the night of October 16th, 1859 as less than two dozen men, led by the messianic abolitionist from Kansas, John Brown, crossed the Potomac and slipped into the town streets to initiate what Brown believed would be the end of slavery in America. A staunch Calvinist who believed that he was on a mission from God to end slavery, Brown intended to bring to life his favorite passage from the Bible: “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins.” The sin of slavery would be paid for with Brown’s own blood if need be.

Thomas Jefferson said that the view from Harper’s Ferry Virginia (now West Virginia) where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers join was so “stupendous” as to be worth a trip across the Atlantic just to see its beauty. Thirty three years after our third President’s death, this little town saw played out what was arguably the seminal event leading to the Civil War – a drama seen through the lens of terrorism or martyrdom. Today, the bass fishing is fabulous in and around this tiny town so woven into the fabric of our nation’s past. For those fishermen with a historical bent, it’s easy to miss the strikes of hard hitting smallmouths due to the irresistible temptation to gaze at nearby Maryland Heights where Stonewall Jackson’s guns blasted the town into submission in 1862 (and forcing the largest surrender of Union forces in the Civil War); or the stately stone Harper house; or the old railroad bridge; or the fire engine house where Brown and his holdouts took cover; or any of a host of intriguing sites. A fisherman in the river is surrounded by bass under the surface and three states on the shorelines. So much to see, catch, and think about…so little time.

rusty spinnerAlthough largely a National Park today, Harper’s Ferry was an industrial town conceived by George Washington as a serendipitously located government factory village where converging waterways, upstream from the new capital, would drive the production of armaments for the incipient military of a fledgling nation. Jefferson’s protégé, Captain Meriwether Lewis, was provisioned for his Corp of Discovery here. By the mid Nineteenth Century the country had become consumed by the controversy over the expansion of slavery and Brown, a man who by all accounts had failed at every endeavor he’d undertaken, had pledged his life to the struggle against the South’s “peculiar institution” and set his sights on Harper’s Ferry.

John Brown was completely committed. Some thought him mad. After cutting his teeth in Bleeding Kansas where he committed several heinous murders of defenseless pro slavery men, Brown concocted a plan to move his personal war against slavery east and seize Harper’s Ferry and its weapons. He believed when news of his capture of the town spread that slaves to the south would hear the news and, undoubtedly with the help of divine providence, rise up against their masters and march in unison to join Brown, from whom they would receive the captured weapons. Thus armed, a slave revolt would snowball across the land and the institution of slavery would fall. When Brown proposed his plan to some prominent abolitionists in the North he was mostly rebuffed. Frederick Douglas thought his plan impossible and refused to participate. Nevertheless, Brown did get some backing by some who shared the growing frustration of many abolitionists who had come to feel that speechifying, rhetoric, and the publishing of treatises were toothless against the nation’s great sin.

rusty spinnerAfter several months of planning on a farm in Maryland, Brown was ready to strike. When he and his band crept into town that night they had, nevertheless, taken no rations with them nor did Brown seem to have any systematic operational plan to hold the town, spread the news, and develop the situation. It was a mess from the start. The raiders sent out parties in the night to detain local citizens and confiscate weapons and Harper’s Ferry remained fairly quiet through the night, but word soon began to spread and by daybreak local citizens, having discovered something awry, began a steady resistance and gunfire grew louder. The blood of locals, some innocent bystanders, and Brown’s followers began to flow in the streets. Brown seemed not to know what to do next and by morning had lost the initiative to a growing force of local militiamen and armed citizens. The local militiamen, enraged at the “vile abolitionists” and eager to avenge the deaths of townspeople, mutilated the bodies of some of Brown’s followers or cast them into the river. Panic and rumors soon spread across Virginia that an army of abolitionists were swarming down from the north and that a slave revolt was brewing. Many Southerners thought the raid a distraction, just the beginning of a larger assault. The South’s Great Nightmare seemed to be coming to life.

