Wednesday, May 25, 2022

LOS GLACIARES NATIONAL PARK/ ARGENTINA

 


On April 28, 2022 while staying in El Calafate, Argentina on my way to a week long fishing trip at Jurassic Lake Lodge, I booked a trip to visit Los Glaciares National Park.   The National Park is about a 2 hour drive from Calafate.  I was picked up by bus at the Hostel Calafate around 6am.  The tour would be by ship and last about 9 hours motoring up to the many glaciers in the park.  Los Glaciares covers the region known as Andes Australes of the Argentine Territory.  It was created in 1937 to preserve this vast region dominated by glaciers.  It is a huge tourist attraction and brings in much revenue to Argentina.  The National Park includes a scenario of mountains, lakes, and forests, and a large portion of the Andes Mountains covered with ice and snow to the West and the arid Patagonian steppe to the East.

The numerous glaciers are fed by the massive South Patagonian Ice field, the largest ice field in the Southern Hemisphere after Antarctica.  It feeds 47 large glaciers of which 13 decent toward the Atlantic Sea. 

The scenery is breathtaking.  I took over a hundred photos and probably could have taken over a thousand.  Luckily I saw some of the glaciers calf where massive sheets of glacier ice fall off into the lake. Blue tint icebergs were seen floating in the lake.  We docked for lunch for about an ice at a Port on the lake which has a cafe.  We then boarded after lunch and continued our journey until we docked around 5pm.


There are numerous options on the Glacier Tours.  Puerto Moreno is the most famous glacier, trips to El Chalten, The Total Glacier Tour, and others are available.  I really liked the Total Glacier tour.  Will be heading back to El Calafate this September and for sure another glacier tour is on my list.  

Monday, May 23, 2022

EL CALAFATE, ARGENTINA


 Going on fishing adventures which travel the world, I have the pleasure of visiting many cities.  El Calafate is about a 3 hour flight from Buenos Aires.  It is a small town near the edge of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field in the Argentine Provence of Santa Cruz.  It has a population of around 6000+ and is the "Gateway to Los Glaciares National Park" and is situated on the Southern border of Lake Argentino. 

Normally, I like to extend my stay in these cities a few days to gather in the sites and culture.  In Calafate, I stayed at the Hostel Calafate which is about 4 blocks from the main street.  The main street has numerous stores which sell tours to the Glaciers.  There are 5 star***** restuarants specializing in Argentina lamb and beef and The Patagonia Brewing Company where one can quench their thirst on numerous beers.  


About a 5 minute walk from the Hostel Calafate, the Humedal Calafaterio, the Calafate Wetlands reside.  Here, thousands of pink flamingos and other waterfowl can be observed.  During the winter season (June, July, and August) the Wetlands freeze which make for a great local ice skating rink.  

So, on your next adventure make sure to visit some of the local towns.  




Sunday, May 22, 2022

JURASSIC LAKE LODGE/ LAGO STROBEL/ ARGENTINA/ APRIL 30 TO MAY 7, 2022


 Once again I had to opportunity to fish giant rainbow trout at Jurassic Lake Lodge.  Jurassic Lake Lodge sits in a rugged valley where the Rio Barrancose flows into Lago Strobel.  The lodge boasts of large comfortable rooms with private bathrooms and gourmet dining.  The lodge sits about a 5 minute walk from the mouth of the Barrancose and other beats which all hold massive rainbows.  

I have fished Jurassic numerous times but always in September/ October when the season begins and the peak spawning activity occurs.  Lodge owner, Carlos Casanello, always suggested I try the end of April when numerous monster chrome rainbows can be landed.  This year I came with some old friends and a few new friends.  Was great to once again meet up with old friends Llew and Julian at the lodge.


 

The fishing was simply outstanding especially near the river mouth.  The average rainbow during our stay pushed the scales to around 14 lbs and a few up to 23 lbs were landed during the week.  The hurricane level winds Jurassic is known for did not disappoint.  When the winds are howling, the rainbows go wild feeding on scuds and midges and everything else which is blown in.  The weather was warmer than I expected pushing into the upper 40F.  


