2013 Global Angling Guide
2013 Global Angling Guide
Who we are and what we do
e would like to start this year’s catalog by thanking all of you that have helped get us where we are today. Your ongoing support and loyalty has meant everything to us. Given the state of the world we feel most fortunate that 2012 was by far the best year of our company’s history. Not only did you, our cherished base, elect to use our services more; you also, through word of mouth and good-will, sent us a record 89% of our new customers for the year. Nothing makes us happier than that simple statistic and we cannot thank you enough. Most small business owners will tell you that developing, executing and expanding an effective promotional plan is vital to success. However, as our business has matured over the last half-dozen years, we have actually dedicated less time and resources to promotion. Instead we have been able to focus more and more on our existing client base and our original mission: To be, above all else, trusted service providers for a vast and varied cast of passionate, wellinformed traveling anglers. In keeping with this mission we have avoided lodge relations where we have exclusive arrangements, quotas or incentives designed to push anglers in a predetermined direction. We have always maintained that we care not where a particular client goes as long as we have done our best to help them understand and
select the options that best suit their specific goals. Frankly, we would rather not sell a trip than knowingly send someone in the wrong direction. At Fly Water our sales philosophy is based on doing our best to understand each party’s key criteria through a process of thoughtful questioning. Do you like to wade fish or would you rather fish from a boat? Are numbers of fish or the size of fish more important? Do you like elegant accommodations or are you willing to endure rustic accommodations if the fishing warrants it? Will you be accompanied by a non-angler and if so, what are their interests? Only through this process of questioning and listening can we help our clientele differentiate between the vast array of options that we represent and ultimately help you select the trip that best meets your needs. As part of this process we speak frankly about the potential of each trip through the eyes of the average angler during an average week and discuss the risks and challenges that accompany all fishing opportunities. To date this approach has served both our clients and us better than we could have imagined. Over our 13 year history and the economic bumps therein, we have grown from two young guys in a small office assisting several hundred anglers a year to a team of seven dedicated employees that now assist several thousand anglers a year enjoy the best fisheries the planet has to offer.
“Based on my recent trip with Fly Water, it is obvious that your management and staff are among the most professional, capable and customer driven of any industry peers. I look forward to working with your group as future opportunities arise.” -S.R. Alberta, Canada Page 2
CONTENTS 2013 Global Angling Guide Destinations Fly Water’s 2013 team. Left to right: David Kalinowski, Dylan Rose, Robyn Janssen, Brian Gies, Lindy Miller, Charles Gehr, Ken Morrish. Looking forward, 2013 is shaping up to be our most exciting year yet. Our sales team is already working on travel plans to visit multiple operations in Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, Honduras, British Columbia, Christmas Island and Montana. By the end of the winter we expect many other destinations will be added to the list. Shortly after the first of the year our entire team will also be moving into a bright spacious new headquarters here in Ashland. On a bit of a sad note we will be saying goodbye to Margaret Humphrey, who after six great years with us will be retiring. Margaret serendipitously came in to our lives at a much needed time. Her dedication to service and keen eye for detail played a substantial role in helping get us where we are today. However two new talented people, Robyn Janssen and David Kalinowski, have joined our team to help Lindy manage all of the details for our traveling anglers. Robyn is a long time rafting professional who in addition to running most of the great rivers in the Pacific Northwest has guided multiple seasons on the Middle Fork of the Salmon and the Grand Canyon. David, who has recently moved from Bend to join our team, has an extensive fly fishing resume. Over the past ten years he has worked in a number of fly shops and guided anglers on Oregon’s famed Deschutes River. In addition to their respective river accomplishments they have both managed different sales and booking processes and are already bringing valuable new thoughts and ideas of how to help service you even better in the future. So all and all, we can’t help but to be humbled and thankful, especially when considering the caliber, kindness and continued support of all of you who have made it possible. Sincerely, Ken Morrish Brian Gies
Alaska Fly-Out Lodges.........................................................5 Float Trips....................................................................11 Base Camps....................................................................12
Canada Bulkley River..............................................................22 Secret System............................................................24 Babine River.................................................................25 Kispiox River...............................................................27 Sustut River.................................................................28 Lower Skeena Region.............................................30 Dean River....................................................................32
Rockies Idaho..............................................................................33 Wyoming......................................................................36 Colorado.....................................................................37 Montana......................................................................44 Canadian Rockies....................................................47
Pacific Northwest Grande Ronde River...............................................49 Summer Steelhead...................................................50 Winter Steelhead....................................................52 Trout..............................................................................54 (continued on next page) Page 3
Saltwater Christmas Island............................................................................56 Indian Ocean....................................................................................58 Venezuela...........................................................................................60 Mexico.................................................................................................68 Honduras..........................................................................................71 Belize....................................................................................................72 Bahamas...............................................................................................74
An Eye for the Steelhead Dry A closer look at the merits of fishing dries
by Ken Morrish.......................................................16 Too Good to be True
Colorado’s Ultimate Private Water Experience by Charles Gehr.......................................................38
Kola Peninsula..............................................................................76 Kamchatka........................................................................................77 Exotics
For juvenile tarpon, Mexico reigns supreme by Dylan Rose........................................................62
Coming of Age
Bolivia...................................................................................................78 Brazil.....................................................................................................80 Mongolia............................................................................................81
A trip through Chilean Patagonia and its best fishing lodges
by Brian Gies..........................................................88
New Zealand....................................................................82 Patagonia Argentina.......................................................................................92 Tierra del Fuego.............................................................................99
Please visit www.flywatertravel.com for more photos, slide shows, trip reports, prime openings, discount trips, and detailed information on over 130 lodges, outfitters, and guides.
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©2013 by Fly Water Travel, LLC. All rights reserved. Graphic design by CarterWorks of Ashland, Oregon, (541) 488-2391. Photo credits: Front Cover, Ken Morrish. Back Cover: Brian Gies. All other photos: Ken Morrish, Brian Gies, Charles Gehr, Dylan Rose, Dave Mc Coy Val Atkinson, Jeff Edvalds, Brian O’Keefe, John Juracek, Jeff Vermillion, Don Sias, Randy Morton, Scott Ferguson, Tom Jenni, Scott O’Donnell, Kent Davenport, Jeff Yonover, Trent Tatum, Walter Hodges, Paul Allred, Quinton Dowling, Mark Lance, Bryan Huskey, Cliff Waits, Deneki Outdoors, The Fly Shop, Northern Patagonia Fishing Company, Nervous Waters, Kharlovka Company, Yokanga Company, Lax-á and others.
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Alaska - Fly-Out Lodges
Season: June – mid-October Fish Species: Rainbow trout, char, grayling, halibut, five species of salmon Lodge Capacity: 20 anglers Rate: $8,195 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com An angler plucks an American Creek rainbow from the spawning sockeyes. Photo: Ken Morrish
Rapids Camp Lodge
viewing, clam digging, beachcombing apids Camp Lodge is an easy to The best equipped and halibut fishing. reach full service fly-out lodge with and most versatile The lodge features eight comfortexcellent home waters and one of the fly-out lodge able double occupancy rooms with most diverse and exciting fishing proin the state private baths, a friendly wine and beer grams in Alaska. Seasoned hardcore fly bar, two gourmet chefs, workout room, and state of anglers appreciate the wide range of water the lodge the art tackle and waders. With three Beavers and a frequents. This includes staples like the Moraine, turbine Otter, handsome jet boats for the home water, Battle Creek, Contact Creek, Headwaters Creek and and two saltwater boats located in the unparalleled the American River. Other prolific “under the radar” Geographic Harbor, Rapids Camp has endless oprainbow fisheries mandate sturdy walking legs. Adtions for all who visit. Whether you are after silvers ditionally Rapids Camp Lodge is one of the few or kings, massive rainbows on the spey rod, or a crack destinations equipped and willing to handle a wide at wilderness rainbows that rarely see a fly, this is an range of eco-activities including flight seeing of the operation that will keep you coming back. regions many glaciers and volcanoes, bear and wildlife
Alaska - Fly-Out Lodges
Trip Details Season: June – September Fish Species: Rainbow trout, char, grayling, and five species of salmon Lodge Capacity: 12 anglers Rate: $8,700 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
No See Um has set the standard for high end fly-out lodges for nearly 30 years. Photo: Ken Morrish
No See Um Lodge
enhance the comfortable setting. ou will have stories to tell when One of Alaska’s finest The lodge is centrally heated and you come home from this trip. fly-out lodges for each bedroom has an excellent Fish cartwheeling away and stealing trophy rainbows and view of the river. In addition to into your backing, bears growling sea bright salmon exceptional cuisine, the lodge has in the bushes, and enough solitude 24-hour electricity, phone service, hot tub and a streamside to let you savor all that’s important — classic wood fire sauna. the feel of tundra beneath your feet, the croaking Anglers access all of the Iliamna region’s finest of ravens in the distance, and the ebony spots in the trout waters with the help of experienced pilots, profesrainbow’s eye. sional guides, impeccably maintained floatplanes, and Nestled on a private bluff overlooking the Kvicountless jet boats stashed away on all the best systems. chak River, No See Um Lodge has ranked among the Come and experience firsthand the incredible angling finest Alaskan fly-out operations for over 20 years. and unsurpassed service that have exceeded the expecThe guest houses have a total of six bedrooms, each tations of discriminating fly fishers the world over. equipped with twin beds and a private bathroom. A Spaces are limited so early reservations are required. lounge with full complimentary bar and woodstove Page 6
Alaska - Fly-Out Lodges
Royal Wolf Lodge overlooks a private lake adjacent to Nonvianut River. Photo: Ken Morrish
Royal Wolf Lodge
trategically located on a 120 acre location for some of Alaska’s most Where serious rainbow holding within the heart of experienced and productive guides hunters return to Katmai National Park’s finest trout including Mike McCune, Scott find the best guides waters, Royal Wolf Lodge is one of O’Donnell, and Dave Goodhart. and fishing program Alaska’s finest fly-out operations. In Idyllically set overlooking in Alaska terms of location, Royal Wolf is hard a private lake, Royal Wolf features to beat. Short flying times to the region’s premier watercharming, rustic cabins with baths. Fine meals sheds, including the Moraine, Funnel, Big Ku, Battle, are served in the comfort of the main lodge. For American and the Kvichak, are guaranteed, as is quality the serious rainbow enthusiast, Royal Wolf Lodge home water in the event of poor flying conditions. is without question one of the state’s premier Widely recognized for their strategic fishing destinations. As spaces are limited, early bookings program, Royal Wolf Lodge is also a “repeat” are encouraged.
Season: June – September Fish Species: Rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, pike, char, grayling Lodge Capacity: 14 anglers Rate: $6,950-$8,850 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com Page 7
Alaska - Fly-Out Lodges
Trip Details Season: June – September Fish Species: Rainbow trout, char, grayling, pike and salmon Lodge Capacity: 12 anglers Rate: $7,750 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Lodge owner Pat Vermillion hoists an impressive September char. Photo: Royal Coachman Lodge
Royal Coachman Lodge
A classic fly-out lodge Refuge, guaranteeing access to some ocated in the heart of the with a tremendous range of the best king and silver salmon Wood-Tikchik Park on the and access to every fly water available in southwestern banks of the Nushagak’s main significant species Alaska. tributary, the Nuyakuk River, Royal Private cabins for each pair of Coachman Lodge offers access to guests feature comfortable furniture and bathrooms exceptional home waters as well as fly-out fishing to with showers. The main lodge is tastefully furnished, some of Alaska’s most scenic and least crowded trout with living room and dining room overlooking the and salmon waters. Nuyakuk River. This beautifully situated, intimate Royal Coachman features full time professional lodge caters to twelve guests per week, ensuring guides, two floatplanes, exceptional cuisine, friendly complete flexibility in the fishing program and a high staff, and great fishing. The lodge also holds several level of personalized service throughout your stay. exclusive permits in the Togiak National Wildlife
Alaska - Fly-Out Lodges
Trip Details Igiugig Lodge offers a value rich combination of fly-outs and excellent home waters. Photo: Ken Morrish
A high value family verlooking the outlet of Alasand 27 seasons guiding the local operation where small ka’s mighty Lake Iliamna is waters, Brad is among the most groups enjoy excellent a small, earnest family run fly-out talented and experienced pilot home waters, fly outs, lodge that earns our highest marks guides in the state. Second, the and unbeatable for service, quality fishing and value. lodge prefers to make itself excluhome-style service Lodge owners Brad and Brenda Waitsively available to small groups of man have catered to Alaskan anglers four to five anglers. for more than 25 consecutive seasons. They have After an early breakfast, anglers head out for raised their children in the bush and know what it the day’s fishing. Each day half of the group will takes to operate safely and successfully in this most fish the home waters of the Kvichak River by jet remarkable region. boat and the other half (typically three anglers) Igiugig Lodge has two signature features. First will fly out to walk and wade some of Alaska’s most and foremost, the owner is both the head pilot and famous waters such as the Moraine, Funnel, Battle the head guide. With well over 5,000 flying hours and Talarik Creeks.
Season: June – September Fish Species: Rainbow trout, arctic char, arctic grayling, pike, five species of salmon Lodge Capacity: 5 anglers Rate: $5,900 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Alaska - Fly-Out Lodges
Kris Hamrick connects with an Iliama rainbow. Photo: Ken Morrish
Season: June – September Fish Species: Rainbow trout, all five species of salmon, arctic char, and arctic grayling Lodge Capacity: 6 anglers Rate: $6,880 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Bristol Bay Sportfishing
A small, unpretentious personalized fly out lodges with a ake Iliamna is a very special fly-out operation in the vast array of options for all visitplace. Not only is it Alaska’s heart of Alaska’s unmatched ing anglers. In one week guests largest lake, but it is the stage for Iliamna region can only begin to experience the many unique natural phenomenon. many fishing opportunities at These include the world’s largest reBristol Bay Sportfishing. These include access to turn of wild sockeye salmon, oversized, super charged the early season kings of the Nushagak, the silvers chrome bright rainbows, the freshwater Nerpa seal of the Kamishak, and a long list of premier rainbow and a reported monster akin to “Nessy.” It is also fisheries including the Copper, Gibraltar, Iliamna, home to a great little lodge that has recently changed Big Ku, Little Ku, Moraine, Battle, Newhalen, and hands and whose future looks very bright. the Kvichak. Catering to no more than six anglers, Bristol For the adventuresome, remote day floats, Bay Sportfishing is a wholesome, happy owner operstreamside wilderness overnights, fall ptarmigan ated lodge in the heart of the finest fishing grounds hunts and day trips to seldom seen northern sheefish one could imagine. With a Cesna 185 at the ready, systems are also available. Bristol Bay Sportfishing is one of Alaska’s more
Alaska - Float Trips
Rafting an Alaskan wilderness river represents the ultimate in value and adventure.
Alaskan Float Trips
here is little doubt that a wilderness float trip represents one of greatest and most memorable adventures in the world. At Fly Water Travel we are proud to work with three of Alaska’s premier outfitters including Beyond Boundaries, Frontier River Guides and Ouzel Expeditions. Some of our favorite trips are outlined below. The Kanektok This 100 mile float through the wilds of the Togiak Wildlife Refuge has become a standard by which other float trips are measured. With exceptional guides, access to all five species of Pacific salmon, Dolly Varden, grayling, and gorgeous “leopard bows,” this seven day trip keeps anglers coming back year after year. Rate: $4,490-$4,975 per person for a 6 night/7 day trip American Creek For the serious rainbow hunter keen on a true wilderness adventure, few systems compare with American Creek in the heart of the Katmai region. After landing in an alpine lake, the expedition will float through miles of productive pocket water, a steep canyon with rapids, and then on into intricate braids, and the long slicks of the lower river. The entire 36 miles of river is home to numerous rainbows in the 18-24 inch class with fish in the 30 inch class taken each season. Add to that lots of big dollies and bears and
you start to get the idea of what a trip down American Creek is all about. Rate: $4,150-$4,350 per person per week The Kisaralik Transecting a wide range of ecosystems with several portages, this float is a true wilderness adventure with exceptional salmon runs as well as rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, arctic char and arctic grayling. The upper reaches of the river are exceedingly scenic and the fishing tends to improve each and every day with the last forty miles consistently exceeding expectations. Rate: $4,675 per person for a 7 night/8 day package Lake Creek For folks who want to get the entire Alaskan wilderness experience condensed into a five day float trip, Lake Creek is our top pick. With a stunning backdrop of Denali, wildlife, rapids and hearty populations of rainbows and Pacific salmon, Lake Creek delivers. Rate: $3,525-$4,250 per person for a 6 night/7 day trip
Alaska - Base Camps
Fishing Bear owner and all around great guy, Justin Johns, with one of his many business partners. Photo: Fishing Bear Lodge
Trip Details Season: June – early October Fish Species: Rainbow trout, char, grayling, pike, sockeye salmon Lodge Capacity: 8 anglers Rate: $3,600 per person for a 6 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com Page 12
Fishing Bear Lodge
An intimate, family run escribing a place as unique streams for hearty rainbows, abunoperation, perfect for and special as Fishing Bear dant artic char and large surface oriLodge is anything but easy. At its fathers and sons or groups ented grayling. In addition to these wanting to step into core this modest and endearing smaller “under the radar” systems, the Alaskan Wilderness family run lodge offers its guests guests can enjoy late night trophy with both feet just the right amount of “roughing rainbow sessions on the renowned it” and an opportunity to experience Agulapak. For dry fly enthusiasts, a remarkable diversity of true wilderness fly fishing. lovers of solitude and exceptional scenery, or families Backing up against the surreal spires of the Wind in search of a memorable wilderness adventure and River Range in the heart of southwest Alaska’s 1.6 a rewarding introduction to the wonders of wildermillion acres Wood-Tikchik State Park, Fishing Bear ness fly fishing, this is a place you will want to visit employs jet boats to fish a host of seldom seen small more than once.
Alaska - Base Camps
Fly Water client Pete Laskier and guide Whitney Gould with another first week king. Photo: Ken Morrish
he Alaska West camp offers Alaska West is a large, luxuriThe ultimate base camp anglers the best of the Kanekous tent camp set in the heart of the for anglers seeking tok River — legendary mainstem lower Kanektok’s finest water. Guests bright salmon, leopard fishing for sea-bright kings, chum, sleep in pairs in comfortable wall rainbows, and spey and silvers, and willow-lined side tents with carpeted floors, quality casting instruction channels teeming with wild leopard mattresses, heat and lighting. Hot bows, char, and grayling. showers, a large dining tent, a recreation tent, and a The Kanektok is by all standards a remarkably drying tent complete the scene. Anglers fish two per diverse fishery, perfectly suited to both single hand guide and move about the system in 18-foot jet boats. and spey rod anglers and offers one of Alaska’s best For those interested in getting a great taste of all opportunities to target both king salmon and fresh that Alaska has to offer without footing the bill for a silvers with the fly. High catch rates, easy wading, fly-out lodge, Alaska West is a proven crowd-pleaser and open backcasts are the norm. that keeps anglers coming back year after year.