Although groundless, the rumors fueled a massive reaction with ripple effects felt in Washington by afternoon. On temporary duty in the Capital was Colonel Robert E. Lee and a reaction force of several dozen Marines and a couple field guns were hurriedly marshaled, placed under his command, and sent by train to Harper’s Ferry to put down what Lee called the “insurgents” and their “gross outrage against law and order.” Following this force were hundreds of militiamen and local vigilantes galvanized by the sensationalized headlines and rumors.

rusty spinnerBy the time Lee and his force reached the town in the pre-dawn hours of the 18th, much of the fighting had died down and Brown and his remaining fighters and their hostages had holed up in a fire engine house from which they had managed to keep up enough gunfire to hold the townspeople and militiamen at bay. The situation stalemated, a tense calm had settled over the town.

Lee had a lieutenant named J.E.B. Stuart, under a flag of truce, approach the engine house and offer terms. Brown refused and spent the rest of the night barricading the doors and preparing his defense. He had only a couple followers left unscathed. The local African Americans who he’d coerced into his force showed little enthusiasm for the fight. At dawn, Stuart returned to the engine house, received Brown’s final refusal to surrender, and the Marines promptly began their assault, battering the doors with hammers and eventually breaking through using a ladder as a ram. The troops quickly overwhelmed the defenders, killing one of Brown’s sons in the fight. Brown himself was struck down, wounded by a sword blow from Lieutenant Green who had led the assault into the engine house. Unapologetic and defiant, Brown was hauled off to face trail for insurrection and what he undoubtedly knew was an inevitable date with the gallows.

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Published by David Weaver [Fishidiot] on 06/12/2015 (2169 reads)
Casting Comp1


The Cumberland Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited will be hosting its Annual Mid Atlantic Fly Casting Championships on June 20th, 2015 at Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs, PA. The competition will be conducted in conjunction with The Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum 13th Annual Heritage Day Celebration. The Heritage Day event is a full day of celebrating the fly fishing heritage in Pennsylvania with over 60 vendors and exhibitors, hands on demonstrations, special seminars, instruction, raffles, auctions and the always popular Fish Swim Race on the Yellow Breeches for a chance to win $500! More information on Heritage Day is available on the Museum website: www.paflyfishing.org.

Article by Dave Weaver
Photo courtesy tomitrout
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/22/2015 (1400 reads)
Fly Fishing ShowThis weekend brings the Fly Fishing Show to the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, NJ. This is the best fly fishing show you can find and a great opportunity see what the latest and greatest is going on in the industry.

For those of you that have not made the trip before it is a three day event that includes a very large exhibit floor, fly tiers, retail shops, educational programs and more. Many members from Paflyfish make their way to the show every year. Here is a link to a video and recap of the show in 2014. If you are looking for trips, rods, reels, flies, waders any gear or tying materials this is the show to hit. There are many outstanding presentations about fly fishing techniques and locations to attend as well.

I enjoy going to the show to see a lot of good friends that end up there every year. Justin and team from Allen Fly Fishing can always be found at the show. Tom "afishinado" Ciannilli at the Orvis booth on Saturday. Guides and tiers from the site like Mike Heck, Dave Allbaugh, Rick Nyles & Nick Raftas are there at booths.

Details can be found on the Fly Fishing Show website.
Somerset dates: January 23-25, 2015
Show Hours
Friday: 10am – 6pm
Saturday: 8:30am – 5:30pm
Sunday: 9am – 4:30pm

If you can't make it this weekend there is the Fly Fishing Show in Lancaster on February 28 and March 1, 2015. A little smaller venue, but a good very good show as well.
Show Hours
Saturday: 9am – 5:30pm
Sunday: 9am – 4:30pm
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 12/08/2014 (2466 reads)
For those adventurous anglers with a penchant for photography our sponsors at Montana Angler are offering a unique opportunity to join photographer Patrick Clayton at their partner lodges in either Argentina or Chile in April for the upcoming 2015 South American fishing season. Patrick is better known as the “Fish Eye Guy” and his dramatic images of wild trout and salmon in their natural environment has captured the imagination of fly fisherman and conservation groups alike.

