Hosted by George Anderson
Dates: October 7 – October 17th
(Fishing days: Oct. 9 – Oct. 15)
Deposit Information: Half the balance is due to reserve a spot. The full amount is due 2 months prior to your trip. We will get you in touch with Fly Water Travel for payment information.
Single occupancy: If you would like your own room at Jurassic Lake Lodge you may do so for an extra $700.
Join us for a real adventure next winter in the wilds of Argentina, catching the biggest rainbows in the world!
This will be our sixth year, (10th trip) to Jurassic Lake. On our two 2015 trips in January, we all caught some amazing rainbows with a lot that were over twenty pounds. In George’s week, we actually set the all-time record for the number of fish over twenty pounds caught in a single day of fishing. Our group of anglers caught 15 rainbows that were over 20 pounds in ONE DAY. The old record was 8 in one day.
This is just crazy, insane fishing, and you have to see it to believe it. We are fishing mostly in the lower stretch of the Barrancoso river that runs into the lake as well as right at the boca as it runs out into the lake. We also fish the “Bay of Pigs” aptly named since it has produced so many twenty pounders! The best part is that all of this is all only a five-minute walk from the lodge!
The Jurassic Lake Camp sits right above the very best water on the lake – right where the Rio Barrancoso runs into the lake. This is the only spawning stream that runs into the big Jurassic Lake, and all the huge rainbows in the lake run into this river to spawn throughout the months of November through January. A five-minute walk and you are catching rainbows that average 4-8 pounds, with the biggest fish running well over 20 pounds!
The new Lodge owners have done a wonderful job of improving the lodge over the last couple of years and now there is a whole new wing of rooms for the guests that are much larger than the old rooms, all with private bathrooms and spacious walk-in showers. Good gas heaters in each room keep the rooms comfy when it gets cool at night. The new dining room on the right has a great view overlooking the lake.
The cuisine is nothing short of spectacular. For being so far out in the boondocks, it is hard to believe that they come up with this kind of food. But the chef, Gonzalo takes pride in giving us meals like you might get at one of the best steak houses in Buenos Aires! Thick, juicy beef tenderloins, and Argentine lamb, cooked over a wood fire were some of our favorites, but one night we even had some wonderful fresh salmon, combined with Jurassic Lake rainbow trout. That was a treat. The meat of the Jurassic Lake fish, that feed almost exclusively on scuds, is a bright orange like a sockeye salmon. Gonzalo also prepared wonderful salads as well as special fancy, delicious deserts for each meal, the kind that you might expect to get in a gourmet restaurant!
Good Argentine wines from Mendoza are served with each meal, white or red, but I especially liked the Malbec. Soft drinks like Coke, Sprite and other mixers are available too if you want to bring in some of your favorite booze. They keep plenty of beer on hand like Heineken and Quillin, the local Argentine favorite. They pipe pure springwater down into the lodge, and you can drink the water right out of the tap, no problem although bottled water is available and free to all.
Since it is only a five-minute walk to the lodge, everyone comes back up for a nice lunch at 1 PM or so. Lunch varies from wonderful soups to grilled steaks and Sausages. Time to replenish your energy so that you can go back out there and fight more big fish!
This IS the best fishing for big rainbows in the world! In fact, to our knowledge, there is nothing that is even close. Nearly every angler that has gone on this trip with us has caught the largest trout of his life – and usually in the first hour of the first day!
Crister Sjoberg, the owner of Solid Adventures, and “Pollo” one of the guides he knew are the ones that really “discovered” the astounding fishing on Lago Strobel about 17 years ago. Lago Strobel (aka Jurassic Lake) is a huge lake (15 Km x 20 Km) that was barren until about 20 years ago.
Argentine Fish and Game decided that the Rio Barrancoso which runs into Lago Strobel, might become a good trout stream. They stocked McLeod strain rainbows from California and these fish quickly migrated down into Lago Strobel. Lake Strobel had no fish of any kind but was absolutely loaded with scuds because of the natural higher alkalinity of the water. The trout in the lake pigged out on the scuds and the rest is history. The trout are able to spawn very successfully in the Rio Barrancoso and today the rainbows run a good 25 miles up the river to spawn during higher water in November and December.
Christer heard about all these big trout in Lago Strobel so he went to explore with some friends. The trout he found were monsters. Christer started calling Lago Strobel “Jurassic Lake” and the name stuck. Christer is out now but the new owners Carlos Casanello and his partner have made many dramatic improvements at the lodge including; building new rooms, a whole new main lodge and dining room, as well as going to great expense to improve the roads and build an amazing 3000 foot airstrip that eliminates the “Drive to Hell”.
On our first trip to Jurassic Lake, in January of 2013, six of our seven anglers landed at least one rainbow over 20 pounds and the angler that didn’t had a couple that were close– 18-19 pounds! Our second year, in 2014, we were more prepared with just the right flies (mostly beads like we use in Alaska for big rainbows). Everyone on both trips caught huge fish with many in the 22-25 pound class. Then on our January 2015 trips everyone caught huge fish. Jamie caught a 27 lb rainbow, and in George’s week, his group set the all-time camp record with 15 rainbows over twenty pounds in one day!