Season: June – September Fish Species: Rainbow trout, five species of salmon, char, grayling Lodge Capacity: 22 anglers Rate: $5,250-$5,650 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www. flywatertravel.com
Alaska - Base Camps
Kenai Riverside Lodge is our top pick for mixed groups with non-anglers, and add-on fishing days to longer trips. Photo Ken Morrish NEW
Season: June – October Fish Species: Rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, Pacific Salmon and halibut. Lodge Capacity: 30 anglers Rate: $2,035 per person for a 3 night/2 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Kenai Riverside Fishing
ownstream of Cooper’s the best fishing occurring from mid The ultimate Alaskan add-on Landing, overlooking a August through October. for families and trophy sweeping turquoise bend of the From groups with non-angling rainbow hunters alike mighty Kenai, we recently visited interests, the lodge also offers an an operation that we wish we had found earlier. Kenai array of guided nature hikes, rafting, easy access to flight Riverside Lodge is a wonderful multi faceted wooded seeing, and conventional salt water fishing for salmon facility with quaint cabins and well organized programs and halibut. The lodge’s parent company Alaska Wildthat cater to a wide range of nature enthusiasts, familand Adventures also offers two additional operations lies, and serious anglers alike. that can be booked individually or in combination with Head guide and fishing program manager Kyle the Riverside Lodge. The first is the serene Kenai BackKolodziejski oversees a sophisticated guide staff (with country Lodge on Skilak Lake and the next is the specall tackle provided) that intimately know the the secrets tacular Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge located on a private of the upper Kenai, particularily the limited entry nonin-holding deep within Kenai Fjords National Park. motorized 17 mile section which flows through “Kenai With abundant marine and mainland wildlife viewing, Canyon.” All sections of the river offer excellent fishing boat tours of calving glaciers, wilderness beach hikes and for trophy rainbows, salmon, and Dolly Varden with sea kayaking, it rounds out most any Alaskan adventure.
Alaska - Base Camps
Trip Details Season: June – September Fish Species: Five species of salmon, Dolly Varden, halibut and rockfish Lodge Capacity: 14 guests Rate: $5,050 per person for a 5 night/5 1/2 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Baranof owner and master outdoorsman Mike Trotter leading Max Morrish to one of his secret spots. Photo: Ken Morrish
Baranof Wilderness Lodge
The ultimate venue for eneath the jagged granite peaks, of all skill levels can walk and wade friends, families and the cold blue ice fields, the remote wilderness streams teeming couples to experience the natural hot springs, and the thunwith salmon and Dolly Varden, fish vast and varied wonders dering waterfall that spills into the for halibut, bottom fish and Pacific of southeast Alaska salmon-filled sea, there is a lodge salmon, sea kayak, whale watch, that is unique among those that we bear view or soak in the natural hot represent. More than a place to simply visit, southeast springs which first made Warm Springs Bay famous. Alaska’s Baranof Wilderness Lodge offers an unparalWith food and hospitality to match the grandeur and leled base for connecting to one of the world’s most bounty of the region, Baranof Wilderness Lodge is a diverse and vibrant ecosystems. gem that families, couples, and serious anglers alike will From the comfort of their waterfront lodge, anglers find profoundly moving and pleasurable.
An Eye for the Steelhead Dry by Ken Morrish
Donny Williamâ€™s take on the classic Quigley Dragon pinned neatly in the jaw of a Kispiox hen. Photo: Ken Morrish Pageto16
Brian Gies works a skater across the North Umpqua’s Split Rock run. Photo: Ken Morrish
ne of the downsides of growing up and learning to fly fish in Northern California was that somewhere along the way, for whatever reason, I thought that the solution to virtually all angling challenges was simply to fish deeper. Not catching fish? Add some shot, break out the Teeny 400 or throw some larger lead eyes at the problem. I am embarrassed by all the lead and broken heads I have left on streambeds and river bottoms, but then again, with very few mentors, most of whom were dredgers and indicator fishermen, how was I to know that things could have been different? In the early 90’s as I became increasingly interested in steelhead fishing, this bias stuck with me like a nasty cough. I truly thought that catching steelhead on dry flies was something that a few old freaks in tweed attempted, largely in vain. In my ignorance I quietly suspected that the sum total of all the steelhead ever caught on dries was likely less than my body weight, and I was convinced that I didn’t have enough precious fishing time to waste even a moment of it watching a clump of deer hair wake across a perfectly good piece of water.
Tony’s Umpqua That all changed in 1994 when I first spent a guided day with Tony Wratney. Even then he was a 25-year veteran to Oregon’s North Umpqua. As a teen he learned the river with the likes of Pat Lee who often fished a classic Steelhead Bee dead drift with great success. Tony and his buddies were and remain fanatical disciples of the river and fished it every conceivable way over the years, but one day in 1991 as he and Tim Cain worked a large stale pod of summer steelhead, they experienced a small epiphany. After having put four patterns fruitlessly over the fish, Tim, in an act of frustration, began jerking his fly wildly with his rod tip, mid swing, and the pool suddenly came alive. Numerous fish that were dormant to the classic wet fly swing were now chasing and slashing at his bug with abandon. The river they thought they fully knew was transformed into a new playing field of possibilities. Tony quickly created a go-to dry fly that came to be known as the “Disk Skater” by modifying the riffle dancer. He first bent the front third of the hook shaft upwards and then, in a moment of brilliance, added the first
“In my ignorance I quietly suspected that the sum total of all the steelhead ever caught on dries was likely less than my body weight” Page 17
for the STeelhead Dry
foam “dome” to a steelhead skater. He jokes that this is his only claim to fame, and steady as you lead the fly in, and at all costs avoid yanking or setting but if you have ever watched him fish you would beg to differ. Together Tim when the boil comes. This presentation favors flies that are designed to resist and Tony developed a unique style of fishing this and other dries that they diving under tension and most of them bear little resemblance to natural termed “chugging.” When I first learned this technique from Tony, my fishing insects. Alternatively traditional flies (and tubes) “at all costs style and preferences began a transformation, which continues even today. can be “hitched” with a series of half hitches (or The fact of the matter is that dry fly fishing can be incredibly effective (in hole in the side of a tube) placed roughly one avoid yanking some cases even more so than swinging wets) and it packs a rush that makes third of the shank length back from the eye. This or setting when even the most hardened steeleheader dizzy with excitement. Yet few are willing is a remarkably effective way to make almost any the boil comes” to give the technique a solid try due to our own preconfly consistently skate and skitter. ceptions and assumptions. How many times have steel Tony’s technique, and my personal favorite, is reeheaders begrudgingly been persuaded to try the dry, ferred to as “chugging.” In its most basic form it is the fished a single run with it to no avail and then happily same as skating but during the swing the angler employs switched back to the sink tip to fruitlessly beat their brains out a small wrist flick to lift and pulse the rod tip. The for the remainder of the day? Plenty. And what did they learn? pulse can be swift and sharp causing the fly to pop That dries don’t work. Think about that logic. The truth about and spit or it can be gentle, attractive and predictable dry fly fishing for steelhead is that for the self-assured angler who depending on conditions and preferences. In either case, the Morrish Pom Skater believes, and is first and foremost willing to tie the damn thing on, angler actively manipulates the fly to animate its movement. an incredibly exciting, explosive and productive angling experience awaits. It is exciting to both fish and fishermen and according to Tony; “it appeals to the steelhead’s lateral line sensors and makes them want to take at least a Dry Fly Methods look or a tail swipe at it.” There are a number of distinct ways to effectively fish dry flies for steelhead. The most esoteric and least practiced is the traditional “natural” or The Moment of Truth “dead drift” presentation. Since it is a poor way to quickly cover water and One of the beauties of fishing dry is the angler’s constant visual contact locate fish, few practice it but it can be very effective, especially when an with and control over the fly’s exact location, speed and trajectory. This angler has a strong understanding of a river’s established holding lies. In is also one of the pitfalls as anglers become so engaged with the bug that this style of fishing, large buggy somewhat traditional dry flies work best. they often react unpredictably when the boil comes. This is particularly Hoppers, salmonflies, October caddis and assorted rubber-legged foam true when the not so uncommon violent explosion occurs around the fly. concoctions all work well and anglers can approach the river exactly as So just remember to watch and not react; as often the first boil is a refusal they would a trout stream. In most cases this would mean fishing the or an honest miss and the fly will wake right out of the chaos without the smaller systems with an upstream approach and adapting to the larger slightest bit of tension. In some cases the fish will boil on the fly three systems as needed. Since this technique is rarely employed deliberately, or more times in a single swing, so just keep your cool and wait for the each fish caught in this fashion receives a bonus point. Please see Tony’s weight. If it’s obvious that the fly has disappeared for several seconds or Umpqua Grading Scale sidebar for details. you feel the surge of the fish, lift slow and solid. Then there is the classic down and across presentation, which is sim If the fish does not commit, you have choices. The best in both my ply referred to as “skating” or “waking.” The standard rules are to slow the and Tony’s opinion is to chill for a minute or two and let the fish settle swing down to that of the water speed or slower, to keep the rod tip high back into its lie. When guiding, Tony goes back with a muddler for no more Page 18
Top left: My largest dry fly fish rose to a softly pulsed Pom Skater mid-day in broad sunlight when the water temp rose from 35 to 36.6°. Right: This sea bright BC April fish Page 19 was one of many that came after a Monster Skater in 40° water. Bottom left: A misty morning on Oregon’s North Umpqua. Photos: Ken Morrish
for the STeelhead Dry Myth #4: Winter and spring steelhead don’t eat dries. Contrary to popular belief winter and spring steelhead also eat dries in the right conditions. This is not for everyone but if you have fresh fish in shallow water, (chop and tailouts are best), they can respond remarkably well, especially in Skeena country. I once rose 8 big bright fish in a single day with 40-degree water temperatures and snow all over the banks. Interestingly, the same day my friends fished type 3 sink tips with hardly a pull between them. There was plenty of luck involved but there was no questioning the fishes’ aggressive response to the big dry. Monster Skater
than two casts, then rests the fish again and tries a smaller dry. When fishing on his own, he goes aback at it with the same dry fly and presentation. If that doesn’t produce he will often move downstream, square up to the fish and try a more aggressive across stream popping presentation. If that fails he moves on to the next player.
Debunking Dry Fly Myths
Myth #1: Dries don’t work when the water is cold. For whatever reason there is a widespread belief that dries don’t work when water temperatures are low. In the PNW folks often draw the line at 50-55 degrees. Up north they sour on the dry at roughly 45 degrees or October 5th, whichever comes first. Certainly, dries do work best in warmer temperatures with fresh active fish but they also work well when few if any are willing to tie them on. Pierce Clegg, longtime owner of Babine Norlakes Lodge has actually hooked and landed multiple steelhead in 32 degree water. My personal best dry fly fish came in 36.5 degree water. Fish adjust to their surrounding water temperatures but know that fishing a dry at dawn on a bitter cold morning is not as effective as fishing once the water warms a bit. A slight increase in water temperature is far more important than the base water temperature.
Myth#2: Dries don’t work well when there is sun on the water. There is no doubt that low light and shadows are best, but as long as the angle of the light is relatively low, dries are worth a go. One may wisely choose to fish wet beteween11am and 3pm but I have seen plenty of fish eat well when the early rays are beating straight downstream in the morning hours. Also note that dry fly fishing in the fall, especially in more northern latitudes, can be productive all day long in direct sunlight as the angle of the sun is essentially low throughout the day. Myth #3: Dries don’t work in deep slow water. As long as water visibility and the fore-mentioned conditions are met, fish will at times come up more than 12 feet to eat a dry. For big slow tanks I like big flies fished with a good deal of chugging action. The deeper the water, the bigger the fly. In shallow faster water stick with smaller flies and less action.
Conclusions Throughout the calendar year and across a wide variety of conditions, dry fly fishing is sadly not the most effective way to catch steelhead. However, I consider it the most engaging, exciting, sporty and spectacularly unpredictable method. Dry fly fishing, (particularly chugging) is also a quick, efficient way to locate and activate fish and is far more productive than most assume. Under stable summer steelheading conditions, Tony maintains that a good dry fly angler will move twice as many fish as a wet fly angler and ultimately land the same number of fish. For many of us, such a claim is hard to swallow, if not preposterous and feeds the mythology that prevents most of us from ever tying one on. Like all steelheading, dry fly fishing is mental game that ultimately boils down to confidence. If you were to watch Tony fish the rivers of the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia with a skater, as I have, you to would believe his claim. Keep your mind open to conducive conditions such as shade, well rested water, structured tailouts, rising water temperatures, low angle light, overcast light, as well as stale or dour conditions. Also never underestimate the power of fishing a method that differs from that of other anglers. Don’t wait to put it on until you are desperate, but rather put in on when the water looks too good to be true. Be creative, animate the fly’s swing and fish it like it’s the tastiest thing a steelhead has ever seen. After a few soft boils, a subtle committed nose rise or a few explosive refusals, you too will begin to believe that a well-fished dry might in fact be the tastiest thing going.
“Tony maintains that a good dry fly angler will move twice as many fish as a wet fly angler and ultimately land the same number of fish.”
A large Bulkley buck contemplates the culprit: A black and green Pom skater. Photo: Derek Botchford
Rods: Faster action rods are preferred for dry line fishing. I like two-handed rods from 10.5’ to 13’ in line weights 6-8. Lines: For casting all but the largest dries I prefer Scandi style heads. For really large dries I will use a Skagit or Rage type head. For those anglers that fish relatively “open” rivers with plenty of room to create a deep “D loop” long bellied lines are also fine. Leaders: I prefer 12-15’ Rio Salmon and Steelhead tapered knotless leaders in 12 and 16 pound test. I find floating poly leaders too limp in windy conditions. I also find heavy butt sections helpful in aiding turnover.
Tony’s Umpqua Grading Scale Method
2 1.5 1 .5 0
Dead drift dry Skated dry Wet fly, dry line Sink tip or weighted fly Indicator nymphing
Seven Great Dry Fly Rivers Lower 48 The Trinity: Bonus points for pulling it off in the heart of indicator country The North Umpqua: The ultimate playing field for testing and improving one’s skills The Deschutes: The great desert river with long shallow productive runs The Grande Ronde: One of the most intimate, varied and approachable steelhead rivers British Columbia The Bulkley/Morice: Over 100 miles of the world’s most productive dry fly water The Copper: For whatever reason the big fish here love to eat skaters The Babine: Hard to get onto but worth grabbing a spot when it appears Page 21
www.flywatertravel.com The newly Page 22 constructed main lodge at Frontier Farwest is nothing short of spectacular. Photos: Ken Morrish
Canada - Bulkley River
Frontier Farwest delivers what may be the most diverse and productive fishing program in the Skeena watershed. Photos: Ken Morrish
Season: September – October Fish Species: Steelhead Lodge Capacity: 12 anglers Rate: $6,200 per person for a 7 night/7 day package (includes GST) Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
hen lodges change ownership, The most diverse and Briton’s Morice River Lodge, a much as this one did several years interesting steelhead prized, under the radar operation, ago, we cautiously hope for the best. experience in the greater where anglers spend three days fishing In this case Derek Botchford, his wife Bulkley Valley the crystal clear waters of one of the Andrea Soto and their crew have far highest catch rate systems in all BC. exceeded our highest expectations going above and Spanning well over 100 miles of immaculate beyond to create a steelhead program that is among fly water, this “three in one” program offers anglers the finest and most diverse anywhere. an opportunity to fish in a single week what many Their week-long programs have three distinct veterans have dedicated years to experience. For components. First, a brand new custom built riverfront dry line and dry fly enthusiasts, as well as those lodge with private cabins will serve as the main base. wanting the highest assurance of finding fishable Second, all guests have the opportunity to spend a conditions irrespective of unsettled water and weather minimum of one night at one of their two remote conditions, this is an operation not to be missed. wall tent canyon camps on the lower Bulkley. And Frontier Farwest also offers four day Bulkley canyon last but certainly not least, Derek has purchased Jim floats. Call us about availability.
Canada - Secret System
Trip Details Season: September – October Fish Species: Steelhead Lodge Capacity: 2 anglers Rate: CAD $5,600 per person plus GST for a 6 night/5 ½ day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Fly Water client Dan Iwata and guide “Smiddy” with a late season beauty. Photo: Dan Iwata
Where a few rugged s anglers we all dream of the good is easy and believe us, this walk and wade anglers find undiscovered: a Shangri-la place is good! true wilderness and with lush valleys and pristine rivers Located on the shores of a quiet wild steelhead willing where fish far outnumber footprints. lake surrounded by peaks, the camp to rise to the dry fly In the realm of North American offers groups of two exclusive walksteelhead fishing, these places are and-wade access to five miles of few and far between. But in the fall of 2005, with the picture-perfect river where wild and willing steelhead help of a local BC outfitter, a crew from Fly Water average eleven-plus pounds and occasionally exceed Travel found and fished precisely such a place — with twenty pounds. New for the 2012 season, a downgreat results. stream spike camp has been added enabling access to The camp is the most rustic we represent (not unpreviously unfished waters. For those who relish true like camping in a wooded tent). The physical demands wilderness, love fishing the dry line, and feel that a of the trip are many, as the amount of water you can fish shot of booze tastes better after bush-whacking, this during a week depends solely on how far you can walk trip is nothing short of a treasure. Limited to twelve and how many river crossings you can make. Nothing hearty anglers per season.
Canada - Babine River
Jerry Jenkins fires a long one across “Foxy Lady.” Photo: Ken Morrish
Silver Hilton Lodge
Season: September – early November Fish Species: Steelhead Lodge Capacity: 12 anglers (8 Main Camp; 4 Triple Header) Rate: $5,425-$8,195 per person for a 7 night/7 day package (includes GST and $250 to Save the Babine Foundation) Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
idely considered to be the The Main Camp fishes eight rods The world’s most finest and most exclusive per week on the two lower beats. The sought after and steelhead fishing lodge in the world, upper Triple Header camp takes four exclusive wilderness the Silver Hilton has jet boat access rods per week on the upper reach. steelhead lodge to more than twenty miles of pristine Anglers fish four per guide and rotate trophy steelhead water. Babine fish range from 8 through all the beats, ensuring ample solitude streampounds to over 30 pounds and are among the purest side. Due to a high rate of repeat clients, availability strain of wild steelhead remaining in North America. is typically limited to early and late in the season. Silver Hilton features two fully staffed, five-star All packages include round-trip, private helicopter facilities located approximately seven miles apart. transportation from Smithers, BC to the lodge.
Canada - Babine River
Season: September – November Fish Species: Steelhead Lodge Capacity: 12 anglers Rate: CAD $6,000 per person plus GST for a 6 night/6 ½ day package (includes $250 to Save the Babine Foundation) Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Previously known as Babine Norlakes this operation is off to a great new start. Photo: Ken Morrish
Babine Norlakes Steelhead Camp
A rustic classic enters ocated on the clear flowing upWith a range of 13 miles, anglers a new era of ownership per reaches of the famed Babine relentlessly cover the river’s prime that will further enhance River, Billy Labonte and Carrie holding water before returning to its reputation in Collingwood’s Babine Norlakes camp for drinks, a hearty meal and steelhead history Steelhead Camp (formerly owned the coveted roaring bonfire. by Pierce Clegg) is a simple, classic And while all anglers will have the lodge for serious steelheaders. Despite being young, opportunity to fish the lodge’s lower satellite waters, by lodge owner standards, Billy and Carrie are three anglers through the process of a random drawing, extremely experienced and appealing outfitters that will get to spend two full days on these waters with know how to do things right. With the longest season an overnight at the cozy, four person satellite camp. of any Inner Skeena lodges steelhead camp, Babine Anglers sleep in comfortable, heated bunk cabins with Norlakes is one of the hardest fishing, home style a detached bathroom and shower facility. For serious lodges in the Skeena system and their waters are among anglers keen on putting the big ones on the beach and the most productive anywhere. having a good time in the process, this is the place.
