Based on my experience, the majority of anglers visiting Patagonia will use dry flies, day after day. The dry flies of choice tend to be the big exotic types. They work, but not in all situations/conditions. For instances, when examining water temperature, elevation, humidity, hatch, feeding patterns, and light; at times, I would argue that a set of dry flies in the #18-#24 size would be a better choice. Allow me to explain.
We offer several DIY float/camping programs, but we also specialize in DIY walk-wade programs. Regardless of our program you may find yourself in a situation/condition where the big exotic dry fly will not work. In fact, it might be the worse choice, and ruin your chance of catching a trophy fish. Let's brief talk situation and conditions:
Situation & Condition
- On many of our DIY walk-wade programs we are fishing early A.M., which generally means temps are cool. From my experience, you'll do much better with small dries. My personal favorites are a variety of caddis flies with CDC, ranging from #18-#22. I also come to Patagonia with a variety of standard Elk Hair Caddis. Bleached, brown/cinnamon will work perfect.
- If your fortunate to find trout sipping flies, perhaps behind a Willow, and if you can get a good cast/drift, think small!
- Reverse Water Flow/Eddies: I have had good success using an Airlflow poly-leader (hover or intermediate sink). Before using this technique, I study the flow of the water and the feeding habit/cycle of the trout; then I make the decision to use a poly-leader or not.
- On our 2 day/1 night float-camp on the lower Chimehuin, we have plenty of time to stop and explore side channels. These side channels (mini-aquariums) can be filled with HUGE fish. From my experience, they will not take a big dry fly; in fact, you'll spook them. Again, think small. Your biggest challenge will not be picking the right dry fly, it will be controlling your breathing, body movement (presentation) and praying that you 5X-6X tippet will hold the 4-8lbs trout that you are stalking. In such tight quarters, I have gotten my fanny kicked many times!
|There is no way this trout would take anything less than #18. In fact, in this situation, a #18 is a BIG fly... I got lucky :)|
As the only DIY outfitter in Patagonia, competing in a market dominated by lodges and global sales agents, we know we are the fly on the elephant's ass... a small fly, size #20! In the world of big exotic dry flies, we know the majority of anglers may question and doubt the information that we share. We know anglers gossip and may discredit our advice and the services that we provide. Honestly, we are more than OK with this. We like doing things differently, and more importantly, our clients love it.
As always, thanks for reading and hope to see you Patagonia.