Saturday, May 29, 2010

Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, Lago Blanco

Lago Blanco is a big water body - 24 km long and up to 8 km wide.  Same as other big Patragonian lakes, it is created by a glacier.  In its western part the lake is surrounded by the mountains.  Here it is more narrow and deep; its banks are indented, with coves and bays.  The eastern part of the lake, where the glacier was coming out into the plain, the lake hollow is more open and wide.  Lago Blanco is very clear.  It is populated by brown and rainbow trout.  The record brown trout from the lake was over 13 kg. 

On the first day there was no wind.  On such days Patagonian trout is becoming unusually wary, and requires light tackle and thin tippets.    

 Regardless to the fall (mid March), the day was hot.  We were able to catch some small trout, casting long lines with small dark wet flies. 

 In a long trip it is often necessary to replenish the stock of the flies.  The ones most popular among the local trout were the Wooly Buggers, which are easy to tie even without a vise. 

On the second day the weather at the lake was rather nasty, windy and rainy. 

The lake outlet (boca) of the Lago Blanco - this river is called Rio Blanco.  The first 200 meters of the stream below the lake is used for spawning by king salmon.  It is one of two known Atlantic stocks of this Pacific salmon.  This population has origin from the stray fish from Chilean waters, where king salmon was stocked in the end of 20 century.      

Rio Blanco is very clear.  The beech trees along its banks are killed by the beavers.  

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Yesterday fishing - Petropavlovskoe Lake near Khabarovsk

On Saturday I was at the Petropavlovskoe Lake near Khabarovsk.  Now the water level is +350 cm, and the flood-plain of the river is flooded.  All fish including pikes is in side channels and in lakes, in flooded willows near the banks. 

Small Amur pikes (generation of 2008) are now very numerous in the Amur River.

 The best fly was red Mega-Diver with yellow tail. 

Pikes were also biting big black flies; other colors (white, pink) did not work well. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Upper part of the famous Rio Grande (Tierra del Fuego)

World-famous Rio Grande (Tierra del Fuego island) is 220 km long.  The upper 120 km of the river belongs to Chile, and its lower part - to Argentina.   Most of the fishermen come here in search of the trophy sea-run brown trout, which can reach 18 kg.  This fishing occurs in the middle & lower part of the river, in Argentina.  It is also possible to catch sea-run trout in Chile, not far from the border with Argentina. In its upper part Rio Grande has good density of resident brown trout. 

This shot was made from a hill, 70 km from the source of the Rio Grande.  The stream is 12-20 meters wide; its depth is 30-150 cm.  The river floodplain is treeless, and the hills along the river valley are covered with beech trees.  The river is not deep and can be crossed by wading at most of the riffles.

In the river we were catching only one species, brown trout.  The fish were from 200 g to 1 kg.  The biggest fish density was below the riffles, but the biggest fish were found in the deep part of the pools, in the areas with cover (snags or submerged peat clumps). 

 It is always fun to catch brown trout.  The fishing was quite easy: the fish is not selective and (on windy days) not spooky.  Dark Wooly Bugger on #8 or #6 hook was a good choice for this stream.  

Calafate bush is protecting its tasty berries with inch-long spines

 Southern caracara

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lago Lynch, Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia

Lago Lynch is a big water body in the upper part of the Rio Grande drainage.  The lake surface is about 50 square kilometers.  It is posssible to reach the lake by 4 km of wet trail, coming off a remote logging road. 

Along the road there were lots of beaver dams.  Beavers were stocked into the waters of the island in 1920es; the animal has devastating effect at the beech forests of the island.    

Grey fox is one of the native animals of Patagonia 

 The trail was quite wet; in some areas we had difficulties to pass even in 4WD pickup. 

Guanacos along the road

 Along the east bank the lake is very shallow, and its bottom is flat.  We did not have a boat, and it was hard to find fish.

Finally I have managed to find a "structure" - a deeper area surounded by shallows.  It was situated over 100 meters from the lake shore. 

 In this place we have started catching fish.  These were mostly rainbows up to 1 kg. 

 The tackle: 15' 2-handed rod, floating line, clear slow-sinking leader, and 0,25 mm tippet.  The fish were biting small dark wet flies & nymphs on #10 & # 12 hooks.  Retrieve: pulls and pauses.   

 Ratio of rainbow to brown trout was 2:1.  Some brown trout were dark - they had normal "river" colors.

Other fish were almost silver, which is typical for the fish from big, clear waters 

 We have decided to keep 2 trout and prepare them in a foil with onions.  Calafate berries are adding special flavor. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Rio Rusfin, Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia, Chile

Rio Rusfin is flowing along the road 85 in Chilean part of the Tierra del Fuego. 
We were camping near the road in the beech forest. 

Rio Rusfin is a small creek flowing in wide valley.  There are no trees or bushes in the creek floodplain. 

The creek is 2-6 meters wide; average depth is 30-60 cm; some holes are up to 1,5 m deep. 

Trout was feeding in deep riffles and in the upper parts of the pools

Regardless to the small size of a creek, in March there were mostly good size trout here

This old dredge was used during the Tierra del Fuego gold rush.  It was long ago, in beginning of the 20 century.  Now the river looks healthy regardless to the former mining activities.  We all know how bad placer mining is for the trout streams...  I am glad 100 years is enough for rehabilitaton.  

Brown trout is nocturnal animal; it is biting flies even when fisherman is not able to see his fly and tippet

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rio Galliegas Chico

Rio Galliegas Chico is right tributary to the middle reaches of famous Patagoinan stream - Rio Galliegas.  The river begins in the middle of a wide, dry valley on Chilean territory, several kilometers from the border with Argentina.  Above thar place there is no stream in the valley; the river appears on the day surface as a spring

A horse is hiding from strong wind behind a bush

The stream is vodka-clear, chocked by weeds and green ooze. 

The river looks like a chain of separate pools, connected with green marshy meadows.
The average depth of the pools is 1-1,5 meters.

The river is one of the easiest for catching good size trout, at least on windy days.  The fish is not spooky, and there is no need to cast far.  Drop a dark streamer into the deeper part of the pool and retrieve it with jerks. 

We were hiking along the river further downstream.   

The river is populated by nice size trout.  It is true brown trout - the fish has bright, red-brown color.   In many pools it is hard to land fish - it is hiding in thick weeds.    

"Memorial to the wind" at the road #9 near Punta Arenas

Monday, May 3, 2010

In the upper reaches of the Rio Chico (right tributary to the lower Rio Galliegas)

Rio Galliegas is one of the most famous streams Patagonia - it hosts a good size anadromous brown trout.  The average fish in this stream is 2,8 kg, and the biggest can be up to 15 kg.  Most of the drainage belongs to the territory of Argentina, but its sources are situated in Chile.   
Rio Chico is right tributary to the lower Rio Galliegas.  We have come to its upper reaches after a 100 km drive on dirt road.  Now we are on Chilean territory: Argentina is several kilometers behind me.    

There were lots of nandu ostriches along this road

The river has very low gradient; in many areas it looks like a chain of pools with weeds

We have come to the area where Rio Chico was flowing through a long, shallow lake

In the pool we have started to catch fish - these were good size brook trout.  The fish were biting black Wooly Buggers and other dark streamers.  I was using a tube-fly.  There are no other fish species in the whole drainage of Rio Chico - only brook trout. 

One of the fish was incredibly bright, fat and high-bodied.

The next lake downstream from the first one had no fish.  Here we have seen flamingoes.