When talking about Fishing in North Patagonia there is a very special time of the year characterized by the hatching of this very special worm: the green worm or “gusano de los sauces”. Let me tell you about this gold mine worm: these insects have complete metamorphosis from egg to larva, to pupa and finally adult. The adults lay the eggs on the foot of the Willows (Sauces) where hatching takes place and then climb all the way to the top to feed from the leaves, leaving it completely bare. This cycle happens twice in 20 days during the month of February due to the highest temperatures in January, our summer time.
Patagonia trouts love Green worms and are always ready to feed from them every time they find them available over the surface of the river, after falling from the tree top due to high temperatures or wind. Rarely they will find an adult, larvas are the main prey.
I still remember my first experience with the green worm. My friend Fernando and I were fishing the mid-section of the Pilolil-Malleo River, equipped with big attractors, we saw something strange happening that we had never seen before… These worms had the trouts crazy! Even the biggest trouts were moving 13 ft without stopping, just to get to the worms that had just fallen from the trees. Trouts were eating non-stop! It was definitely our chance… But to our misfortune, none of the flies we had in our big and highly equipped box was working… We tried and tried but we had no luck. What was happening is that none of our flies could imitate these peculiar worm so we just stayed out of the game.
When we got back to the lodge we spent the whole evening trying to tie the perfect fly for this irresistible worm. We had to trust our memory and pick the right components so that we could compete with the green worm.
On the following day, we went straight to that same spot, under the willows, this time with the fly that we had tied ourselves the evening before. Rainbow trouts, brown trouts, it was just a success… An extraordinary experience we will never forget.