Top flies during the stay were the balanced leech under a striking indicator.  Some of the guys in the group even had good success with mice flies in the river.  

Due to no predators in the lake other than large rainbows, the average size seems to get larger each season.  I cannot wait to wet a line in Lago Strobel again this coming September where one can literally walk on top of thousands of monster rainbows.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

La Zona/ Dorado/ March 25 to 28, 2022




 Friends Greg Thompson, Ron Elbers, and two of their friends had the opportunity to fish on the Uruguay River for monster dorado out of  La Zona Lodge during March 25 to 28.  The water levels in La Zona have been exceeding low for a long period of time.  When the group arrived the levels were about 1 meter, but fishing was good casting poppers, local JAG lures, and Papa Doctor spoons.The levels stayed low for the first few days but numerous huge dorado exceeding 40 lbs were landed.  The third day, The Salto Grande Dam started putting their turbines in high gear and the water rose to about 6 meters.  This is perfect conditions for deep diving lures and Kermett Adams spinnerbaits.  Dorado often go on a feeding frenzy when the water is rising with lots of current.  Numerous lures were destroyed and rods broken. 

The water decreased at night and went back up to around 6 meters the last day making for a fabulous trip.  In total the group landed 23 trophy dorado between 40 to 50 lbs!!!  What a trip!!!  So on your next trip to La Zona be prepared for various water levels. 

Bring a few spoons, poppers, Super Shad Raps, Rapala cd18 and Rapala cd22,  Yo-Zuri hydro Magnums, and a few Kermett Admas Spinnerbaits with lots of extra skirts which is cover all depths.  Hopefully the levels continue to drop at night and rise during the day.  Have friends arriving tomorrow at La Zona and following 2 weeks then I make a return appearance.  Cannot wait to go back to great Freshwater Dorado Fishery on Earth, La Zona Lodge!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2022

NEW TACKLE STORE IN BUENOS AIRES/ FLY SHOP

 


During my last trip to Argentina, I spent a few nights in Buenos Aires.  During any International Fishing Trip, I try my best to visit local tackle shops to see what local tackle is not available in the United States.  Long time friend, Adrian De Brito, recently opened the Pesca del Plata Tackle Store, www. pescadelplata.empretienda.com.ar.   The store is located on Ex Combatients Juan Sanchez 420 San Fernando-Pcia.de Bs.As.   Adrian has a wide variety of Rapala lures which are not available in the USA such as the metal bill Super Shad Rap, and different colors of Super Shad Raps not available here. Pesca del Plata also has a wide selection of quality Shimano reels and rods, outboard motors and boats, and top of the line camping equipment.  Adrian guides on the Rio La Plata in his free time so can give good advice on local fishing.  He saved the day for me while fishing La Zona for dorado as I was running out of spoons after the first session.  Adrian contacted his supplier and was able to get me numerous No. 6 Wemp spoons in gold coloration which were perfect at La Zona.  


Also during my stay I was able to meet up with long time friend, Nicholas Rosas who operates the Aventura Fly Shop, www.aventuraflyshop.com.ar. 

The Fly Shop is located at Av. Fondo de la Legua 425 Local 13 Boulogne.  Nico has a wide variety of flies, rods, reels, and line.  Plus, Nico is a avid angler often fishing at Rio Lodge on the Parana so can give priceless advice on fly tackle and conventional tackle.  

So, during your next visit to Buenos Aires, make sure to stop by the Pesca del Plata Tackle Store and the Aventura Fly Shop.  You can talk fishing and even make new longtime friends.  Make sure you tell Adrian and Nico that Bob Daly says "hi".  



Friday, February 11, 2022

LA ZONA LOW WATER/ NO PROBLEM!

