Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fly Fishing Patagonia: Montana to Junin de los Andes, SOLO DIY Female Angler

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Several weeks ago I was contacted by a solo DIY angler.  Turns out this angler is a woman, traveling by herself, working and fishing her way through Chile.  After a few emails,  I could tell she was in trouble. Specifically, she did not speak Spanish, did not have a car, and she was trying to do a solo DIY fishing trip in Chile.  I did not want to push her in any direction, so I told her to research my blog and contact me with further questions.  A few emails later, I was told that she was coming to Junin de los Andes.

Katy Dupre is from Louisiana. After earning a master's degree in political science, she spent four years living in Phillipsburg, Montana.  She worked at a non-profit, specializing in voting.  She also worked part-time at a fly shop, called Flint Creek Outdoors.  As I got to know Katy, two things immediately struck me:

  1. She hitched from Puerto Varas, Chile to Bariloche, Argentina. 
  2. She told me she was a very accurate caster and spent a lot of time on blue ribbon water called Rock Creek, located in Montana. 
Regarding #1: I was impressed.
Regarding #2: I kept my mouth shut and played along. 

Patagonia vs. Montana

I have driven through Montana two times.  During my second visit, I stopped in Glacier National Park and only fished one day (caught my 1st cut throat). Obviously I can not make a fair comparison between fly fishing Patagonia vs. Montana.  I'll leave that up to Katy.  

Day #01: As much as I was impressed with her hitch-hiking abilities, I asked Katy to tag along while we guided another client.   I did this for safety reasons.  In other words, I wanted watch her skills/ability, both casting and wading.  

She was introduced to Patagonia wind... and it was not that windy.  The end result, I have never heard a woman say FUCK so many times... I liked it, she kept me entertained.  I could continue to deconstruct her skill/ability, but let's avoid the rant and get to the point(s).  Towards the end of the day, I began to give her a few tips.  My advice helped her land her first Patagonia trout.  The other very cool thing that happened, Katy did something that very few beginner anglers do; she admitted that she was not as good as she thought she was, and fishing/wading Patagonia water was much more difficult than Montana. 

Patagonia conditions can be challenging.

Day #02:  Katy was on her own.  Eight hours later I met a very defeated looking angler.  Though she caught a fish, she said it was a L-O-N-G day.

She was probably beginning to wonder if traveling to Argentina was worth it.

Day #03:  Katy did something that most beginner anglers never do, she asked for help.  We easily switch her fishing program and judging from the pics below, I would say it was worth it.

Day #03.  The tango nymph never fails!
Day #03.  Parachute Adams always produces.
Day #03
Day #03.  The biggest fish she has ever caught on a fly rod.
Day #03. Switch to a nymph and used a downstream swing technique, with a couple upstream strips.  Why?  The water and feeding conditions of the fish were ripe for this technique.

Day #04 and #05: Katy is on a tight budget, so she spent these days by herself.  She did not catch any big fish, like Day #03; however, in the end she caught more than day #01 and #02, and she was very happy.

Final Word

Folks, Patagonia waters are unique, and it takes time and skill to master these waters.  Regardless of your angling skill level, and especially on our walk-wade programs, I highly recommend spending for 2-4 days with our guide.  Why?  We take you to all the best spots and we teach you how to fish Patagonia water and conditions.

Thanks for reading and hope to see you in Patagonia.



PS.  Here's another post about a DIY Montana angler, fishing Patagonia (Junin de los Andes):