Fd: How was your fly-fishing operation in Northern Patagonia born?
Since my very beginnings I've been guiding for several years for major Fly Fishing Outfitters in this area. Some time after, with the acquired experience, the understanding on how the fly fishing travel business works and what's required by a client when booking a trip, I decide to start SouthernLoops Fly Fishing, aimed to provide a more personalized service taking care of those small details, many times forgotten by bigger companies.
It's been 6 years now that we've been offering our fly fishing trips in the San Martín and Junín de los Andes area (Collón Cura, Malleo, Chimehuín, Quilquihue, Caleufu, Filo Hua Hum Rivers; Lacar, Lolog, Filo Hua Hum and Tromen Lake); Aluminé (Malalco and Calfiquitra streams, Aluminé River) and Piedra del Aguila (Limay Medio River), known as Northern Patagonia Argentina.
Fd: Can you tell us about your trips and programs?
We mainly provide tailor made trips trying to match each client's needs as much as possible. Daily float, wading and lake fishing trips; multi day trips with riverside camp overnights -providing a high end glamping experience including cargo raft, camping staff and high quality camping gear- are our basic business units. From those, we work out any kind of schedule according to each group requirement depending on trip length, lodging, season time, water structures and fishing style preferences.
Fd: What about the lodging options?
Town and lodge programs, combined in different ways with our multi day camp trips are usually every trip plan kick-off. People who prefer to know the town they are visiting, spending some time doing non-fishing activities and conventional touring usually choose a town lodging as well as those looking for a cheaper trip. Other guests make their mind up to be closer to the water through a lodge private access and enjoy a much more exclusive all-inclusive service in some of the ranches and estancias we are partnered with. One great advantage of this area is that everybody would be able to find out a trip that fits their preferences and budget.
Fd: What kind of gear should anglers take to these trips?
Without knowing the client's previous experience, I usually suggest #6 rods provided with a WF floating line and an extra spool with a 24 ft sinking tip line. This kind of gear will let them comfortably fish even under adverse casting conditions, as could be the wind, very frequently in Patagonia. For those who will be fishing on the Limay Medio River, I would suggest adding a #8 rod, with a shooting taper or a Rio Outbound Short line which will be very helpful for long casts with streamers.
Fd: Any special trout flies?
Usually we provide the flies as they are include in our service and they will depend on the season time, but an all around box would have black Fat Albert, royal and peacock PMX, royal Chubby Chernobyl, some Hoppers, Parachutes (adams, march brown, Blue wing olive); cream, black and olive Caddis, some nymphs like pheasant tail, copper john and hares ear; some black, olive, olive & orange weighted streamers (I usually prefer those patterns with rabbit strips which provide volume and move water while you strip them). For the Limay Medio I would add long bucktail streamers and pejerrey minnow patterns all of them tied on really good hooks.
Fd: Any advice for those beginner anglers who visit you?
For those who are beginning I usually recommend to take some casting lessons before carrying out the trip. That way they will be able to "be fishing" from the very beginning of the trip, not needing to invest valuable time learning how to handle the rod and make a basic cast. This way the fisherman will enjoy the trip much more for sure.
Fd: Could you explain the different moments of a fishing season in Patagonia?
Early season, with the water at its highest level, usually finds us mainly fishing with streamers and sinking tip lines. We usually suggest to book from late November on, that's when rivers water level usually gets stabilized.
When the weather starts to warm up, first Mayfly and Caddis hatches occur and floating lines take place during most of the day.
When the season reaches its average, dragons, hoppers, inch-worms and minnows offer lots of fun to our guests.
Early fall, as we start feeling those chilly mornings will be time to spend sinking tips during the colder hours of the day, while floating lines and small blue wing olives will be usually our choice for the warmer ones.
By the end of the season, streamers in search of a trophy fish is usually the rule.
Fd: Should the trips be booked several months in advance?
It will depend on the season, but the earlier you book will give you the opportunity to choose the date that best fits your travel possibilities.
Fd: What would you say to someone that has not yet had the chance to visit Patagonia (Argentina)?
I can tell that this area has a wide range of waters within a small radius around San Martín and Junín town, all of them surrounded by breathtaking sceneries. This large water diversity gives us an incredible advantage to eventually face the needs of any last minute change on the schedule due to weather, water or fishing conditions, providing a great operational flexibility. Also this will give, to those who already visited us, to fish different river stretches and situations on successives trips.
Contact Esteban Urban from SouthernLoops Fly Fishing, right here: Travel.