Fish Eye Guy


Patrick’s work has been featured by Patagonia, Field and Stream, The Drake, Orvis, The Flyfish Journal, and Catch Magazine, among many others. His work has also been used extensively by conservation groups across the country including national and local Trout Unlimited chapters, The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation,American Rivers, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Trout Magazine, California Trout, Western Environmental Law Center, and Western Rivers Conservancy. His photography was also featured in the movie “The Breach“, an exploration of the decline of salmon in the Northwest.

Fish Eye Guy


Patrick will be basing out of two Orvis endorsed lodges in Patagonia during the month of April, the Carrileufu River Lodge in Argentina and Magic Waters Patagonia in Chile. He will be at Magic Waters in Chile the weeks of April 4th and 11th and at Carrileufu River Lodge the weeks of April 18th and 25th . Guests can join for as short as one week or as long as two weeks - combining both countries can also be arranged by Montana Angler.

Patagonia is famous for its aquarium clear rivers and will provide the perfect backdrop for Patrick’s work. Guests on the trip will have the opportunity to see how the Fish Eye Guy captures these magical images with remote underwater cameras. Patrick will also be photographing the general landscape as well as images of fishing in action. Guests that join will receive many of Patrick’s images including photos of their own fishing in action! Patrick will also offer tips and instruction for those that want to take their own photography to the next level.

Carrileufu River Lodge

The Carrileufu River Lodge is located on the boundary of the spectacular Los Alceras National Park in Argentina. The rivers in this area are some of the most beautiful in the world. Many of the rivers drain expansive lakes the filter out the sediments which produces incredible water clarity. The Rivadavia is considered by many to be the most beautiful trout river on the planet and is just 30 minutes from the lodge in the National Park. Guests will enjoy a variety of fly fishing experiences including float trips on legendary rivers, wading spring creeks and large lakes with massive trout. There is also an option to extend the trip with a wilderness 3 day float camping trip.

South American  fly fishing


Magic Waters Patagonia Lodge

If you are looking for the ultimate fishing variety in one of the world’s most beautiful but yet lightly fished regions then look no further than the Magic Waters Patagonia Lodge in Chile. The fishing out of Magic Waters is truly spectacular – plan on fishing a different water on each day of the trip – mostly with huge dry flies! The waters include large gin clear rivers, small spring creeks, wilderness streams and dramatic glacial lakes. This smaller lodge provides a wonderful gateway into the rich Patagonian culture of Southern Chile.

Please contact Brian McGeehan if you are interested in joining this unique experience with Patrick or if you have any questions about the trip. Montana Angler offers domestic fly fishing trips in Montana and Yellowstone National Park as well as international trips to Argentina, Chile and the Bahamas.

Patrick Clayton's work can also be viewed at his website and facebook pages:


South American  fly fishing
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 12/01/2014 (1642 reads)
By Salmonoid

For the past eight years or so, I've managed to make it out to fish on Thanksgiving Day. I guess it has become a bit of a tradition, made possible by our decision to no longer travel during the Thanksgiving holiday. Spending a few too many hours going nowhere between New Stanton and Breezewood on the Turnpike will eventually lead one to that conclusion.

This year, I was looking forward my outing, but the forecast was calling for snow the day before, so I started to temper my expectations as the week went along. Wednesday, the snow started falling around 9AM and continued to fall for the next eleven hours. While the ground is still relatively warm, we still ended up with four or more inches, but by evening, the outside sounds were filled with constant dripping. Overnight temps were supposed to dip below freezing too, and I did not have the luxury of waiting until afternoon to fish, since Thanksgiving meal was scheduled for 1PM.

So I told my wife that I would enjoy my day anyway, just thankful that I have the ability to be out walking around in the snow. Since I've never really had stellar outings on Thanksgiving Day, and since the conditions were far from ideal (snow melt, air temperatures below freezing, water levels low, and I added crystal-clear when I arrived Thursday morning), I really wasn't expecting much.





