Adventurer with doubts who self-guides his own fly fishing trips to Chile and Argentina. I am from New York City but last lived in the lovely Catskills, the land of bright trout, many reservoirs, rivers, streams, and creeks. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday was hot, hot, and sunny. I didn’t make it to the River until about 11 AM, after coffee with Lenny and Bocchi at Jacks. The East Branch water was not low, but neither was it too high; I couldn’t see the riffles at the usual spot. But, before I entered the water, I noticed the carp; they were everywhere spawning, tails thrashing, stirring up the mud, splashing up and down the riverbanks.
There were packs of carp, like groups of dogs chasing bitches in heat. There were many groups of them all fighting and thrashing for a spot next to a female. I remember seeing this behavior a few years ago while canoeing in the place where the Tremperskill flows into the Pepacton Reservoir.
I didn’t see any trout yesterday; I did get a couple of rises while searching with an attractor pattern. I wonder if the carp chase or scare the trout away? Could it be the water is too warm?
It has been a cold spring but for the past week the weather has been warm and sunny during the day leading me to believe the rivers will warm. Because of the warming, yesterday, May 15th, I saw significant insect activity on the East Branch of the Delaware above the reservoir. They were clouds of midges and caddisflies and many mayflies, some of them quite large.
At 2PM the water was high at my favorite spot. The river was wadeable, but the shoreline had only a few dry areas to rest in. When I arrived, I did not see any rises and started casting a small streamer with the 11’3″ Meiser trout spey. After half an hour of observing the river, the fish began to rise to a hatch. I changed the fly from a streamer to a dry fly, and immediately the fish started to go for it. I could not hook up the line so long and so switched to my 9′ 5wt Winston Air and a tan caddis fly. I missed again, and the river went quiet.
I chatted with a fellow fisherman and his son to pass the time. We exchanged tips on fly casting while I watched the water and moved downstream. The insect activity increased as the afternoon progressed. By five, there seemed to be several insect hatches going on at the same time, the river was coated with bugs, and the trout started to rise again.
I spotted one rising trout that I could reach. I started casting to it with a large dry fly similar to a live Mayfly I had seen floating downstream earlier. Here’s a picture and the movie of the result.
It’s tough to make a movie with no one there to help. I didn’t really want to take this fish out of the water, but I did anyway and took a picture really fast. The trout swam away with vigor; hopefully, he still alive. I fell down, backing up to the shore, trying to net the fish and make a movie. The water came over the top of the waders, and I dropped my iPhone. The phone was completely submerged for about 10 seconds, with no damage.
I fished Thayer Hollow on the East Branch of the Delaware River yesterday morning, arriving at 9:30; no one was there.
I had the water to myself and proceeded to swing a nymph across and down the river with my Meiser trout spey rod starting from just below the parking lot.
Later at about ten, a couple of fishermen showed up. One started in up river of me spin casting with light tackle and proceeded to work around me and then down the river and out of sight.
I continued casting my way down the river and had a tug but nothing much else. Later another fisherman came by with spinning gear and gave up pretty quick. I switched to a little size 10 sparkly woolly bugger replacing the nymph dropper rig I had been using.
All had left the river now; it was about 12:30 PM. I was alone on the river and hooked into a large trout. The Robert Meiser rod is stout, and I brought the 18-inch trout in quickly to my net and released it.
I had enough for the day, so I climbed up out of the river back up to Route 30 and the parking lot. There were five people in the parking lot standing around talking. I asked if anyone saw the huge trout I had caught and released, they turned away; one said he thought I lost it, and it broke off. Sour grapes!
The borders to Chile opened in November 2020 but there are rules that were not in force a year ago.
Flights to Santiago from JFK are exceptionally cheap on Copa Airlines, my new favorite. There are several choices for flights from Santiago to Balmaceda in Patagonia but my suggestion is to stick with LATAM Airlines.
Flight and quarantine policies change unexpectedly! To travel to Chile you need to have a clean covid test taken 72 hours before leaving the USA. To get back into the USA one must do the same 72 hours before the flight.
In Chile there are local curfews and you are not allowed outside during certain hours or days. You may be told to add an app to your phone so you can be tracked.
I wouldn’t travel this year, not even to New Jersey. This year I am staying home and getting fat.
The best information is provided by the U.S. Embassy in Chile, see below.
I am making progress with editing my posts as I’m sure you can see. I’ve corrected grammar, spelling, and general sentence structure so it is more readable. I’ve also added pictures
When entering the United States from a foreign country, it is now required to have a Covid test three days before you arrive at immigration in the USA, possibly even before you enter the plane from the country you are leaving. This was in the news on January 18, 2021. From what I’ve read, you can get tested at the hotel that you’re staying in before flying back to the US. I don’t know how this works in Chile.
I had my first Covid vaccination yesterday, and in three weeks, I will get the second shot. It’s a great relief to know I have some protection. I have the CDC paperwork/card I received when. I got the shot.
I have assumed that I’ll be able to travel to Patagonia next January for three months. The reality is I don’t know what the international situation will be like next year.
