DIY Fly Fishing Patagonia Argentina: Hidden Hook Walks the Rio Malleo

The Patagonia fishing season is almost over.  With the exception of a few leaf peeper’s, the tourist folk are gone. The weather is changing.  The leaves are changing. The nearby mountains just a got a dusting of white stuff last night; i…

The Patagonia fishing season is almost over.  With the exception of a few leaf peeper's, the tourist folk are gone. The weather is changing.  The leaves are changing. The nearby mountains just a got a dusting of white stuff last night; it's cold and windy, but beautiful.  Fishing tends to slow between the transition of summer and fall (at this moment, it feels like fall is coming sooner this year).  But, if you are willing put a few layers of warm clothing on and if you are willing to walk-wade, we can put you in some amazing spots; with plenty of healthy fish to be had.  In fact, I just finished six days of walking-wading with a young gun from the states.  

Turns out, this young gun, Rudy Babikian, is the owner of Hidden Hook; a 100% made in the U.S.A fly  tying/manufacturing company.  Total Employee's = one poor soul, hopelessly addicted to fly fishing, with the initials RB.  I also discovered, upon his return to the U.S.A., that he will be newly employed by the Snake River Angler Fly Shop; located in Jackson, WY (stop in and say hello).  I also learned:

  • Originally from Falmouth, Maine. 
  • Started fishing and tying flies at age five (seriously, good job mom and dad).
  • Graduated in 2013, from Salve Regina University, located in Newport, RI.  Why SRU? He could walk out the door and fish before and after class.
  • Currently living in Jackson, Wyoming.
  • 100 miles north of Fernie, British Columbia, within the last twelve months, he was attacked by a grizzly bear.  As a result he has one crazy story and a large scar on his left arm.
  • In Rhode Island, he dons a wet suit, swims out into the ocean, climbs up onto rocky islands, and catches monster stripers.
  • In the summer months, for the past three years, he has lived out a Ford Transit.  Why?  He has a severe personality disorder that drives him to sleep as close to the best fishing spots as possible; and spend every nickel he earns on anything fishing (fishing equipment, fishing adventures, etc).
  • Goals:  At age twenty-four, he has already acknowledge that he has a pathological fishing disorder, and without hesitation, plans to live happily ever after, fishing his way around the world.
  • Most importantly, I learned Rudy is a good kid and will go far with his fly fishing and an eventful life.

Four Day's Walk-Wade Rio Malleo

Rio Malleo Facts

Location: Junin de los Andes, Argentina.  Approximately, +/- 1 hour from Junin.
Province: Neuquen
Fishing Season: Generally, November 01 till May 31st.
Licensed Required: Yes, general fishing only.
Floating:  Floating the Malleo is prohibited.
Entrance Fee:  Currently $40 pesos (per day) to enter the lower section or Mapuche reservation.
Camping: Yes, only on the Mapuche reservation, $15 pesos per night.
Length: 64 Kilometers or 40 miles.
Origin: Lago Tromen (third major lake tributary to the rio Alumine).
Termination: Alumine.
Fly Rods: 9ft/4wt through 9ft/6wt. Switch = 11ft/5wt.
Fly Lines:  Floating for dry flies and nymphs.  Seasonal use of sink-tips for faster-deeper water.
Flies:  Sorry, but we only share this information with our guest. 


So, before I get to the Malleo information, I just spent two days watching Rudy streamer fish the Alumine (see other blog post: Hidden Hook Walks the Rio Alumine).  He had limited success, so before we started fishing the Malleo, I talked about how he might want to change some of his streamer tactics. We talked a bit and he said, "I would really like to use the streamers that I tied, but for some reason, I am not catching the quantity and quality fish that I had expected." My reply, "think smaller streamer; don't strip so fast; dead drift more, and cast to where I tell you - not to the places that you have been casting for the past two days - it's different here, trust me."  For the curious DIY angler/reader, and with respect to the specific fly and where to cast it on the river, I am being purposely vague.