Canada - Kispiox River
Trip Details Guide Donny Williams watches the fly swing over the first run of the morning. Photo: Ken Morrish
Kispiox River Fishing Company
Hunt for the world’s he Kispiox is a river of subtle with panoramic views of the upper largest steelhead from moods, endless secrets, and stagriver, Bear Claw has set a new standard a base of unequalled gering rewards. The family of head for elegance in the Skeena watershed. elegance and service guide Jim Allen first homesteaded in Each day anglers float different secthe valley four generations ago in 1906. tions of the river in rafts and swing flies Since that time they have become as much a part of through a remarkable variety of water that is home to the river as the river has become a part of them. When some of the largest steelhead in the world. In addition you are with Jim Allen and his crew of talented guides, to the Kispiox, anglers have the option of fishing the all of whom call the Kispiox home, you are in very Skeena and lower Bulkley, depending on conditions. good hands. For all who appreciate skilled guides, fine accom Clients enjoy the lavish comforts of spacious, modations and a shot at some of the world’s largest double occupancy rooms in the newly constructed wild steelhead, this is the place. Please ask about special Bear Claw Lodge. A massive timber frame structure 2-4 day packages.
Season: September – early November Fish Species: Steelhead Lodge Capacity: 8 anglers Rate: CAD $6,250 per person plus GST for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
The Sustut is arguably the most remote, relaxed and remarkable of the Skeena tributaries. Photo: Ken Morrish
Canada - Sustut River
The Sustut River
s the uppermost of the Skeena’s significant tributaries, the Sustut is the region’s most scenic and remote system and one of three rivers most likely to produce steelhead in excess of 25 pounds. With little if any competition on more than 30 miles of water, this wilderness gem is serviced by two lodges that we hold in the highest regard. Suskeena Lodge Located on the upper reaches of the pristine and seldom seen Sustut River, Suskeena Lodge offers anglers a rare combination of wilderness trophy steelhead fishing and fine accommodations. Of the three Skeena tributaries most likely to produce fish over 25 pounds, the Sustut is the one least traveled and arguably the one with the most stable water conditions. Anglers enjoy well-appointed, double occupancy cabins with private bathroom and shower, a wood stove, and a sitting area. Thoughtfully prepared meals are served in the comfort of the main lodge. Anglers fish three per jet boat with experienced guides who truly enjoy the entire spectrum of the steelhead fishing experience, especially the chance at guiding their clients into a trophy steelhead on a skated dry fly. This pristine river system boasts dramatic views, long classic runs, a race of extremely husky fish that average 14 pounds, and few, if any, freelance anglers. Due to limited openings, early reservations are required. Season: September – October Fish Species: Steelhead Lodge Capacity: 9 anglers Rate: $6,000 per person plus GST for a 7 night/ 6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Steelhead Valhalla Lodge Located five miles downstream from its sister lodge Suskeena, Steelhead Valhalla is another classic camp. Now, with both lodges on the river under the same ownership, Steelhead Valhalla and Suskeena embrace identical fishing programs with a cordial rotation of beats that has removed any sense of competition from the daily program. This adds immeasurably to the overall wilderness angling experience, making the Sustut the most relaxed, trophy steelhead river in the Skeena system. Steelhead Valhalla Lodge consists of a cozy main log building where hearty family style meals are served. There are also five double occupancy cabins. All structures were built from logs milled on site and overlook the river. Cabins are carpeted, have electric lights, wood burning stoves and share a common washhouse with sinks, toilets and showers. Anglers fish three per guide boat and in addition to the four primary beats of the Sustut, they also fish a gorgeous section of the upper Skeena. For the trophy steelhead angler in search of true solitude, few places in the world can compare to Steelhead Valhalla. Season: September – October Fish Species: Steelhead Lodge Capacity: 9 anglers Rate: $6,000 per person plus GST for a 7 night/ 6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Canada - Lower Skeena Region
Trip Details Season: March â€“ November Fish Species: All Pacific salmon species; summer, winter and spring steelhead Lodge Capacity: 6-8 anglers Rate: CAD $4,190 per person plus GST for a 6 night/5 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Bruce Nakao with an August hen from the Copper. Photo: Ken Morrish
A friendly, energetic or the true anadromous junkie and Skeena. During the classibase from which to needing access to fresh sea-run fied months of September and fish the productive fish every month of the year, there October, anglers booking a six year-round systems of may be no location equal to Terrace, day fishing trip will typically fish the Lower Skeena British Columbia. Here the fishing two days on the Copper, two on season never ends, only changes. the mainstem Skeena and two on And for this reason and this reason alone, Brad and Douglas Channel tributaries. Kim Zeerip have chosen to make the region their For anglers serious about floating the lower and home and business headquarters. middle reaches of the Copper or targeting bright Located overlooking a sweeping bend in the kings and large cohos, Z-Boat Lodge is an ideal base. mighty Skeena, Z-Boat Lodge serves as a cozy base It is perfect for groups of six to eight anglers, providfor small groups of anglers interested in fishing ing single accommodations and excellent meals. A the bountiful rivers of the region, including the wide range of interesting angling options await those Copper, Kitimat, mainstem Skeena and numerous who visit this remarkable region. Stays of varying smaller tributaries of the Naas, Douglas Channel lengths are welcomed.
Canada - Lower Skeena Region
Lodge owner and head guide Jeroen Wohe with a bruiser. Photo: Skeena River Lodge
Skeena River Lodge
Where hardcore spey ocated in the greater Terrace in August and early September he anglers in search of region on the banks of the targets the hot early steelhead on the big sea-bright fish get lower Skeena, Skeena River Lodge main stem Skeena and Kalum. Come the ultimate bang for is a hardcore fly fishing operation fall, he moves to a remote and simple their buck dedicated to the pursuit of BC’s tent camp to target the steelhead of strongest sea-run steelhead and the Bell-Irving. Jeroen uses both jet salmon. Head guide Jeroen Wohe, originally from boats and self bailing rafts and has the full line of R.B. Holland, is a highly skilled, passionate professional Meiser rods on hand for his guests to use. who has spent years fishing and guiding the waters New for the 2013 season, guests will enjoy comof BC as well as the trophy Atlantic salmon rivers of fortable accommodations at Jeroen’s home-style lodge Russia’s Kola peninsula. He limits his operation from on the banks of the Skeena. In September anglers four to six anglers per week and prides himself on will transition to his remote outpost tent camp on offering a great experience at a very reasonable rate. the Bell-Irving River where he will fish steelhead well Jeroen’s season begins in April with the pursuit of into November. For serious spey anglers who prefer to spring steelhead on the Kalum and Kitimat rivers. In spend their dollars on fine fishing as opposed to white June and July he targets massive sea-bright Chinook and tablecloths, this is the best program BC has to offer.
Trip Details Season: March – November Fish Species: Five species of Pacific salmon, steelhead Lodge Capacity: 4 anglers Rate: $2,950-3,400 per person plus GST for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Canada - Dean River
The Dean River
orthy of its legendary status, the Dean is home to the world’s hottest steelhead and some of the most dramatic scenery in North America. We are proud to work with lodges on both the upper and lower river and look forward to helping you select the venue that best suits your needs. BC West For those who have not had the good fortune to fish the Dean River, others’ tales of personal exploits can become overbearing. Stories of hard takes, hissing bellies of line, wild leaps, and the relentless runs of these “super” steelhead are admittedly hard to compete with, especially when compounded with a setting that is one of North America’s most impressive. Equally impressive is BC West’s willingness to go the extra mile and create a split-day fishing program where anglers fish from dawn to lunch, then return to camp for a gourmet meal and a siesta before heading out in the late afternoon to fish until dark. A fishery best suited to experienced anglers, BC West’s guests fish half of their days guided beneath the falls via jet boat. The other half of the time they are self-guided above the falls using personal four wheelers for access to prime runs. By all standards, this is a rigorous and rewarding routine. For the ultimate anadromous challenge, anglers may also want to consider the June king salmon fishery. The Dean’s kings are widely considered some of the hardest fighting, and hardest to land, sea-run fish in the world. Season: June – August Fish Species: Summer steelhead, king salmon Lodge Capacity: 8 anglers Rate: $5,050-$6,950 per person plus GST for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com Page 32
Hodson’s For generations the Hodson family and the Dean River have been inseparable. Dean River pioneer and founder of the family operation, Daryl Hodson, passed the torch to his son Danny and now Danny’s sons are also working the river as guides for this legendary upper river lodge. In addition to the main camp, Hodson’s also has a rustic upper camp located 25 miles upstream of the main lodge. Most anglers who visit during the heart of the season will get between one to three days at the upper camp and will be flown in by veteran helicopter pilot Danny Hodson. In all fairness, the water surrounding the upper camp may be some of the finest trophy steelhead dry fly water in the world. Their cabins sleep two guests and are equipped with propane lights, a wood stove and cold running water. Electricity is available in the cabins while the camp generator is running. The lodge contains shower facilities, dining room and lounge. Guests will enjoy hearty home-style meals in a family atmosphere. For the best of what the magical upper Dean has to offer, Hodson’s holds the key. Season: June – September Fish Species: Steelhead Lodge Capacity: 6-8 anglers Rate: $5,410-$6.970 per person plus GST for a 7 night/7 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Rockies - Idaho
The South Fork of the Snake enjoys one of the longest dry fly seasons in the West. Photo: Ken Morrish
South Fork of the Snake River, Idaho
any anglers consider the South Fork of the Snake to be the country’s premier dry fly fishing river. Because of high fish counts, drift boat and wade fishing opportunities, the South Fork is an excellent system for both novice and experienced anglers. Fly Water Travel enjoys relationships with two outstanding guiding and lodging operations on the South Fork of the Snake River. Natural Retreats South Fork Lodge
WorldCast Anglers/ Teton Springs Lodge & Spa
Natural Retreats’ South Fork Lodge is located on a dramatic bend of the world famous South Fork of the Snake River. Offering guests a perfect blend of rustic elegance and outstanding service, South Fork Lodge will match or exceed anything you have ever experienced at a great fishing lodge. South Fork Lodge’s proximity to the water and staff of highlyskilled professional guides make it the best choice for anglers looking for the ultimate access to this worldclass fishery. Built by Mark Rockefeller, South Fork Lodge offers an experience that combines fine dining, a bustling bar, and tasteful accommodations. Lodge and cabin rooms are spacious and provide a quiet, comfortable, and relaxing environment just a short walk from the dining room, Card Room Bar and Patio. Large enough to offer autonomy, yet small enough to excel in service, this is a great destination for couples, groups and serious anglers. Rate: $2,825 per person for a 5 night/4 day package
For anglers who want access to the diverse waters and natural wonders of the eastern Idaho/Jackson Hole area we are pleased to offer Teton Springs Lodge & Spa. Located in the center of the idyllic Teton Valley, the Teton Springs Lodge & Spa offer all the amenities of a large resort including an award winning 18 hole golf course, full spa, private ponds, and conference center. This all-season luxury resort also offers elegant private log homes perfect for groups and families. Guiding is provided by the professionals at WorldCast Anglers who offer anglers a host of incredible fisheries including the South Fork of the Snake, Teton River, Green River and some little known private streams. Anglers wanting to maximize their time on the South Fork of the Snake can enjoy the South Fork Hilton, a luxury tent camp set up on the banks of the river. Large groups or groups with non-angling interests will find Teton Springs Lodge to be the perfect base for adventures in the greater Teton valley area. Rate: $1,845 per person for a 5 night/4 day package
Rockies - Idaho
Henry’s Fork Lodge and Firehole Ranch provide superior service and easy access to the famed waters of the greater Yellowstone region. Photo: John Juracek
West Yellowstone Region
he greater Yellowstone region represents one of the most diverse and interesting trout fishing opportunities in the lower 48. We are proud to work with the region’s two most established lodges, Firehole Ranch and Henry’s Fork Lodge. Between the two, the angling options for families, couples, and corporate groups are endless and rewarding. Henry’s Fork Lodge Imagine a vast, crystal clear spring creek where the wild rainbows can be as easy or as challenging as you like. Then imagine 50 miles of river with countless water types, prolific hatches, and entire floats that rarely see anglers. And lastly imagine an elegant and understated lodge, designed by an award-winning architect, on a wooded bluff overlooking it all. This is Henry’s Fork Lodge, one of the premier destinations of the Rockies for over twelve years. Henry’s Fork Lodge is ideally situated to fish other great waters of the area such as the Madison, Yellowstone, Firehole, Gibbon, Gallatin, and Lamar, as well as Slough Creek, Hebgen Lake, and Henry’s Lake. Non-anglers will enjoy the tasteful accommodations, close proximity to Yellowstone National Park, and additional activities such as hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. Whether you are a seasoned traveling angler or a newcomer to the sport and region, Henry’s Fork Lodge will provide you with an angling and lodging experience that you will appreciate and enjoy. Accommodations include six units in the main lodge and eight cottage suites with private bathrooms, sitting rooms, and fireplaces. Guiding is provided by the
local experts at WorldCast Anglers, TroutHunter and Henry’s Fork Anglers. Rate: $3,370 per person for a 5 night/4 day package Firehole Ranch Strategically located on the secluded south shore of Hebgen Lake, sixteen miles from West Yellowstone, Montana, Firehole Ranch has set a standard for rustic elegance and service. Located mere minutes from some of the world’s most renowned fisheries, including the Madison River, the Gallatin River, the waters of Yellowstone National Park, and the famed Henry’s Fork of the Snake, this 640 acre ranch boasts a wonderfully diverse fishing program, including numerous floats and walk and wade opportunities with seasoned local guides. Featuring ten private cabins overlooking the lake complete with porches, sitting rooms and fireplaces, this facility is as marvelous as its surroundings. Firehole Ranch also has numerous activities for non-anglers and families including custom guided horseback rides that depart from the ranch, canoeing, lake swimming, mountain biking and sightseeing in nearby Yellowstone National Park. Rate: $3,750 per person for a 5 night/4 day package
Rockies - Idaho
Trip Details Season: June – September Fish Species: Westslope cutthroat trout Lodge Capacity: 8-10 anglers Rate: $3,062.50 per person for a 5 night/6 day trip (includes Forest Service fee) Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com Middle Fork legend Al Bukowsky prepares a gourmet breakfast for 20.
Middle Fork of the Salmon, Idaho
The classic western he most prolific and unspoiled Our preferred outfitter, Solimulti-day wilderness float westslope cutthroat fishery in tude River Trips, is owner-operated trip for friends and family the world, the Middle Fork of Idaho’s and boasts a superb staff, incredible keen on white water Salmon River offers what many conDutch oven cuisine, comfortable and willing fish sider the finest multi-day wilderness camps that are fully set up upon arfloat trip in America. rival, and a safety and service record While the fishing is excellent throughout the seathat is unequalled in the field. For group members son, the early season favors big white water, and the late interested in more than fishing, hiking and paddling season favors fishing. From July through September, inflatable kayaks are daily options. Add to that the low flows offer non-stop dry fly action for anglers of natural hot springs, native pictographs, and abundant all skill levels. Late season fly fishing only trips are wildlife of the area, and you will quickly see why we limited to eight anglers and begin with a fly-in to the consider this trip through the lower 48’s largest contigumiddle river allowing ample time to thoroughly fish ous wilderness area a never to be forgotten experience this remarkable wilderness river. for family groups and nature-loving anglers alike.
Rockies - Wyoming
Anglers work a back channel of the Upper North Platte. Photo: Charles Gehr
North Platte, Wyoming
outheast Wyoming is a wild region where brown and rainbow trout far outnumber cowboys. Nestled in the Saratoga Valley, the North Platte River has endless faces ranging from deep canyons, wide meandering flats and high desert sections, all rife with spectacular views, abundant wildlife, and no crowds. For those who have tired of the tried and true, this system is a discreet Western gem that warrants the attention of all serious trout anglers. Upper North Platte River The 60 miles of river between the North Park of Colorado and the town of Saratoga is a blue ribbon trout fishery and has not been stocked since 1979. The upper North Platte now claims 4000 fish per mile, consisting mainly of browns and rainbows with a few Snake River cutthroats. The North Platte River offers a multitude of wade fishing and float fishing opportunities. With wading and anchoring access to over twenty miles of the North Platte River, the guides at Four Seasons Anglers are uniquely qualified to show you what wild trout fishing in the American West can be. Lodging options range from simple hotels to full service lodges with private river access. Staying in or near Saratoga provides an ideal hub to access the trout-rich waters of southeast Wyoming. Fishing options include multiple sections of the North Platte and Encampment Rivers as well as private stillwaters. Rate: $450-$550 for day trips
North Platte Lodge Fishing Wyomingâ€™s Grey Reef section of the North Platte River is an angling experience unlike any other. The North Platte River, from the Miracle Mile to the town of Glenrock, is one of the worldâ€™s most productive tailwaters where the average fish would be considered a trophy in most other systems. Anglers fish the Grey Reef from drift boats with the option of wading prime runs. The guides at North Platte Lodge have exclusive wading access to 17 miles of private land, ensuring you every opportunity to hook into the trophy trout of a lifetime. Fish in the 3-4 pound class are expected daily with a very strong possibility of landing larger fish that can occasionally top 10 pounds. The North Platte Lodge accommodates eight guests in four spacious guest rooms, each with two queen beds and a private bathroom. The casual bed and breakfast atmosphere encourages guests to mingle in common dining and living areas. The view from the lodge is classic western prairie intersected by the North Platte River. Rate: $1,900 per person for a 5 night/4 day package
Rockies - Colorado
4UR’s Goose Creek is home to rainbows, browns and brookies. Photo: 4UR Ranch
4UR Ranch, Colorado
here are places on earth that that covers all ages and countless The ultimate Colorado can stun even the most jaded activities such as horseback riding, vacation venue for of travelers. 4UR Ranch is one such hiking, fishing lessons, and group families of diverse ages place. Its centerpiece is Goose Creek, games. For the riders, 4UR’s horses and interests with over seven miles of private are savvy mountain trail horses, stream that brims with willing trout. Add to that sure-footed and well mannered. Trails snake up into sporting clays, trap, hiking, trail rides, majestic vistas the mountains in almost every direction from the from almost anywhere on the ranch property, mineral ranch. There are short and easy rides, all day rides, hot springs, and superb dining, and you will quickly and everything in between. understand why families from around the nation re Lodging at 4UR Ranch is divided among a variety turn here year after year, generation after generation. of structures, each named for a famous, historic local 4UR’s waters are divided into 20 “stations,” or beats. silver mine. Rooms are both tasteful and comfortable Within these stations are excellent populations of browns, with private baths and daily service. rainbows, cutthroats, and brookies. Water types range Unique among Fly Water’s destinations, 4UR from gentle riffles to mountainous pocket water. is truly the ultimate family retreat for anglers and The ranch boasts an exceptional kids’ program non-anglers alike.
Trip Details Season: June – September Fish Species: Rainbow, brown, brook, and cutthroat trout Lodge Capacity: 22 guests Rate: $2,800 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com Page 37
The rarely fished and highly flow-dependent upper Piedra on Lindnerâ€™s Notch Ranch. Photo: Ken Morrish
Too Good to be True Coloradoâ€™s Ultimate Private Water Experience Page 38
by Charles Gehr
The tastefully restored cabin accommodations at El Rancho Pinoso. Photo Ken Morrish
he setting is this: you are completely alone standing knee deep in the tailout of a perfect trout pool high in the San Juan mountains of southern Colorado. The particular fish you’re targeting is rising in rhythm to rafts of mayfly duns floating downstream. You’re trying hard to remain calm while threading 5X tippet through a Quigley Cripple mayfly pattern. The sound of elk bugling in close proximity stirs you from your reverie and causes you to pause, look up and soak in your surroundings. Craggy 12,000 foot tall granite peaks ring your valley in all directions while mule deer graze silently in the valley floor. As the scene unfolds you take a deep breath, tighten your nowfinished knot and sigh, saying to yourself “I can’t believe this is all mine!” This is El Rancho Pinoso and, yes, it is all yours. This experience is repeated by guests on a weekly basis at El Rancho Pinoso, one of the finest and most fairly priced private water venues in the American West.
