Archive for the ‘Freshwater’ Category

Our good friends George and Sharon Maybee and Dick Holland have been fishing at the Mongolia Taimen Camp. From these pictures we’d say they racked up some pretty impressive numbers out there. Photos courtesy of guide extraordinaire Matt Ramsay.

Spaces can be limited at the Mongolia Taimen Camp so be sure to give us a call toll-free at 800-552-2729 if you’d like to catch a huge salmonid in 2011!

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Royal Wolf Lodge

What a difference a season can make! Last year the opener in Alaska was harsh and cold with snow flurries. Spring came  late and the snow, to some degree made it through the entire season. This year spring came early and strong with many outfitters proclaiming that by June 1 the y had a already had a longer and nicer summer than all of 2008!

Fly Water clients Simon and Nancy  as well as Andy all fished the opener at Royal Wolf Lodge. They had exceptional weather (with daytime highs nearing 75 degrees) and fishing to match. American creek produced over 30 hot rainbows for Simon one day and Nancy who was still just learning had two 27 inch fish and a 28 inch fish among many other on her first day at Big Ku. Andy, a third year repeat for the opener at Royal Wolf crushed them everywhere.

Nancy Blanks Royal Wolf Web

Here is an excerpt form Simon and Nancy’s first ever trip to Alaska:

“Our time at Royal Wolf Lodge was absolutely fantastic.  The setting was beautiful.  The fishing was outstanding.  But even more than that the “people” made the trip a “trip of a life time”.  Nancy being a novice fisherman appreciated the patience, instruction, and great attitude of the guides.  Not only did she catch lots of fish, she caught a 28 incher while learning the art of the “fly”.  Linda and Chris are professionals.  Every detail was taken care off and they made sure we were both happy and safe.  Finally, the guests all were having a similar experience to ours and were happy, excited and just fun to be around!  I guess that’s why they come back year after year — and now we will too!”

From Linda Branham (Owner of Royal Wolf Lodge)

“The opening week was great for several reasons:  Absolutely incredible weather, good people, great staff and guides, spirit of adventure with all involved, great sense of humor. . . lot’s of laughs, good food, better wine this year and last but not least, great fishing.  They were much bigger than normal for opening week. . . I was truly amazed at some of the photos. . .how could they be that fat after a winter of -50 degrees?  I think they have benefited from the last few cold rainy summers.”



 “Although there are other great trips I really want to do, this trip is just too good to pass up.  I’ll be back again in 2010” – 5 time repeat client Andy H.

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Coyhaique Chile

Report Submitted by Al K.

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Chile was ‘as advertised’; Scenic, reasonably priced warm people and great fishing.  Our standout guides, Juan Ramon and irrepressible “Piti” met us at the Balmaceda Airport after a three hour flight south from Santiago.  Overcast, cool and windy weather met us too, causing concern as Patagonian Chile fishes best when it’s warm and sunny…and the grasshoppers are animated.  ‘Not to worry’ we were assured. 

A quick drive to the charming Hostal Belisario Jara in Coyhaique, an evening repast of Pisco Sours, empanadas, Asado Cordero (spit roasted lamb) and we rolled out the next morning, rods akimbo, heading for the Rio Emperor Guillermo, which we fished the first and last day of our six day trip.

Fishing in Chile necessitates a cultural interaction unknown in the States.  Almost all of the rivers and lakes are fenced-in, part of tiny farms or expansive ‘estancias’.  Knowing who owns what, how to get there and obtaining permission is part of the charming equation that makes the Chilean fishing milieu unique.  Juan Ramon knew them all; the roads, the rivers, the people.  A diminutive farmhouse, an effusive greeting, a hug, peck on the cheek, money changing hands, sometimes fresh eggs, and off we went four-wheeling over  fresh cut pastures, adroitly avoiding the livestock, dogs nipping at the tires, parking at the river’s edge, not another soul in sight, just us and the Rio.

The Emperor Guillermo is partially spring fed and partially snow melt.  And, unless it’s a cloudless day, waders are recommended. There was still some snow on the nearby peaks and, even though it was mid-summer, the river was gin clear, low (est. 300-400 cfs), gentle and chilly (est. low 50’s).  Wading was comfortable. Picture 050

We geared up about 9:30 am with 6 wt.s, floating line, 3 X tippets, and tied on large (#10) yellow hoppers with large (#10) leggy brown stoneflies droppers.   My buddies also did well with large Chernobyl Ants, Fat Freddie’s with droppers of #12 beaded Pheasant Tails and Copper Johns. Ahh, ‘not to worry’!  Both days, the action was non-stop, landing 30-40 each of 14”-21” Rainbows and Browns.  Keep in mind, our days were overcast and chilly (est. 60 degrees).  One can only wonder if it had been sunny and hot.  As it was, best fishing days….ever! 

