Many people talk about fly fishing and Argentina in the same breath, often conjuring up images of big sea trout fishing in Tierra del Fuego or Dorado in the North. But here in Mendoza, there is fantastic fishing right on the doorstep.
When I decided to visit Argentina, I knew I wanted to fly fish, but I couldn’t quite fit Patagonia into my itinerary. I need not have worried – I had an awesome day fishing near a village called El Manzano Histórico-Tunuyán, about 1.5 hours outside Mendoza. I am relatively new to the joys of fly fishing, and this day out has me totally hooked on the pastime!
My guide and instructor for the day were Pablo “Polo” Rossi and his assistant Dardo from Mendoza Fly Shop, www.mendozaflyshop.com. I was collected from the hotel and driven to the river; Pablo’s 4×4 was crammed with all the rods, flies and equipment we needed for the day’s fishing. Pablo spoke perfect English (imperative since my Spanish doesn’t stretch much beyond “buenos dias”!) and we discussed the day ahead on the way up to the hills.
It was a perfect day for fishing: sunny and warm, stunning blue skies, fast flowing Andean ice melt, and dramatic scenery. There was no one else around, apart from the odd Gaucho. The scene was set; all I had to do now was catch some fish!
In the morning we fished up stream, up and down the steep banks, in and out of the water. We fished using a nymph that Pablo had tied himself. It was very successful – I was getting a lot of strikes – but I was struggling to hook them. The guys gave me some useful tips and instruction, and I started to land some trout, much to my huge enjoyment.
At the appropriate moment and spot in the river, we switched to a dry fly. This was to be the most enjoyable part of the day, sight fishing with a dry fly. Watching the trout come after it and jump at the fly is something else, and I now appreciate why some of my friends are addicted to fly fishing – and this is its purest form!
We stopped for lunch, and Pablo and Dardo set up a beautiful picnic table and provided so much food, not even I could finish it all off – although I had a good go at the Malbec.
The afternoon was much the same having moved downstream and then working our way back upstream to the car. The trout were biting and I was landing as many as I could. All were released, but I did take some photos to prove I was not the only one hooked!
Over a cold beer, Pablo and I discussed the day. He admitted he was fortunate enough to have fished all over the world, but that this little fast flowing river outside Mendoza was still his sigle favourite spot – and I can certainly see why.
Check out this video from Mendoza Fly Shop and Aguas Claras Fly Fishing: