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Fly Fishing in Alerces Park, Argentina

A fly fisherman's story by Dave KotakBy David Kotok

     Trout 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. Argentina fishing - brown troutNow 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. Gently now.

      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 rainbows.

     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 year.

Editors Note:  David R. Kotok is the Chief Investment Officer of Cumberland Advisors, Inc., a Vineland-based financial company.


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