The 2014 Guide Season is officially over having my last personal guide days the last week of October. Despite the slow fishing, the radiant fall colors and memories of fast fishing we had through out the year helped ease in the inevitable – winter coming on!
I want to say many words of thanks to all who fished with Wapiti Waters during this glorious season of good flows and good angling. I would also like to mention a couple of anglers who have passed on to the “Happy Fishing
Ground” namely E. Terrill Nobles (Terry Nobles) and Dave Brandt. These two fishermen were the reasons we love guiding. Their attitudes were upbeat whether the fishing was fast or slow and they genuinely loved the waterways and trout environment. Their desires to share this love will always be with us. We will forever miss yet forever remember them.
Another note: We also had the privilege of fishing with Dave Brandt in Argentina– fantastic time and memories.
Dave Brandt and daughter KJ in 2009
Jack Mauer, Wapiti Waters Fly Fishing Montana, Outfitter #867
Jack Mauer on Rio Chimehuin (Photo by Merle Ann Loman)
Fly fishing in Montana might be similar to fly fishing in Argentina, but Argentina’s open spaces are even vaster. Jack Mauer first visited the Patagonia region of Argentina in February and March of 2006. He knew that there would be great fly fishing and made the most of it by floating, fly fishing and camping on many different rivers. In 2008, he and his partner, Merle, visited in February and March again. On this trip they spent time in Buenos Aires, San Carlos de Bariloche and San Martín de los Andes. They also fished three rivers, the Chimehuin, Malleo and Collón Curá in the Neuquén District of Argentina. On Jack’s first trip, he fished all these and the Limay, Aluminé and Caleufu rivers.
A favorite city to enter the country is the capitol, Buenos Aires. Take the time to explore the city. It is a vibrant and friendly city with outstanding restaurants, shops, museums and architecture. Taxis, buses and walking are great ways to get from district to district.
Church in Buenos Aires (Photo by Merle Ann Loman)
The domestic airport in Buenos Aires is the Jorge Newbery Airport. From there, they flew an Argentinean airline, LAN, to a beautiful town at the base of the Andes called San Carlos de Bariloche. The busy city is on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi, which combined with mountains and forests makes a picture book site and offers much for an outdoor enthusiast to do in both summer and winter. Cerro Catedral, one of Argentinas largest ski areas, is just minutes from town. To the north, by way of a beautiful drive through forests and by lakes, are San Martín and Junín de los Andes.
San Martín is on the shores of Lake Lacar. It has a busy bus station. Public buses are a popular way to travel in Argentina. The downtown area and central park are just a few blocks from the lake. The shops are colorful and bustling with activity and goods.
Junín is a bit smaller and is on the banks of the river Chimehuin. It has motels, restaurants, grocery stores and shops surrounding its central park.
Traveling in Argentina is easy and safe as long as you use common sense and keep your valuable belongings with you or safely locked in your lodging. It is useful to visit travel blogs, such as Trip Advisor to see what other people have experienced. The airlines, buses, taxis and rental car companies give you many options for getting around. The infrastructure is modern and well maintained. People in Argentina are very friendly and helpful, many of them speaking English fairly well.
If you want to fish, as in Montana, you need a fishing license. The cost was around $50 at fly shops. Jack recommends using a professional fly fishing guide. Be sure to visit a reputable fly shop for your license and guide. There are rogue guides that are not licensed properly and you do not want to get in trouble with the law by using an unlicensed guide off the street. There are many shops and lodges that hire qualified guides that have a picture ID with proof of license and insurance. The cost of a day fishing float compares to Montana starting at about $400 and going up from there. The best months to fish are November through March.
Merle and Jack,
Martha and I back from BA and trying to catch up after two weeks away. Our hunt for red stag in the Pampas was very interesting. Very different ground to Patagonia. The country is open savannah with gentle rolling wooded hills mixed in. About 400 miles SW of BA. Very like southern Africa or northern Australia savannah country, quite dry, good cattle country.
All hunting was for free ranging animals, no fences. Stags were in full ‘roar’ which is always a remarkable natural event, just like the experience of witnessing our elk bugling. Shot a nice stag as well as a cull and a small (young) wild boar, all with the little 6.5mm, Jack, which did the job in each case with one shot and with as much aplomb as any .300 magnum. The 6.5mm is a fine hunting rifle, my favorite caliber for deer sized stuff at present.
The estancia barbecued the little boar in a typical Argentinian asada, it was amazing, the best meal of the whole trip, with natural vegetables from the estancia’s garden. Homestead was an old Spanish style from the late 19thc, early 20thc, very authentic feeling.
Then BA for a few days including a night at a traditional (versus a Las Vegas type) tango, and another at a wonderful Flamenco theatre with a Flamenco guitarist you would have loved, Jack. Martha finished her wedding shopping (shoes and a shawl to match her wedding dress). You have to love the Argentinians and their priorities: barbecued red meat, red wine from Mendoza and dulce de leche (on everything) and chocolates (after everything)!
Couple of pics from the estancia are attached. I couldn’t post this on your blog, you are welcome to use any or all of it if you wish.
All the best to you both,
Jack and I are getting calls of interest about fly fishing in Patagonia – Argentina in 2009. We are beginning to plan our 2009 trip. Today I am going through photos from previous trips. I will put together a slideshow in the next few days and post it. Here are a few photos to entice us.
Argentina is a beautiful country with a good infrastructure. Traveling in Argentina is very easy. Jack was there for 3 weeks in Feb/Mar 2006, he and I went back in Feb/Mar 2008. We loved it so much, we are going again and invite you to email or call us if you are interested in going yourselves. We won’t guide, but we will help you find Argentinian guides and accomodations that suit your needs.
Jack Mauer, above, with a nice fish.
A few notes: Jack and I made our own travel plans traveling to Buenos Aires, then to Bariloche, and north to an area where there are many rivers to fish. We explored the country by Argentinian airlines, took the bus – which was VERY clean and plush, and rented a car. The scenery is breath taking, the towns are full of life with great food and lodging options, and the skiing and fishing industries are thriving.
If you want to fish: We recommend that you educate yourselves on the access laws and how to find a FULLY licensed guide. Besides your rod and vest, it is difficult to carry much gear while traveling and almost impossible to ship it down. The fishing trip prices are comparable to our US prices and the outfitters have all the equipment needed for a great fishing and camping trip. Don’t try to save money by going with a rogue (unlicensed) guide. Let me say it is just not worth it.
Below is Marianne Brant from Kila, Montana.
The willows can form an actual tunnel. Technical rowing is required on these complex water ways!
Hiking in the interesting ecosystems, sightseeing in the many national parks, wonderful markets in quaint little towns, Patagonia is full of excitement and fun. You will see what I mean when I publish my slide show.
Editors update: Jack wanted me to mention the people of Argentina, an oversight of mine. Everywhere we traveled, from Buenos Aires, to Bariloche and north, we found the people to be very kind and helpful. They are proud and industrious. From the planes, trains, markets, hotels, bus stations, shops, bakeries, wineries, and building industry and more, they were very good at what they do. Even when they didn’t speak English and could not decipher our bad Spanish, we were able to get what we needed and ENJOY the experience. We love the Argentines.
Free ranging red deer stag, shot during the ‘roar’ (like elk bugling), weight 250 kilos (approx. 550 lb.), single shot at 175 yards with .280 Remington, shot in Patagonia in Andes foothills.
Thanks, all the best, Alan Pilkington, 04.2008
WW Note: Alan is a client and friend we enjoy staying in touch with. Originally from Australia, he now lives in Colorado and is an author. His most recent book is Four of Diamonds and I can personally recommend it. I loved it!