At eight on day two, we loaded the SUV’s and headed north into the mountains and the Valle La Paloma.  Dirt roads, always, clung to the mountainsides topped with majestic hanging seracs.  At bottom twisted the glacier fed Rio La Paloma.  After several miles of a kidney punching trac we passed through a gated fence into the ubiquitous farmhouse yard.  More hugs, eggs, fees and the river was ours.  The Linga tree forests crowding the banks were thick, the Spanish moss abundant.  You kept expecting bear, elk, moose or the like to appear but here Chile disappoints.  No large animals, excepting a small mule deer and a few puma.  On the other hand, no snakes!

The weather continued overcast and cool and, despite several hours of diligent flogging, the Paloma held her own, limiting us to about a dozen Rainbows.  Poor fishing didn’t ruin the day or our guides’ enthusiasm as, streamside, they built a fire, grilled pork chops accompanied with Juan’s wife’s incredible ‘chimichurra’ salsa, succotash from their garden, baked sopapillas and a local vino tinto.  We were happy pups.

Juan recommended a day of lake fishing.  Despite our misgivings about static fly-fishing from a boat, we relented and headed toward the Cerro Castillo and its cascading glaciers to a windswept lake in the foothills of the Andes. The weather was cloudy bright, about 65 degrees.  Still using our #6 wts and tan and yellow hoppers we plied the shoreline for fat Browns.  Not easy fishing, particularly on the windward shores, but exciting and rewarding.  Casting into a 35 mph wind with two foot waves was a new experience.  More than once we exited the boat to push off the rocky shoreline, finishing with about a dozen Browns each, averaging 18”. 

Tired, we left at sundown, stopping at a country store (a friend of Juan’s, of course) featuring fresh baked empanadas and sopapillas.

Juan told us he had purchased a small “estancia” next to his father-in-law’s (Don Pedro) larger spread, through which ran the Rio Nireguao. We were all for the trip.  This was true Patagonia; Rolling hills and broad plains.  We motored for two hours across the Valle De La Luna, Argentina in the far distance, dirt roads and farm gates.

Using the same rods and fly patterns we worked the river with some success until about 3:00 pm.

Returning to the trucks, and assembled gauchos, the distinct aroma of barbeque (asado) was evident. Don Pedro, grinning with evident pride, had slaughtered a three month old lamb, skinned it and splayed and spread it on a “T” rack over a mound of glowing Linga coals.  A true ‘Asado Cordero’.  For two hours, accompanied by a great Chilean Petit Verdot, garden fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and onions, and chimichurra salsa. Not to be outdone, Juan Ramon’s wife supplied a dessert of dulce de leche spread on fresh, sweet biscuits.  We gorged.  Fishing be damned, we were in Patagonia!  Needless to say, we weren’t in great condition to fish the evening mayfly hatch.

 This is a beguiling river, named after a British seaman, Admiral Simpson.  Approximately 50 miles in length and originating in the Andes, it is perhaps Chile’s most famous fishery, featuring large transplanted McCloud River Rainbows, as well as Browns and Chinook and Atlantic Salmon.  Mayflies, Caddis, Stoneflies and grasshoppers abound. 

As our weather continued overcast and the water was chilly, most of our success was nymphing with large (#10) stoneflies and Pheasant Tails.  All of us hooked into some very large Browns, which none of us landed.  We satisfied ourselves with a good many 18” Rainbows and a smattering of Browns.  We stayed far away from what appeared to be several 50 lb. Chinooks left over from the spring run from the Pacific.  Damn, seems like we never left.  Let’s go back!
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Trout season opened on April 25. The weather has cooperated and we have had excellent fishing on all of our local rivers. A week of cool, overcast weather with some showers made for incredible PMD and green drake mayfly hatches on Hat Creek. Look for the salmonflies to begin their emergence in the area in the coming weeks.

