Thursday, January 2, 2014

DIY Fly Fishing Patagonia Argentina: Australia to Patagonia...Go for the Gold Mate!

Three months ago, Leigh Martin, from Sydney-Australia, contacted me.  He explained to me that he and his wife were going to be on holiday, in Argentina, for 30 days.  Specifically, he said he wanted to fish for Golden Dorado and possibly fish for Patagonia wild trout.  Well, our schedules did not connect to make the Golden Dorado fishing happen, but we were able to spend 2 days fishing the best DIY walk-wade river in all of Patagonia: The 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.

Approaching a pool on the upper Malleo: You don't need to cast 100ft here, but if you're slow, quiet, and patient, as Leigh Martin was, then you'll dramatically increase your chance to catch a wild trout (see below photo).  Great job Leigh; it was a pleasure watching you work this pool.
A wild Patagonia Rainbow, just over 24".  Caught a dry-dropper.  Congratulations Leigh...way to rep Australian fly fisherman!
We believe this trout is a breeder.  In other words, it's long and skinny because it recently spawned.  Over the years, in Patagonia, I have caught a few Rainbows immediately after the spawn...they have no color, other than pure silver and at first glance, look like a giant sardine.  Obviously, the colors are coming back in this very healthy and wild trout.  
Leigh's first and last day on the upper Malleo.  I would guess that Leigh caught +/- 24 fish and only fished a fraction of the upper Malleo.  In the background in +12,000 ft volcan Lanin.  The ice field on the volcano feeds the Malleo with crystal clear cold water 24/7 and 365.
Day 02:  It's Leigh's last day, so I wanted to show him big Patagonia water, to hopefully catch a big Patagonia Brown Trout.  So, we fished the confluence of the Malleo and Alumine.  Leigh used my brand new Reddington Dually Switch Rod, lined with RIO Chucker ine.  He had never used a two handed rod before.  With a few quick tips, Leigh was casting like a champ.  In the above photo, Leigh landed a large native Patagonia Perca (Perch).   Regarding the use of the switch rod, Leigh said, "I am quite surprised how easy it is to cast an 11ft feels very fluid and does not take much effort for the line to travel a far distance."  He's absolutely correct.  The amount of energy needed to cast this rod is surprisingly low.  Congratulations on catching a trophy Perca. 

Day 02:  After we fished the confluence, we headed up-stream, to put our single hand rods to the test.  On a dry-dropper combo, both Leigh and Kenton got into a handful for Rainbow's, in the 18"-22" range.  Unfortunately, the Patagonia sun washes out the brilliant colors this bow had.  
The end of day 02:  Leigh Martin standing with Kenton Chik, next to a wooden sculpture of the legend himself, Mel Krieger.  

I wish I had more time to fish with Leigh.  In our short two days, I learned that Leigh has a PhD and specializes in reptiles.  He splits his time working at a University and an environmental NGO, both located in Sydney, Australia.  Leigh was happy to share information about trout fishing in Australia's region called the Snowy Mountains.  Hard to believe that Australia, with its warm sunny climate has good trout fishing.  But, Leigh tells me that the trout streams are located well above 1,500 ft.  From Sydney, Leigh drives 2.5 hours to fish his favorite trout stream.  If your in Sydney and want to fish for trout, send me an email and I will put you in touch with Leigh.  Last word: Leigh also tells me that Tasmania has very good trout fishing.

Fishing with FCFF in Patagonia

We feel very fortunate to host anglers from all over the's a wonderful experience sharing our angling cultures.  As we continue to host more non North American anglers, we begin to see a pattern. For instance, the majority of these anglers come to Argentina for 30 days and enjoy doing/seeing a little bit of everything...not just fishing 24/7.  With that in mind, I truly believe our DIY walk-wade and float services are among the best option, for the angler who wishes to spend 1-3 days fly fishing Patagonia best waters.  But, don't take my word, feel free to read client testimonials at

Many Thanks.


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