The Lindner Legacy Robert D. Lindner first visited Colorado on a family camping trip in 1969. A successful businessman from Cincinnati, Ohio, Mr. Lindner was immediately struck by the region’s immense beauty and abundant natural resources. Two years later Mr. Lindner returned to the Rockies to purchase his first Colorado ranch, starting a journey of land acquisition and conservation that he would follow for the next 30 years. The Lindner Ranches now consist of 15,000 acres spread between seven Colorado ranches. The properties with the greatest concentration of recreational opportunities, including El Rancho Pinoso and the Weminuche Valley Ranch, have been placed under conservation easement ensuring their protection in perpetuity. In Lindner’s words: “These Colorado ranches…are my Rembrandts. Some people collect pieces of artwork because of their beauty and value. I can see no greater beauty — and truly no higher value — than these ranches in Colorado…My dream is to
“These Colorado ranches…are my Rembrandts.”
From top left, clockwise: The author works one of many runs on the Weminuche. The barn at El Rancho Pinoso. A handsome Weminuche brown. June on the Rio Blanco. The view
Page 40Ranchoâ€™s Log Cabin. A Rio Blanco rainbow. Photos: Ken Morrish and Charles Gehr from El
to be True
preserve these lands and maintain their integrity for decades to come.” days’ fishing. After a few minutes of organizing gear and practice cast Pastoralism of this nature has become increasingly rare in this day ing on the lawn, anglers ride with Damon 200 yards or less to their first and age. Too few are the people who work tirelessly for a future they will pool of the day. Three miles of the meandering Rio Blanco wind through not witness. Robert Lindner takes conservation of his the property and guests will generally fish most, if not ranches very seriously. All the properties have a lion’s all, of the pools in a day. Fishing techniques will share of beauty and resources, but if you probe Mr. change throughout the day according to condiLindner on his favorite there is no hesitation. It tions. A typical day on the Rio Blanco may involve is El Rancho Pinoso, his gem along the Rio two or three cycles of nymphing, dry/dropper and Blanco, tucked away at the end of a long dirt dry fly fishing. Although many anglers don’t associroad outside of Pagosa Springs. ate small waters with streamer fishing, Damon and his guides Morrish Hopper are always willing to run a big leech or sculpin through the Better Than Nature Intended pool before moving on. When fishing the home waters of the Rio Blanco When the Lindner family first purchased the land that became El Ranlunches are taken back at your cabin. This is your ranch, your cabin and cho Pinoso its centerpiece stream, the Rio Blanco, ran swift and shallow your river today so it’s up to you if you’d like to head straight back to the through its short drainage carrying a heavy sediment load. The river was river after lunch or take in an afternoon siesta. not a single channel but a never-ending series of shallow braids over gravel The fishing program at El Rancho Pinoso actually encompasses three bars. Past years of mining and logging caused the Blanco to carry more distinct systems, the Rio Blanco at El Rancho Pinoso, the Weminuche sand and gravel than it was capable of while maintaining a single channel. River at Weminuche Valley Ranch and the Piedra River at the Notch The decision was made to enhance the fishing potential while at the same Ranch. All of the waters are 100% private and remarkably productive. time returning the Blanco to its’ historical channel. When staying at El Rancho Pinoso you will also be guided on the Noted stream hydrologist Dave Rosgen was enlisted to design a sysWeminuche Valley Ranch, a satellite property 50 miles away that also tem that would allow the Rio Blanco to slow down, form deeper pools falls under the Lindner Ranches umbrella. The Weminuche River features and reduce sediment load and erosion. Through Dave’s efforts riverbanks seven miles of private water, some of which has been restored similarly have been shored, plunge pools formed and an ingenious gravel collection to the Rio Blanco. Where the Rio Blanco tends to feel like a swift, tumsystem put in place. All of this work ensures that the Rio Blanco supports bling rainbow trout stream the Weminuche is the archetypal meandering healthy populations of rainbow and brown trout, many of which reach meadow stream. For most of us this water just begs to be fished with a impressive size. big grasshopper imitation. Big brown trout live in the Weminuche and Damon and his guides are hyper-dialed on catching them. Fishing Program The upper Piedra River is the third venue and is located near the Weminuche on the Notch Ranch. A small, forested freestone river, the Fishing days at El Rancho Pinoso are reminiscent of what we all picture Piedra hosts healthy populations of wild rainbows, browns and brook as the perfect trout fishing day. Head Guide and Ranch Manager, Damon trout. Fishing the Piedra feels like you’ve taken a long hike into the wilScott, arrives at your cabin in the morning with a definite strategy for the
“Where the Rio Blanco tends to feel like a swift, tumbling rainbow trout stream the Weminuche is the archetypal meandering meadow stream.” Page 41
Too Good derness to find the crown jewel of headwaters fishing. Depending on snowpack, the Piedra will drop into “too low to fish” shape at some point in the season. On an average year the Piedra will be closed to fishing by early August and may re-open mid-September. Although many returning guests have not been able to fish the Piedra during their stay, the anglers who do get to visit often consider the Piedra the most intimate, if not the best of the three properties.
Not Really A Lodge
to be True non-catered context, the nearby Weminuche Valley Ranch has recently opened two remarkable new venues. The first is the four bedroom Ludwig Cabin. It too is a beautifully restored structure that seems all too good for the vacation rental market. For larger groups and gatherings, the up-valley Weminuche Lodge is also available and sleeps up to 14 comfortably. Both facilities back up against the forests and gaze out across a sweeping 180 degree view of the sublime Weminuche valley. All guests also enjoy unlimited fishing access to over three miles of designated private water on the Weminuche.
As a matter of principal, all original structures on Lindner Ranches Beyond The Blanco are left in place. In Mr. Lindner’s eyes the cultural history of his holdings are as important as their While El Rancho Pinoso and the Weminuche properties natural features. Consequently, guests at El Ranare among the finest fishing venues in Colorado, this cho Pinoso stay in original log structures dating experience and area offers equally rich non-angling back 50-80 years or more. The “historical experience” opportunities. On the ranches, wranglers and horses ends there, though. Inside, the cabins have all the modern are always ready. Likewise there are miles of wilderconveniences and comforts anyone could ask for including ness hiking trails nearby. For those who prefer a taste washers/dryers, internet access and all the amenities expected. Morrish Dirty Bird of town, Pagosa Springs is only 30 minutes away with golf, Interiors have been completely renovated to make your stay shopping and numerous spas showcasing the town’s renowned as pleasant and relaxing as Mr. Lindner himself likes it during his month natural hot springs. For those that want more, the mountain tourist mecca in the same accommodation. No part of the El Rancho Pinoso experience of Durango offers endless options, including the famous Durango-Silfeels like a lodge, but rather like a deluxe vacation rental. The cabins are verton narrow gauge railroad, great stores, historic motels and access to all yours as well as all you can see of the valley floor. Sitting on the deck of nearby anasazi sites. the cabin the entire viewshed is your ranch. At meal times the cook staff When we first visited El Rancho Pinoso we were awestruck that such will prepare as much as possible beforehand in order to minimize their a special undiscovered place like this actually existed. The setting, facility kitchen time. When the meal is done, they clean up and are off. For those and fishing seemed surreal. Moreover, the fact than an established landwith special dietary needs, or a taste for something special, menus can be owner would actually open up a property like this to the public was somecompletely customized to suit. All and all, El Rancho Pinoso is truly the what inconceivable to us, and without precedent. We have worked with ultimate full service, private waters Rocky Mountain retreat. El Rancho Pinoso for a number of years now and our initial impressions still ring true: this is the single finest and most fairly priced private water Ludwig & The Lodge venue in the American west and when the skies are blue and the fish are For families and groups that prefer preparing their own meals in a rising, it really seems too good to be true!
“All and all, El Rancho Pinoso is truly the ultimate full service, private waters Rocky Mountain retreat.”
How to Get There
Most of our guest can reach the ranch in less than one day. After landing in Durango, Albuquerque or Denver you’ll need to rent a car and drive to the ranch. Most visitors elect to fly into Durango the day before, overnight and then make the leisurely 1.5 hour drive in the early afternoon. Check in is anytime after 3pm. Private planes can land in Pagosa Springs where they will be picked up by the ranch manager.
Tackle & Techniques You can do all of your fishing at El Rancho Pinoso with a single 4 or 5-weight fly rod and floating line. Long casts are not required nor are sink tips. If you want to break it down further you can bring three rods. A 3-weight rod with a floating line for fishing single dries. A 4 or 5-weight “do-all” rod that could be strung up with nymphs and split shot, or a dry/ dropper rig, and the least essential, a 6-weight, could be rigged for a final pass with a big streamer. On the terminal end bring 9’-12’ tapered leaders. Although the rivers are small, Damon likes to ensure a stealthy presentation, especially when fishing dries. Spools of tippet 3X-6X will ensure that you’re ready for any fishing scenario.
Lodge Facts Season: June 20 – October 1 Capacity: El Rancho – Up to 12 fully catered guests (8 anglers) with exclusive use for four or more anglers Ludwig Cabin – Perfect for groups of 5-7 that want a private un-catered experience Weminuche Lodge – The ultimate hub for un-catered groups of 6-14
Rockies - Montana
Season: April – October Fish Species: Cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, brown trout Lodge Capacity: 14 guests Rate: $2,680 per person for a 5 night/4 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Fishing the Blackfoot River from one of the lodge’s custom SOTAR rafts. Photo: Charles Gehr
North Fork Crossing Lodge
ocated in the heart of western and Clark Fork Rivers are sure A deluxe safari style camp Montana’s least traveled dry to please even the most jaded where anglers enjoy fly waters, North Fork Crossing Rocky Mountain trout angler. unspoiled dry fly fishing Lodge shows the visiting angler Guests of North Fork Crossing what classic Montana trout fishing is all about. Lodge stay in deluxe double occupancy wall tents. Despite being made famous by the book, A River Wood floors, electricity, heaters, plush beds, fine Runs Through It, the Blackfoot River enjoys relatively linens and dressers ensure that your “rustic” experilow angling pressure and prolific hatches of aquatic ence includes all the comforts you’d expect from insects. Guides at North Fork Crossing Lodge are a full-service lodge. The attractive log cabin style dry fly specialists and are happy to share their knowlmain lodge serves as a comfortable gathering place edge with you in this relaxed trout fishing program. and dining area after long fishing days. For serious If more than 50 miles of fishable riffles, runs and anglers, friends and families looking for a unique and pocket water isn’t enough the Missouri, Bitterroot productive venue, this place has it all.
Rockies - Montana
Ruby River Valley, Montana
he Ruby River Valley is the ultimate hub from which to access much of Montana’s finest trout fishing. With two great lodges to choose from, one simple and the other elegant, this region remains one of our favorites, with something for everyone. Crane Meadow Lodge Located in the heart of an 8,000 acre ranch on the Ruby River, just outside the town of Twin Bridges in southwestern Montana, Crane Meadow’s exceptional private water program and home-style hospitality make it among our top picks for serious anglers who like long, productive days on the water. In addition to the ranch’s twelve miles of private access to the Ruby River, Leonard Spring Creek, and Mill Creek, Crane Meadow has exclusive leases with more than a dozen local landowners, enabling access to seldom fished reaches of the Beaverhead, upper Ruby, and countless other secret spots. The lodge’s unmatched public water program allows anglers to float the Madison, Jefferson, Big Hole, and Beaverhead or wade Proposal and Poindexter sloughs. Many anglers visiting Crane will elect to float one of the nearby rivers for the first half of the day and wade the ranch’s private water in the evening. Crane Meadow Lodge features four private cabins each complete with queen beds, separate living areas, and screened porches. The main lodge features a relaxing western atmosphere with a comfortable living area, fireplace, spacious dining room, and complimentary bar. The dinner menu features local specialties with an emphasis on wild game. Breakfasts are continental. For those who long for quality guides, warm hospitality, and the uncrowded dry fly waters of yesteryear, this is the place.
Ruby Springs Lodge How better to complement a river named for a jewel than by building a lodge along its bank that is itself a gem? Ruby Springs Lodge is without question one of the West’s most elegant and understated facilities. Located on five private miles of the Ruby River just outside Alder, Montana, Ruby Springs Lodge offers endless angling options in all directions. Anglers can float the Madison, Jefferson, Beaverhead, and Big Hole rivers as well as walk and wade two intimate spring creeks, the Ruby, and two spring-fed ponds. Guides at the lodge are seasoned, fulltime professionals who excel at working with clients of all skill levels. With six exceedingly tasteful cabins situated mere yards from its namesake river, guests enjoy king or twin beds, fireplaces, open floor plans, bright inviting full baths, and private screened porches. Gourmet breakfasts and elegant dinners accompanied by fine wines are served in the comfort of the modern, yet rustic main lodge. Arguably, the only thing more beautiful than the facility is all that surrounds it. Activities for non-anglers include skeet shooting at the lodge’s private range, guided horseback rides, naturalist guided hiking trips, golf, and sightseeing in the nearby historic towns of Nevada City and Bannack. For those who feel there is no need to sacrifice the good life for good fishing, Ruby Springs will surpass your expectations! Rate: $4,375 per person for a 5 night/4 day package
Rate: $3,015 per person for a 5 night/4 day package
Rockies - Montana
Trip Details Season: July – September Fish Species: Rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout Trip Capacity: 4-18 anglers Rate: $2,500 per person for a 4 night/5 day float trip Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Montana floats offer some of the west’s best hopper fishing. Photo: Bryan Huskey
Montana Float Trips
a day floating a river, catching wild fter fishing with Tom Jenni and Rediscover Montana’s trout, and then arriving at a fully his crew of seasoned Montana best rivers through prepared camp for a lavish meal of guides for several years, we are well organized, rack of lamb, grass-fed bison or wild continually amazed by how many professionally run salmon? And you can head out after remarkably productive blue ribbon multi-day float trips. you’re full and fish the evening hatch floats there are to choose from. Our in front of camp until the last rays clients can select from multi-day of summer light have left the water. overnight trips on the Yellowstone, Madison, Camps include covered dining areas, large Missouri, Blackfoot, Clark’s Fork and Bitterroot rivers. comfortable tents, cots, sleeping pads, and even Tom’s trips not only stand out for the nature of hot showers. Truly the ultimate way to get the most the waterways they fish, but also for their guides, fun and adventure out of a summer trip to Big Sky equipment, work ethic and remarkable gourmet Country! meals. Honestly, what could be finer than spending
Rockies - Canada
Trip Details Eastslope owner and head river guide Cam Jensen hoisting a beauty. Photo: Randy Morton
Eastslope Adventures, Alberta
n the heart of endless farm and guides focus on fishing dry flies An unspoiled wild trophy ranch country in southwest to large wild trout while wading. trout fishery where large Alberta lies an undiscovered area Although the bulk of this program super hot rainbows still rise with impressively large trout, is walk and wade, the early season to well presented dries. wide open country and very little is dominated by day trips in rafts. angling pressure. It is here that Cam Jensen has estab Packages include accommodations and meals at a lished his legacy as a guide and protector of some of rustic log lodge situated on the Waterton River, the same the most remarkable and classic trophy trout fisheries river that recently produced Alberta’s new record brown in North America. trout. This is a sophisticated wild trophy trout fishery Cam’s Eastslope Adventures specializes in guidwith prolific insect hatches and some of the largest and ing a host of productive and unspoiled trout fisheries feistiest fish south of Alaska. On the best days you can in southwest Alberta, including the Castle, Oldman, hook serious numbers of fish but this is best thought Waterton and St. Mary’s river drainages. Cam and his of as a quality, not quantity destination.
Season: June 16 – October Fish Species: Rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout Lodge Capacity: 8 anglers Rate: $2,240 for a 5 night/4 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Rockies - Canada
Season: July – mid-October Fish Species: Westslope cutthroat, rainbow, and bull trout Lodge Capacity: 8 anglers Rate: CAD $1,673 per person plus GST for a 5 night/4 day package at Park Place Lodge (meals not included) Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com The Fernie region offers incredible dry fly fishing for West Slope cutthroat. Photo: Charles Gehr
Elk River Guiding, British Columbia
e often receive calls from and Michel systems. Scenic, uncrowded dry anglers who are in search Elk River Guiding Company fly rivers where Montana of quality dry fly fishing for wild offers stays of varying lengths as guides go for their trout on uncrowded, scenic North well as a wide range of accompersonal fishing vacations American freestone rivers. It sounds modations. Private parties of 4-8 so simple, but in today’s competitive world this quintanglers can take advantage of the remote full service essential experience has become increasingly hard to accommodations at Trout Post Lodge while smaller come by. For the past four years we have directed many parties can enjoy the restaurants and night life within of these anglers to Elk River Guiding located in Fereasy walking distance of several accommodations that nie, British Columbia. Elk River Guiding Company range from simple to sophisticated. This is a great trip specializes in drift and wade fishing on the waters of for couples and hardcore trout hunters alike. Numersoutheastern BC and southern Alberta focusing on ous non-angling activities are available for those who seven floats on the Elk, as well as numerous walk and would rather take in the region’s superb scenery than wade beats on the Crow’s Nest, Bull, Fording, Wigwam enjoy the magic of these exceptional dry fly streams. Page 48
Pacific Northwest - Grande Ronde River
Fly Water’s Pacific Northwest specialist Charles Gehr works his snake roll on the the Ronde. Photo: Water Hodges/tenandtwomagazine.com
Speywater Lodge & Floats
Season: September – early November Fish Species: Summer steelhead Lodge Capacity: 6 anglers Rate: $1,680 per person for a 4 night/3 day lodge package, $1,890 per person for a 3 night/4 day float trip Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
f the name of this lodge seems fish the Ronde in late October and The ultimate spey fishing biased, wait until you meet the early November. boot camp for anglers guides! Located on the Grande Limited to six anglers per keen on improving Ronde River, near Troy, Oregon, week, this is not only an operation their skills this low key, high value operation that prides itself on fishing hard, is where some of the Northwest’s finest steelheaders but also a place where anglers can learn a great deal and spey casters congregate for a final month of guidabout steelhead fishing and the art of spey casting. ing and instruction. Renowned spey instructor Scott Often described as a miniature Deschutes or a tiny O’Donnell heads a crew of diehard steelhead guides replica of the Thompson, the Ronde has cast its who love the Ronde and the steelhead it sustains. spell on many of the sport’s most distinguished Originally built as a private home for legendary steelheaders and spey casters. We invite you to join Creedence Clearwater Revival vocalist John Fogerty, their ranks. Speywater Lodge is a seasonal flash in the pan that Multi-day guided floats with the same guide operates as a lodge for less than 30 days a season. This crew are also available on the lower river in September comfortable home is the ultimate hub from which to and October.