  

On our DIY programs, we allow you plenty of personal space, to succeed or fail.  When we see you failing, we kindly step in and give you advice.  More often than not, our advice produces immediate results.  If he had another 365 days, Rudy would have eventually figured it out, but conventional streamer tactics, especially at this time of year, don't work well in Patagonia.  The great thing about Rudy = I told him once what to do and he got it! 
Once we had a discussion about what streamer to use and where/how to fish it, no fish were safe.
Great photo taken By Rudy.  Rudy carries a Canon DSLR with zoom lens up to 135mm. 
Rudy was impressed with the amount of fish in the Malleo.  I am no expert, but this has to be one of the best trout rivers in the world.  If your not catching fish on the Malleo, it's you, not the river. 
On our last days of walking-wading, I took Rudy to several spots that have produced PBM (patagonia brown monsters).  In one spot, on his first cast, the monster came out to play.  A split second had passed and the monster was gone.  Rudy exhaled in grief = I knew he saw every inch of what he just missed...I hope this does not haunt him for too long.  We'll get'm next time! But when you hunt for these monsters, expect the unexpected and be ready, even if it's your first cast of the day.   


Fishing with FCFF in Patagonia

We feel very fortunate to host anglers from all over the world...it's a wonderful experience sharing our angling cultures. We also feel very fortunate to host anglers from the USA; in this particular instance, a twenty four old fish addict from Maine.  Rudy, thanks for working with us and we hope to see you again. 


Please feel free to read client testimonials at http://firstcastflyfishing.blogspot.com.ar/p/raves.html

Many Thanks.


Mark


PS. Our business is 100% organic and by referrals only.  So, please feel free to share amongst friends, or reply with comments.  We also have a Facebook page.  

DIY Fly Fishing Patagonia Argentina: Hidden Hook Walks the Rio Alumine

The Patagonia fishing season is almost over.  With the exception of a few leaf peeper’s, the tourist folk are gone. The weather is changing.  The leaves are changing. The nearby mountains just a got a dusting of white stuff last night; i…

The Patagonia fishing season is almost over.  With the exception of a few leaf peeper's, the tourist folk are gone. The weather is changing.  The leaves are changing. The nearby mountains just a got a dusting of white stuff last night; it's windy and cold, but beautiful.  Fishing tends to slow between the transition of summer and fall (at this moment, it feels like fall is coming sooner this year).  But, if you are willing to add a few extra layers and if you are willing to walk-wade, we can put you in some amazing spots; with plenty of healthy fish to be had.  In fact, I just finished six days of walking-wading with another young gun from the states.  

Turns out, this young gun, Rudy Babikian, is the owner of Hidden Hook; a 100% made in the U.S.A fly tying/manufacturing company.  Total employee's = one poor soul, hopelessly addicted to fly fishing, with the initials RB.  I also discovered, upon his return to the U.S.A., that he will be newly employed by the Snake River Angler Fly Shop; located in Jackson, WY (stop in and say hello).  I also learned:

  • Originally from Falmouth, Maine. 
  • Started fishing and tying flies at age five (seriously, good job mom and dad).
  • Graduated in 2013, from Salve Regina University, located in Newport, RI.  Why SRU? He could walk out the door and fish before and after class.
  • Currently living in Jackson, Wyoming.
  • 100 miles north of Fernie, British Columbia, within the last twelve months, he was attacked by a grizzly bear.  As a result he has one crazy story and a large scar on his left arm.
  • In Rhode Island, he dons a wet suit, swims out into the ocean, climbs up onto rocky islands, and catches monster stripers.
  • In the summer months, for the past three years, he has lived out a Ford Transit.  Why?  He has a severe personality disorder that drives him to sleep as close to the best fishing spots as possible; and spend every nickel he earns on anything fishing (fishing equipment, fishing adventures, etc).
  • Goals:  At age twenty-four, he has already acknowledge that he has a pathological fishing disorder, and without hesitation, plans to live happily ever after, fishing his way around the world.
  • Most importantly, I learned Rudy is a good kid and will go far with his fly fishing and enjoy an eventful life.

 Two Days on the Alumine River


When we work with anglers, no matter what skill level, we start off slow.  For safety, on the first day, we watch their walking ability = Patagonia water can be deceptively deep and fast; even in low water conditions.  We also like to watch the anglers casting ability and presentations skills.  From the spot seen in the above photo, on his second cast, Rudy caught his first Patagonia trout.  Onto to the next trial = walking-wading.
Rudy passed the walking-wading test with no problem = he even walked across this river with his camera exposed.  On the other hand, I slipped and fell 3x's in one day...a new one day record for me!  A reminder, that low water conditions brings slippery rocks; and even seasoned pro's can take a plunge.  Fortunately for me, it was 82 degree's that day.
Rudy is 100% streamer man, and big streamers.  On his first day, he caught a decent amount of fish, but I could tell there was something wrong.  He wanted BIGGER fish and more of them. I felt a little bad because he was watching me slay trout in the 16"-18" range; with my tango nymph rig.  I did not want to discourage him from doing his own thing, but before we ended the day, I suggested he try casting to some very unique spots; spots that he was not targeting.  So, we walked and found a perfect spot; I said, "these spots would most likely hold the fish you are looking for."  He looked at me with a weird face (typical response from a Patagonia newbie...just like me many years ago).  Sure enough, he had a few PBM (patagonia brown monsters) follow his fly, but at the last second they rolled away.  Why?  As I watched Rudy fish these spots, I could see two or three things that would have caused the fish to turn away. He felt frustrated, so I did not want to lecture him.  Another day would pass before I pulled him aside and said, "you need to do the following..."  The results, read and see pics of Rudy's four day wading adventure on the Malleo...he gets it now.  

