The river that travels the driest desert in the world

Features and context

The river I’m gonna talk about is located at the driest desert in the world, I don’t name it because I wanna make sure its survives (specially the bows and browns that lives within) the human race. It travels 250 miles from the Andean mountains to the Pacific Ocean, that’s why its called a river.

A river in the desert

A river in the desert

I came across this river because I change jobs, and one of my arguments as a fly fishing enthusiast when being interviewed on February 24th 2011 is that it must be someplace nearby in which I can enjoy the sport I love so much. So the first thing I do when at the hotel in the new city was to hire a cab to drive me to this river in a hurry 😛

This event was near seasons end so I was in a hurry, I was so exited that I forgot everything I learned over the years on a successful fly fishing day. The cab drop me near a pass through before a dam by two miles, I started fishing it walking up the river as I always try to do. The cab picked me up later that day.

One of my first mistakes was to try the usual flies I use on some southern rivers in Chile and stick to them like a totem or something. I do not catch that much that day but I DO enjoy it very much, and yes there where trouts on it.

A small trout

A small trout

As you can see the tools where wisely chosen but the flies.

The adventures began

With the end of the season (a week later) I realized my mistakes and went out to explore the river an its insects, I’m far from an entomologist expert, to learn which size, shape and color I should match to win the game here. I’ve also conducted some research on the entomology composition on rivers located at 10,000 feet above sea level. As you may have guessed there are a lot of scuds and midges.

Scuds in the desert

Scuds in the desert

Midges in the desert

Midges in the desert

With that in mind and with the knowledge gained through the locals (they illegally fish with dragonfly nymphs live bait) I realized what flies should work and began to buy them on-line (my tying kit and 95% of my flies were at 870 miles from here).

With some help from Google Earth I also picked up possible paths to the river with some 4×4 drive in, the river goes through a canon most of the time.

The river from some canon edge

The river from some canon edge

With the knowledge gained on the off season period I re discovered the river, to my surprise big bows and browns inhabit its pools and runs (big as of the river proportions).

So I camped and fished this river 2 days and sometimes 3 days a week from then on and  learned a lesson along the way also.

Brown at the desert

Brown at the desert

Bows at the desert

Bows at the desert

The neet thing about all of this is that I:

  • Walk a lot, hike and camp with some drive in too
  • Mix it up with my ultra light fly fishing “addiction”, rod weights 3 and under, being a 1wt my favorite for this river.
  • Learn a lot in the process
  • Learned to enjoy the desert and the way life breath within
  • Gained another humility lesson along the way

Now I’m in the process of exploring new water, and to my surprise there is some bows and browns in a salty river nearby, stay tuned for that one 😉

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About zlachevsky

Fly Fishing enthusiast
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