Landis Armstrong anticipating the tug. Photo: Ken Morrish
Pacific Northwest - Summer Steelhead
or many, summer steelheading defines the Pacific Northwest angling experience. With a wide range of angling styles and a colorful array of skilled guides, the waters of Oregon and California offer more quality steelheading options than most realize. From July through November steelhead anglers enjoy relatively stable flows and amenable weather. At Fly Water we know these fisheries and the best guides like the back of our hand. With everything from walk-and-wade day trips to deluxe multi-day river camps, we can build an itinerary that will show you what we love most about the Pacific Northwest and its remarkable steelhead fisheries. Rogue The Rogue River is one of the most consistent and approachable steelhead fisheries in the lower 48. Regardless of fly fishing technique, the Rogue River has water for everyone. Whether you like to drop heavily-weighted nymphs into dark slots under a strike indicator or ply the surface with a riffle hitched skater, we are confident the Rogue River could be the setting for your next favorite fishing story. Ashland & the Upper Rogue: Day floats average $425 per day Morrison’s Lodge: $1,400.60 per person for a 4 night/ 3 day package Wild & Scenic Rogue Floats: $2,150 per person plus tax for a 3 night/4 day float trip Deschutes The Deschutes is a desert oasis rife with wild rainbows, hearty steelhead, whitewater and stunning scenery. Long considered a “temple of spey”, this is a great destination for perfecting your two-handed casting. If you long to hook powerful, ocean-fed fish on a dry line, this is the place! Day Trips: $500-$625 per day Multi Day Camp Trips: $1,600 per person for a 3 night/4 day package Jet Boat Camp: $1,500-$1,800 per person for a 3 night/ 4 day package, based on double occupancy North Umpqua Oregon’s North Umpqua River is the quintessential Cascadian river – steep, swift, crystal clear, and in-
credibly beautiful. It is also an American classic that has captured the souls of countless anglers and drawn them back year after year to test their skills against one of the most challenging and rewarding races of steelhead in the world. Split-shift days on the water entail sometimes difficult wading and multiple trips up and down the riverbank. Day Trips: $450 per day Steamboat Inn: $1,250 per person for a 4 night/ 3 day package Willamette Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors, the Middle Fork of the Willamette River has quietly been gaining a reputation as a destination for serious steelhead fly anglers. With many miles of easily waded holding water perfectly suited to swinging flies and annual summer steelhead returns in the tensof-thousands, the Middle Fork is one of the most productive urban fly fisheries in the lower 48 states. Day Trips: $425 per day Trinity As California’s top producing system for adult fly caught steelhead, the Trinity is a remarkable river that means many things to many people. There are endless ways to fish the Trinity and multiple reaches that are rarely seen by the majority of visiting anglers. We work with the river’s best guides to offer day trips and remote overnight camps. Day Trips: $425 per day Camp Trips: $750 per person for a 1 night/2 day trip
For hearty anglers Fly Water represents the widest range of winter steelhead trips in the West. Photos: Ken Morrish
Pacific Northwest - Winter Steelhead
inter steelheading is not for everyone. While often harsh and unpredictable, for those that persevere and finally feel the power of these remarkable fish, it becomes the ultimate obsession. For the determined northwest steelheader the coastal systems of California, Oregon and Washington offer a limitless playground full of untold possibilities. From December through April, winter steelhead ascend the coastal rivers of the Pacific Northwest under interesting and demanding water conditions. At Fly Water Travel we have spent years exploring the coastal fisheries and developing relationships with the best winter steelhead guides in the Pacific Northwest. Selected not only for their expertise in finding and catching fish, our team of impassioned professionals are among the best spey instructors in the West, ensuring that you come away a more skillful angler. Northern Oregon Coast From mid February through early May the rivers surrounding the greater Tillamook Bay region on the northern Oregon coast transform into some of the most productive and seductive winter steelhead rivers in North America. Structurally they are a “swing” fisherman’s paradise and the quarry is almost always sea bright, wild and willing to chase a well swung fly. For anyone interested in perfecting the art of spey casting while fishing for some of the world’s finest winter steelhead, this is a spectacular venue. Lodging options include motels in Tillamook and hotels in the more upscale Cannon Beach. Day Trips: $525 per day Southern Oregon Coast There are a number of excellent rivers in the greater Gold Beach region including the Rogue, Chetco, Elk and Sixes. The guides at Confluence Outfitters fly fish all of these systems depending on flows, time of year and their guests’ angling preferences. Jet boats are used for transportation on the larger systems while the smaller rivers are accessed by raft or on foot. Fishing techniques include the wet fly swing with spey rods and dead-drift techniques, depending on water conditions and rivers fished. Custom packages for groups of 2-6 anglers that include accommodations at ocean-side cottages are easily arranged. Day Trips: $450 per day
Olympic Peninsula, Washington The combination of the Olympic Mountain’s breathtaking landscape and healthy returns of trophy steelhead make Washington’s OP a sought after angling venue. Rivers like the Hoh, Sol Duc, Bogachiel, Queets, and Calawah remain a true stronghold of wild trophy winter steelhead. For this special fishery we work with seasoned experts Jeff Brazda, Aaron O’Leary and the pros at Emerald Water Anglers. Lodging at the “Bogy House” on the Bogachiel River ensures you’re never far away from the fish or a warm retreat after a day’s fishing. Day Trips: $525 per day Bogy House: $1,425 per person plus tax for a 3 night/3 day package Smith River, California Tucked away in the remote northern reach of California’s redwoods, the Smith is a raw, demanding, gem-like river unlike any other. As California’s last free-flowing river, the Smith hosts remarkable returns of large wild steelhead that test the skills of the most seasoned anglers. Widely considered “too much of a river for the fly fisher” and historically lacking the guide expertise to unlock its secrets, Fly Water Travel has enlisted master guide Rich Zellman to finally share this remarkable resource with the public. Packages best suited to adventuresome, experienced anglers are limited to two anglers and include lodging and meals at Rock Creek Ranch. Rate: $1,139 per person for a 3 night/2 day package
Kris Hamrick works the spring-fed waters of the upper McCloud. Photo: Ken Morrish
Pacific Northwest - Trout
he trout waters of Oregon, California and Washington are as diverse and interesting as any in the world. Ranging from high desert rim rock streams, to languid spring creeks, to rolling freestones tumbling through dense conifers, the Pacific Northwest offers an endless array of options for the intrepid trout angler. Through our vast experience of fishing and guiding the trout fisheries of the Pacific Northwest, the staff at Fly Water Travel is uniquely qualified to help you find the right destination at the right time of year. We work with a wide range of regional professionals who offer everything from day trips to multi-day downriver adventures. Deschutes Oregon’s Deschutes River and its wild “Redsides” create one of the West’s most unique and captivating trout fisheries. A powerful oasis in the desert, the Deschutes is a true angler’s river with a sophisticated continuum of subtle hatches and varied water types that captivate fly fishers of all skill levels. Having guided the river full time for five years, Fly Water’s Charles Gehr has handpicked a team of dedicated professionals to successfully lead our guests through the ever-changing faces of this remarkable river. Day Trips: $500 per day Camp Trips: $1,600-$2,000 per person for a 3 night/4 day trip Williamson As Oregon’s Klamath Lake warms, countless large rainbows migrate into its cold flowing tributaries, the most notable of which is the Williamson. On the right days there are more fish caught here over 20 inches than under and sometimes there are true monsters. A river of many moods, the Williamson can require visiting anglers to utilize every trick in the book but the rewards are worth it. Day Trips: $450 per day Yamsi Ranch: $1,125 per person for a 3 night/3 day package with 1 day guided fishing Lonesome Duck: Great rental homes and guides. Call for details. Klamath’s Keno Canyon This rough and tumble section of Oregon’s Klamath River offers pocket water fishing for huge wild rainbows from guided self-bailng rafts. With a relatively
short spring and fall season, don’t delay in being one of the first outsiders to enjoy the West’s most exciting trophy rainbow system. Day Trips: $450 per day Burney, California The Burney region is the epicenter for northern California’s best fly fishing. Options include walk and wade trips, fishing from rafts, jon boats or drift boats. Energetic waders enjoy the challenge of systems like the Pit and McCloud Rivers while guests who prefer easier wading feel at home on Hat Creek, Burney Creek and some of the region’s smaller streams. The sophisticated hatches of the Fall River are fished from aluminum jon boats with the assistance of electric motors. Let us help you find the guides and fisheries you will enjoy the most. Day Trips: $425 per day McCloud A classic pool-drop pocket water river flowing through a steep old growth canyon, the McCloud is northern California’s most rugged and beautiful freestone fishery. Its aggressive hard-fighting rainbows have been planted around the world and in their native stream they are often stalked with nymphs and streamers. In the fall, spawning browns add an extra thrill. Rate: $445 per day Upper Sacramento With nearly 40 miles of pools, pockets, riffles and runs, excellent wade fishing access and ongoing enlightened management, the Upper Sac has regained its place as one of California’s premier wild trout fisheries. Rate: $445 per day
“When it comes to sheer numbers of fish, patient skilled guides, a flexible fishing program and warm friendly atmosphere, Christmas Island Outfitters has it all. I look forward to returning with another group soon.” – Al Kyte, Moraga, CA
Saltwater Flats - Christmas Island
Christmas Island Outfitters
he fact that virtually every fly Experience the world’s most hunters and love nothing more than to share with their guests the thrill angler in North America has consistent year-round of hooking these monsters. Excellent heard of Christmas Island is far from fishing for bonefish and blue water fishing for tuna, wahoo, coincidence. Amidst the vast inventrevally with skilled, and trevally is also available. tory of the world’s saltwater destinawarm hearted guides Catering to groups of eight tions, Christmas Island is a unique to twelve anglers per week, accommodations at and natural masterpiece that magically combines all Christmas Island Outfitters consist of seven private the elements critical to fly fishing success. Endless hard bungalows that sleep two anglers each. Rooms are sand flats, remarkable numbers of cruising bonefish simple, clean and spacious and have private baths, and trevally, and consistent year-round weather await fans, screened windows, and refrigerators. The comall who visit this unique atoll. mon meeting area features a friendly bar and a casual Guides at Christmas Island Outfitters have been dining area where fresh, simple meals are served in handpicked for their overall level of experience and the morning and evening hours. Flexible by design skill, calmness under pressure, and instructional abilito ensure quality fishing, the daily schedule and ties. Each day anglers will depart via truck or catamameal times at Christmas Island Outfitters often vary ran for the day’s fishing. Virtually all fishing entails slightly in order to take advantage of the best tides sight casting to visible fish while wading in shallow and fishing conditions. water. Christmas Island’s plentiful bonefish average Whether you are an experienced saltwater angler 2 to 4 pounds, though each week presents numerous or a novice keen on honing your flats fishing skills, opportunities for larger specimens in the 5 to 10 pound Christmas Island Outfitters offers the finest and most class. The guides at Christmas Island Outfitters are also intimate angling experience the island has to offer. among the atoll’s most skilled and passionate trevally
Season: Year-round Fish Species: Bonefish, three species of trevally, wahoo, tuna Lodge Capacity: 8-12 anglers Rate: $2,320 per person for a 7 night/6 day package plus round-trip airfare between Honolulu and Kiribati Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
The Indian Ocean represents the ultimate saltwater adventure: Big travel, big risks, and even bigger rewards. Photos: Brian Gies
Saltwater Flats - Indian Ocean
o doubt you have heard the stories from wide-eyed anglers returning from the heart of the Indian Ocean. For those who have not yet been, the tales, while true, are hard to swallow: steady streams of large, aggressive bonefish flooding pristine flats, huge trevally and barracuda, mysterious schools of super-charged milkfish, permit, triggerfish and some of the best flats guides in the business. Often referred to as the best bonefishing in the world, the only downside to the Indian Ocean is that once you have fished here you will be forever spoiled. With three new land-based operations and a new boat-based adventure in the Mauritius, there has never been a more exciting time to visit this region.
Alphonse Island Resort This is the tried and true Seychelles operation where world-class fishing is complimented by exceptional accommodations. Alphonse offers guests refined international cuisine and tasteful waterfront chalets complete with private verandas and bathrooms with open-air showers. Fishing program now limited to ten anglers. Rate: $7,295 per person for a 7 night/6 day fishing package Farquhar Island Long known to only the inner circle of adventuresome saltwater anglers, Farquhar is a fly fishing dream. Large, uneducated bonefish tailing over white sand flats, super-charged trigger fish working marl, and unprecedented numbers of pugnacious giant trevally, make this trip an admittedly hard act to follow. Rate: $7,500 per person for a 7 night/6 day fishing package Desroches Island Resort Desroches is destined to become the new standard in
luxury fishing accommodations. Four bedroom deluxe beachfront villas have private swimming pools, central living and entertainment area as well as a modern kitchen and a private chef. While enjoying Desroches’ many fine amenities, anglers fish the nearby flats of Poivre and St. Joseph islands. Rate: Please call for details. St. Brandon’s, Mauritius Due east of Madagascar and 300 miles northeast of the island of Mauritius lies an obscure and seldom visited atoll that may be the greatest bonefishing destination in the world. Fished from the comfort of a luxurious 96 foot live aboard, St. Brandon’s atoll is a wade fisherman’s paradise blessed with enormous hard sand flats and staggering numbers of huge bonefish. In addition to this incomparable bonefish resource, anglers will also encounter good numbers of Indo-Pacific permit, bluefin, golden, yellow dot, green spot and giant trevally. Rate: €6,700 per person for a 7 night/6 day fishing package
With wade fishing, great accommodations, a long season and lots of hearty fish, Los Roques remains a Fly Water favorite. Photos: Ken Morrish
Saltwater Flats - Venezuela
Trip Details Season: February – October Fish Species: Bonefish and jacks Lodge Capacity: 20 anglers Rate: $4,250 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com Mia Morrish with a handsome Los Roques bonefish. Photo: Ken Morrish
Sight Cast, Los Roques, Venezuela
While the area abounds with tarpon, Wade fish for big bones hen placed on the spot and barracuda, and jacks, it is the worldwhile enjoying fine meals asked which bonefishing class bonefishing that draws anglers and boutique hotel destinations in the world get our back year after year. highest marks, no conversation is accommodations Similar to Christmas Island, Los complete without mention of Chris Roques is blessed with consistent weather and waYrazabal’s operation in Los Roques. The reasons are ter temperatures, not to mention high fish counts. many: the fishery is truly remarkable; the accomBonefish average 4 pounds with numerous fish in the modations are exceedingly tasteful; and the guides 6 to 10 pound class. Meals and accommodations at and staff are as good as they get. Acuarela Lodge are greatly enjoyed by anglers and Technically an atoll within the Lesser Antilles, discerning non-anglers alike. For anglers who love to the Los Roques region is made up of more than 300 wade fish for high numbers of good sized bonefish, cays, with a vast diversity of saltwater habitats includLos Roques is truly one of the finest flats fishing ing magnificent coral beds, grass and hard sand flats, destinations in the world today. Stays of varying pristine beaches, and remarkable “pancake” flats. Betlengths are available. ter yet, nearly all of the fishing is done while wading.
TARpon Nirvana by Dylan Rose
The fertile mangrove edges at Tarpon Cay Lodge can yield some breathtaking encounters. Photo: Dylan Rose
he full dynamic expression of chasing fish with flies can be As the winter winds subside and the building ridges of high pressure witnessed on a single day targeting juvenile tarpon. From the begin to flood the northern Yucatan with sunshine in May, the baby explosive top water annihilation of a gurgler skimming along tarpon activate and venture out of the mangroves and onto the fertile the surface, to the deliberate pulsing throb of a Sardina pattern flats surrounding Tarpon Cay. Roving packs of 5-15 lb. tarpon ply the being engulfed in deep water, these prehistoric oxygen breathing fish can shallow waters gorging on sardines and shrimp throughout the spring send an angler’s adrenaline into overdrive and set their drag systems ablaze. and summer. Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula offers visiting anglers the most prolific Anglers outfitted with fast action 8 and 9 weight rods keep a sharp juvenile tarpon waters found anywhere on the planet. Whipper-snappers eye out for nervous water and rolling fish. From the casting decks of cusin the 2-5 lb. range begin their predatory life in the fertile mangrove tomized 18ft pangas, anglers armed with floating lines and 2/0 baitfish or eco-systems, rivers, lagoons and cenotes that inundate the coastshrimp patterns stand ready to speedily presal waters surrounding the peninsula. As the juvenile ent a fly to rolling fish. Baby tarpon from as fish mature so does their insatiable apfew as two or three individuals to as many as petite and those 5 lb babies quickly will one-hundred seem to blanket the flats at times. turn into 50 lb predators. As they grow As small bands of brilliant pink flamingos glide into a creature worthy of the Latin name low across the flats against a perfect Mexican sky, Megalops Atlanticus one fact remains, their the scene could best be described as Tarpon Nirvana. inexhaustible willingness to silently slide up to a fly pattern and At times the game can become more about the Tequila Popper crush it with all of their might. Two amazing operations on the challenge of jumping as many tarpon as possible as opposed to northern portion of the Yucatan have developed unique programs to speactually landing them. Their brutally hard mouths repel even the sharpest cifically target these remarkable fish with a fly. hooks with amazing proficiency. Surface flies stripped quickly will gurgle and pop their way across open water and at times it seems these baby Tarpon Cay Lodge brawlers will crawl over each other to eat your top water offering. NeutralThe rich azure blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the charming villy buoyant fly patterns tied with spun deer hair or bits of foam smoothly lage of San Felipe set the scene for an excursion to Tarpon Cay Lodge. glide over short bunches of dark colored turtle grass and a well positioned Each morning a small band of women awake at 4am to sweep the streets cast to feeding fish almost always draws attention. The black golden hue with handmade brooms, making San Felipe the cleanest Mexican townof their backs perfectly matches the color of the bottom making it nearly ship you’ll ever see and one of the best kept secrets in all of Mexico. impossible to see them through the water. Luckily for us, happy tarpon The diverse tarpon fishery takes advantage of two major biosphere preswim along gulping breaths of air and slashing at bait. serves, the Parque Natural San Felipe stretching 20 miles to the west and Throughout the summer the scene replays itself under ideal condiRio Lagartos stretching some 30 miles to the east. This incredibly rich tions when the mercury rises and calm winds settle in. As fall approaches, eco-system offers the most well-rounded, interesting and productive baby opportunities for larger migratory fish arise. Long runs from the lodge tarpon fishery found anywhere in the world. with fingers crossed for calm weather may yield fish to 100 lbs or even
“This incredibly rich eco-system offers the most well-rounded, interesting and productive baby tarpon fishery found anywhere in the world.” Page 63
Tarpon Nirvana larger. During this time of year Tarpon Cay Lodge may be the only deswould deem that the tarpon would be tough to find. It was hard to deny tination in the world where one can experience the joy of tarpon fishing the sinking feeling in my gut that the outlook was not good. Luckily for with encounters at every stage of their life cycle. With tarpon available us, however, it would only be a couple of hours before I’d find out just from 8 inch babies to 150 lb behemoths, their whole life cycle is on dishow wrong my intuition was. play during the late summer and fall. The guides peered down at their hand-held GPS units and instructed Few things make traveling anglers happier than the split shift fishus to sit tight as our morning fishing location was dialed in. We were posiing program at Tarpon Cay Lodge. Each morning the fishing day begins tioned about 2 miles off shore and the distant green jungle of the shoreline around 6am and extends to about 11am. After the morning session, anwas barely visible through the sodden mist. Broken bits of eel grass dotted glers have an opportunity to crack open a cold cerveza during the heat of the surface and peering down through the black water I could see the botthe day while relaxing back at the lodge. For lunch, guests enjoy a fabutom about 10 feet below. My instincts continued to tell me that this was lous home-cooked Mexican meal and afterwards indeed going to be just-one-of-those-days and most will doze off for an afternoon siesta in the that we would be licking our wounds at dinner, cool bliss of their air conditioned rooms. There is fishless with a cold cerveza in hand and dreaming time to mend tackle or tie flies ahead of the evening of what could have been. fishing session which kicks in to high gear by 3pm. As the morning drizzle began to subside, the Anglers will fish through the evening sunset and water flattened into a silky smooth surface. Our typically arrive back at the lodge around 7pm for cocktails guide Sam slipped the small panga along the deep flat. I Tarpon Cay Lodge Special and dinner. was certain my eyes were deceiving me as far off on the The casual atmosphere, skilled guides and insanely productive fishhorizon we began seeing large tarpon launching themselves clear out of ing are all hallmarks of this small but polished operation. When I close the water. It was almost easier to see the massive white splash against the my eyes and think of Tarpon Cay Lodge I see a 20 lb tarpon piercing the grey sky as they hit the surface than the fish themselves. Nervous laughter calm of dusk by erupting on a popper and launching itself five feet in spread across the deck of the boat as we poled ever closer to what looked the air — all while silhouetted against a perfectly golden Yucatan sunset. like the happiest tarpon in the world. As we quietly continued to head At Tarpon Cay Lodge this is the reality and the experience is one you’ll towards the busting fish Sam destroyed the rather peaceful anticipation never forget. by hollering out, “Fish coming! 9’ o’clock! They coming! Now! NOW!” I looked over to see a school of 50 tarpon rolling and splashing their way Isla Del Sabalo directly towards the boat like a pack of Friday night teenagers, high fiving their way down Main Street. It had been nearly 6 months since paying clients had fished the waters sur My fishing partner Rob brilliantly uncorked a 70 foot cast towards rounding Isla Del Sabalo and an unusually gray and gloomy May mornthe frolicking beasts and in an instant a 40 lb tarpon was on and airing hung thick in the air. As our small two boat regatta set out from the borne. After the initial bursts of thrilling leaps and runs Rob’s screaming lodge, we squinted through the dribbling rain on our way out to the flats. Abel reel began to quiet down and the fish settled in for a long dogfight. It seemed that the weather gods were not on our side this day and that fate
“Nervous laughter spread across the deck of the boat as we poled ever closer to what looked like the happiest tarpon in the world.” Page 64
Left: The bulletproof face of a Tarpon Cay Lodge juvenile tarpon. Right column top: Rob reachesTarpon Nirvana at Isla Del Sabalo. Right column middle left: A simple beach front cottage at Isla Del Sabalo. Right column middle right: The evening fishing session at Tarpon Cay Lodge can provide for some spectacular scenery. Right column bottom: A 30 lber tail walks just moments after inhaling a sardina pattern at Isla Del Sabalo. Photos: Dylan Rose Page 65
“Hands down, the best tarpon catching I’ve ever seen or heard of. You need to lie about how good this was because nobody will believe us!”