On our second day, me and my tango nymph rig were on fire again.  Things were a bit slow for Rudy and his streamer, but he was catching enough fish to be mildly happy.  At mid-day, I asked him if wanted to try nymphing.  He said sure, but he admitted that he had not done much nymphing.  No worries... I set him up with my tango nymph rig and with a few suggestions, he was catching BIGGER fish.  

Fishing with FCFF in Patagonia

We feel very fortunate to host anglers from all over the world...it's a wonderful experience sharing our angling cultures. We also feel very fortunate to host anglers from the USA; in this particular instance, a twenty four old fish addict from Maine.  Rudy, thanks for working with us and we hope to see you again. 


Please feel free to read client testimonials at http://firstcastflyfishing.blogspot.com.ar/p/raves.html

Many Thanks.


Mark


PS. Our business is 100% organic and by referrals only.  So, please feel free to share amongst friends, or reply with comments.  We also have a Facebook page.  



Atta Kid

Despite the lack of money, I decided that to waste the remaining days of Spring break would be too much of a sin to ever forgive myself. With that in mind I grabbed the boy and headed south today in search of some trout. We’re at a crossroads of s…

Despite the lack of money, I decided that to waste the remaining days of Spring break would be too much of a sin to ever forgive myself. With that in mind I grabbed the boy and headed south today in search of some trout. 

We're at a crossroads of sorts with the boy. He's not the baby, or "little kid" anymore, but at the same time he can't be entrusted with too many new responsibilities. I've been trying really hard to stop treating him like a child, and today I did my best to stick with that by letting him fish by himself even more than usual. When he was really young, I'd cast, hook a fish and then let him play it in. Later on, I'd just cast and let him take care of the rest. The last year or two I'm letting him do the casting but I'm still right there to help and tell him where to cast and when to set the hook. Today was the first time I let him go on his own. Sure, he didn't have as much success as I had hoped but he still seemed to have a good time and when he does find success it'll be completely his own. Hopefully that will lead to more motivation and work towards being successful. I'm confident it will, as long as he doesn't give up too soon.

Gettin' to it
We arrived on the stream a little late so I was expecting the action to be mid swing when we got in. Unfortunately, the bite was a bit slow to start and we had to work for any action. Atley did well until a slippery bank took him for a dunking. From there on out he seemed less willing to get after it, even when the fishing turned on. 

Sometimes he'd rather just take the pics
When we worked our way up to the deepest hole (and my favorite) of the stretch, Atley decided to play it safe and walk out and around. Too bad to, this hole was where I found several fish coming to the surface and a few willing to fall for an Orange Asher. This was my first time using the fly that I found over on Fly Fish Food (they have a ton of great stuff over there, and some of the best tying vids out there) and I'm seriously impressed. These fish refused my CDC midge that looked like a spot on ringer (to my eye) but would move a foot or more to inhale the Asher. Could be a new go-to! It's somewhat like a Griffith's Gnat, but I've never seen fish react to the gnat like they did to the Asher today. 

You can see how simple the Asher really is
At the top of the hole and around a large rock, I could hear Atley trying to work the run. He seemed to be finding the trees more than the river and was venting some frustration. Although he didn't actually swear, this seemed like a great graphic for the moment:


He kept after it despite the less than ideal casting situation, which made me proud. Then when I showed him how to roll cast you could just see the relief on his face! Doubt he'll need reminding of how to roll cast anytime soon. The rest of the afternoon it was the only cast he wanted to do.

Our day ended with me hooking into several more fish on the way back to the car including a nice fish that was easily the largest I've seen (personally) from this stream. Of course, he spit the hook before I could get him to the net. Can't wait to get back out there again. Hopefully you get a chance to get out and enjoy the water.
- Kidder

They do seem prettier when you catch 'em on top