(all pictures courtesy of Rick Miyauchi, click on the pictures to make them larger)
Check Lago Strobel, aka Jurassic Lake, off of Rick Miyauchi's "bucket list!" This was Rick's first BIG fly fishing adventure and he choose to cast to gigantic Patagonia rainbows in Argentina. Rick landed two massive leviathans that will be added to Estancia Laguna Verde's Wall of Fame. In order to get on the "wall," you have to land a 20 pound or heavier rainbow. Rick managed the feat twice. Wow!
A big part of the adventure to Jurassic Lake is just getting there! After a hop down to Houston, you head to Buenos Ares, then on to El Calafate and then lastly a 5 hour drive to the lodge. Phil Rowley ensured that Rick got to his destination. Phil was staying for two weeks. The guys meet up with some other guests heading to the lodge in El Calafate. There they had a great time getting know each other. The local wine flowed in anticipation of the fishing adventure in front of them.
Estancia Laguna Verde can accommodate 10 fisherman. Rick raved about the exquisite cuisine. He loved the local delicacies including "asados" (barbecue).
Bedo, one of the owners, and his staff took care of every need. All Rick had to do was fish, enjoy the gastronomical delights and enjoy his new unique environment. The staff even managed to find a supply of diet coke for Rick!
Rick said that he enjoyed the local wine which "flowed" each night! It was all part of the fantastic experience.
April is fall in Patagonia and the rainbows were fat and "well conditioned." A typical rainbow there is 10 pounds and Rick figures there is a 30 pound rainbow swimming in the lake. A 26 pounder was landed by a guest at the lodge this year.
Rick enjoyed spending time with his guide, Nano. Rick caught massive rainbows using dry flies, micro leeches, nymphs and streamers. Rick saw the backing on his reel a lot on this trip because of these gigantic energetic rainbows. Typically tippet in the 15 pound range was used although that was downsized when the wind came down.
Dealing with wind is part of the fishing experience at Lago Strobel. With oceans on three sides of the lake within 100 km, a calm day can quickly change to a steady wind in a short period of time. Having lots of layers of clothes is a necessity! Luckily there are several places where you can hide from the wind. Windy days often made the fishing even better. Rick's 8 weight fly rod did the job quite nicely! Rick fished with floating lines most of the time!
Lago Strobel is 20 x 15 km long. Over the last several years the fishing has gotten better. The massive rainbows are getting even larger. Along the shoreline and in the lake are calcium carbonate formations. These formations are sharp. You do not want to fall on them or you will probably need to get stitched up. These white deposits can also destroy a fly line in a real hurry.
Rick managed to be in a boat on day three. The water is gin clear and seeing the shear number of massive rainbows cruising around made Rick's heart race!
I know Rick was loving his days. Some of the guests could not understand why Rick was not more exuberant after catching the 20 pounders. We all know about his laid back personality that some experienced for the first time.
Well after 6 days of fishing, Rick headed back to El Calafate and started the long journey home. All the pictures in this post were found on Rick's camera. All of the fish here were caught by Rick, several are being held by the guide. Rick's best day on the water included landing a dozen of these magnificent rainbows. Those of you who know Rick, will be amazed that any pictures were taken. Rick took pictures on maybe half of the days he was out. Thank goodness he found that camera that was given to him as a gift!
Do you think Rick will be back? I vote YES!
...dare to dream!
The guys meeting up in El Calafate.
Rick loved the comforts of the lodge.
The calcium carbonate was all along the shore. Don't fall on it!
Imagine catching a 16 pound rainbow on a dry fly! It happened!
Nano, Rick's guide, with another beauty!
Lake access from the lodge has improved over the years.
Sunrise at he lodge!
I think Rick will be added to wall right behind Phil!
These rainbows are so thick, getting a hand around just the tail is next to impossible!
Phil Rowley enjoying the incredible fishing!
Land marker on the Patagonia steppe