In the late 1930s the governments of Peru and Bolivia introduced rainbow and brown trout to Lake Titicaca on their lofty frontier in the Andes. They hoped for good results—and got them. The success of the experiment was proved to the full satisfaction of, for one, Sen. Bourke Hickenlooper (R., Iowa) last October 2nd when he landed a 34½-pound rainbow, a fish only two pounds under the world record. Airline pilots have known of the lake's fabulous fishing for the last few years and have made repeated off-time trips to it. Today more and more traveling sportsmen are stopping at La Paz, Bolivia to fish the 100-mile-long lake nearby.
Accommodations in the little towns adjacent to the lake are anything but deluxe. The fishing, however, is of a caliber to make any pilgrimage bearable. Few fishermen will quibble at a place where a three-pound rainbow is a nuisance to be shaken off, a ten-pounder is commonplace and a fish of double this weight a likely prospect. It has been possible for a man to catch 500 pounds of trout a day at Titicaca.
It is summer there now, which is also the rainy season. Because of this the rivers are too high, but they will be right from April through June. Some have never seen a fly, as local anglers prefer spinning and bait-casting outfits, with largish spoons and wobblers.
But the lake itself is worth a trip anytime, if only for the spectacular scenery, some of which is shown on these pages.
Towing a sailboat to be used later (rental: 50¢ an hour), a party heads for a bay. Typical fishing gear lies on the deck.
INDIANS SET OUT IN BALSA-WOOD CRAFT TO PUT DOWN THEIR NETS FOR A SMALL FISH CALLED A B√îGA. THEY ALSO SPEAR RAINBOW TROUT, AND HAVE SET UNOFFICIAL RECORD OF 45 POUNDS
Twelve-pound rainbow comes aboard. This is a fairly common size at Titicaca, and sometimes two anglers find themselves each fighting a pair of such fish which jump again and again in the clear' mountain air.
Happy girl watches while her prize is gaffed. The fish are most easily taken on "hardware"—metal lures that flash or spin.
Curious Indians watch fishermen set up their rods near Escalani on the Peruvian side, where there are no boat facilities.
Boy with a burden, 16 pounds of rainbow trout, demonstrates the fabulous quality of Lake Titicaca's fishing. The Peruvian government restocks the lake annually with a million small trout for later harvest by the natives and visiting sportsmen.