I have 500 words to take your imagination 500 miles north of Tierra del Fuego to Santa Cruz province – to high-five a unique destination set in 500,000 acres of private land in a far-flung corner of a Patagonian wilderness, five hours north of El Calafate: a lodge called Kooi Noom.
Kooi Noom, Tehuelche for ‘fish path’, is a lodge in its second season started by two of Argentina’s most highly respected guides; twins, Alex and Nico Trochine. With their unequalled knowledge of Patagonian rivers and shared sense of adventure they began work looking for a unique trophy rainbow location. A place where they could create an entirely different experience.
This was ten years ago, when they were nineteen. An age when the answer to ‘Why?’ is ‘Why not?’ Since then they have made the impossible, possible.
This being a ‘fishing report’, I should be looking into my diary and telling you about the weather, the water conditions, what we had for dinner – and about that day when a platinum rainbow trout of 22lbs attached itself to my companion’s Woolly Bugger in the lake – and I landed a 15lb-er on a #20 in the river.
Instead I’m going to give you the answer to questions I wanted answering. ‘Just another lake stuffed with monster rainbows? An entirely different programme? (I may have already hinted at the answer.)
Unlike the closed lake system on offer elsewhere, you’re not rubbing shoulders with other anglers along a short length of lakeside. Accommodating a maximum of six anglers, wherever you are, it’s just you, a guide, the trout, (a guanaco or two) and the choice of fishing not just one big fario-fattening scud-rich lake (the largest, 50,000 acres), but two: the Upper and Lower Quiroga. Different enough?
No. Kooi Noom has rivers. Two, in the Rio Capitan water system which drain the lakes and hold some of the largest trout in Patagonia that move backwards and forwards throughout the season, many deciding to remain in the river. With three beats – each enough for a day’s fishing – offering sight and technical pocket water fishing for 3-15lb rainbows, with a chance of a roving 20-er. Anything more?
Yes. Kooi Noom has eight miles of spring creeks holding double-digit rainbows – and surprises. On my last day I took a 4lb-er out of a dew pond the size of a double-parking space. Trout are everywhere!
My questions answered, Alex admits there are many still unanswered. Do fish stay in the river late season? Do they spawn in the spring? What makes them stay in the river? How much bigger can they get?
“We’re talking about first generation fish here,” Alex says. “Not fish that were put in twelve years ago. Fish born in the river. We still don’t know what they’re up to. They don’t know themselves!”
Yet to be discovered mysteries may torment Alex and Nico, but one thing’s for sure: these fish are there for good.
And they ain’t getting any smaller.
For more information on Kooi Noom please contact Charlie White or Hannah Treliving.