Getting to Chile: An Artist’s Experience in Patagonia

Sarah Brown Photo by Mike Idell

Every fly fisher has that next dream trip in mind. For you maybe it’s Montana, maybe Slovenia, for me, it’s Patagonia, Chile. As a 24-year-old artist, this would be no small thing to pull off. I was going to have to get creative.

Sarah Landstrom Brown Photo by Marcelo Dufflocq

In the past, I have been able to negotiate art exchanges for Fly Fishing Trips. After I had the idea of fly fishing in Chile, I knew I wouldn’t be able to let it go until I found a lodge that appreciated art and would be willing to do such an exchange. If you’re anything like me, once you have an idea, you can’t let it go.

Packing In photo by Mike Idell

I’ve had experience in the past with trading custom artwork in exchange for trips to Iceland and Alaska, but when it came to Chile I knew no one. So thank goodness for modern social media, because Instagram became my jumping-off point. This is basically when the stars started to align.

Horse Rolling by Mike Idell

The Estancia De Los Rios Lodge outside of Coyhaique, Chile is a place that is not only limitless in artistic inspiration but staffed with some of the kindest people I have ever met. I had never before seen a lodge where everyone working was so actively appreciated and happy to be there.

Bernardo Laughing Photo by Mike Idell

The horses, the food, the seclusion etc would have been far more than anyone could ask for on a trip. But then there was the fishing.

Hands Photo by Mike Idell

There is no way to describe the fishing, other than it was like going back 10,000 years and seeing untouched water. The fish would tail in full pods feeding near shore. I watched a large trout chase my smaller trout only to be outcompeted by a third massive trout that grabbed my trout right off the fly. These are wild fish behaving in the way they would naturally, unimpeded by people.

30+ Brown Photo by Mike Idell

By the final days I had decided, along with my partner, that it is very likely that there aren’t other places left like the Estancia De Los Rios. SO THANK GOODNESS that people like Marcelo and his team are the caretakers of such a special place. It’s been less than a month since I’ve left and I still can’t stop thinking about how fortunate I am to have seen such a place.

Sarah Brown Photo by Mike Idell

As a reminder to all of you out there dreaming of your next fly fishing trip, no matter how you get there, don’t have overly inflated expectations about the fishing. It can be so dependant on seasons, conditions etc.

Bernardo Machete Photo by Mike Idell

Let yourself appreciate the place first, and allow the fishing to just be a bonus. I know I am not alone in believing that the quality of your fishing has a lot to do with your attitude. So just take in the beautiful places you’re in, and the people who helped you get there. In my experience, the fish will show up.

Flowers Photo by Marcelo Dufflocq

For those interested in traveling on a Hosted Trip to the Estancia De Los Rios with myself @sarah_landstrom and photographer and angler Mike Idell (@mike_idell) please contact me at . TIGHT LINES! – Sarah Landström

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