I only managed to fish the stream I was at one other time this year, in mid-January. It must have been a temporary thaw from our Arctic blast, or I was starting to go stir-crazy and needed to get out then. As I was walking in, I noticed quite a bit more blowdown of trees and I remembered the ice storm we had. I've seen the effects of the storm on a number of streams, but had yet to venture out on this particular stream to see how it fared. A number of new deep holes had formed where woody debris created new scour patterns and a number of rock ledge holes had filled in. Hopefully, the new holes will provide protection and cover for the fish for a few years, before the woody debris is blown out in a flood event.




Anyway, things got off to a slow start, as expected. I did not even see a fish for the first forty-five minutes. But then my fortunes changed. There's a spot where a large boulder sits in the middle of the stream. Usually the stream flows equally around each side of the boulder before tumbling into a nice plunge pool at its base. But some of the winter's blowdown had effectively dammed the right side, redirecting all the flow to the left. A plucky little brown darted out from the base of the left side flow and as I lifted him out of the water, he long distance released into the plunge pool below. At the head of the boulder, I landed the first official catch of the day.




The action continued fairly consistently all morning. Each potential hole had a trout or two in it, and it never pays to overlook the pocket water, riffles and unlikely looking water in between. Some of the larger fish came from areas that I wouldn't have selected, but they are the fish, not me.




There are lots of larger boulders, which provide nice holding areas for fish. A young family watched me toy with and finally hook and land a nice little brown from this hole. He lives under the large rock on the left side.






There are big spot fish in this stream and small spot fish in this stream. Here is one of the small spotters.




And a medium spotter.




And a large spotter. With a big tail.






A half-and-half spotter (red/black).




This guy will hopefully be able to take advantage of some of the new woody debris holes, for cover. He apparently had a bout with a heron recently.










Of course, by this time in the morning, I was only about half way through the section I wanted to fish. And I was down to about half an hour to fish, so I started pool hopping. I know I passed a lot of fish by, but the last few fish I caught were special.

A log had fallen across the stream at this spot a number of years ago. The flow had originally been to the right side, but had flipped to the left side sometime in the past year.





I cast first to the right side. There still was a tiny bit of flow through the pool and at least one brown had decided to make it his home. A small black mass charged out from after the log; I thought the fish would be under the rock in the pool.



I released him and he swam back to his abode. I flipped over to the pool on the left side of the stream, where the main flow was. I missed a smaller fish on the first cast, but prospected the pool a few more times. I never figured out where this fish was holding, but it doesn't get much more buttery than this!

Still had some faint parr marks.




And that was pretty much it. I think I caught one more, but I made the decision to try and honor Thanksgiving Dinner start time and managed to make it there just fashionably late, at 1:15PM.

Turned out to be my best Thanksgiving Day outing ever, despite snow (and melt), freezing temperatures, and low, clear conditions. It was a wonderful day to be out, although I was dodging snowballs part of the day, as it warmed and the trees released their coverings. One of the more interesting things I encountered was hearing voices on the hike in. In a few seconds, I came upon two Amish guys sitting underneath a big rock, taking swigs from a Thermos. We nodded polite hellos and I went on my way. I didn't catch anything bigger than 12", but I love the variety in spots, patterns, and coloration of these freestone wild browns.

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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 09/25/2014 (1136 reads)
Todd Bowersox, of the Allegheny River Fly Fishing Company (ARFF) will be airing a new radio and podcast program this fall. Bowersox will discover all things wild in the Pennsylvania focussed in the outdoor themed broadcast. Program topics will include fly fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, music, art, and special events in the wilds of northwest Pennsylvania. Into the PAWilds will also feature local and state TU chapter efforts, a conservation minute during every show and a "tips & tricks in the weekly program.

Upcoming Schedule
Week 1 - October 4: Fall steelhead fishing and fly fishing on the Allegheny.
Week 2 - 10/11 - Wing Shooting / Dog Training with Stephen Witcoski

Into the PAWilds will be airing weekly on Saturdays beginning October 4th for 30 minutes at 10:00 am on 104.3 FM Kinzua Country, Warren PA and follow the program on Facebook.




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