Friday, August 12, 2016

Lago Strobel So What Equipment do I need to Bring?

Whenever you plan a trip the question, “What equipment or gear do I need to bring?” always arises. This question is magnified for a ‘bucket list’ trip or one that involves airline travel and the associated baggage restrictions, such as a journey to Lago Strobel.  One would hate to travel to Patagonia only to discover they brought the wrong rod and line or left the wading boots at home.  This post should help address any concerns for any Lago Strobel plans and dreams you might have.

Two rods, floating lines, quality reels and a small kit bag serves you well on Lago Strobel

You will need at least one four-piece seven or eight weight rod.  I recommend bringing at least two rods. On my last trip, I managed to squeeze in three Mystic Tremor series rods.  The Tremor series is a fast action rod designed for windy saltwater flats and performed well.

Two rods, one seven weight and one eight weight, were always rigged and ready to go.  The third was simply along as a backup in case of an accident. Some might wonder about long a ‘switch’ rod to cope with the wind.  Based on my experience and talking to the guides, who spend the season on the water, a switch or two-handed rod isn’t necessary.  In fact, some of the Estancia Laguna Verde guides felt that the surface disturbance casting these rods creates actually works against you as you end up spooking fish.

Long casts are rarely needed
Long distance casts typically aren’t needed.  When there is any sort of surface chop and/or cloud cover Lago Strobel trout prefer to prowl the productive shoreline margins so short casts or angled casts intended to parallel the shore work best.  Long casts are only an advantage when the wind is low, the surface is calm and the sun is bright.  Under these conditions, trout become wary and may be reluctant to venture into the shallows choosing to stay out along the transition between shallow and deep water. Yes, there will be calm, warm, windless days during your stay.  Believe it or not, if the fishing gets tough you will be begging for any type of wind.  I kid you not.

Rods are always rigged and ready

Lago Strobel fish are large, robust and full of energy. Once hooked they are more than capable of taking you well into your backing, sometimes two or three times during the course of a fight.  Bring a good quality reel with a good smooth drag and at least 150 yards of backing.  Disc drag reels are preferred over conventional click and pawl systems.  If you can, bring at least two reels if you have them. I used Islander 3.8LX reels. They performed flawlessly.

Fly Lines:

Although I brought a cross section of fly lines you only need a floating line.  I also brought along Midge Tip, InTouch Camolux and  InTouch Hover lines but in the end, they were never called off the bench as a floating line met all my presentation needs.  If you want to work flies deeper or on a different presentation angle using a floating line I would recommend bringing a few Versileaders, in a cross section of sink rates.

When working off the deep rock bluffs or for fishing Booby's, Lago Strobel trout love Booby's, a fast sinking InTouch Deep 5 or 6 line is useful.

Working fast sinking lines and a Booby off a rocky shore
As I discovered early in my first week, Lago Strobel’s shoreline rocks are tough on fly line.  I had one become entangled around the calcium-encrusted rocks as it lay in the surf line at my feet. I ended up breaking it in my attempts to get it free.  Make sure to bring at least one spare of every line type you plan on bringing.

Line profile is also important.  As Strobel can be windy at times your floating line should or perhaps I should say must be designed to perform in the wind.  RIO’s InTouch Outbound Short and InTouch Xtreme Indicator are excellent choices. The new InTouch Big Nasty should also work well.  Make sure the line you choose is suited for temperate conditions to avoid memory issues.

I also recommend using low stretch, InTouch, lines.  Low stretch lines offer superior bite detection as not all Strobel takes are crunching. In addition, low stretch lines offer improved casting efficiency. Once a fish is hooked you can exert more pressure subduing the fish in less time while reducing potential stress.

When you pack any extra lines place them in marked Ziploc bags to avoid both weight and bulk.  Bring along a RIO Cranky and a spare line spool. If you wish to change lines, either by choice or necessity, the operation will take just a few minutes.

Tippet and Leaders:

Leader and tippet requirements are simple.  Bring Powerflex Plus tippet in 2X (12#) to 1X (15#) for dry flies.  Watching a monster trout slurp down a Chubby Chernobyl or crush a mouse pattern is a trip highlight.   For subsurface presentations, I used 0X (15#) pound Fluroflex Plus tippet.

Even though large bulky flies aren’t needed, leaders designed to turn over large flies in the wind work best. RIO Saltwater or Bonefish leaders work well.  I also had good success using Powerflex Plus Leaders.

You should have at least a half dozen leaders in the 10’ (Saltwater) to 12’ (Powerflex Plus) lengths.

As mentioned earlier in this post, having a few Versileaders in various sink rates is a good idea.

Other Equipment Considerations:


As with all fishing excursions, quality polarized sunglasses are a must.  If possible, bring two pairs. A hat with a large bill that stays in place when the wind is up is recommended. Buffs are an excellent accessory for keeping the sun off your face and your hat on your head. Bring two if you can.

Wading Jacket and Waders: 

95% of the fishing on both Lago Strobel and the surrounding Lagunas takes place from shore. Although deep wading isn’t necessary or recommended you need waders and a wading jacket. Depending on the conditions, you may have waves crashing around and into you.  A wading jacket and waders keeps you warm and dry while providing relieve from the wind.

A wading staff helps navigate the rocky shallows
Wading Boots:  

Lago Strobel isn’t the place for lightweight wading boots. Good ankle support is critical due to Lago Strobel’s rocky shoreline. A combination of felt and studs or Vibram and studs provides sure footing.

General clothing: 

Lago Strobel sits at approximately 3000 feet above sea level. The weather is unpredictable and changes quickly. A layered philosophy works best. Even during mid-summer, it is possible to have a frost at night. In the fall late March into April, a wool hat is also recommended.  Rain, however, is unlikely at any time of year.

Having the right equipment makes all the difference
Sun Gloves: 

Sun gloves are also a welcome accessory. They keep the sun and wind off your hands. As with most Lago Strobel kit, a second pair is a welcome relief to replace a wet pair should it turn cool.

The only recommended equipment I haven’t mentioned, flies.  Don’t worry I will cover those in detail in a future entry.