Looking up from the viewfinder of my camera I noticed that both anescapes the pressure and scene associated with life near a larger town. The glers in our partner boat were hooked up and I flashed them an excited operation is extremely remote, which becomes very apparent on the drive fist-pump. They appropriately responded with exuberant double thumbsin from Merida. Small, winding single lane roads course through a maze up and their laughter and exclamations were barely audible over Rob’s of ancient Mayan villages and towns. Once you arrive at the lodge, even schoolboy giggles. the nearest gas station is over two hours away. It wasn’t long before tarpon were visible in all di It’s hard to know if the amazing action we experections and as soon as we released one fish, another rienced at Isla Del Sabalo was just random good was quickly hooked up. It was truly one fish on after luck or simply the outcome of fishing unpressured another for the better part of 6 straight hours. The action was, at waters in a very remote setting. The lodge is only times, so furious that on three separate occasions I lost big fish during entering its 5th year of operation and as a result there is still the fight, only to have another one grab the fly as I continued much to be explored — especially since relatively few anglers Megalopsicle my retrieve. On another cast I watched as four separate fish have visited when compared to Tarpon Cay Lodge. Two things engulfed my Tequila Popper at different times during the same are certain however, the fact that I will never in my life forget retrieve before I was finally able to drive the hook home on the fifth. the spectacular fishing we experienced last May, and the fact that I will The lodge owner Marco sensed that we were all experiencing a very definitely be back for more. special morning of fishing and hollered over to us, “My friends, this is Conclusions NOT normal! Enjoy it while you can!” We certainly took his advice. After more than forty 20-50 lb tarpon were hooked by our boat alone; we sat The northern Yucatan’s beauty will steal your breath away and the bountiour drained bodies down on the seats of the panga and cried, “No Mas!” ful opportunities to target juvenile tarpon with a fly are an angler’s dream. In a note sent to me after we returned home Rob perfectly summed up There is simply no better way for one to get acquainted with tarpon than the experience by saying, “Hands down, the best tarpon catching I’ve ever a trip to Tarpon Cay Lodge or Isla Del Sabalo (or both on the same trip). seen or heard of. You need to lie about how good this was because nobody While the tackle, techniques, fly patterns and rigging strategies for these will believe us!” fish are not overly complex, there are some key aspects of the game that The beauty of Isa Del Sabalo lies in its simplicity. Anglers reside in will become apparent on one of these trips. A single week will jump basic, air conditioned beach cabanas, with two beds, a table and a private start your learning curve and give you the confidence to target tarpon bathroom. Each morning the pangas are loaded and beach launched in front anywhere you may find them. Their dazzling aerial displays, willingness of the property, mere steps away from your room. Meals are served under a to eat a well presented fly and brute strength will give anglers accustomed large central palapa and consist of down-home Mexican comfort food. The to a dedicated bonefish trip a refreshing change-of-pace. If you’ve not guides, while not adept at English, are very experienced and are brilliant booked a Yucatan trip focused solely on baby tarpon then it’s about time, at working with the needs of fly anglers in relation to their casting angles because to steal a line from the great Warren Miller, “you’ll only be one and the wind. Located about 50 km north of Campeche, Isla Del Sabalo year older when you do.” Page 66
How to Get There
Flights to/from Cancun or Merida. Transportation to the lodges are by air conditioned van. The drive takes approximately 2.5-4 hours.
When to Go Resident baby tarpon are readily available in April and last throughout September. Bigger migratory fish are around starting in mid-August through mid-October.
Tackle & Technique Most of the fishing is accomplished with 8 and 9 weights. Tropical floating lines are the standard with a few instances where clear sinking intermediates or light sink-tips are useful. Fly patterns in 1/0 and 2/0 are considered the “norm” with special attention to gurglers, poppers and floating shrimp. TCL Specials, Enrico Puglisi baitfish patterns, Cockroach variations, and various Tarpon Toads are also effective. Patterns that emulate Sardinas and smaller baitfish are must haves as well. For larger migratory fish, patterns tied on hooks up to 4/0 are standard.
Fly Patterns Tequila Popper Tarpon Cay Lodge Special Megalopsicle
Dylan and Rob are all grins with one of many “doubles” this morning at Isla Del Sabalo. Photo: Dylan Rose
Mexicoâ€™s Ascension Bay is a hotspot for serious anglers and non-anglers alike. Photo: Brian Oâ€™Keefe
Saltwater Flats - Mexico
Ascension Bay, Mexico
ocated 90 miles south of Cancun is the crown jewel of Mexico’s salt water ecosystems. The 1.3 million acre Sian Ka’an Biosphere Preserve encompasses and protects the rich turquoise waters of Ascension Bay. Here, among endless crystal clear flats, mangrove lagoons, channels and reefs; bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook and barracuda abound. Due to its protected status and a growing conservation ethic among its inhabitants, many agree that the region’s fishing is actually improving. Today the area is rich in quality guides and accommodations. The majority of them are located in or near the quaint fishing village of Punta Allen. At first glance they appear similar, but after years of working in the region, we have come to understand their subtle differences. So whether you are a family in search of a great fishing vacation or a seasoned angler in search of the coveted “grand slam,” we will help you find the lodge that is right for you. Casa Blanca and Playa Blanca Casa Blanca is widely considered the most established, secluded and professional operation in the greater Ascension Bay region. Located at the southern end of Ascension Bay, Casa Blanca has the guides, equipment, location and experience to keep the most experienced angler coming back. For those who want the same great fishing with non-angling companions or family members, we suggest Playa Blanca. Located just nine miles south of Casa Blanca, Playa Blanca offers a more intimate setting, a wonderful beach, Mayan ruins, and a wide range of outdoor activities. Packages include a private air charter flight to the island from Cancun. Rate: $3,872-$4,384 per person for a 7 night/ 6 day package Pesca Maya Lodge When it comes to value, flexible stay lengths, a variety of species and warm Mexican hospitality, Pesca Maya has always been at the top of our list. Located on a white sand beach just outside of Punta Allen, Pesca Maya Lodge is a casual favorite for serious anglers in search of Ascension Bay’s best fly fishing. Rate: $2,555 per person for a 5 night/4 day package
Palometa Club The Palometa Club, which translates to the “The Permit Club” is an exclusive fly fishing lodge managed by one of the sport’s most experienced lodge operators and staffed with some of the bay’s premier guides. Palometa Club caters to fly anglers who are serious about stalking permit, bonefish, tarpon and snook. Quality meals and accommodations are complimented by one-on-one guiding for the flats most elusive and sought after species. Rate: $3,650 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Grand Slam Fly Fishing Lodge Setting a new standard for quality lodging in the region, Grand Slam Fly Fishing Lodge offers anglers and their families world class fishing coupled with the region’s most luxurious accommodations. Located on a private beach outside of Punta Allen, Grand Slam is highlighted by 12 private multi-room villas, a beautifully appointed main lodge and a swimming pool. Non-fishing companions can enjoy picturesque beach lounging on king size “Bali” beach beds, kayaking, golf, snorkeling, scuba diving, kite surfing and an array of Mayan tours. Rate: $3,110-$3,530 per person for a 7 night/ 6 day package
Saltwater Flats - Mexico
Trip Details Season: Year-round with prime season being March – November Fish Species: Bonefish, tarpon, permit, barracuda, snook, jacks Lodge Capacity: 4 anglers Rate: $2,640 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Pesca Mahahual is comfortable, affordable and completely under the radar.
Pesca Mahahaul, Mexico
An intimate gem for being Tom Woodward’s head guide or small groups of anglers looking those who like being and right-hand man make him a to get “off the beaten path” Pesca off the beaten path and true pioneer and authority on the Mahahual is the place. Located near one step ahead of the regions fisheries. the town of Mahahual, Mexico beangling masses Carlos and his guide team have tween Espiritu Santo Bay and Chetpartnered with Joe and Maureen umal Bay, Pesca Mahahual focuses on Cabore who own a small boutique villa called Casa the rich saltwater tarpon lakes spread throughout the Que Canta (The House that Sings). The villa is region as well as the spectacular lesser-known fishery of located on a quiet stretch of beach just 5 miles north Chetumal Bay. Their small, highly skilled guide team of Mahahual. It consists of two complete two bedroom specializes in the intricacies of all their local fisheries. homes (separate kitchens, living room, dining room, Each day anglers choose from fishing bonefish and and bathrooms) connected by a central courtyard garpermit on the flats of Chetumal Bay via Hells Bay flats den and featuring a large balcony area on the second boats or chase tarpon and snook on the inland lakes level. Delicious home cooked Mexican meals feature using smaller skiffs. We consider head guide Carlos fresh and local seafood, produce and fruit. This place Castillo, one of the finest saltwater guides in Mexico. is a real gem for those that appreciate being several His professionalism, dedication and passion are evisteps ahead of the masses. dent to all who fish with him. His past experience of
Saltwater Flats - Honduras
Truly the ultimate deck, complete with tailing permit. Photos: Dave McCoy
Fly Fish Guanaja, Honduras
Fly Fish Guanaja is an shallow water playground. The main itting alone on a private island exciting new destination lodge features a comfortable main built on stilts, literally overlooking where serious anglers house with two air conditioned a stunning permit flat, the lodge at fish for large bonefish bedrooms and two full bathrooms, Fly Fish Guanaja is one of the most and permit well inclusive of running hot water. The interesting new destinations we have off the beaten path interior of the main building is tasteseen in the salt water world. The infully constructed of mahogany and timate setting, non-pressured fisheries the smaller guest cabin is outfitted with two beds and and emphasis on wading opportunities set the stage for a private bathroom. The deck of the lodge is expansive, the Caribbean’s definitive sleeper destination. lined with hammocks and overlooks a productive flat. This incredibly diverse fishery is comprised of The deck provides a perfect perch from which to heckle expansive sand, turtle grass and coral based flats. your fishing buddies at the end of the day, as you watch The fertile and firm ecology of the region’s flats gives them target the finicky “lodge flat” permit that come anglers excellent opportunities to wade fish about to feed in the evening. More than once a permit or 65% of the time. Stellar shots at permit and large bonefish has literally been caught by an angler casting bonefish are a daily occurrence at Fly Fish Guanaja from the deck! while still other productive options exist for tarpon With a group of six guests, the key to Fly Fish and barracuda. Guanaja is all yours and the memories made with your This operation gives groups of six anglers exclusive favorite fishing buddies are sure to last a lifetime. use of the facility and access to a brilliant Honduran
Trip Details Season: Year-round Fish Species: Permit, bonefish, tarpon, snook Lodge Capacity: 6 anglers Rate: $3,500 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Heather Hickman wades the west side of Turneffe Atoll in search of crusing bones. Photos: Brian Gies and Dylan Rose
Saltwater Flats - Belize
elize has always had a magical ring to it, and for good reason. With the lowest population density in central America, a diverse laid back English speaking population, 180 miles of fish filled Caribbean coast, 450 cays, abundant rivers, the longest barrier reef in the western hemisphere and numerous inland wildlife reserves, Belize is truly a travel friendly, nature lovers paradise. Anglers will find a staggering variety of fishing opportunities. With jungle rivers, mangrove coastlines and flats boasting healthy populations of bonefish, permit, tarpon, and snook, there is enough diversity to keep even the most hardened angler captivated. Likewise, non-anglers have countless options ranging from snorkeling and scuba, to guided birding, and Mayan ruin tours.
Belize River Lodge Belize River Lodge rests quietly on the lush, green banks of the Belize Olde River and is easy to reach from the states. The historic mahogany lodge and cottages are well known for providing a hospitable tropical experience and easy access to what we consider the most diverse array of saltwater fisheries in the nation. With rich wind protected river systems, large residential rolling tarpon and countless offshore cays loaded with permit, bonefish and snook, this place has it all. Rate: $3,795 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Long Caye Island Resort Under the same management as Belize River Lodge, this modest, small and private venue is located on an almost â€œprivateâ€? island with a wonderful beach, just an hour and a half north of Belize City. This idyllic location gives Long Caye immediate access to a great number of flats. Catering to groups of no more than six people, this venue is the perfect setting for your private/family getaway. Rate: $3,795 per person for 7 nights/6 days, (based on a group of four) Turneffe Flats The ultimate Belizean getaway for serious anglers and their non-angling friends and family, Turneffe Flats has long been recognized as one of Belizeâ€™s premier saltwater fly fishing, scuba diving and marine ecotourism destinations. Located on the Turneffe Atoll, the largest and most biologically diverse coral
atoll in the Caribbean, Turneffe boasts a remarkable diversity of saltwater options for serious fly anglers and is also one of our top choices for groups and families with non-anglers. Rate: $3,430-$3,970 per person for a 7 night/6 day package El Pescador NEW El Pescador might be the most well rounded multi sport family fishing destination in all of Belize. Located on the island of Ambergris Caye, anglers and nonanglers alike will find a myriad of available activities within easy striking distance. Bonefish and permit cruise within eye-shot of the lodge and with a slightly longer run all of the grand slam species, including resident and large migratory tarpon, permit, snook and barracuda can be found. For traveling anglers looking to bring a non-angling spouse or family along, El Pescador Lodge is a dream come true. Spectacular snorkeling, diving, kayaking as well as quality eco-tour programs are all available. The simple pleasure of lounging or swimming in one of the three on-site swimming pools is also readily available for all who visit. The charming tourist town of San Pedro also lies within an easy seven minute boat ride of the lodge. Open year-round, the incomparable El Pescador is a perfect match for both newbie and hardcore saltwater anglers alike. The top notch service and abundance of non-angling activities will leave anglers guilt free while the family stays behind and you set out to ply some of the most productive shallow water fisheries in the world. Rate: $3,655 per person for a 7 night/6 day package
Saltwater Flats - Bahamas
South Andros offers access to some of the Bahamas’ most diverse and productive flats. Photo: Andrew Bennett
Andros South, Bahamas
L Trip Details Season: October – June Fish Species: Bonefish, jacks, barracuda Lodge Capacity: 10 anglers Rate: $4,375 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com Page 74
South is ideal. Add to that remote, ocated in the settlement of Kemp’s A very well managed rarely visited cays that are home Bay on the southeastern shore and understated lodge to schools of bonefish numbering of Andros Island, Andros South where serious anglers in the thousands and expansive, Lodge fishes some of the most dipursue their sport oceanside flats that attract bruisers verse, productive and least traveled from the deep, and you will begin to see why this waters in all of the Bahamas. If you are looking for operation is confident in showing you a unique, white tablecloths and day spas, this is not your place. quality fishing experience every day of your trip. But if you are looking for clean and simple accom All anglers enjoy clean, comfortable, and air modations, skilled guides, quality equipment and a conditioned single occupancy rooms with private great fishing program, this destination needs to be bathrooms. Meals feature fresh seafood including on your list. lobster and conch, as well as other Bahamian favor Variety is most definitely the spice of life on ites. Focusing on the things that matter most, Andros South Andros. If you like the thought of miles of South prides itself on friendly service, great food and easy to wade, white sand flats, hidden and unspoiled a well-tuned fishing program that will show you the mangrove creeks, remote inland lakes, and numerous best of what this remarkable region has to offer. locations that offer shelter from the wind, Andros
Saltwater Flats - Bahamas
Trip Details Season: October – June Fish Species: Bonefish, jacks, barracuda Lodge Capacity: 16 anglers Rate: $4,975 per person for a 7 night/ 6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com Under new ownership, Mangrove Cay Club is poised to become one of the Bahamas most desirable destinations. Photo: valatkinson.com
Mangrove Cay Club, Bahamas
The most comfortable West Side. The guide staff is among angrove Cay Club is one and strategically located the best in all of Andros, having of the few destinations that lodge in all Andros spent their entire lives learning the brings all the crucial elements nuances of their home waters. Adtogether — location, management, ditionally, the lodge offers high quality loaner gear, a amenities, guides, equipment, cuisine and spectacular fly shop stocked with the right flies and any smaller flats fishing. Headed by veteran lodge manager Liz Bain, items you might have forgotten, as well as a full fly Mangrove Cay has set the bar remarkably high for Batying table. hamian bonefishing destinations. With characteristically Each of the four cottages is divided into two short runs to some of the most famous trophy bonefish suites, separated by a thick soundproof wall. The suites flats in the world, it is easy to make the case that this is have high cypress ceilings with fans, air conditioned the Bahamas’ premier flats fishing lodge. bedrooms, sitting rooms, luxurious bathrooms and From immaculate 16 foot Dolphin skiffs, anglers private porches overlooking Middle Bight. A must see fish the hallowed waters of the North, South, and destination for the discerning bonefish angler. Middle Bights in addition to the famous waters of the
Russia - Kola Peninsula
Kola, Atlantic Salmon Yokanga Main Lodge For anglers that long for large, anadromous and challenging fish in big water, nothing compares to the mighty Yokanga. The largest fish of the season enter in June and early July and many can exceed 30 pounds. Hooking them is one thing, but landing them is another thing altogether! The Yokanga offers helicopter assisted access to many miles of diverse water as well as a comfortable main lodge where anglers enjoy both single and double occupancy rooms with private baths. If it’s the big one that calls your name, this is the place. Rate: £2,950-£10,450 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Umba The Umba is a Russian classic with endless water types, big fish, gorgeous scenery and a long season. It is also one of if not the most economical offerings on the Kola Peninsula. This venue is best suited to experienced, physically fit anglers who are willing to work hard for their fish. Anglers enjoy double occupancy rooms and a comfortable main lodge overlooking a great home pool. For serious anglers looking for a serious value, and the chance at quality salmon, this is the place. Rate: ¤2,850-3,550 Euros per person for a 7 night/6 day package Page 76
Atlantic Salmon Reserve The Kharlovka Company’s Northern Rivers Atlantic Salmon Reserve is home to four of the world’s most remarkable salmon rivers including the Kharlovka, Eastern Litza, Rynda and Zolotaya. With two camps, one which serves the mighty Karlovka and rugged Eastern Litza and the other focusing on the Rynda and Zolotaya, there is enough quality trophy salmon water here to make one consider a reverse mortgage of the family farm. Both operations offer cozy single occupancy cabins and helicopter access to long, demanding walk and wade beats. If there were just one week left to fish spectacular water for big sea-bright fish, this is the place. Rates vary widely from week to week, please call for details. Ponoi River For consistent high catch rates, the Kola’s Ponoi remains the ultimate venue. We work with all of the river’s best camps including the famous Ryabaga, Brevyeni, and the economical Acha. With plenty of boat fishing and wade fishing options, the Ponoi is arguably the least demanding and most rewarding of the world’s wild salmon rivers. Rates vary from week to week, please call for details.
