Fishipedia Q&A: Nico Trochine – Head Guide at Kooi Noom, Patagonia

November 26th, 2014| No Comments

Fishipedia Q&A: Nico Trochine

Nico Trochine is the kind of man it’s easy to be jealous of. His youthful exterior belies a wealth of fishing and guiding experience – on Tierra del Fuego’s Rio Irigoyen, the salmon rivers of Iceland, and plenty of other places in between. These days you’ll find him (along with his twin brother, Alex) running the fishing programme at red-hot “new” fishery, Kooi Noom in Patagonia.  

Of course, it’s not new in the literal sense – but it’s new to even the most intrepid fishermen. And it’s thanks to the pioneering efforts of the Trochine brothers that this place — home to wild, clear water and trophy-sized rainbow trout — has been opened up to the wider angling world. If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you may already have read about it here

We caught up with Nico to find out a little more about the fishery…       

How did you discover Kooi Noom?
It all started in April 2007, after a long guiding season in Tierra del Fuego. We’d heard a lot of stories about big fish caught in Strobel Lake (Jurassic Lake), and started thinking about looking for something similar or even better. We knew Strobel wasn’t the only super-productive lake in the area, so we started our search. During one of those trips we stopped at an estancia to buy some supplies and the owner’s wife asked what we were doing in the area. We explained that we were looking for big fish, and she replied, “My brother has a ranch on the other side of Strobel, towards the west, with several lakes and streams inside his ranch. Give him a call and talk to him.” We looked at the map and we thought it could be really interesting so we talked to Luis (the estancia owner) and planned a trip for the following season.

November of 2007 came and we finally got down to the estancia where Kooi Noom is situated. This was a completely different scenario than the one we imagined. Instead of finding very rocky and dry land with only lakes around we found the opposite – many streams and several lakes, all surrounded by a beautiful green landscape and lots of wildlife.

We didn’t have much time then to spend in the area but we looked around, fished Lake Toro and caught several good fish. We were really happy to find this jewel and we decided to start doing a long term research. After that we would go every season at least a couple of times to check the fishing in different areas – we had a lot of water to look for fish with no vehicle access!

Hot New Destination: Kooi Noom, Argentina

The promised land: the Capitan River, which flows through Kooi Noom’s 20,000-hectare estate

Can you remember the first day you fished there?
Yes indeed. We arrived at the ranch late at night – we couldn’t see much, but when we woke up the next day we were really impressed by the scenery. We went fishing right away and got our first fish at Toro Lake – the first of what turned out to be many!

And now you (along with your twin brother) have exclusive access to the fishing there. Is that right?
We do have exclusive access to all the streams and lakes within the 20,000-hectare estancia.



Describe a typical day at Kooi Noom
We have breakfast at 8am and head out fishing at 9am to the upper Capitan River (a 30-minute ride from the lodge) where you will be able to sight fish for trophy rainbows. There is a really nice hut we just built, where you will have lunch out of the wind. After a short rest, we fish some more and normally get back to the Lodge at around 6pm. The chef prepares some appetizers, then it’s drinks at 7pm and dinner at 8pm, before preparing for the next day.

The water looks pretty clear – are there good sight-fishing opportunities?
The upper section of the Capitan River is always clear and we only do sight-fishing for trophy rainbows. Actually, the big lake is the only section where we do not sight fish — the windy conditions make it difficult to spot the fish. We have some great sight fishing in Toro Lake as well — we normally walk along the banks spotting the fish first, before throwing dry flies at them.

Capitan River, Kooi Noom

Gin-clear water? Check. Monster rainbows? Check. Welcome to Kooi Noom

Consider us interested. Tell us more…
Depending on the season you will be able to target very good size fish almost every day. From sight-fishing on the Capitan River for 4-15lb fish or sight-fishing on Toro Lake and the smaller streams for 3-6lb fish. If the weather allows, we can also go for big chromers at the far end of Quiroga Lake – we’ve caught fish there to over 15lbs. It is rare to come back with less than a dozen good fish in a day.

I’m coming for a week. What should be in my bag (tackle and otherwise)? What kind of flies should I be tying?
Depending on the water, we will use different gear and tactics. To be able to cover all the fishing situations you will need the following:

  • Single-handed 7- or 8-weight rod
  • Single-handed 5- or 6-weight rod
  • Single-handed 3- or 4-weight rod
  • WF floating line and a multi-tip line (various sinking tips sizes)  — 1x to 4x tippet (8 to 16lbs test)
  • Flies: Woolly Buggers #4-8; Zonkers and Matukas #4-6; Stimulators, Madam X, Fat Albert #8-12; Scuds #10-14; Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear, Prince and Stoneflies #8-14; Chernobyl Ant #8-6; Adams, Royal Wulff and Elk Hair Caddis #10-14 (to name a few)
  • Waders, boots, fishing jacket, polar fleece, gloves and base layers
  • For those who like to fish with double-handed rods, there are some excellent opportunities – we recommend a lightweight spey rod or an 8-weight switch rod

The summer climate of this southern area of Patagonia can be extremely changeable; a wide range of temperatures and conditions should be expected within hours. It’s a good idea to layer clothes, enabling you to add or subtract garments during the day – thermal underwear such as Wool-4 or Capilene-3/4 from Patagonia as a base layer, polar fleece windstopper or Regulator-4 as a mid-layer, and a Gore-Tex jacket as an outer shell, will keep you dry, comfortable and warm during the day.

Windstopper gloves, neck and cap, as well as wool or technical thermal socks are very important. Attire at the lodge is casual.

Kooi Noom, Patagonia

As well as lakes and fast-moving rivers, small-stream fishing is also available at Kooi Noom

It sounds pretty remote. What’s the best way to get there?
Guests fly to Buenos Aires. Depending your arrival time, you’ll overnight there and spend half a day touring the city. The Buenos Aires-El Calafate flight takes 3.5 hours. Our representative will be waiting for you at the airport or in any hotel in the beautiful town of El Calafate.

If you are planning to transfer directly to the lodge, we recommend flights arriving after noon. If you are planning to fly back to Buenos Aires on you departure day, you should plan flights leaving El Calafate after 1pm.

Would it be possible to combine this trip with some golden dorado fishing?

Of course it is, at any time of the season you are able to fish for dorado in Northern Argentina and enjoy two complete different cultures, weather and fishing of course. We can also advise you on other good fishing destinations you might want to combine with this trip.

Click here to find out more about Kooi Noom. 

And if that leaves you wanting more, stand by for something special – Ben Etridge, the UK representative and booking agent for Kooi Noom, is heading out there next week and will be documenting his trip via a series of daily blog posts right here


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