Forrest Wood, founder of Ranger Boats, is often credited with saying that "you are never sorry that you bought the best". I think there is a lot of wisdom in this and the same can probably be said for the destination fly fishing experience. That is why I am so selective in the places I choose to host fly fishing adventures.
After hosting two trips to Estancia Laguna Verde (ELV) I have found that no one is ever sorry that they traveled thousands of miles to fish Jurassic Lake at least once in their fly fishing life. The place is simply incredible and has truly lived up to it's claim of "the best trophy rainbow trout fishery on the planet".
I am not fond of superlatives and absolutes in fishing for I believe fishing is all about probabilities. Yet the fact remains that there is not a better place to go if you want to catch a trophy rainbow in the wild. Every year 20 pound rainbows are landed and released. Ten to twelve pounders are common.
So I could not be more pleased to announce the dates for my third hosted trip to Jurassic in January of 2020. We will be based out of ELV, a lodge that always exceeds expectations in one of the most remote parts of the world.
The Fishery: Lake Strobel (a.k.a. Jurassic Lake) is a huge 25 square mile Patagonian lake in the Santa Cruz province of southern Argentina. It is remote, ruggedly beautiful, the Andes mountains in sight just to the west. It is clear, cold, and contains excessively abundant scud populations. The trout are without any real predators and they grow big...very big.
Genetics are one of the reasons fish are big here. These are wild, coastal rainbows and the Strobel population exhibits both the typical rainbow form and the steelhead form.
It is often said that the trout average eight pounds here. Experience has proven this to be true.
The fishing at ELV is not just one dimensional, there is more that just Jurassic Lake. Also available is a major freestone river, several smaller lakes, and a small creek, much like a spring creek.
The Rio Barrancoso is a beautiful, ruggedly steep, free flowing river that flows undisturbed from the slopes of the Andes into Jurassic and serves as the spawning and nursery areas for the fishery. A very short river, I have stood in one place on the estancia and I could see both its source and its mouth in one panoramic view. The river has three sections, each containing two beats. Although "smaller fish" are caught in the river it still contains many of the giants, just as the lake does. The river is where the mouse videos were recorded that have become so popular.
Small lakes called lagunas add still another dimension to this adventure. These lagunas are filled with fish and provide a great option on windy days. The fish are still big and they still fight big. During the 2018 trip we fished the lagunas frequently as they were producing lots of fish between five and ten pounds.
Moro Creek adds the final dimension and is similar to a spring creek. The estancia fishes four beats on the creek, usually during the spring or early summer.
ELV offers exclusive access to much of this fishery including over 25 kilometers of Strobel Lake shoreline fished from either the main lodge or a smaller outpost lodge for one or two night stays; over 10 kilometers of the best sections of Rio Barrancoso; about 10 kilometers of Moro Creek and at least eight lagunas. To say that you will probably not see anyone else other than those staying at the lodge is an understatement.
For me, the remote and isolated character of this place is such an important part of this adventure. When I am there I am reminded of the words "excellently lonely" from John Inglis Hall's classic work, Fishing a Highland Stream.
Typically, a wide variety of fishing techniques are employed here. The big lake is usually fished with dries, dry/droppers, streamers, and scuds stripped slowly just below the surface. The river is a place for dries and mouse patterns. The lagunas fish well with streamers and dry/droppers.
The gear list is a little odd for a rainbow trout expedition. For most of the fishing you will need 8 or 9 weight rigs with leaders of 16 to 20 pound test. The greatest challenge in putting the gear together is acquiring trout flies tied with hooks that are strong enough not to straighten or break with these fish. These wild coastal rainbows are full of fight.
In all the waters, sight fishing is very common though it does depend on conditions. All I can say is that you will never forget the sight fishing at ELV...the size, the numbers of fish, and the clarity of the water make this a different ball game.
They guides are professional, personable, experienced, knowledgeable, and English speaking. Nano is a commercial tyer, Manuel is an FFI Certified Casting Instructor, Martin and Ivan are simply a joy to fish with.
Each morning anglers pair up with their guides and drive a few minutes to the chosen water for the day. On the big lake you may fish places with well known names such as Monster Bay, Dry Fly Bay, Tasmania Bay, Sea Bay, Camelot and others. Hot lunches are prepared in convenient, lake-side shelters that maximizes fishing time and comfort.
Both the 2017 and 2018 trips were incredible. (see photos below) It still seems odd that we stopped taking pics of smaller eight pound rainbows after only a short time.
The Lodge: The lodge building is a restored and expanded stone ranch house that retains its classic Argentine estancia architecture and provides all the comforts of home and more. It is located on a small laguna and is only minutes away from Jurassic Lake, the river, and the other lagunas.
Each of the angler's rooms contain two single beds and en-suite bathrooms. Single upgrades are available. The main lodge has a spacious living and dining room plus a viewing area overlooking the laguna, complete with a viewing scope for wildlife. Just outside the main lodge is a comfortable changing room for getting into and out of your waders. Windmill and fuel powered generators ensure all the energy needs are met.
The world class cuisine is all chef prepared and consists of carefully planned, three course meals and asados. The local Argentine beef and lamb is famous for a reason. Beyond incredible desserts and outstanding Mendoza wines, personally selected by the owners, complete the dining experience. Dietary restrictions are gladly accommodated.
The Details: Trip dates are January 2-12, 2020. Cost is $6775.
The travel to ELV is substantial, but I have through experience worked out a great plan to enjoy a leisurely trip and arrive at the lodge rested and ready for a great fishing adventure. We fly overnight to Buenos Aires, arriving in the morning. We are then transferred to our hotel where we check into our rooms. That afternoon we take a private bus tour of Buenos Aires returning to the hotel for dinner and sleep. The tour includes the most interesting and historic parts of the city and allows time for visiting an arts district and shops. On January 3rd we fly (about 3 hrs.) to El Calafate, a charming outdoor oriented village where we will lunch and spend some time in the shops, cafes, and restaurants. After overnighting in Calafate, we will be transferred to the lodge for lunch and an afternoon of fishing. Six full days of guided fishing will follow. After breakfast on January 11th, we will be transferred back to Calafate to board a plane bound for Buenos Aires and overnight there in the same hotel. The next day we will have some free time to explore Buenos Aires and then return to the airport that evening for the return flight back to the US.
All of the transfers (included in the package) are private, English speaking, professional guides and involve modern, comfortable vans. The afternoon tour of January 2nd (also included) will visit many of the interesting and historic sites of Buenos Aires and also allow some time for strolls through the arts district with coffee and gift shops. Intersur Recoleta in Buenos Aires is an upscale hotel (also included) in a very nice part of the city within a trendy arts and restaurant district. Parque Place Hotel (also included) is the perfect place to enjoy Calafate on the shores of Argentino Lake.
Watch this video.
Another excellent video.
This is a customized package that you will not find elsewhere. Space is very limited.
Contact me for more information or questions.