Russia - Kamchatka
Dr. Cliff Watts with one of his many Ozernaya rainbows. Photo Cliff Watts
Kamchatka, Russia With easy access from The Best of Kamchatka Kapushka Float There are a great many remarkable With the return of direct flights Anchorage, Kamchatka trout rivers in Kamchatka, but this from Anchorage to Petro, veteran continues to offer one is extra special. Protected by Kamchatka outfitter Will Blair is adventuresome anglers the its code name “the Cabbage,” the back at it. His two week trips may most remarkable and prolific Kapushka is ideally suited to self sufrepresent the ultimate Russian ficient anglers who enjoy thoroughly trout fishing odyssey. This trip trophy rainbow fishing working a river on foot. Its broad shalwill enable anglers to fish two of in the world low flows are easy to wade but landing Kamchatka’s finest rivers over two its monster trout is tougher. Conservative estimates place weeks. The first week is a float trip down the rugged the system’s average trout at 24 inches with specimens of and scenic Two Yurt which has not seen anglers since 30 inches landed on almost every float. More remarkable the 2008 season. This intimate freestone stream has is that these fish are incredibly thick for their size making a remarkable diversity of water and some of the best a shot at a trout in the 15 pound class a distinct possibility. mouse fishing in the world. Next it is on to the fabled Our outfitter has many years of experience on the river Ozernaya, where anglers use jet boats to access miles and encourages anglers to wade fish the meandering flows of low gradient spring creek style water packed with while the rafts bring up the rear. With a handful of mice, trophy rainbows. Both rivers have fixed double ocsome big streamers, and a stout eight weight, this is the cupancy A-Frame cabins, hot showers and a western Kamchatka float trip of a lifetime. guide to oversee that all goes smoothly. Limited to 64 total anglers for the 2012 season. Rate: $6,250 for a 7 day package, $6,350 for an 8 day pakage, $10,500 for a 12 day package Rate: $6,895 for a 6 night/5 1/2 day package
Guide extraordinaire Alejandro Biorchetti making the most of a free time fishing session. Photos: Ken Morrish
Exotics - Bolivia
Tsimane’s Asunta Lodge overlooking the upper Secure. Photo: Ken Morrish
Bolivia Tsimane Lodge After three years Tsimane remains the most exciting, new destination we have seen. Located in a remote, indigenous territory of Bolivia where the Andes meet the upper Amazon, the rivers of the region are in ways similar to systems of the Pacific Northwest or New Zealand’s South Island, but the fierce migratory golden dorado that inhabit them mandate more tarpon-like techniques. Here, anglers wading wet with eight weight rods cast five inch flies on wire leaders through endless water types with consistent catches of pugnacious, aerial dorado in the 8-35 pound class, as well as giant and often persnickety pacu. With a fabulous split lodge program, this is a true trip of a lifetime. Rate: $7,600 for a 10 night/6 day package Tsimane Outcamps NEW New for the 2013 season Tsimane will also offer two safari style satellite programs that can be booked independently, in tandem or in addition to a trip to Tsimane’s lodge program. The Agua Negra camp sleeps four anglers at fixed camp at the confluence of the of the Secure and Negra rivers. It offers both walk and wade headwaters fishing and ultra productive boat based fishing on the Secure. The upper Itirizama program is a rugged adventure where two anglers and their guides hike between small rustic camps in some
of the most remote, demanding and spectacular territory we have ever seen. For the adventuresome angler few experiences compare. Rate: $5,000 for a 5 night/4 day package. Mamuri NEW Mamuri is a one of a kind down river jungle float trip through virgin Bolivian rainforest. It has been designed for adventurous anglers looking to experience one of nature’s most spectacular ecosystems by way of a four person expedition style fishing trip. Each trip will be guided by the owner/managers Alex and Nico Trochine and their team of local and Argentine guides. The expedition will cover approximately 40 river miles setting up camps along the way. River craft will consist of two catarafts for anglers as well as a local 30 ft. motorized canoe for additional gear and staff. Over the course of the six day fishing trip anglers will have the opportunity to walk and wade a number of smaller tributaries and river junctions as well as fish from the catarafts while moving down river. The main river and its tributaries have similar features to that of the now famous rivers of Tsimane. Over the course of the trip anglers will experience both sight and blind fishing for Dorado (golden and silver), Pacu, and Yatorana. Rate: $4,950 for a 5 night/4 day package.
Exotics - Brazil
Trip Details Season: November – April 15 Fish Species: Three species of peacocks and numerous other jungle species Lodge Capacity: 14 Rate: $4,850-$5,500 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Sage representative Van Rollo with a large Temensis peacock bass. Photo: Van Rollo
Agua Boa Amazon Lodge
ocated in northern Brazil, the Agua air conditioned bungalows with two The first and finest Boa is remarkably clear, with white queen beds, a sitting area, private of the Amazon’s sand beaches more reminiscent of the bathroom, and a porch overlooking fly fishing only Florida Keys than what most expect of the river. Home to world class bird operations the Amazon jungle. Overlooking the watching and wildlife viewing, the river is the Agua Boa Amazon Lodge, the world’s first lodge also features a swimming pool, entertainment operation dedicated exclusively to pursuing peacock room, and other amenities suitable for non-anglers. bass and other jungle species on the fly. With over one hundred miles of private water, this The lodge provides anglers with a level of comis a premier peacock bass destination for discerning fort unrivaled in the Amazon. Guests stay in private, fly fishers.
Exotics - Mongolia
Traditional gers at Vermillion’s Eg Uur Taimen camp. Photo: Brian Gies
ongolia offers massive surface oriented fish, an unequalled cultural experience and two distinct fishing seasons (May – June, followed by September). Now with exceptional base camps and float trips available, we look forward to helping you plan a most memorable trip to Mongolia. The Taimen Camps Mongolia is a wild, unbroken land reminiscent of Montana and the American West before settlement. Here you will find some of the world’s largest remaining tracts of true wilderness, rich with clear, free flowing rivers and vast golden forests of birch, aspen, larch and alder. You will also find the world’s largest salmonid, the taimen, a vicious surface-oriented predator known for its explosive dry fly takes. While these unique fish average 28 to 30 inches, anglers have landed fish in excess of 60 inches and had encounters with fish estimated at over 100 pounds! Located in the north central portion of Mongolia, the Vermillion’s taimen camps are well-appointed with comfortable 18-foot gers (traditional Mongolian tents) complete with wood stoves, electricity, tables, chairs, and wood floors. Additionally, all camps have hot showers, translators well versed in Mongolian culture, and exceptional American guides who will help you access miles of prime water via jet boat. Rate: $5,900 per person for a 7 night/6 day package
Fish Mongolia, Delger Muron Float Trip For the truly game traveling angler, a float trip through the wilds of outer Mongolia represents one of the ultimate angling adventures. Rich with native culture, stunning scenery and countless opportunities to hook the huge fish, this wilderness float trip is unlike any other. The Delger Muron River is one of the most beautiful and best kept secrets in Mongolia. Carved through limestone and granite bedrock, this clear pristine river is flanked by spectacular cliffs and rock pinnacles. Additionally, the Delger Muron offers world-class fishing for Mongolia’s native lenok trout and grayling. Utilizing state of the art rafts with bow and stern fishing stations, anglers will cover 5-8 miles of water each day enabling ample time to wade fish prime runs. Hot lunches will be prepared streamside and anglers will arrive at fully set up overnight camps. All camps include individual tents, thermarest mattresses, a dining tent, toilet tent and simple shower. After a hearty breakfast anglers can begin working their way downstream and be picked up by their guides once camp is broken. Fish Mongolia uses both native and western guides to facilitate the most enriching and productive trip possible. Rate: $5,000 per person for a 9 night/6 day package
Trip Details Season: November – April Fish Species: Rainbow and brown trout Lodge Capacity: 12 anglers Rate: NZ $6,200 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
???? Guide Steve Perry making it happen. Photo: Owen River Lodge
Owen River Lodge
guests enjoy private cottages with ocated in the greater Nelson A small tasteful lodge king beds, reverse cycle air condiLakes/Murchison region at the where brilliant fishing tioning, fine original artwork, and north end of the South Island, Owen is paired with the handsome wood detailing. Meals River Lodge is a stylish and cool, yet highest level of service at the lodge are eclectic and superb, understated lodge for discerning fly and hospitality borrowing from Maori, Polynesian, fishers. From their home base on Asian, and European traditions in a unique fusion sixteen acres of serene riverfront property on the referred to as “Pacifica Cuisine.” Owen River, guests can easily access more than thirty Non-anglers visiting the lodge have ample acrivers in the area, most of which are less than an hour’s tivities to choose from including mountain biking, drive from the premises. The rivers of the West Coast, hiking, vineyard tours, rafting, caving, horseback Murchison, Nelson and Marlborough regions are all riding, golf, and local gallery tours. For all visitors within reach. For those willing to chopper out, even who appreciate small, secluded, service-oriented more systems await exploration. operations, this is a destination not to miss. In addition to the comforts of the main lodge,
Helicopter required. Stalking a seldom seen North Island stream. Photo: valatkinson.com
A stunning property oronui Ranch’s unique combimodern off-road vehicles or helination of world-class wilderness complimented by exceedingly copter fly-outs. For adventuresome tasteful accommodations, fishing, elegant accommodations, anglers, float trips with the option world-class fishing gourmet food and wine, varied to overnight at remote streamside and helicopter access non-angling activities, and modern camps are a must. conveniences has earned them a devout and loyal Accommodations are simple yet elegant, with following from around the world. guest cabins offering modern conveniences such as Located near the center of the North Island, east high-speed wireless internet access. Exceptional local of Lake Taupo, the ranch’s 6,000 acres are recognized cuisine is complimented by one of New Zealand’s as some of the finest and most productive trout and finest wine cellars featuring over 10,000 bottles of game habitat in the country, if not the world. Anglers award-winning local and international wines. visiting the ranch can expect to fish new water every For non-anglers the ranch offers an exceptional day. In addition to their nearly 25 miles of private equestrian program, modern mountain bikes, gym water, the ranch has special access to vast tracts of and health club facilities, billiards, sporting clays, Maori owned land as well as a limitless supply of and a luxurious safari-style tent camp located a day’s remote public water. Much of the access is gained via horse ride from the lodge.
Trip Details Season: November – April Fish Species: Rainbow and brown trout Lodge Capacity: 8 anglers Rate: NZ $7,630 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com Page 83
Chasing rainbows on a small North Island stream. Photo: Ken Morrish
Trip Details Season: Year-round Fish Species: Rainbow and brown trout Lodge Capacity: 12 anglers Rate: NZ $5,392-$5,979 per person for a 7 night/ 6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Even more notable is that the t was scarcely more than an exA proven classic with unparalleled access mighty Tongariro is just the beperiment. One fateful day in late and some of the North ginning of what makes the North 1883, Malcolm Ross’ wife Forrest Island’s finest guides Island’s angling experience so specknelt along the bank of the upper tacular. With superb heli-fishing, adventuresome Tongariro and released a small bucket of fingerlings. backcountry angling, and over thirty fishable rivBack then, no one even fantasized that these tiny ers — many of which are chock-full of large, feisty Sonoma Creek steelhead would produce one of the rainbows — this area yields some of New Zealand’s world’s most prolific rainbow fisheries. most impressive specimens and catch-rates. Today the Lake Taupo fishery is estimated to hold Guests at Tongariro Lodge enjoy well-appointed over one million fish averaging four pounds. And private cabins with private bathrooms and fine cuimore remarkably, its prime tributary, the Tongariro, sine served in the main lodge. With bird shooting, hosts 70 percent of the system’s annual spawning horseback riding, hiking, rafting, golf, and natural migration. It is no coincidence that legendary New hot pools, you will see why we consider this lodge a Zealand outfitter and angler Tony Hayes built his must for anglers and non-anglers alike. lodge on the banks of this remarkable system.
November on a small South Island stream. Photo: Ken Morrish
Guides & Custom Itineraries
here is no masking our enthusiasm for fishing the countless rivers of New Zealand. Simply put, we consider the angling experience here to be the most distilled, challenging and rewarding trout fishing in the world. As a result, we have spent countless months exploring the far reaches of both islands in search of the finest lodges and freelance guides the country has to offer. And truth be told, there are plenty of each. Due to New Zealand’s unparalleled geographical diversity, many of our clients prefer to visit and fish multiple regions during their stay. To accommodate this need we have developed relationships with lodges and guides in virtually every corner of the country. These operations range from opulent luxury retreats and fishing lodges to independent guides and local hotels rich with a down-home Kiwi flare. Cumula-
Season: October – April Fish Species: Brown and rainbow trout Lodge Capacity: 2-12 anglers Rate: Varies depending on guide and elected accommodations Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
tively these venues offer a wide range of fishing options from rugged, four-wheel-drive access day trips to helicopter fly-outs and multi-day backcountry adventures. Additional activities such as horseback riding, river rafting, guided walks, and winery tours can also be arranged for non-angling companions. At Fly Water Travel we have fished with many of the country’s finest lodges, including Poronui Ranch, Tongariro Lodge, Riverview Lodge, Lake Rotoroa Lodge, and Owen River Lodge and with many of the top independent guides. They include Dean Bell, Martin Langlands, Kevin Payne, and Nigel Birt. Our deep knowledge of and fondness for the country and its fisheries make us leading experts in creating custom itineraries. Let us help you plan a trip that promises to be one of the most enriching and interesting fishing trips possible. Trips of any length are available.
COMING of AGE
A trip through Chilean Patagonia and its best fishing lodges by Brian Gies
ast summer Fly Water Travel was lucky enough to have Rex Bryngelson, a 24 year veteran of Chilean Patagonia outfitting and the owner of La Posada de Los Farios, work out of our Ashland office for four months. Anyone that knows or has fished with Rex will tell you that he is a solid stand-up guy who loves and understands all types of outdoor adventure, especially fly fishing. During his summer in the office with us we became close and he was able to substantially deepen our knowledge of the vast and diverse fisheries of Chilean Patagonia. During his time with us he insisted that I come back down to tour not only his home waters but a vast array of operations and systems that surrounded him in the spectacular region of southern Patagonia that he calls home. One of the things I asked him to do while working with us was to write out his thoughts about where Chile now stands in the world of international fly fishing. His synopsis follows: “Chilean Fly Fishing has truly come of age and the country now boasts some of the World’s finest lodges and professional guides. The diversity of angling opportunities on Chile’s side of Patagonia is truly incredible and most anglers who make the journey to this remote and unspoiled corner of the planet find themselves yearning to return again and again. Chilean Patagonia is defined by it’s abundance of pure fresh water and possesses countless rivers, lakes and spring creeks all teeming with wild brown and rainbow trout. Combine this with a safe and friendly rural Patagonian culture and the spectacular glaciated peaks of the Andes Range, and you have designed the quintessential trout fisherman’s heaven.”
COMING of AGE True, the previous statement is quite flowery but after spending time To say I was impressed with every aspect of the trip was an underwith him, reading this statement, and consequently spending three statement. It was not that I had lights out fishing every day. However, weeks with him visiting and fishing lodges across Chile I can say his the vast majority of my days were absolutely stellar; some because of sheer statement is spot on. numbers, other because of size and to top it off, the vast majority of my Having spent the past six winters plying the flats of the trophy fish were caught on the surface. Pacific, Caribbean, and the Indian Oceans, I had been remiss All this said, it was not purely the quality in making time to fish Chile. But this past winter I made of the fishing that got my attention. I had gone it right. My pale skin needed a break from the equatorial down confident I would have a solid angling expesun and invitations from Rex and multiple other outrience and that was more than true. What really got fitters to join them on their home waters combined my attention was the exceedingly high standards of with my yearning to toss large dries at big willing the operations I visited. Everything from the quality of browns and rainbows sealed the deal. the lodging and the guides (almost all local) to the meals My mission was to spend the better part of March meeting and the equipment was most impressive. Rex’s statement that Fat Albert and fishing with as many operations on as many rivers and lakes “Chilean Fly Fishing had truly come of age” was sinking in and as humanly possible. In-between talking shop and fishing I made a firm the following three operations really drove that point home. commitment to sample as much Chilean wine and cuisine as possible. Chucao Lodge I would worry about sleeping when I got home. And that is how it went. The First operation that really got my attention was Chucao Lodge I hit the ground running and did not stop until I boarded my return located outside of Puerto Moatt. When setting out to build the the flight. Early April found me at home, completely exhausted, with mullodge of his dreams, Gonzalo Cortes quickly realized that one lodge tiple CF cards full of images, pages of notes, and a deeper enthusiasm and would not suffice so he built two: Yelcho and Rosselott, and created a respect for the lodges, guides and the overall state of the Chilean fly program where guests would split their week-long stays between the fishing experience. two. From start to finish this place delivers a remarkable and authentic To put the journey into numbers, I met with seven different outfitChilean experience omplete with rustic local architecture, savvy Chilters and fished fourteen different rivers and lakes. Starting from the town ean guides, spectacular mountain views and arguably Chile’s largest of Chaiten I fished just about every major river system down the coast wild trout. through Coyahique and then headed south. The major rivers included the Perhaps the cornerstone fishery of this area is Lago Yelcho. Amongst Yelcho, Rossolot, Figiroa, Cisnes, Simpson, and Nirehuao. Other smallanglers in the know this lake has a almost cult like following. If you’ve ever er lesser known rivers and spring creeks including some utterly fantastic had a friend show you a photo of a rainbow trout from Chile that looked lakes were thrown into the mix as well. For those of you that cringe at just too big to be true, chances are it came from this lake. During the majorthe thought of fishing lakes, know that I historically I have been right ity of the season you can find dragon flies in the reed beds that populate the with you, but now after having sight fished big browns and rainbows with back bays of the lake. The biggest trout in the lake cruise these areas dries, my opinion has forever changed.
