Chilean Patagonia is a fly fisherman’s dream with miles of rivers and streams and countless lakes full of wild trout eager to take a fly. Most of the waters see very few anglers each year, and there are still places where the fish have never seen a fly before. The fishery is mostly brown trout, with some rainbows. In some parts of Chile and Patagonia there are brook trout. All of these inland waters were originally fishless until European settlers brought the eggs over in the early 1900’s. The most productive fly fishing methods are with dry flies and streamers.
The Patagonia fly fishing opportunity offers several advantages over other trout fishing destinations. It is very economical in comparison to many other trips. The unspoiled beauty of the land and unmolested nature of the waters is very refreshing. The volume of water is such that we fish new streams and lakes each year after several years, and there are still new waters to explore. The people are among the friendliest in the world. Travel there and back is very comfortable and safe from the southeastern U.S. Since we are traveling mostly longitudinally, the jet lag is minimal. There is only two hours time difference between Atlanta, Georgia and Santiago, Chile. It is a winter escape, since February is midsummer in Patagonia.
The fishing can only be described as awesome. All of the trout are wild, and average fish size is large. The fish are very aggressive. The streams and rivers hold a variety of aquatic insects. Some rivers have the pancora crab as a food source for the trout. In February, it is all about the beetle. There are several species of terrestrial beetles that hatch including the large Cantaria beetle. Large foam beetle patterns are very productive as well as streamer fishing. Nymph fishing can also be very rewarding, but is not required here. Just a few of the waters are Rios Simpson, Paloma, Azul, Guilermo, Manihuales, Blanco, Boca de Leon, Cynes, Huemules, Lagos Azul, Elizade, Central, Diaserte, and many more.
Our fly fishing excursions take place in the Aisen region which is in southern Chile and northern Patagonia. The geography ranges from the rugged Andes on the east to the coastal mountains in the west. Due to the long and narrow shape of the area, both climate and geography can change from coastal rainforest to arid high mountain desert to mountainous in just a short travel range. The country is slightly larger than twice the size of Montana. The Aisen region, where we fish is approximately 45 degrees south latitude, which is about the same latitude south as the state of Wyoming is north.
We recommend clothing for three seasons, for three days. Bring a day’s clothing for a hot summer day. A day’s garb for spring or fall, and a day of clothing for a cold winter day. Between these three wardrobes you can mix and match for perfect comfort. Bring nylon, because it dries quickly when wet or washed and is lightweight for travel. The lodge will wash twice for you. It is summertime in Patagonia which is somewhat like our western summers which can start off cool in the morning and become warm during the day. Bring good quality waders and rain gear, headgear, fishing gloves and polarized eye wear. For rods, bring a six or seven weight with a floating line as your main rod. A five weight for smaller waters and an eight weight for larger waters, flies, or wind is also a good idea. Bring at least one rod and a spare. We recommend three rods, based around the six or seven weight of your preference. Sink tips can work great but are not a requirement. Leaders should be 9ft, 2-4x. The guides supply the flies, but you may also want to bring your own. I am happy to share my pattern choices of terrestrials, dries, streamers, attractors, etc. The photos below were taken by members from our trips.
The country of Chile is a democratic republic with a president. In March 2010, Sebastian Pinera was elected president following the four year term of Michelle Bachelet. The country is divided into 15 regions with the capital city being Santiago. The countries population is 16 million with 4 million being in Santiago. The primary religion is Catholicism. The language is Spanish with a high level of fluency in English.
Cinco Rios Lodge
The lodge is located about 10 minutes south of the city of Coyhaique, capital of the Aisen region, on the banks of the Rio Simpson. It is about 35 minutes from the airport located at Balmaceda. The lodge is only a few years old and is large, modern, and very comfortable. It has six large guest rooms and can accommodate a total of twelve guests. It is a luxury lodge. There is a full time chef and staff on duty. Full breakfast and gourmet Chilean dinners are served daily at the lodge. The chef and his staff prepare the lunches for the guides to carry out and serve streamside. A full bar is available along with beer and of course Chilean wine. The lodge has a telephone, TV, and wireless internet service. The staff will wash your laundry twice during the week for no charge. On the last night before our departure for home, the lodge hosts an Esada as a farewell to the guests. There is a guide staff of six for the twelve anglers. All guides are local Chilean and know the country and its people well. If someone wants to take a break from fishing or has a non-fishing partner, there are plenty of other activities such as condor viewing, biking, hiking, horseback riding, rain forest and glaciers for sight-seeing.
Over the course of several years we have put together one of the best programs for fly fishing in the heart of Patagonia. For 2014 we will be hosting the lodge of Cinco Rios in Coyhaique, Chile from Saturday, February 22nd to the following Saturday, March 1st. Other booking dates throughout the season are also available. Cost for the trip is $4375.00 per person based on double occupancy. The cost includes seven nights of lodging and six days of guided fishing, meals, laundry service, and transport to and from the airport. It is basically all inclusive except for the air travel, fishing license, and tip.
Airfare and Transportation
Round trip airfare is economical if reservations are made in advance. We have booked it from $1000.00 to $2400.00 throughout the year. Summer in the US typically see the lowest fares of the year for the international flight. We watch them weekly. We assist with the Chilean flight from Santiago to Balmaceda. Since we have made this trip many times and continue to do so annually, we are here to assist in all phases of your trip planning and execution.
Patagonia Fishing Trip Itinerary
A typical itinerary would be to fly out of Hartsfield airport in Atlanta at 10:00 p.m. on a Friday night and arrive in Santiago at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Pass customs, eat breakfast and catch a 3 hour connecting flight to our destination in Coyhaique in southern Chile. Our guides meet us at the airport and take us to the lodge. Arrival time is about 4:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Saturday afternoon is spent relaxing and discussing and planning the next day’s adventure. Fishing begins on Sunday morning for the next six days. You and your guide will develop a custom itinerary based on your preferences. You can fish as long or short as you wish, go as far or near as you want. There are unlimited possibilities. One of the usual mixes is to split the six days between two days of drift fishing, two days of wading, and two days of lake fishing from the jet boats. The following Saturday morning, you make the trip home in reverse. We usually have a few hours that evening in Santiago for a drive through the city and dinner at one of its fantastic restaurants. We arrive in Atlanta around 7:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. If you are within a few hours’ drive time of Atlanta, this whole adventure can be accomplished by only missing one week of work, Monday through Friday. There are also many other air travel options and other routes. A 50% deposit confirms your trip. Deposits are refundable 90 days prior to trip time. Within 90 days of trip time deposits are refundable if we can refill your spot. We recommend travel insurance if your schedule may be uncertain and Global Rescue if you have health concerns. Both are economical and we can assist you with procurement.