Q: Where can I find trout fishing guides or information for fishing in the Bolivian Andes?
Drop a line: an inviting day on Lake Titicaca
-David Delgado Pt. Charlotte, Florida
A: Here's a factoid to get you started: According to ancient Aymara custom, any fisherman who falls into Lake Titicaca should be left to drown as an offering to the Earth Goddess. Considering that the traditional boats are made of flimsy reeds, some might say the lake's near-limitless supply of trout is the sign of a very happy deity.
Not to worry, though. You should have no trouble finding yourself a sturdy, wooden vessel in any of the lakeside fishing villages. I don't know of any official guiding operations, but word is, there are quite a few fishermen in Huatajata who'd be happy to offer their services for the day. Most likely, the only sacrifice you'll have to offer up is money.
If you're looking for a less impromptu angling experience, you'll probably have to leave for the lowlands. The Amazon basin, where you're more likely to catch piranha than trout, is home to the country's best-known fishing trips. I recommend the four-day Amazonia River Boat Explorer run by Explore Bolivia (www.explorebolivia.com). You'll float down the Mamore and Ibare rivers amid crocodiles and pink river dolphins to some top-notch jungle fishing spots.
One last note: Since you're going to be spending time in the Andes, be sure to take advantage of the incredible hiking opportunities you'll find on old Inca paths. The Bolivian extension of Peru's famous Inca Trail is called the Taquesi trek. It's a 25-mile journey along a relatively low-elevation piece of the Cordillera Real. Not to be missed.