Like so many springtimes before, I spent a good part of this November in Patagonia, fly-fishing and eating empanadas and asado by the rivers of the lake district. I was lucky enough to live in this part of the world, once upon a time long ago, and my love for Patagonia, and especially for fly-fishing, have never left me. There is something peaceful and soulful about the Patagonian Andes, and it really is no wonder that it has won over so many outdoor enthusiasts.
I traveled to San Martin de los Andes, at the foothills of the Chapelco Ski Resort and on the northern shore of Lake Lacar, a city surrounded by mountains, woods, rivers and pristine lakes. Together with the city of Junin de los Andes, which is about 40 miles from San Martin, they span the great network of rivers and lakes that have made this region so famous for its fly-fishing.
My stay took place at an out-of-town Estancia, a private ranch popular among fishermen. My friend Alejandro Buchanan, a long-time fly-fishing guide, joined me for the occasion – a huge boon since the guides here know the best spots along all the rivers and lakes. We started early on the first day at Alejandro’s home stretch of river, warming up and working the rust out of my casting technique.
Day two was spent wading the Malleo River where I caught my first rainbow trout of the season. By the time I started getting hungry an asado was beckoning at us from the riverside, which we accompanied with a glass or two of Malbec. That same night we toured around San Martin de los Andes, a city with great shopping and surprisingly gourmet restaurant options. We opted for the empanadas at one of the local pubs.
On the next day, Alejandro planned a river float for us. We pushed off at one of the bends of the Alumine River, and then floated, fished, waded and picnicked for the next 6 hours. Even without catching a fish, that is seriously the experience of a lifetime. Lucky for me, I caught several rainbow and brown trout (and I have the pictures to prove it).
If you’re a nature lover, and especially if you’re a fly-fisherman, there are few things which I would recommend more heartily than spending time in the Patagonian Andes. They hold a special place in my heart, and I won’t be the last person to tell you that.