Steamboat Olympian Johnny Spillane heads south of the border to fly-fish in Argentina |

Steamboat Olympian Johnny Spillane heads south of the border to fly-fish in Argentina

Johnny Spillane strips a line south of the equator.
Photo courtesy of Louis Cahill

Sure, the fishing on the Yampa River is great. But sometimes, you just have to head a little south. Or in Johnny Spillane’s case, way south. 

The local Olympian and owner of Steamboat Flyfisher did just that in November, flying down to Argentina’s San Martin de los Andes in the middle of their spring to help outfitter Andes Drifters reconnoiter new rivers to fish. Joining him on the journey was Louis Cahill of fly-fishing blog Gink and Gasoline.

Targeting brown trout because the rainbows were in spawn, the two quickly put their skills to use.

“We were invited down to help them explore new rivers to possibly offer to anglers through their outfitting service,” said Spillane, who made the trip between stints running the store and announcing World Cup Nordic events. “We spent a lot of the time hiking into rivers that had never been fished before, some days covering up to 25 kilometers just to get in and out of a new area.”

By the end of the trip, Spillane was smitten with angling in South America.

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“It was the best trout fishing I’ve ever experienced, anywhere,” he said, adding that the biggest catch measured about 24 inches. “We hiked into a bunch of rivers where the fish had never seen a fly, and all you had to do was get it in front of them. I have no idea how many fish we caught, suffice it to say it was enough.”

To reach Eugene Buchanan, call 970-871-4276 or email

Spillane and Louis Cahill scouting a stretch of river.
Photo courtesy of Louis Cahill
The reward: a brown trout at the end of the line.
Photo courtesy of Louis Cahill
Spillane and another South American catch.
Photo courtesy of Louis Cahill

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