We have done plenty of Alaska trips to Enchanted Lake Lodge, and that is a fantastic trip for big rainbows. It’s a place where you are likely to catch at least one rainbow over 10 pounds during your week. But at Jurassic Lake, you are often catching a dozen 10-15 pounders –in one day! And to keep things interesting, you might hook a fish over twenty pounds on your next cast!
The really red hot fishing, for an abundance of fish, is in November and December, when the fish are running into the Barrancoso River to spawn. However, in those months, the rate is $730.00 higher than we will pay in late December and January. The stream has a lot more flow then but is also more discolored.
Crister suggested that I go in January after the rate drops, but fishing is still extremely productive. In fact, the guides tell us that there are more really big, bright chromers in January than earlier. This has certainly seemed to be the case these last five years.
It is hard to describe the fishing we’ll experience. Crazy, outrageous, insane –pick your words. You’ll run out of superlatives before the week is over. What we liked more than anything was the short walk to the fishing from the lodge. This makes it easy to walk back and take a nice break for lunch before going back down there to battle more giants.
By 5:30-6:00 PM I’d usually give it up, walk back up to the lodge for a shower and then take a chair on the porch outside the dining room. I’d sit in the sun and sip some wine, or have a glass of whiskey and smoke a cigar, while watching the guys pound more fish out down by the mouth. We would normally eat at 8:00 PM and by then everyone had their fill of catching monsters, at least for that day. But if you are a glutton for punishment, you can go back down after dinner and fish until dark, which comes at 10:30 to 11 PM.
Due to the winds that can come up quickly and blow at up to 100kph no one in their right mind is going out there in a boat, float tube or pontoon boat. But you’ll see that they would not be needed since all the fishing is easily done by wading from shore, or the Rio Barranosco. There are no big rocks to contend with, and it is not slippery at all, so rubber-soled boots are fine. You will want to bring chest waders and some long underwear like Patagonia Capilene 2.
Water temps will be in the mid to high 40’s. Daytime temps don’t seem to vary a lot but this is their summer, so we’ll see most days starting out in the 50’s and getting up into the 60’s and even 70’s in the afternoons. If the wind isn’t blowing too hard, this is shirtsleeve weather. You do need to bring something like a Simms Pro Dry jacket though for colder days. Also, it is important to bring a good rain jacket as you may wear this a lot on windy days, just to protect you from the spray.
Jurassic Lake has a reputation for high winds and this is well deserved. We have seen a few days when it was not windy, but this is very unusual. I’d say that the normal day there the wind is blowing 15-30 mph. On the windiest days, we have seen sustained winds in the 40-50 mph range, with gusts up to 60-80 mph. This is why we choose to fish a full week instead of a half week– you never know what type of weather you will get. As we found out, it is easy to fish in just about any kind of wind, especially if you are fishing the stream, as the prevailing wind will often be at your back. All it takes is a little roll cast flip to get the cast where you want it.
At the mouth, you still can fish with the wind mostly at your back, but it can be at a 90-degree angle too, from the left side. When it is really windy, the “Bay of Pigs” is the place to be for the biggest fish, as the waves churn up the weeds making it easier for the fish to chow down on scuds, but there you will have the wind coming hard off your right shoulder. For a right-handed caster, this is murder.
To complicate matters there is very little backcast room since there is a huge big rock pile behind you. This is one place where that double-handed rod can pay big dividends. If you can get the fly out there even 50 to 70 feet or more you are going to catch some PIGS! With the longer double-handed rods, overhead casts are possible and if you can avoid hitting the rocks on your backcast, you are in business.
There are now a couple of “new” bays that we have been fishing as of 2017. These bays are about a 45-minute drive away from the camp. They can be just as phenomenal as the Big Bay in front of the lodge and the Bay of Pigs adjacent to the lodge. The week before we arrived another angler caught a 26-pound rainbow in one of the bays called “Secret Bay.” Later John hooked his 20+ pounder there and Jeff saw another big fish the same size, cruising the huge weed bed. The wind here is at your back which makes casting much easier than at the Bay of Pigs. You can strip all your line out to the backing and throw it with ease – even with a floating Skagit, MOW tip, and running line!
I’ve found that a 9-foot #8 or #9 rod is the ticket for fighting these big fish, especially when you have a hot 13-15 pounder hooked up. My personal favorite is the Loomis NRX in 9 foot #9. This rod will really blast casts into the wind and makes it easy to play the biggest rainbows. These NRX rods have also proven to be tough as hell and almost impossible to break. Now the new Loomis Asquith rods will be even better. In recent years, especially in the river, anglers have been using 6 and 7 weights as well. One of the guides even had a 4 weight fiberglass rod that they were having a blast with on the river.
You are going to want to fish only a floating line since the rock bottom here is encrusted with very sharp alkaline deposits that will shred any line. So sinking lines are out. Water temps are cool so you’ll want a cold water line like an S.A. MPX in WF-8-F or WF-9-F. We have a separate list of recommended clothing, tackle, and flies for this trip, so you can refer to that. For reels, I like the Nautilus NV-G-7/8 and G-8/9, their CCF-X2, a Tibor Everglades or their new Signature 7/8. This is one place it pays to have a good reel with a good strong and smooth drag. You are going to hook a lot of fish that will really peel off the line, running well into your backing.
