All the text and pictures courtesy of Doug Pullan! Click on the pictures to make them larger!
All the months of planning and dreaming finally ended as 6 other excited fishermen and I started our journey to the mystic waters of Jurassic Lake, located in the Patagonia region of Argentina. It began on December 4 and ended on December 16, 2019. Trips like this mean multiple flights, tons of layovers, and lack of quality sleep, not to mention dealing with language barriers. The itinerary began with Edmonton to Houston (4hr & 8hr layover), Houston to Buenos Aires (10hr & an overnight stay), Buenos Aires to El Calafate (3hr & an overnight stay), El Calafate to the fishing lodge ( 5hr truck ride). The last 2 hours to the lodge were through a landscape of rough rocky roads, no trees and littered with Rhea birds and Guanacos. We finally arrived at our destination; the Laguna Verde Lodge.
After having our waders and wading boots disinfected, we had lunch and then went fishing in the small lake called a laguna located below the lodge. We fished for a few hours. This was the testing grounds for the guides to determine our casting ability in windy conditions. The next day we drove another half hour to Lago Strobel (Jurassic Lake) (16km long x 12km wide). Roads carved out of rock took us to various coves, bays and shorelines where trophy size rainbow trout reside. Jurassic Lake is situated in a deep valley surrounded by rugged terrain with the perimeter of the lake covered with sand, boulders the size of VWs and rocks cladded in calcium carbonate resembling cauliflower. To get to the shoreline, you often had to walk on these cauliflower heads, being careful not to fall. If you did, it would hurt.
The wind blows most of the time: day and night. Most days saw winds of 20 to 40 km/hr. Our worst day had winds over 100km/hr. And yes, you fish no matter how strong the wind blows.
The average size of fish is between 10-15 lbs. The largest fish caught by our group was 21 lbs and caught by Phil Rowley. These fish are as strong as steelhead coupled with a bad attitude. Almost any fly seemed to work. Balanced flies, nymphs and foam fly patterns all worked. They really like orange.
The food at the lodge was out of this world and paired with wonderful Argentina wines. All the guides, as well as the lodge staff, were very professional and made sure that your fishing experience both on and off the water was world class.
After 6 days of fishing, battling large, wild fish, strong winds, intense sun, waves slapping your face, falling on sharp calcium coated rocks and too much wine during shore lunch, it was time to leave. Jurassic Lake is one of those special places on the planet that every serious fly fisher should go at least once. In closing, it has been said that fish aren't the only reason to go fishing; it is the journey that drives us to embrace the whole experience.