The Pit River has had some awesome nymph fishing, the water levels have been ideal and though the fishing has been fluctuating a bit throughout the day, it has been consistent overall. Opening week at Clearwater was a great success. On opening day we had a number of guests hit the water bright and early for the first trout of the season. We welcomed eight aspiring guides from all over the western United States for our annual guide school during opening week. Next week Clearwater will present our first Mastering the Art of Fly Fishing school of 2009. It is not too late to sign up for any of our schools or clinics this season!   As the weather continues to warm, the fishing in the Intermountain Area only improves.

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2009 Season trip report:


Fall colors have just started to appear in the Te Anau basin while Mallard fever has taken a firm grip of m y sanity with Duck shooting season having just gotten underway. The relationship

of trout to ducks is murky but for me it does signal an end to another season of fly fishing for trout.  A season , to coin a phrase, of many highs and lows. Included in the lows was the overdue lowering of the Kiwi dollar in relation to the Greenback as well as the lower overall number of anglers visiting New Zealand. For those I guided this past season this provided not only a more affordable holiday but rivers and streams that had more unmolested fish than what I’ve seen in a long time, producing higher numbers of fish seen, hooked and landed. For those that did manage to fly fish New Zealand, despite the doom and gloom of the collapsing world economy, they

were rewarded with experiencing one of the best angling seasons we’ve seen in years.

I cannot recall the last time I could go to the upper beat on the O reti in February and March and see every fish keen and eager to accept a well presented fly.  The Season Early season and an unseasonal cold snap hit the lower south with a vengeance. October and November were not

only months of Snow, rain and high water but also some great fishing for wild trout. Previously I’d guided anglers from the Irish Fly fishing team who I’m sure they’d admit to being a little lost when fishing rivers, as lakes were their strength. So when John Higgins and Nicky Moore informed me quite proudly, they’d represented Ireland I pu t no weight to their claim.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more clinical week of angling, from casting to fighting and landing it was just a display that kept me in awe and impressed the whole time.  Being a guide for some 15 years now, the one group of anglers I have hardly guided at all are local New Zealanders. I relish the opportunity to guide fellow Kiwis an d this year had the pleasure of guiding a couple

of our homegrown.  Iconic New Zealander Lynda Topp landed a great 8 pound female Brown that lead the biggest fish of the season until fellow Kiwi Peter Walker topped that with his 9 pound wilderness brown in early January.  I’d guided Peter for the first time the season prior and his hunger for knowledge and wanting to learn has me excited every day we go out together. Seeing him develop into a fine angler has been very rewarding from my perspective.  Summer threatened to appear in December and again in January without really showing its face. February and March seemed to follow suit without the normal extended periods of fine weather. This in turn kept rivers at good levels and is another underlying reason why we had such good angling throughout the season.  Mid February and Tina Read managed to surpass Linda Topp’s fish by half a pound to land the largest trout of the season by a female angler, which is not the first time she’s headed that list.  Other fish of 8 pounds or greater were landed by Nicky Moore, Joe

Tonahill(2), Mike Zimmerman and Andy Jensen. To create a list of anglers who landed 10 fish or more in a day would be endless as there weren’t many who did not at some stage achieve that milestone.  The season wound up as it started , in the snow and cold, but it was no

deterrent to Anna Taylor and Peter Hayes.  DB , Mike Zimmerman and 8 pounds of Trophy

Peter’s command of a 6ft-6in cane rod was a sight to behold, though I’d like to think the cold may have helped to stiffen the power fibers because what he was achieving with that rod defied logic. He is one a few Master FFF instructors in the Southern hemisphere and runs casting clinics around Australia every winter. So to those I guide from the Western Isles I can’t think of a better w ay to invest 2 days to improve and advance your casting skills. His teaching method is without compare and I can’t recommend him more highly. Contact him direct at hayes@flyfishtasmania.com.au I unashamedly plagiarize The Gospel of Haysie when offering

casting advice to anglers, so at least the source of m y advice is sound.

The Future

Alarmed was the initial response I had when questioned by a client about my retirement from guiding. A rumor had been circulating among the guiding fraternity further north and spread far enough to reach Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I liken it to reading your own obituary.  It is forward and progressive from here. Expansion from a single guiding operation into offering the services of a second guide I’m hoping to be in place by next season. Finding the right person to fill this role is not easy, simply as I have very high and exacting standards. I now have the right person and am excited about the prospects…watch this space!

