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 involving 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 about any Lago Strobel plans and dreams you might have.
Two rods, floating lines, quality reels and a small kit bag serve 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 squeezed in three Mystic Tremor series rods. The Tremor series is a fast-action rod designed for windy saltwater flats and performs well. An excellent cost-effective option is Mystic’s Reaper X, 9-foot-eight weight.
Two rods, one seven-weight and one eight-weight, were always rigged and ready to go. The third was along as a backup in case of an accident. Some might wonder about how long a ‘switch’ rod is 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 works against you as you end up spooking fish.
Long-distance casts typically aren’t needed. When there is any 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 advantageous 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 beg for wind. I kid you not.
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.
You only need a floating line such as RIO’s Outbound Short. If you want to work flies deeper or on a different presentation angle using a floating line, I 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 Fathom V or VI line is useful.
As I discovered early in my first trip, Lago Strobel’s shoreline rocks are tough on fly line. I had one become entangled around the calcium-encrusted rocks as they 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 Outbound Short is an excellent choice. Make sure the line you choose is suited for temperate conditions to avoid memory issues.
I also recommend using low-stretch 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 Strong 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 occurs 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 keep you warm and dry while providing relief from the wind.
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.
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.
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 is flies. Don’t worry. I will cover those in detail in a future entry.