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Dispatches From Patagonia:

Peter Kaminsky has fished Patagonia for 30 years and wrote Seven Fires with renowned Patagonian chef Francis Mallmann.

The quest for big trout draws guides and anglers such as Austin Trayser to Patagonia.

The quest for big trout draws guides and anglers such as Austin Trayser to Patagonia.

You might say that my 30 years of fishing in Patagonia have been one big pilgrimage to the south in search of bigger water and huge trout. To be sure, all of Patagonia — from the Montana-like landscape of the northern rivers that Charles Ritz and José “Bebe” Anchorena made famous to the harsh, wind-swept Pampas of Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego — is a fine place for a fisherman to find him or herself, if you like less-pressured water; steak, steak and more steak; robust red wine; and a sense of style that is half John Wayne and half Fred Astaire.

Still, as Joe Brooks, the airline pilot turned fly-fishing pioneer, once observed, as anglers move on in years, they will finally confess that the goal is bigger fish. Of course, you can go on telling yourself that average-size fish and lots of action on gently flowing streams are downright poetic; that just being outside in pretty surroundings and catching a few is perfectly zen. But in truth, casting into the teeth of a roaring gale and connecting with 20 pounds of muscle-bound trout that takes you perilously far into your backing will jolt your soul and simplify your worldview until all that exists is an arcing rod, the hissing of line snaking through the guides, and the wake of a trout that cleaves the surface like a rip in the fabric of space and time.

I suppose the barren steppe of the Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego doesn’t offer much by way of pretty Instagram opportunities, but the brown trout that make their spawning run upriver from the Antarctic Sea are the biggest browns I have ever encountered. Likewise, in Santa Cruz, the southernmost province on the American mainland, Lago Strobel — aka “Jurassic Lake” — holds rainbow trout as fat as super-size footballs and big as baby bluefin and catchable on small flies in a lake that can, in a matter of minutes, go from the unruffled blue-green clarity of a bonefish flat to a scene that calls to mind the wind-driven whitecaps of a Nantucket nor’easter. Full-contact fly-fishing, ya know? Dispatches From Patagonia continues >>




Heavy Winds, Big Fish

When traveling deep into windy Patagonia, bring as much tackle as possible


Friendship Born of a Fish

The gringo and the Chilean ranger spoke a common language of moving water


Beyond the Comfort Zone

The revitalizing rigors of fishing off the grid


Toast to a Bygone Bar

Donkey’s Bar was an outpost watering hole en route to great fishing


Dispatches from Patagonia

Six writers share their stories from the rugged, intoxicating landscape


Crazy Big

Lake Thingvallavatn might be hard to pronounce, but it's overflowing with giant brown trout


Countries in Contrast

Fishing both sides of the Andes in one trip highlighted the region’s diversity

Brown Trout

Brown Trout

The fly fisherman has ‘this thing’ for browns rising to mayflies


The Chef Would Rather Fish

When Ned Baldwin Isn't in the Kitchen, He's Usually Fishing, Thinking About Fishing, or Cooking Something He Caught