The trip to Chile was simply spectacular. We arrived at the outfitters lodge in a city called Coyhaique on 2/5 and left to come home on the 15th. We had some windy days, but…………..the fishing for browns and rainbows was as amazing as always. When we put this year’s trip together we asked our outfitter, Cristian Effa, to move us around a bit. Cristian did a great job of seeing that we stayed , over the 10 days, in world class fishing opportunities. We started and finished our trip at a beautiful lodge on the outskirts of Coyhaique, overlooking the Patagonian Andes. We fished two rivers in that area, then moved to the Domas (geodesic domes on platforms) on the banks of the Manuelas river. The Domas are spotlessly clean, comfortable and warm. The first day found us floating the Manuelas River, then moving on to an entirely different area in a community called La Junta.
The common thread in all of this was fantastic fishing and an abundance of different waters at our disposal. We waded, floated several rivers, including the Quinto, Rosselot, and Lago Riso Patron. We fished from catarafts which are very comfortable and efficient to fish from and the guide’s are very experienced at rowing you to the best positions with which to cover all the water. We fished several lakes that gave us access to one of my 2 favorite areas to fish, the Juncales. Juncales are very tall reeds that extend 4 or more feet out of the water. They offer excellent opportunities to cast close to the reeds with dragon or damsel fly patterns. The browns and rainbow that inhabit these reed beds will cruise along the edge of the beds, waiting for the damsel and dragon flies to swoop close enough to the surface of the water where they can launch themselves like a missile and pick the flies out of the air! Chile and Argentina have a small crab that is called a Pancora. One of the best imitations for this crab is a olive green Woolly Bugger with a bead or cone head. A very popular pattern in the Chilean waters is called a Fat Albert. I believe that it is designed to imitate some kind of terrestrial, but whatever is imitates, it is always a must-have fly for Chile. My other favorite waters here are called Laguna’s. Think of a marshy pond that typically isn’t very deep. Some of our past experiences on Laguna’s have been in some that held an average of 3-4 feet of water, again using the damsel and dragon fly patterns. One of the last days that we were in Chile we fished a Laguna that is noted for VERY large browns. Although the fishing was not at its best due to the weather that day, our fellow fishermen, Paul and Bob had the hot rods that day as they each boated a beautiful brown in the 22” range. Great memories!
During our stay, we all commented that the difficulty in describing the endless panoramas here is the difficulty in making people realize how huge and vase this wonderful land is. We can take pictures of the mountains, fish and incredible scenery until the cows come home, but pictures just simply don’t convey how amazingly vast this land is. Every bend of the river or corner in the road brings breathtaking panoramas better than the last one!
We enjoyed, as always, the typical Chilean foods while we were here. Each different location had a new dish to try, with pork, fantastic beef, chicken and lamb, and especially homemade breads. Each day provided something new. The first night at the lodge in Coyahaique, we were treated to a dinner of beef, cooked over a charcoal grille on the deck overlooking the valley. What made this even more amazing than usual was that the beef was fresh tenderloin, cooked to your choice! Wow! We ate until we couldn’t move, Along with the wonderful Chilean red wines that we also enjoyed at shore lunches. The other meal that was so memorable is one that is a part of every trip that we make with Cristian. Cooked for over 2 hours, over an open fire was an entire lamb! Unbelievable to say the very least! We can go on and on about the amazing meals that were prepared for us by Cristian and his staff. Lila took an afternoon off from fishing and accompanied Paulina, who was our chef for most of our stay, to a local vegetable market. Every vegetable was growing when Paulina selected it and picked it. Fresh fruit, juices, fresh bread EVERY day with our shore lunches, prepared by our guide’s at the water’s edge daily, and usually supervised by the local herd of cows! Did I mention that lunch was accompanied by more of the local wine?
Lila has us up and going on Facebook now and if you look at what she has posted, you’ll see a few pictures of our Chilean adventure, fish, accommodations, meals, etc. Last day in town shopping in Coyahaique rounded out what was the trip of a lifetime for us all. Most importantly, we are already planning a return to this fabulous land. If any of our readers are interested in considering coming along, just reach out to us and we’ll put together and informational packet for you.