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Go Fish

Like the complex weave of a fine carpet, many factors create the texture of a good life. This fishing affects real estate values as well.

One of Ecuador’s great assets is its natural resources and outdoor life. Fishing for trout and other fish is one benefit from this nature. Natural Geographic named Ecuador one of the top ten adventure destinations for 2007 not without reason, so we at Ecuador Living keep our eyes on what’s happening in nature as well as in property markets.

We also give Steve, our man in Ecuador, some tough assignment such as to go fish!

Here is his first report which as you will see shows that he can write and observe perhaps better than he can fish. Here is Steve’s report.

Ecuador Trout ‘Fishing’ at 11,700 feet

Gary, we’ve spoken about going trout fishing in Ecuador before and one day I know you’re going to show me how it’s done but meanwhile I’ve decided to get a head start and see if I can’t recky some of these highland lakes down here.

The odds are stacked against me if I don’t use a recognized guide to lead me to the good trout places. As you know, I was a well seasoned commercial fisherman but when it comes to rod and line for trout I’m a rookie. One of your readers, Hunter, who took me fishing in Florida will testify to that! Fortunately my main aim on this trip was to have some fun and prepare the ground for the experts.

I couldn’t have chosen better companions than Julio, Alex and Consuelo. Not only did they have the necessary SUV to get us there but they are a lot of fun, too. San Marcos Lake sits way off any main highways and tucked behind the brooding presence of the 18,800 feet snow-capped volcano, Cayambe.

We ascended up a rutted track until we got to the Cayambe-Coca National Reserve gate.

There was a barrier tied down at a deserted Park kiosk. We slipped the barrier up from its post and went another 30 minutes along this rutted dirt track. Then we entered pure moorland stretched over craggy bluffs and caught occasional glimpses of Cayambe through openings in the cloud cover. None of us had been here before so we all started to wonder if we had taken the right fork. We didn’t see a soul for 10 miles. As it turned out we weren’t going to see anyone until we got back to civilization.

We kept going anyways and rounded a corner to see this sight:

lake_may15.jpgEcuador is full of surprises even after living here for so many years. I somehow imagined the lake would be surrounded by grassland with an easily accessible shoreline, maybe not too far from a glacier or two. Instead we rounded the bend and descended into a valley. San Marcos Lake is surrounded by densely wooded steep slopes.

This left only one approach to the lake.


We saw a path on the other side of a mountain brook running out of the lake so we put the SUV to good use and forded the stream.


Then we tried to walk around the lake but the going was tough, muddy due to recent rainfall and the girls didn’t have boots. Disappointed, we sat under a lookout ramp built by volunteers and ate some chunky cheese sandwiches that tasted a lot better than they probably were.

Restricted as we were to the flat shoreline, we cast off but the water is shallow here and there is a lot of vegetation lying under the surface. Several people have told me there are whoppers in this lake. They were hiding on this trip as we didn’t see any much less catch any in two and a half hours of trying.

Julio thought he saw fish jumping and there were a few ripples on the surface from time to time.

The only thing to do was to admit defeat – this time – pose for a picture and plan a better strategy for the next visit.


Next time, we all agreed on the ride back, will be a camping trip in July or August when there are clear, blue skies.

We’ll come with an inflatable dinghy and get out to the deep water and explore more of this remote mountain wilderness. Meanwhile if you can’t catch ‘em, go buy ‘em! The grilled trout in almond sauce we ate at roadside restaurant just outside Cotacachi on the way back was superb.

Julio has 4 ATVs! Another time I’ll go with him direct from Cotacachi to Lake Pinan, 4 hours away by ATV. That would be a heck of an adventure!


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