Long time ago we heard a few rumors about the fishing at the middle valley section of Blanco river, so we started to investigate about it. My friend Andy Manstein live with his family at 1 mile from the beginning of Blanco River. So, with Andy, we fished a few times the Upper river at the outlet of Caro Lake with great results, but we couldn’t keep going downstream, because of a very tight and impassable canyon. We walked around it , in a very tight jungle, and we were able to reach a few short sections of the river, because is almost all cover with forest, so not many places for casting. So, we kept looking at other ways how to get to the river, and hopefully with a boat. Few years later, we met a Gaucho ( Cowboy), Jorge Martel, who is born and raised in the valley, and he is the only person living there, and he offered us to take us where we wanted to go. We were so excited, that we decided to take a cataraft in pieces with a 2 Stroke 30hp outboard motor with us. We brought everything in by horses, so we were able to explore part of the river and the tributaries. We were just amazed with our first fishing expedition. Between Bryan Sohl, Andy Manstein and Eduardo Barrueto, we landed more fish that we could even remember 95% of them were brown trout, just few rainbows….Fishing was just incredible, lots of big fish, up to 24” and we saw some bigger ones. After that wonderful experience, we couldn’t wait to bring our friends here, we knew that we had to share this paradise. So, we didn’t thinked twice, and we decided to go forward and start our River of Dreams BaseCamp.
The fishing at the River of Dreams Basecamp its basically made at the main river, Blanco River, few spring creeks, mainly the Paradise spring creek, right at Camp, and the Bongo river, at half mile from Camp. There is so much water to fly fish, that we are still exploring the Valley and finding new waters all the time.
Between the Lower Canyon and the Upper Canyon, the middle section of the river, there is more than 30 miles of river to float, so we will spend mostly of our time exploring the river. We use catajets (cataraft with a jet outboard), so we can go everywhere in the river. The structure of the river its very diverse, all surrounded by forest, with long deep pools, shallow riffles, lots of logs, side channels, uppercut banks, all the river is very, very fishy. The river looks like a mix between the Upper Yellowstone river in Montana and the Snake River in Idaho, and it fishes very similar too. The only difference is that you will not see any other humans or boats, besides your group.
The fishing strategies are big dry flies or mouse patterns on floating lines and big streamers on sinking tips. You will be mostly floating and casting against the logs, uppercut banks, across shallow riffles, looking for fast and aggressive takes. The target species are mainly brown trout, and once in a while you will find few feisty rainbows holding in the back eddies of big pools. Many of the fish they have never seen a fly before, so they are very wild and aggressive. Sometimes you get a fish attacking the mouse or the streamer many times until you set the hook properly. Browns are not very shy here.
There is plenty of fish in the 12-18 inch range, lots of fish between 18 to 24 inches, and few fish in the 24-27 inch range. The biggest fish landed for a client it was a 27 inch brown trout, but we have seen a few bigger ones. Sometimes the River of Dreams its truly Magical.
There are several spring creeks in the Blanco River Valley. Right at our Camp its located one of the biggest ones and the best one to fish. With almost 2 miles long, the Paradise spring creek it’s a lot of fun. Before you start your fishing day, or after the day of fishing, you can just walk 50 mts from Camp and get in the spring creek. You will always find rising fish, there is very good mayfly and stonefly hatches.
We have seen just brown trout at the spring creek. Very fat, muscular and aggressive brown trout. The average size fish its around 18 inches and we have caught brown trout up to 25 inches. Excellent place to target big browns sight fishing for them. A 5wt rod and floating line it’s the perfect set up for this place, so you can use small flies to match the hatch, or you can use big beetles or mouse patterns.
There is several other spring creeks in the whole valley, and we are still finding new ones between the jungle.
Bongo river is a beautiful mountain stream. Its located at walking distance from Camp, at almost ¾ of a mile. Beautiful runs, pools, undercut banks and logs, it’s a very fun small river. We have almost 2 plus miles were we can walk and wade, and fish for brown and rainbow trout. The average fish its 10 to 14 inches, and lots of them. We have caught a few bigger ones, but looks like the big fish are in the main river. Very fun small stream to catch lots of fish on dry flies in a few hours.