The term “Patagonia” is used to describe a geographical
area, without national borders, that encompasses parts
of both Chile and Argentina. This area is split by the
crest of the spectacular Andes range which separates
Argentina and Chile.
On the Chilean side, the Andes Mountains are at their
most dramatic. They extend in many places from their
highest peaks directly to the shores of the Pacific. Chile
is such a narrow country that the distance from the crest
of the Andes to the oceans edge is not far in most
places. Many of the better waters in Patagonia have
been subjected to increased fishing pressure over the
last ten years, causing a switch in the focus of our
favorite areas. The vicinity south of the small coastal town
of Chaitan (just south of Puerto Montt) offers the greatest
variety of options. From large and small streams, to exciting
lagoons and lakes, outfitters like Patagonia Base Camp Lodge,
Isla Monita Lodge, and Martin Pescador Lodge offer a quality
Andes experience. Patagonia Base Camp Lodge in particular,
offers such options as overnight float trips through the Andes
on the Rio Palena, day trips into the Andes via horseback, and an outpost cabin on the Argentine border.
It’s our experience that the Chilean side of Patagonia does offer the best opportunity for large browns and rainbows, partly influenced by the close proximity to the Pacific.
The Argentine side of Patagonia offers its unique brand of estancia fishing. Custom itineraries can be assembled to move from estancia to estancia fishing both private and open waters. The estancia’s of Argentina are legendary for their hospitality, quality cuisine and ambiance, and in some cases, their fly fishing. Arrangements can be made to include time in both Chile and Argentina as part of the same itinerary.
Viewing a map of the coast of Chile reveals hundreds of small islands, just off the coast. These islands comprise the Chilean Fjords and are a distinctly different environment from the Andes. Several years ago, we did exploratory trips for two national magazines in the fjords using both a mothership and the Puyuhuapi Hotel and Spa as our base of operations. By far the most comfortable is the Puyuhuapi Hotel and Spa and is our favorite, especially for couples traveling together. The unique location in the fjords is only accessible by boat or small plane and provides a large rainbow trout and silver salmon fishery. A stop at the Puyuhuapi H/S is a great compliment to a week at an Andes lodge, combining two different Chilean environments into one trip.
TIERRA del FUEGO
The giant sea-run browns of the Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America are legendary throughout the world and many fly fishers return each year. There are an assortment of lodges on the river with the headline lodge being the famous Kau Taupen. This is the most upscale of the operations, but there are other quality headquarters for a Rio Grande experience. Toon Ken Lodge shares some of the same waters with Kau Taupen and offers a more “value oriented” operation – i.e., the price is less while still meeting all the standards needed to be described as a quality destination.
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Fly Fishing Adventures