At present m y books are a little over half full. Availability exists throughout the season but is very limited in December and February. The sooner you can commit to New Zealand the better chance of securing dates of your choice.  Somewhat out of my control has been the slow progress of the DVD I have been working on the past 18 months. It is in the final stages of editing so hopefully it will be released before too long. Again it falls into the category of watch this space! In it is some great footage of Fiordland and me fooling with a few fish, but I feel its streng th will be in the detailed commentary and advice offered as I verbalize my thoughts before, during and after each fishing scenario. It is an in depth approach to fly fishing successfully in New Zealand from analysis to execution.  As another snow shower arrives from the South and I can only dream of warmer climates, enjoy you r approaching Summer if you live in Northern latitudes . Embrace and share with family and friends all opportunities life has to offer.  Until we wet a line together again.

Warmest Regards – Dean

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Challhuaquen Lodge Report: March 2009

In March the weather conditions have been pretty stable. We enjoyed sunny and hot days as well as fresh mornings, which made the fishing activity really pleasant. Fishing went on with the same characteristics as during February. We used floating lines with dry fly attractors almost the entire time, which gave great results in every area of the river: The trouts seemed to be very active and aggressive as well as many good sized. The stone fly nymphs had an excellent result too! As usual, we used little dry flies and spent spinners in the traditional spots, since there are still hatchings of may flies, midges and little flies, as a result of the dampness stability and the good weather. There were very active fishing days and we had to change the methods because of the river dynamics, the different hatchings and also because of the huge quantity of ground insects such us locusts, ants, cascarudos, (hard-shelled insects) which made trouts to change their diet and us to adapt the gear and the method so that we could have a successful and varied fishing session. This is the best attribute of the Futaleufu river and what makes it so attractive. We could notice that the caddis hatch increased at the end of the day, having as a result of that caddis of different sizes as well as really active trouts, which gave us the possibility to catch excellent brown trouts and vigorous rainbow trouts (40 cm). The days began to be shorter with pleasant temperature. The river conditions are optimal, since the water level is still low and there are many wade spots and very crystalline waters on stable temperature. Like every year, the Pacific salmons have already shown up, since they are close to

start the spawning. Remember that we were able to catch a couple of excellent specimens with conventional fly gear during the last season. (see the pictures) Without any doubt it was one more appeal of this last season month. The other environments such as Willimanco Lagoon, Arroyo Pescado and Rivadavia river gave us also the possibility of fishing in great conditions.


To sum up, March was a month in which we could enjoy the fishing activity remarkably and therefore, it announces an even better end of the season.


We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Tight lines & Singing reels!


Guillermo Sagui

Head Guide

Challhuaquen Lodge

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Having known, fished with and promoted Mark Kniprath for many years (as a long time pilot guide for No-See-Um Lodge and owner of Chile’s only fly out operation Heart of the Andes) I was struck by the fact that Mark had sold his lodge near the Rio Baker and relocated to Chilean Tierra del Fuego. With aid of his float plane, Mark has long been the leader in Chilean exploratory fishing and the fact that he had given all that up for TDF was hard to understand. The one thing that we did know was that Mark knows what good fishing is and he (as well as some of his guides that we spoke to) felt that this was the best and most interesting fishing that had seen in the country. So in mid-February I packed my bags and made my sixth trip down to Chile for a closer look.

So what exactly did I find? Well, in short I found a place that I was not ready to leave. There were trees and lots of them. The wind was very reasonable and we saw condors, guanacos, rheas, beavers, and Magellan geese. There were small spring creeks and rivers with big resident brown trout and there were intimate wadeable lakes loaded with big cruising browns which would tail like bonefish. In all honesty in three days of fishing I never caught a single fish under 16 inches and I had fish upwards of 24 inches. In short, it was incredible!

Is it sea run brown trout fishery? Well yes and no. Despite having access to 27 miles of the upper Rio Grande (where I did boil a great big sea-run) and several other adventuresome sea run venues, I really consider the fishery to be based on resident brown trout. Sea runs can figure into the equation (especially after February and through March) but they should be seen as a dessert option rather than the main entrée. Where this place really shines is for intermediate to experienced anglers who want to fish on foot and in complete solitude. If you have good walking legs and like big fish in smaller water all the better!

The lodge itself is simple and comfortable with food to match. Nothing fancy here but everything is solid and well thought through. Is the destination worth the long trip south on its own fishing merits? Absolutely and it also makes a great addition to a week on the better know Argentine side of the Rio Grande.

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