The salt flats of the Atticama desert in Bolivia stretch as far a the eye can see, and take in an extraordinary range of geological features. Unfortunately, the desert is practically lifeless and boasts numerous saline lake with no fish in them. The only other living creatures in the desert other than hoardes of backpackers were thousands of flamingos and the occassional rabbit type animal.I steadfastly refused to take a photo of the flamingos as I believe them to be shite. All pink and gangly, just like the gap year students photographing them.
In any case, the desert provided a fascinating diversion to my piscatorial pursuits, and myself, Rick and Miriam had no end of fun sampling the culinary delights provided for us by our cook. Mmmmm. Next stop Peru!
My last day of fishing in Patagonia was tinged with melancholy. How to say goodbye to such a wonderful place? Safe in the knowledge that I wouldn't be flyfishing for trout for some time, I set out for one final session on the Rio Limay. I caught scores of small browns and rainbows on nymphs, and then bid a teary farewell to Patagonia. As the sun set on the river I resolved to return one day. After the fishless wilderness of Bolivia it's off to the Caribbean for some pulsating saltwater action.Can't wait!
As I mentioned in my last post, the fishing really seemed to slow down in March, possibly due to high temperatures and the migration of fish into the cooler, deeper waters of the lakes that feed them. Such things don't always matter that much, especially when you're fishing a river as staggeringly beautiful and perfect as the Manso. It has to be seen to be believed! Myself, Juan and Rich bushwhacked through some serious undergrowth to find these amazing sections of the river, full of riffles, pools and pocketwater. Late on we fished Lago Mascardi, where I had the luck to catch a rainbow, a brookie and a brown all within the space of 15 minutes! The rainbows from Mascardi are incredibly silvery and fat, and they fought like stink. The Rio Manso reminded me very much of the rivers of Parque National los Alerces - probably the most beautiful of all the rivers I have fished. Hopefully these pictures and this blog will serve as some kind of homage - a love letter even - to the most beautiful place I have ever been. Thankyou, Patagonia.
Although the fishing was much slower in March, I still managed to get out and have some memorable sessions in my final month in Patagonia. The Rio Limay is perhaps the most iconic of all Patagonian rivers, and it's boca - or mouth - attracts anglers from all over the world, who come in search of the monster browns that move into the mouth to feed from the enormous Lago Nahuel Huapi. Myself, Juan and Rich spent a day floating the lower section, and despite my initial terror, I soon became comfortable negotiating the rapids and glides that litter the river.
The Pichi Leufu has to be one of the prettiest rivers I've fished so far. It's little more than a creek by mid-March but it holds surprisingly large fish. Fortunately for myself, the river was so low that the fish were stacked up in the pools, enabling me to have a field day nailing them on caddis and mayflies cast tight to the reed beds. This river is apparently sensational in early season, and for those willing to negotiate the long and winding road through Mapuche territory, the rewards are there to reap.
At the time of writing, I'm in Bolivia, a troutless wilderness. Seeing early season reports roll in from the Northwest of England is making me - dare I say it - a little envious.