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Welcome To Doc Thompson's High Country Anglers

Sunday, February 12, 2017


I’m home from the annual hosted trips to Playa Blanca and Casa Blanca.  Once again the trip delivered on some amazing fish moments, lots of laughter and pinched heart moments.

The first week was spent at Playa Blanca to fish the uncrowded remote Espiritu Santo Bay.  Weather throughout most of the week was ideal, mostly sunny with gentle breezes to light winds.  The week turned out to be an ideal week for targeting Permit.  The Permit Gods shined down with a total of 11 Permit landed which included two in the 25+ pound category and a couple 20+ pounds.  Oh sure, there were several pinched heart moments with a couple break-offs, missed hook sets and follows which is only typical with Permit that leave you with shaking head.  A few nice snook were landed including a 20 pounder.  Tarpon were somewhat active including a 60 pounder that was landed.  Many good healthy bone fish in the 4-6 pound range were landed. A couple novice saltwater fly fishers had a great time learning more about the salt and landing some really nice bones, tarpon and snook.  True to what Playa Blanca is know for there was one Grand Slam landed and a couple close to the Super Slam.

The following week at Casa Blanca was spent fishing Ascension Bay and the backcountry lagoons and mangroves.  The weather this week included a couple rainy nights, a rainy morning, inconsistent wind patterns and some strong wind moments.  Those weather patterns did their best to keep the Permit away, I think only 4 or 5 permit were seen all week.  The nice thing about Casa is the access to the backcountry lagoons when the Permit aren’t happy.  The bone fish in the backcountry provide some excitement with a plethora of bones around 4 pounds and good numbers of 6-8 pounders.  Tarpon and snook were a little finicky from the weather conditions but there were some hot tarpon and snook times throughout the week.  One of the best moments was Sue landing her first permit.  Congrats, Sue!  The pier at Casa produced a permit and a really nice tarpon.  As is often the case at the pier, landing the fish is the biggest challenge.  

Aside from the great fishing, the accommodations are ideal at Playa and Casa.  The food and margaritas are always tops!  A great couple weeks at one of the best saltwater destinations.  A must trip for anyone with Permit on their catch or seeking a Grand Slam or Super Slam.  2018 dates will be announced soon.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Argentina December 2016 Trip Recap

Big fat brown on a dry,
Peter PRG North guide and me
I recently returned from fishing and exploring around San Martin de Los Andes in the Patagonia Region of Argentina with PRG North and LOL Argentina (travel, city tour and transfer services in Buenos Aires).  We fished a variety of water including the Malleo, Collon Cura, Chimehuin, Quemquemtreu, Filo Hua Hum and a couple lakes.  An equal mix of wade fishing and float fishing.

The rivers had ideal conditions with good flows, clarity, temps, etc which according to the PRG North guides Peter, Santos and Ernon(sp?) is typical of December.  At their recommendation we decided take advantage of these ideal conditions to go after size versus number of trout.  The weather was just about right except the first couple days had some crazy wind but we managed.

The days wading fishing on Malleo, Filo Hua Hum and
Rio Malleo, Mount Lanin in
Photo by Fernando of PRG North.
Quemquemtreu were productive for sight casting to 18-24 inch
browns and rainbows.  A good number of these linebacker sized
 trout were eating a well presented and drifted larger terrestrial
type dry flies.  A few of the big boys and girls would only eat a
nymph or streamer.  All three of these rivers were offered different
water characteristics and scenery.

We float fished the Chemehuin one day.  We floated a couple different stretches of the Collon Cura.  The Chemehuin produced a lot nice fat 16-18 inch rainbows and browns on dry flies and
nymphs.  Floating Collon Cura we soon realized it is one of the
biggest rivers in the area and consistently produced 20-24 inch
browns and rainbows to mostly dry flies.

We stayed at three uniquely different estancias.  Mammal Malal,
a working cattle ranch, where Delores and Bertile are entertaining
D.S. hooked up on Collon Cura!
hosts filled with lots of laughs while providing tasty home style
Patagonia meals.  Beautiful views abound of Lanin, an extinct
volcano that makes up the Argentina/Chile border.  Quemquemtreu
is a large estancia in the lower elevations that has many miles of the
smaller river Quemquemtreu flowing through it.  This estancia is a
classic with nice bedrooms, a traditional aside(bbq) and great wine.
Tres Lagos is a private historic estancia located inside
Lanin National Park.  Here there are nice spacious cabins that
overlook Lago Filo Hua Hum and provides easy access to
Rio Filo Hua Hum. I would stay at any of these estancias again.

The PRG North staff including Alex(manager), Peter(guide),
J.S with a beautiful healthy brown!
Santos(guide), Ernon(sp?, guide),
Nicholas(assistant guide soon to be guide and
Fernando(assistant guide and photographer) provided great service
from the moment we contacted them.  The guides know the water,
work hard, are professional and friendly.  LOL Argentina travel
services in Buenos Aires did a great job handling airport transfers,
a misplaced duffle bag, a tour of Buenos Aires and making
everyone feel comfortable and welcomed.