Bring a double-handed rod if you have one and know how to use it. A 13-15 foot rod rated for an 8/9 seems to be perfect but even the more powerful rods up to a 10/11 work just fine. And do some practicing with it before the trip so that you can rip out some long spey casts since at the Bay of Pigs, with all the rocks behind you, overhead casts are more difficult. I’ve seen guys spend more time re-tying their rigs than fishing.
We’ll use heavy leaders and the best are our own Yellowstone Angler hand-tied Clear Butt or Hot Butt leaders in 9 or 12 foot to 0X. Then we’ll cut these back and add on tippets of 01X or 02X Fluoro. (We like Trout Hunter). So our tippets are going to be 18-21 lb. test. Trust me, you are going to need it this big! Farther up the stream, in the aquarium pool we often will use lighter tippets, but still nothing smaller than say 2X.
For flies, we’ll use a combination of small to medium-sized nymphs as well as a lot of streamers and leeches. The best nymphs seemed to be standard, size 6-8 rubber legs patterns or small girdle buggers with marabou tails and rubber legs. Bead head prince nymphs with rubber legs work well too. All in size 6 or 8 on heavy hooks. That is the key.
In lower water years we found bringing along a 9’#5 or 9’#6 weight rod is the perfect weapon for playing huge 30-33 inch fish in the upper river. In 2017 we had much less water than normal years and instead of fishing 02X and 01X, we had to fish 3X and 4X. Some guys were even fishing 5X and using tiny size #16 caddis dries! It was impressive to see such large fish getting landed on such small flies and tippet, especially seeing how hard these chrome fish could fight!
If catching 20-50 fish on small dry flies sounds like fun, then you might consider a half a day or more fishing the upper river a couple of miles above the Aquarium Pool. The guides will drive you up there. Here you’ll find eager fish ready to crush dry flies. On this upper river, you are much more protected out of the wind, so even on days where the lake is in full white-cap mode, you can find refuge from the wind and unparalleled solitude. While most fish in the far upper river range from 8-12 inches each year fish in the 22-30 inch range are caught – mostly on dry flies! If the fish aren’t feeding on top then a small nymph or streamer works well. For this kind of fishing you could even bust out an 8’6″# 4 weight, but a 5-weight is still a blast.
We will have 3-4 guides working with our group on most days. They are great guys, speak good English, and can help you with your fishing and casting. They are especially good at fishing double-handed rods as many of them guide on the Rio Gallegos for sea-run browns.
If you would like help with your double-handed casting, these guys are more than happy to spend some time with you. They are there close to us on the bank most of the time to help with one of their big nets when anyone gets a really big fish on– like 10 lbs plus.
A couple of the guides are great photographers too and have excellent DSLRs with good wide-angle polarized lenses. They are happy to provide us with all their top pics at the end of the week but you need to bring your own flash drive of your own so that they can download these for you.
I would be happy to help anyone with their tackle, casting, and technique too, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Of course, you already know about our new record for the number of bows over twenty pounds in one day (15) but what about other camp records?
You may ask how good can this get? Here are some really crazy statistics from the best week in November at the camp (in 2012).
Christer and his Swedish friends at the Solid Adventures Lodge racked up these stats: 9 guys caught 2900 big rainbows in six days of fishing!! That’s an average of 483 fish a day for 6 days of fishing or an average of 53 fish per day per angler. This is what you call off the charts! Even during the most difficult days, we’ve ever seen anglers are still catching 3-5 ten pound rainbows a day, all fish of a lifetime…
On George’s week in Jan. 2015, on our very first day when we arrived at the lake, we really clobbered them. We fished only from 3:30 PM to 8:30 PM. The guides kept track of the fish we caught and the number was 485 in 5 hours! We got lucky as it was raining that first day and with more rain all night, the Barrancoso River came way up, pushing a lot of water out into the lake and attracting more big fish to move in to spawn. That next day was when we set the record for big fish over 20 lb.
After that spectacular second day, our fishing tapered off somewhat but we were all still catching 40-60 fish a day per person. The good anglers were catching 75 to 80 in a day! That was a really special trip.
Going to Argentina in the middle of our winter is a good time to get away!
Going in mid-January is a lot more appealing to me than going in November when we are still bird hunting or fishing. January is always a good time to get out of the cold and go someplace a lot warmer. Their January in Argentina is like our June and July in Montana. That drop in price from November/December to January makes the January trip a no-brainer. PLUS, it’s actually a better time period to go for the giant chrome fish…
After a week of this, we’ll be so spoiled. Catching 16 inchers in Montana will seem pretty lame.
Fly Water Travel now handles all the deposits and final payments for Jurassic Lake. Typically they ask for 50% down for a deposit, and the balance is due 2 months before your trip. If you call us at 406-222-7130, we will be happy to reserve you a spot, or you can call Fly Water Travel direct at 800-552-2729.