Fly Fishing in Alerces Park, Argentina
cruise the foam line. That's the lake's surface section
formed in the lee from the wind. It contains some fallen
leaves, the white speckled
clumps of bubbles that make up foam and, most importantly,
bugs. Trout like bugs. We had already ridden an hour
into the wind in Kent Schoenauer's small rubber zodiac.
We hugged the lee shore to avoid the whitecaps. The wind
rolls off the glaciers whose cold water nurtures Lake Menendez
in Alerces Park and its resident trout. Welcome to
Argentina fishing. The best fly fishing in Lstin America
and the world.
Finally, the turn in the lake was at hand. The mountain
ridge blocked some of the wind. We stopped at the first
lee spot, an enticing cove with a bamboo shoreline, some
overhanging limbs and a foam line.
"I'll try a Chernobyl"
I said. One quick Duncan's loop knot and the fly was firmly
tied. Strip out some line on the floor of the zodiac. Now
wait for the cruising fish to show its direction. Two minutes
and "there he is." The water in Menendez was crystal clear.
The cast has to be accurate. We must not "spook" this wild
Patagonian trout. "Place the bug about ten feet ahead of
the fish so he will find it naturally" I thought.
Sixty feet away. Two false casts to get enough line out.
The Chernobyl Ant landed softly; it mimicked a large insect
that might have fallen off a tree. Seconds later: bingo!
A quick lift of the fly rod, the hook is set and we're off
to the fight.
That first cast yielded this
result: "A brookie"
said Kent "unusual for them to feed on the surface." I removed
the barbless hook and put him back to quickly vanish.
I fished with the Chernobyl Ant fly pattern all day; caught
and released forty fish averaging twenty inches and probably
missed an equal amount. All but the first one were
Lago Menendez is remote and
protected. It's found within a terrific Argentine national
park. No roads and no overnight camping limit a fisherman's
access to day trips on portaged boats. In addition to great
trout fishing, the lake houses a grove of majestic Alerces
trees; they're older than the California redwoods and located
along a hiking trail the park has created for visitors.
For information and photos about the lake, the park and
the Alerces tree see: Esquel-on-Line For information about
a trip with my friend and fishing guide, Kent Schoenauer,
see: Argentina Chile Fly Fishing I'm going back again next
Note: David R. Kotok is
the Chief Investment Officer of Cumberland Advisors, Inc.,
a Vineland-based financial company.