I recently had the opportunity to travel to Chile with Flylords photographer Jesse Packwood for a South American adventure. Fly Fishing in Patagonia has been a life-long dream of mine, so when the opportunity presented itself, I couldn’t have been more thrilled.
After fishing for golden dorado in Argentina, Jesse and I headed to Buenos Aires to catch a flight to Balmaceda, Chile. Here we met our friends from Chile Trout, they operate a custom-built fishing lodge in the heart of Patagonia.
As we drove through the Aysen Region of Chile to the lodge, I was in awe of the landscape. It was like nothing I have ever seen. It’s like traveling back in time over hundreds of years and experiencing the untouched beauty of virgin land.
We met Pancho the owner of the operation and head fly fishing guide, he was going to be showing us around for the next few days.
We arrived at the lodge which was nestled along the open plains that bordered a lake. It was the perfect combination of elegant yet rustic.
After arriving, I couldn’t help but sit on the porch and be in awe of the views. The wild and rawness of Patagonia which was so enticing.
Throughout our stay, our Chef Camille prepared the most delicious meals. I woke up early most mornings, to sit by the wood-burning fireplace in the main lodge area and enjoy a hot cup of coffee before the long day of fishing.
Camille would have breakfast ready with an assortment of food to choose from, always ensuring we had everything we needed. Her friendly presence and contagious smile was always a warm welcome.
Every evening, I couldn’t wait to see what Camille prepared. Each dinner was different and usually consisted of multiple courses that were beautifully crafted and equally as tasty.
From morel soup to the perfectly seared rabbit and delightful dessert to finish, the meals here were nothing short of remarkable.
Chile is home to big, wild browns that are eager to eat. No technical nymph rigs needed here, just big streamers and dries. Our guide Pancho took us to various locations during our stay.
We were able to wade through freshwater rivers fed by the glaciers and float in pristine lakes along jagged mountains.
The weather is cold and unpredictable. It adds an element of adventure to the experience, and if you embrace the beauty of it. You’ll have memories to last a lifetime.
The gear needed for your adventure is pretty standard trout equipment, bring a 6-7 weight rod to use for nymphs, dry flies, and streamers. I personally recommend a 7 weight rod as it adds some extra power to cut through the high winds.
Standard trout sizes of tippet, from 0-5x, but I tended to use 0x-1x as these fish are not tippet shy.
The region is better known for its beetles and ants, so any pattern that is big and foamy seemed to do the trick. A few of my go-to patterns were Wooly Buggers, (Olive and Black) (Size 2), Sex Dungeon Streamer Patterns (Olive and Black) (Size 2), and Hi-Viz Beetles (Size 12-16). I also used a variation of bead headed nymph patterns for dropper setups.
As for clothing, being prepared for unpredictable weather is key for long days on the water. So multiple layering pieces that are technical, moisture-wicking and breathable are an absolute must.
Our time in Chile was unlike anything I could have ever imagined. The breath-taking scenery, incredible hospitality and some of the best trout fishing I’ve experienced is something I still dream about to this day.
There’s nothing like throwing streamers along towering cliff walls and watching a 25’ brown trout engulf your fly. I can’t wait to go back to South America and experience the untouched beauty of these locations.
Thank you to Pancho the owner of Chile Trout, and his staff at the lodge for the incredible hospitality and the life-changing experience.