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Patagonia-Nick Kelley-Western Rise

When I’m trying to convince friends to come to Patagonia with me, which takes around four seconds, I always say it’s like how Montana must have been 50 years ago.

Huge skies, rolling hills, copious amounts of red meat, and eager browns lurking behind (most) overhanging willows, Argentina has all the ingredients for a dangerous addiction. I’m certainly hooked and I don’t plan on asking for help.

December and January trips can be jarring—in the best of ways—getting on a plane from a frozen runway only to arrive in the height of a Patagonian summer, however, this April was the first time I’d ever been there in the fall. High 60’s, shorter days, and dinners being served before the typical summer start time of midnight, autumn is hard to beat.

Water levels were at near record lows in the rivers surrounding Junin de los Andes and we took full advantage being able to wade in almost any direction. While the dry fly fishing wasn’t in summer form, big black streamers were open season.


Grayson Schaffer towards the end of a long day throwing streamers.

Nick Kelley Western Rise Patagonia

Czecko, a boar hunting dog, in his usual spot in the Hilux. The dogs can turn into impressive hunters with the flip of a switch, but spend most of their time seeing how far they can climb into your lap for a nap.

Nick Kelley Western Rise Patagonia 

On rivers like the Malleo, Collon Cura, and the Chimehuin, browns hang in the oddest locations. You’re more likely to step on them before you spot them.

Nick Kelley Western Rise Patagonia

The kinda of water where just watching your fly is exciting enough.

Nick Kelley Western Rise Patagonia 

A big brown that fell victim to a black streamer but put up a good fight through crazy-clear water and moss-covered boulders.

Nick Kelley Western Rise Patagonia

I’ve had mate long enough that I enjoy it and actually prefer it to coffee. For the rookies, it’s an acquired taste.

Nick Kelley Western Rise Patagonia 

Not too much light pollution to worry about for long exposures.



Words and Photography by Nick Kelley, @ngkelley