Few fishing destinations on earth have a more geographically diverse landscape to explore than the country of Chile. Situated south of Peru and west of Bolivia and Argentina, the country extends for over 2,880 miles as a long, skinny stretch of land along the western coast of South America. With its inspiring landscapes and inviting culture, Chile is a Yellow Dog favorite and considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for freshwater fly fishing.
But why should you go? We sat down with John Hudgens, Yellow Dog’s South American program director, to find out his top reasons traveling anglers should consider a trip to fish Chilean Patagonia.
Chile has an Opposite Season
Chilean Patagonia region is typically fished from mid-November through late-April, at a time when many rivers in the northern hemisphere are still cold or frozen over. “As winter falls upon the US West, many people put down their fly rods and reach for ski poles, while Chile is just getting started with their summer fishing season,” said Hudgens. “Summer temperatures are comparable to June in Montana with warm days and cooler evenings. For the traveling angler, chasing trout and the endless summer on the other side of the world is a huge draw!”
Unpressured Water in a Familiar Landscape
Many travelers that return from the Patagonia region comment that Chilean Patagonia resembles pictures of what the US West looked like years ago before civilization moved in. According to Hudgens, in many ways, there is a lot of truth to that statement. “Chile offers a diversity of unfenced landscapes and ecosystems that mimic what you would find in the states. From towering, mountainous peaks to scattered sections of lush green forests to arid tundra grasslands, you will find it all in Chile.”
Within the Patagonia region of Chile, is the heart of the Andes Mountain range. This steep mountain range serves as a distinct ecosystem line dividing the country. “On the western side of the mountain range, the terrain offers lush temperate rainforests, coastal rivers and an area that receives a high amount of rainfall throughout the year,” said Hudgens. “The eastern side of the mountains contrasts the West as a rugged, dry and remote place filled with pampas grasslands along with countless rivers and streams.”
“The remoteness of Chile’s cold springs, lakes, and river systems offer great fishing opportunities,” said Hudgens. “The relatively low pressure placed upon these fish makes them easy for anglers with basic skills to catch on a consistent basis. Anglers exploring the country will get a variety of scenic backdrops on both sides of the Andes and find feeding trout in the waterways throughout.”
Exceptional Dry Fly Fishing Experiences
Introduced by Europeans long ago, all of the fish in Chile are considered wild but not native fish. “Anglers will have countless opportunities at salmon, sizeable resident rainbows, browns, brook trout, and location-dependent sea-run varieties on a dry fly,” said Hudgens. “In many places, the water visibility is clear and the threat from overhead birds of prey is minimal.
This combination creates perfect opportunities for sight fishing and exceptional opportunities for dry fly fishing. These unpressured fish are much more likely to rise to big dry flies throughout the entire fishing season. The best part? Anglers won’t have to restock their fly boxes because the local aquatic insect variety like mayflies, caddis, and stoneflies are relatively the same found in the US West.”
The Thick Chilean Culture
According to Hudgens, another draw to exploring Chile is experiencing its slower pace of life.
“Chile has a very laid back, friendly, and hardworking culture,” Hudgens said, “The Chilean people are the salt of the earth. From fostering relationships and warm hospitality to working and caring for the land are just a few cultural identities important to the Chileans. The country’s love of food and group gatherings often converge for their world-famous ‘asados’, the Chilean’s over-the-top version of a barbeque meant to feed the masses.
At many Chilean lodges, visiting anglers will enjoy a wonderful variety of locally sourced meats comprised of sheep and cattle along with many other Chilean dishes. In addition to excellent land culinary options, Chile’s long coastline offers front door access to great seafood as well.”
With consistent temperatures, a variety of unpressured waters, great culture, and fantastic terrestrial insect hatches, the Patagonian summer offers without a doubt, the finest dry fly fishing to be found and an adventure not to be missed. If you are thinking about venturing down to this trout fishing paradise this winter, now is the time to lock in your dates with Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.