“To put the journey into numbers, I met with seven different outfitters and fished fourteen different rivers and lakes.” Page 87
Clockwise from large photo: Walk and wade fishing the Upper Cisnes; Rexâ€™s neighbors at the end of the road; Why you should consider a lake day at Coyhaique River Lodge; The PalomaValley; Page 88 of Chucao; The backdrop at Chucao Lodge. The entry
COMING of AGE looking for a substantial meal and will often leap clean out of the water to utter novelty. Now even though the sport is firmly rooted in the area Rex’s nab the giant bugs, mid-air. place is still is considered remote. Thirteen miles from the lodge you turn off Even though I visited the lake near the end of the season there were still the pavement onto a seldom traveled dirt road and from that point forward enough of the big bugs around to keep the trout and us very busy. My first you start moving back in time. day on Lago Yelcho was one of those days that I will never forget. The huge It is difficult to describe the emotion of arriving at Rex’s place, way out lake was essentially ours and all around us the jagged peaks of the at the end of the rod. Everthing from the split rail fencing to Andes rose up out of the lush rainforest into the bright blue the signs and siding is worn and wooden; settled, expanse of the Patagonian sky. We landed multiple fat sublime and overwhelmingly inviting. The porch fiesy rainbows in the 3-5 pound class and even manbegs to be enjoyed in leisure and from it you can see aged to land one bruiser on a dry that tipped the a perfect put-in on the glimmering Rio Cisnes that is at the scale at just over 10 pounds. Accordingly, my adexclusive disposal of Rex and his team of seasoned guides. vice is that when presented the option, “take the lake In addition to four essentially private float sections on day.” You won’t regret it! his home river, Rex offers a horseback riding trip into his own In looking back at my time with Chucao, I can’t help private lake that is packed full of 20+ inch trout, access to mulbut be impressed. Their dual lodge program is generous and tiple beats on the nearby Nirehuao, hidden lagunas and the mysChernobyl Ant flexible. Travel times to and from their numerous fisheries terious sea-run fjord systems of Quelat National Park. For those are short and with the entire staff traveling between the lodges with that want to experience a wide range of fisheries, a week here just begins their guests, the “schedule” remains rather open to best accommodate to break the surface. preferences and prevailing conditions. Additionally, for those that ap For me the image and feeling of La Posada De Los Farios is what I preciate not having to hike or wade or wade rugged rivers to reach a see when I think of fishing in Chile: warm, welcoming, scenic and sincere, diverse range of trophy fisheries, Chucao’s program is truly one of the with more faboulous fishing than a full season could reveal. best I have ever seen.
La Posada De Los Farios The next place one needs to experience is La Posada De Los Farios (the Inn of the Brown Trout). It is a charming farm-style inn tucked out of the way on the banks of the Cisnes River, 2.5 hours north of Coyhaique. This diverse area offers fly fishing anglers wading and floating options on multiple rivers, streams, and lakes in a seldom traveled portion of Chilean Patagonia. La Posada’s founder Rex Bryngelson started fishing and guiding rivers in Chile back in 1989 and opened the lodge in 1994. Back then the majority of the road to his property was unpaved and fly fishing guides were an
Coyhaique River Lodge
The last and one of the most appealing destinations that I visited was Coyhaique River Lodge, located roughly 15 minutes out of the easily reached fly fishing hub of Coyhaique. In short it is a combination of a gorgeous modern facility and innovative hard working guides. In a word these guys have options. Creeks, rivers, and lakes, wading and drifting, keys to private gates, you name it they have it. When asked about Coyhaique River lodge it is hard not to go on and on about the impressive new lodge they have built. With it’s open beams and glass-fronted view of their valley, it certainly sets the new standard for
“If you’ve ever had a friend show you a photo of a rainbow trout from Chile that looked just too big to be true, chances are it came from this lake.” Page 89
Clockwise from largest photo: Brian Gies and Coyhaique River Lodge owner Gaston Urrejola with a typical brown; The main room at Coyhaique River Lodge; Owner of La Poasado de los Farios PageRex 90Bryngelson poses with a pal. Photos: Brian Gies
COMING of AGE modern fishing lodges in Chile. However, after spending just a few minutes with the owner’s Gaston and Cladio Urrejola you realize that although they are proud of their new lodge their true love is fishing, exploring, and coming up with new ways to get anglers into previously untouched waters. Although they already have access to numerous rivers and lakes within easy striking distance of the lodge the brothers are constantly working to find more options. The result is that even their long time guests find new surprises each season. While I was no stranger to the region, virtually all the venues I fished as their guest were new to me. One day we fished a clear bright blue lake ringed by peaks and caught heaps of hot rainbows up to nine pounds on dries. It was so good that for a moment I actually wished there were other anglers around to hear us laughing aloud. Another day I worked a small little-known river, using my new Winston B3x 4wt catching medium sized trout at will. The river was an absolute emulation of the river I grew up fishing with my father. Not too big, not too small, easily wadeable and
Chucao Lodge Capacity: 6-8 anglers Rate: $3,990 per person for a 7 night/ 6 Day package, $5,200 per person for a 9 Night/8 Day package La Posada de Los Farios Capacity: 6 anglers Rate: $3,950 per person for a 7 night/ 6 day package Coyhaique River Lodge Capacity: 6-8 anglers Rate: $3,950 per person for a 7 night/6 day package
chock full of fish. Its banks and nearby fields were thick with the healthiest lupine I had ever seen. It was March so the blooms were all gone but I could not get the vision of the same river in full bloom out of my head. To be there on a clear day in early sum- “Not too big, mer with the sun out, all these fish looking up, and not too small, three colors of chest-high Russell lupine blanketing the easily wadeable, banks would be about as good as it gets. and chock full As a whole I only wished I had made this trip soon- of fish.” er. I didn’t know how badly I needed to reconnect with the root of our sport: Remote wild places, warm hosts and hospitality, and lots of large willing wild trout that rose recklessly to unlikely offerings of fur, foam and feathers. Moreover, I came to better understand how a trip to this unspoiled region could easily turn into a true tour of endless angling options that cant help but be enjoyed by all that experience it. And finally, I came to fully understand what Rex meant when he said that Chile and its fly fishing potential had truly come of age.
How to Get There
To get to these lodges you need to fly to Santiago, Chile and then to Puerto Montt and Chaiten (Chucao Lodge) or Balmaceda (Coyhaique River Lodge and La Posada de los Farios.) All anglers are met at the airport and transferred to the lodges.
The standard outfit for Chile is a 6wt rod, floating line, 3X leader and a large dry fly. Although guides employ all techniques (dries, nymphs, and streamers) throughout the season there is a definite propensity to stay on top. In that vein there are all types of mayflies and caddis hatches and a solid hopper season as well but the regions abundant beetle population steals the show making large(size 8) foam dries the fly of choice.
When to Go Although most anglers head down to fish Patagonian Chile in the warmest months of January and February, the spring season (November and December) rewards anglers with the season’s first hatches and abundant displays of wildflowers. The fall (March and April) typically sees the most settled weather and least amount of Patagonian wind.
Top Fly Patterns Fat Albert Chubby Chernobyl Gypsy King Page 91
Drifters work drys on the clear flows of the Alumine River. Photo Jon Covich
Patagonia - Argentina
San Martín Region F
ounded in 1898, the picturesque town of San Martín de los Andes is perhaps the epicenter of Argentina’s finest wild trout fishing. Surrounded by the Andes and Lanín National Park, the area is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, and the ultimate hub from which to experience a classic Argentine trout fishing adventure. We have relationships with a variety of lodges in the region and find custom, multi-destination itineraries to be the preferred method of experiencing all that this region has to offer.
Spring Creek Lodge Located on the banks of Argentina’s renowned Chimehuin River, Spring Creek Lodge boasts a combination of world-class fishing and tasteful accommodations, making it a favorite for anglers visiting the area. Centrally located within the heart of the region’s most diverse and productive trout waters, the lodge offers anglers the ability to float or wade-fish the pristine, lightly traveled flows of the Chimehuin, Malleo, Alumine, Collon Cura, Calleufu, Quilquihue and Quemquemtru. From their two bedroom bungalows, guests at Spring Creek Lodge enjoy the lovely pond and private spring creek, all against the backdrop of the nearby Lanín volcano. With thoughtfully prepared meals accompanied by fine Argentine wines, this destination represents a value and overall experience that we highly recommend.
and most historic lodges in the country. Renowned for their locations, physical facilities, service, fine dining and unique angling opportunities, these estancias are a favorite for anglers and non-anglers alike. Some of our favorites include: Estancia San Huberto: This classic 25,000 acre estancia offers access to over twenty miles of the gorgeous Rio Malleo. This intimate freestone river boasts some of the most frequent hatches in Patagonia and is a must see destination for discerning anglers. Estancia Tipiliuke: This sprawling 50,000 acre estancia is a rustic classic that offers access to twenty miles of the Chimehuin and six miles of the Quilquihue. Fall stag hunts also available.
Rate: $3,500 per person for a 7 night/6 day package
Estancia Collon Cura: Float fish the famous willow lined river on Ted Turner’s private estancia. A simple but comfortable Argentine classic.
The Classic Estancias Fly Water Travel specializes in customized itineraries that incorporate stays of varying lengths at the finest
Rate: $4,080 per person for a 6 night/6 day package
Estancia Arroyo Verde: Overlooking the famous Rio Traful, the elegant Arroyo Verde has often been referred to as the finest fishing lodge in the world.
The Esquel region offers a wide range of fisheries and accommodations for visiting anglers. Photos: Jon Covich
Patagonia - Argentina
Esquel Region T
he greater Esquel region offers anglers and non-anglers alike the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of watersheds and activities that have made the area famous. We recommend planning your trip between December and March for the best weather and fishing. Esquel Outfitters More than a single lodge on a solitary stream, Esquel Outfitters is a network of skilled Argentine guides and tasteful accommodations that span the entire Chubut province. Whether you are interested in the Los Alerces region, the Esquel region, or the Rio Pico/Corcovado region, Esquel Outfitters has the expertise and connections needed to make your trip to Patagonia a most memorable and productive fishing experience. With five distinct accommodations, eleven river systems, three spring creeks, five lakes, overnight camping trips, and more than eighty miles of private river access, Esquel Outfitters has an endless array of options from which to construct your ultimate angling itinerary. All trips use English-speaking, Argentine guides with a minimum of twelve years’ guiding experience, ensuring not only great fishing but a true Argentine experience from start to finish. While trips of any length are welcome, itineraries of ten days or more enable anglers to comfortably visit and fish all three of these remarkable regions. For those who want to enjoy some of the world’s finest wild trout fishing and at the same time indulge in a real Argentine adventure, this is the ultimate venue. Rate: $4,025 per person for a 7 night/6 day package
Challhuaquen Lodge In the local Mapuche Indian language Challhuaquen translates to the “fishing place.” Located in the Trevelin valley in Argentinean Patagonia, Challhuaquen Lodge overlooks the Futaleufú River on the edge of Los Alerces National Park. Here fly fishers enjoy a combination of floating and wading on rivers and spring creeks such as the Futaleufú, Corintos, Rivadavia, Arrayanes, Nant-Y-Fall spring creek, Desaguadero, and Corcovado Rivers. In addition, anglers have the opportunity to fish the legendary private spring creeks of Estancia Arroyo Pescado for large, selective trout. But in fact, Challhuaquen Lodge is far more than a simple “fishing place.” With arguably the finest meals and accommodations in the area, Challhuaquen is our top pick for couples and families visiting this special region. Non-anglers can enjoy the many wonders of Los Alerces National Park, including birding, hiking, horseback riding, visits to waterfalls, and local Mapuche Indian reservations. With train rides on the Patagonia Express, a fine local museum and an outstanding Argentine staff, this operation enables anglers and non-anglers alike to get the most out of this stunning and diverse region. Rate: $4,550 per person for a 7 night/6 day package
Patagonia - Argentina
Trip Details Season: Mid-November â€“May Fish Species: Brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout Lodge Capacity: 6 anglers Rate: $5,390 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
David Cole getting it done on one of Northern Riversâ€™ private spring creeks. Photo: Ken Morrish
Northern Patagonia Fishing Club
fishing program takes special n recent years Fly Water Travel A mecca for discerning pride in targeting remote reaches has been flooded by new lodges dry fly anglers who like to of public water as well as a host in the greater Patagonia region sight fish in solitude for of smaller private systems. Here seeking representation. While large selective trout the end game is sight fishing to all had their merits, Northern large selective trout with dry flies. With abundant Rivers was the only one that stood out as something hatches, crystal clear spring creeks, willow lined freespecial. Designed and managed by the team that stones as well as larger rivers that can accommodate started La Zona, Far End Rivers, and the acclaimed day trips and overnight float trips, this region has it Tsimane operation in Bolivia, we have every reason all. Under the skilled supervision of experienced local to believe that the Northern Rivers too will become guides the crew at Northern Rivers can customize a coveted classic. the week to suit your individual fishing preferences. The Alumine region of northern Patagonia has Lavish accommodations at the new estancia are been compared with southern Colorado and northcomplimented by fine local food including organic ern New Mexico and hosts a remarkable diversity of produce and plenty of rich Argentine wine. seldom seen trout rich waters. The Northern Rivers
Patagonia - Argentina
Simply put Jurassic is the world’s most remarkable and prolific rainbow fishery. Photo: Ken Morrish
Jurassic Lake Jurassic Lake – Loop Adventures
Jurassic Lake – Laguna Verde Lodge
Jurassic Lake is unquestionably the most prolific trophy rainbow fishery on the planet. Measuring approximately 20 by 20 kilometers, Jurassic is located at 3,000 feet elevation in the wide open, desolate expanse of the Patagonian steppe. Teaming with scuds, fish here average over 10 pounds with countless fish in the mid-teens, as well as monsters in the 20-30 pound class. These fish are freakishly stout, incredibly strong and wildly acrobatic. The camp, built and outfitted by Loop of Sweden, is located at the mouth of the lake’s only significant tributary. This is far and away the best location on the lake with anglers racking up big numbers during prime months. Unfortunately there is no easy way to get here and the all day, gut-busting “Drive from Hell” is a deterrent of significant proportions for all but the most hearty. The upgraded Loop camp consists of several different simple cabin structures. The camp can take as many as nine anglers who sleep either two or three per cabin. There are comfortable beds with bedding and an electric light. Excellent, hearty meals and dinners are served in the new main cabin. Rate: $4,950 per person for a 6 night/5 day package
For those who would like to see Jurassic Lake but would rather not endure the grueling trip into the rustic Loop camp, we proudly represent Laguna Verde Lodge. With three hours less driving time and all the comforts you have come to expect from Argentine lodges, Laguna Verde’s guest list is growing as quickly as the massive trout that surround it. Laguna Verde Lodge has three distinct and unique elements to its fishing program and the first and foremost is Jurassic Lake. It takes 60 minutes to get from the lodge to the lake. Catch rates vary widely depending on weather, season, skill level and location. During the right wind and weather conditions, drift boats are often employed to stalk the lake’s monster trout. The other two fishing elements concentrate on the lake’s inlet, the Barrancoso River, and nearby Laguna Verde (Green Lake). The river is a great place to fish a 5-6 weight rod and at certain times of the year the fishing can be exceptional. Laguna Verde is immediately in front of the lodge, and has excellent fishing from both boat and bank for trout in the 4-8 pound class. For the ultimate in diversity and comfort in this formidable region, this is the place. Rate: $5,200 per person for a 7 night/6 day package
Patagonia - Tierra del Fuego
Trip Details Season: January – April Fish Species: Sea run brown trout Lodge Capacity: 6 anglers Rate: $5,500 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Full Details: See www.flywatertravel.com
Keith Forman with a trophy from Despedida’s home pool, Arturo. Photo: Ken Morrish.
At its core, Despedida is a famlong-time Fly Water favorite, Where serious anglers go for ily run operation with an intimate Estancia Despedida embodlong hours on the water, ies many of the characteristics we down home hospitality, great atmosphere that permeates every aspect of one’s stay. Danny and value most in lodges including guides and a true value Helen Lajous have been hosting limited numbers of guests per week, fishermen on the Rio Grande for nearly two decades. involved and dynamic owner operators, exceptional With a very high return rate, guests at Despedida have guides, long hours on the water, value and personalized come to appreciate the incredibly warm and genuine service. Limited to six anglers per week, Despedida hospitality that the Lajous Family and their dedicated is close to its fishing grounds which the locals refer team of fly fishing professionals provide. With the to as “the heart of the river.” In addition to its prime most distant pools on the ranch only minutes away, beats on the Rio Grande, Despedida also has private guests maximize their fishing time and their encounters access to the intimate Rio Onas spring creek, which with the numerous trophy sea tout that return to this serves as an important default fishery in the event of coveted section of the famous Rio Grande. unexpected high water.
Patagonia - Tierra del Fuego
Angler Jeroen Wohe plays a fish beneath the famed Estancia Maria Behety. Photo: Ken Morrish
The Rio Grande W
ith an estimated annual return of 75,000 fish averaging nearly 10 pounds, easy wading and relatively high odds of connecting with a fish in the 20 pound class, there is no denying that the Rio Grande is the greatest sea-run brown trout fishery in the world. The river’s season begins in January and extends through mid-April. At Fly Water Travel we are proud of our strong working relationships with all of the best lodges on the river, and look forward to helping you select the date and operation that best suits your needs. In our opinion the following lodges are the finest on the river: Kau Tapen Lodge This is Tierra del Fuego’s original lodge and the one responsible for making the Rio Grande a household name for fly anglers the world over. Remarkable from its inception, Kau Tapen still sets the standard of elegance by which other lodges are measured. With access to both sides of the river, countless easy to fish pools and seasoned guides this is a “life list” lodge not to be missed. Rate: $7,250 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Villa Maria Under the same ownership as Kau Tapen, Villa Maria is the ultimate hub from which to access the riches of the lower Rio Grande. With elegant and historic
overnight accommodations at the main estancia, and a fabulous little riverfront facility for lunches and the mid-day siesta, this represents yet another outstanding option on a river that knows no equal. Rate: $7,250 per person for a 7 night/6 day package Estancia Maria Behety With access to more than 30 miles of prime pools in the middle river, Estancia Maria Behety is arguably home to the best sea trout water in the world. With spacious accommodations, a skilled guide crew and fine meals, this operation has it all. This is a modern classic not to be missed. Rate: $5,795 per person for a 7 night/6 day package
What you need to know
PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID MEDFORD, OR PERMIT NO. 348
Fly Water Travel llc, as engaged in its prime business of contracting suppliers of travel services acts only as agent for all accommodation, air and ground transportation, and all other contractors and suppliers provided in travel itineraries. Therefore, Fly Water Travel llc is not held responsible for any and all claims or demands for any loss, personal injury, property damage, expenses or other claims due to circumstances caused by any suppliers of accommodation or travel services. The terms of this disclaimer will be accepted when the purchaser pays the initial trip deposit.
Deposits and Cancellation A deposit in the amount of 50% of the package price is required within 10 days of making a reservation. Reservations that have not been secured with a deposit within 10 days may be canceled. All deposits are considered non-refundable unless a replacement is put in place. Final payments are due no later than 60 days prior to departure unless otherwise noted and are considered non-refundable unless a replacement is put in place. We highly recommend trip cancellation and travel insurance and we will supply an application from an independent supplier with each deposit confirmation.
Pricing All prices are set by individual lodges, outfitters and guides and are subject to change without notice. Pricing is based on double occupancy.
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