It was quite an afternoon on the lower Esopus Creek in the Catskills today. I used my light spinning rod with quarter ounce Al’s goldfish lures and had a bit of luck. In the first hour, I pulled out these two beauties. One trout was an 18-inch rainbow and put up a good fight, and the other was a much larger brown that came right to the net. After I caught the brown, I noticed fish spawning all around me, some only 6 feet away. I decided that it was not a good idea to disturb them, and moved further upriver. The water was not that cold. It had to be in the mid-’50s, and the air temperature was about 65 or 70. It was a cloudless and warm fall day. Crazy weather because just a few days ago, we had 6 inches of snow up here in Roxbury.
On my next visit to the Esopus a few days later I carried my Robert Meiser trout/steelhead spey rod with an OPST Commando intermediate sinking Skagit line, 10′ T8 Leader and 3′ floro tippet. I had very good luck and caught a couple of large browns on the streamer and big nymph, sorry no pictures of the fish.
I am trying to get the hang of the Skandi line but its taking a lot of time and I tend to prefer the OPST Skagit head because it is easier to cast out there. Next year I will put more effort into Skandi. The lines I have that were made by Steve Godshall.
Today, November 30th, was the last day of trout season on the Esopus Creek. Yesterday I made it over to the river just above the Ashokan Reservoir. The weather was spectacular, with temperatures in the high 50’s and sunny skies, it was one of the better days this fall.
Ted came along, and we fished small Al’s Goldfish spoons on a light spinner rod and reel setup. I am sorry to say we both got skunked, totally skunked, but some young kid pulled out a giant, 27″ monster. He had to show us all through walking up and down the shore several times, carrying the fish. It was a nice walk in the woods and a great day to end the season.
Originally Published March 8th 2018 for trip 2017-18,
Edited November 3rd 2020
This trip I brought too many rods for trout fishing. I carried a 5/6 switch and a 5 wt nymph rod that I never used so my Winston 9 foot 6 weight BXIII did all the work. The Winston was good in the wind, cast the lighter streamers, and nymph rigs with indicators, a great all around rod. A softer 4 or 5 weight to play fish was on my wish list.
Remember it’s a good idea to have a backup rod and in case you have to make an insurance claim photograph everything before you leave on the trip.
My 9’4 piece rod tube fits into a large suitcase so there is no need for separate rod case luggage. This is a reminder for the future to get all my rods into a suitcase, rods have to be 9′ or less and come in 4 pieces, if they are longer than 9′ then they will have to be in 5 or 6 pieces to fit. The benefits if everything is in a suitcase is that no one can see your stuff, it’s easier to keep things organized and keep track of, there is less risk of accident, 30 inch hard plastic suitcases with wheels are easier to move around and they cost a lot less to bring on airplanes. You can buy a well build large hard plastic suitcases for 100 to 150 dollars on Amazon.
November 2020 update. My feelings now are that if I ever get to make a trip like this again these are the rods I will bring; 9′ 5 weight Winston Air, 9′ 6 weight Winston BXIII, 9′ 7 weight Winston BXIII, and the Meiser 11’3″ trout spey with both the Skagit and Scandi Heads and if I want to cheat a little I will buy and bring a Santiam Fishing Rod. Santiam makes long travel spinning and center pin rods in 4 to 6 pieces that will fit in my 30″ suitcase which will be great for exploring larger rivers.
This is an update on the travel situation for South America, Chile, and Columbia.
The border into Chile is still closed to foreigners. Only Chilean nationals returning to the country are allowed in at this time. Occasionally on Facebook I see posts by Chilean fishing guides and lodges claiming that the border will open soon, and fly fishing tourists will book excursions for this summer fishing season, December 2020 to April 2021. I’m not sure where they’re getting their information; according to the United States Department of State website the Chilean border is closed. Same with all the news that I can find while searching on the Internet on this topic.
I am in isolation here in the Catskills alone on the top of a mountain. Once a week, I go shopping for food at Adams in Kingston. Three or four times a week, I go swimming in the Catskill Recreation Center pool. The pool has only six lanes, and usually, there’s a swimmer in each. I go early in the morning, make my swim, and then leave; this is all the exposure to others I’m willing to tolerate. Oh, wait I almost forgot I voted last Monday at the election office center in Delhi, NY.
I am still considering a steelhead fly fishing trip up to Buffalo tomorrow or Monday. I have found a few Airbnb’s for $20 a night with private bathrooms but when I read the news, which is all about the coronavirus and Trump these days, I get very hesitant to leave my home.
I have been taking lessons in trout Spey casting with Wayne at River Of Life in Deposit, New York. My rod is an 11’3″ trout rod built by Robert Meisner that I am finding very difficult to learn how to cast but progress, not perfection. I was out with Wayne on the last day of the fishing season. The river was running around 900, higher than at any time I had been there before, and it was cold. I managed to hook into two large browns Wayne took these pictures. It was a good day, and my casting improved slightly.
Do Not Squeeze The Trout!
River of Life Outdoor Adventures Wayne Aldridge 19 Latham Rd. Deposit, NY 13754