 


Southern Brazil and Upper Argentina have been in drought conditions for the past few years.  Farmers, ranchers, and others who depend on water are having much issues growing crops and with their livestock.  Many of the famous rivers such as the Uruguay and Parana are extremely low such as many boats cannot even get out due to lack of water.  The past few weeks while fishing for dorado in La Zona on the Uruguay River the water was the lowest locals have experienced.  In the "Zone", one could say it reminded one of a rock field as numerous boulders were either exposed or sitting a few inches below the surface. 

Motoring through this rock field maze was extremely difficult, but our guides Elbio and Alejandro did a great job.  With the water being so low only a few lures would be an option as others would dive too deep and constantly snag in the rocks.  Shallow cup poppers made by Kermett Adams were outstanding when the dorado could be seen attacking bogas in a few inches of water.  When using the popper, keep your rod as high as possible and reel in with super human speed, do not pop!!!  We had our best luck using 2 oz Papa Doctor Spoons in gold coloration. 

These spoons are 5 1/2 inches long and quite thin.  One can cast them a country mile trying to reach the exposed rocks where the dorado sit.  A medium to fast retrieve was required to prevent snagging.  We put a barrel swivel on the rear split ring then another split ring to the barrel swivel then a 8/0 strong single hook.  This configuration allowed the hook the rotate when the giant dorado would make numerous leaps to try and toss the hook. 

Another lure we had success with was a local glider, JAG, which would zig zag a few inches below the surface.  I actually landed a 44 lbs dorado on my second cast with this lure.  We lost numerous lures due to dorado leaping while our braid would cut on the rocks, so long mono or fluor leaders are necessary.  In my opinion, the water levels in La Zona will remain low in the near future, so be prepared for low water conditions where you can catch "mucho grandes" like we did!!!  Best of luck!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2022

LA ZONA/ ARGENTINA DORADO JANUARY 2022

 


After a 2 year absence, I am able to travel to one of my favorite fishing destinations on earth, La Zona for monster freshwater dorado.  As some are aware, I have fished this outstanding destination since it opened to fishermen except for the covid lockdown years and the dorado keep getting larger and larger.  2022 was no exception.

  My group of 4 fished for 8 days, Jan 21 to 24 and Jan 28 to 31.  I spent a few nights in my favorite town, Buenos Aires, to see some old friends and enjoy perhaps the best steakhouses on earth.  I again stayed at the Grand King Hotel which is located in the business district near the shopping centers.  The water on the Uruguay River was extremely low around 0.4 meters so numerous boulders were exposed making motoring the boat inside the zone extremely difficult.  The outside temps soared during week 1 reaching 100F. 

The dorado fishing was also redhot as giants  were landed ( I only record dorado over 30 lbs) 2 over 50 lbs, 13 between 40-49 lbs, and 22 between 30-39 lbs, for a total of 37 dorado over 30 lbs including a monster pushing the boga grip to 56 lbs.  We landed 99% of the dorado on gold Papa Doctor spoons reeled in over the tops of boulders.  Guides Elbio and Alejandro did an outstanding job of putting us on trophies throughout the week.  We stayed at the La Zona Hotel which is 5*****.  The bedrooms are very spacious and the dining area is outstanding.  There is a lounge upstairs which includes leather chairs, couches, and even a pool table.  There is a swimming pool on the grounds to relax in and cool off. 

Chef Sanchez was perhaps the best cook I have had at La Zona in all my years.  I went back to Buenos Aires between fishing sessions and visited friend, Adrian, who owns "Pesca del Plata" Tackle Store.  Adrian was able to get me numerous Wemp's spoons which saved the day as I was running out of spoons.  During week 2 at La Zona the outside temps dropped to 59F in the morning shutting down the bite.  For the groups we landed 0 dorado over 50 lbs, 6 between 40-49 lbs, and 9 between 30-39 lbs for a total of 15 over 30 lbs.  So for the 2 sessions we landed 52 dorado over 30 lbs which is fantastic!  On my return I met up with friend, Nico, who owns Ventura FlyShop.  Over all, the trip was outstanding and exceeded my expectations especially with the low water conditions.  Anxious for April to come around as I return to catch more giant dorao in La Zona!!!