“Chile,” wrote Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda, is a country that was “invented by a poet.” Situated south of Peru and west of Bolivia and Argentina, Chile extends for over 2,880 miles in a serpentine ribbon stretching along the western coast of South America. From the parched, mineral-rich Atacama Desert in the north to the haunting spires of Torres del Paine National Park in the interior and further south to windy and inhospitable Tierra del Fuego, the country is best described as “nature on a colossal scale.” The towering ranges of the Andes cover one-third of Chile, and the landscape is often compared to the US Pacific Northwest. Today, tourism plays a major role throughout the country, and since the 1980s, Chile has continued to develop a reputation as one of the world’s foremost destinations for freshwater fly fishing.
The Patagonia Chile region is typically fished from mid-November through late-April, when many rivers in the north are still cold or frozen over. Spring conditions can be expected during the months of November and December, summer conditions January through mid-March and fall weather from mid-March through the end of April. As every trout fisherman knows, each season presents something special and distinct from the others. Spring, for example, offers rivers at their highest flows and fish that have not seen flies or anglers in many months. The Patagonian summer offers the most consistent temperatures, the longest days and fantastic terrestrial insect hatches; without a doubt the finest dry fly fishing in Chile of the entire season. Much like July in Montana, this is the most popular time to visit and fish Patagonia. The fall season offers the beauty of brilliant colors, cooler temperatures, aggressive trout willing to chase big streamers and generally lower, clearer water conditions. All in all, the fishing seasons and typical conditions in Chile are very similar to those found in the American Northern Rockies. Cold springs, warm summers and unpredictable fall months can all offer great fishing with varying weather and water conditions.