Will I go back?  Definitely, looking at  December 2017!
If you would like to know more please contact me.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Playa Blanca and Casa Planca 2014 Trip Recap

Diane with a nice bonefish

Each winter I take a break from fly fishing here in NM to escape to a warmer climate.  The last few years I’ve been hosting a winter trip down to Playa Blanca and Casa Blanca in the Yucatan.  I Just returned a few days ago from another great trip.  The trip featured a lot of wonderful fishing memories.  Fun, camaraderie and laughter shared by all.   

At Playa Blanca we were blessed by a week of supreme weather.  Lots of sunshine and gentle breezes offered ideal permit conditions.  During the Playa week the 8 anglers combined for 7 permit landed, several agonizing lost permit, and many follows.  Of course I had my share of blunders but managed to land a permit and break one off.  Two guests landed the super slam with a permit, tarpon, snook and bonefish.  There were 2 grand slams landed during the week including mine.  Some anglers primarily focused on tarpon and snook.  They were nicely rewarded with some big jumps.  At the end of the Playa week we said good bye to old friends and newly made friends.  3 of us moved up to Casa and welcomed new friends. 

Will with a very nice snook
The Casa week started off with some overnight and early morning rain.  No worries though; one of the many great things about Casa and Playa is the ability to have backup fishing options if the weather isn’t ideal.  Just duck into one of the back or side lagoons to focus on bonefish, tarpon or snook.  The first part of the Casa week brought lots of bonefish action.  The best bonefish action I’ve experienced.  There were times of bonefish after bonefish.   Literally take the fly out of one bonefish while preparing to cast to another one.  Many bones in the 3-4 pound range with a few 5-6 pounders.  The bonefish at Casa and Playa are definitely growing each year.  3 permit broke off during the week despite spotty permit action.  We cracked the code on the Casa pier.  3 of us each landed a tarpon on consecutive evenings at the pier.   It no doubt resembled a 3 ring circus without a plan.   The plan was cast to tarpon.  We never had a plan for landing them but we do now.   Audrey celebrated her 85th birthday at Casa Blanca in grand style.  On her birthday she landed several nice bonefish including a 5+ pounder.  Afterwards the lodge threw her a birthday part with cake and balloons.  

I recognize that Squimp
Both Casa Blanca and Playa Blanca deliver on service with an eye for big things and small details.  All of the lodge staff, kitchen crew and guides are very friendly and helpful.  Each morning started off with fresh brewed coffee delivered to the rooms as the wake up call.  The breakfast table featured mouthwatering fresh fruit papaya, mango, pineapple and cantaloupe.  A wide range of cook to order breakfasts include Huevos Rancheros to Migas to French Toast.   Dinners featured flavorful Yucatan style dishes often featuring fresh fish.  Their palm leave and mangrove smoked chicken is tops!  When I am asked if I prefer one lodge over the other, I can’t say.  They are sister lodges and are both great, that’s why I decided a week at each.  A person has the option of Casa or Playa.  Or go all in for both weeks.  2015 dates will be announced soon.  In the meantime if you have any questions or are interested in join this grand fly fishing adventure please contact me.

Friday, January 17, 2014

As 2013 was coming to an end I found myself working on a new website and fishing the Louisiana Coast.  The Louisiana marsh was everything I’ve heard.  The nice thing about redfish is their tendency to be a little forgiven.  A trout bum like me can make a less than stellar cast and still recover.  Saw good numbers of 6-8 pound reds, some reds in the 10-15 pound range and several in the 20 pound range. 

Now in 2014 I am crunching to get the new fly fish New Mexico website up and going.  Actually Marc is doing most of the work, I just plug in the New Mexico fishing info.  The new website should feature information on Northern New Mexico fly fishing.  The local waters page features overviews of fly fishing the Cimarron River, Rio Costilla, Rio Grande, Red River and some private waters.   At the end of each river description there is a link to the fishing report.  The photo gallery will have photos from various fly fishing trips in New Mexico.  Look for a list of places to stay whether you are fly fishing out of Eagle Nest, fishing in Taos, fishing out of Cimarron or want a peaceful quiet place to stay in the mountains.   Somewhere on the website there is even a link to buy New Mexico fishing licenses.   Parts of the website are a work in progress and will take a little time to get the kinks worked out.

Our winter fishing here in New Mexico is pretty much limited to the Lower Red River.  There are several springs feeding into the Lower Red that help make it a winter fishery.  Look for a few midges and Baetis in the afternoons.  Keep an eye out for snow and ice packed along the trails.  The Lower Red usually starts getting consistent in mid to late February and continues to fish through March until mid April when runoff usually kicks in.