Tres Rios guides have over 15 years experience floating and fly fishing the rivers between Chaiten and Coyhaique in Patagonia Chile. Beyond doubt, the best way to fish the most water, see the most scenery, have the most interaction with Patagonians, and have the most fun, for the least amount of windshield time, is to go on a road trip. The idea is to fish the area in a loop or in one direction rather than return to a fixed point (lodge) each night. There are a lot of great fisheries and all types of fishing. Together we'll outline a plan that can be modified as conditions warrant. As weather determines where the best fishing will be on any given day, the flexibility we have is important in maximizing the quality fishing time during your trip. Rain can be heavier near the coast and weaker, or only overcast, closer to Argentina, and we can invert or modify an itinerary to get the best fishing under the best conditions.
Chaiten to La Junta
The first river south of Chaiten is the Rio Yelcho which flows from the lake of the same name. It's known for excellent fly fishing for browns and rainbows, as well as king salmon. There are eddies where big rainbows sip tiny spinners, there are log piles where browns smash foam beetles and grab streamers, and there are shoals where a nymph might be the best fly choice.
Lago Yelcho is famous for big rainbows and browns, sometimes brookies, rising to dragonfly dries. The scenery is impressive and even more so is seeing two foot trout leaping clear out of the water for dragonflies. Although this phenomenom can be witnessed in other lakes and lagoons, it's at its maximum expression in Lago Yelcho.
At the southern end of this twenty miles long lake, the Rio Futaleufu flows into it from the east. Fishing the river tends to yield more browns than bows, taking dries in the foam lines. A puye fly also works wonders here where browns herd and smash these minnows in the shallows and against rock walls. The delta of the Futa offers superb fishing and from there 6 miles of reedy shallows offer the famous dragon fly fishing.
Further up the Futaleufu valley is the quaint frontier town of the same name. Most visitors come here for the world-class white water rafting, which is an alternative to fishing for a day. We sometimes stay in Futa for the rafting or to fish the river from the border to the town.
The next watershed south is the Rio Palena, still in the Lakes Region, which flows through a valley of completely different beauty. The town of Alto Palena is another frontier outpost inhabited by govenment workers, a handful of merchants, and ranchers who keep a place there close to schools. There are several nice places for lodging and dining in town and it's on the doorstep to three principal fishing options; a walk/wade stream for fishing a dry fly to brookies, a part stream part river float trip with dries for more bows than browns, and a river float casting small dries, foam beetles and streamers.
The Rio Palena flows west, then south, and then again westward to the Pacific after it joins with the Rio Rosselot at La Junta. One could float and camp down the Palena for days, but most often we continue fishing in the Rio Figueroa watershed to the east of La Junta. Lago Verde is yet another cowboy "huaso/gaucho" town near the border where there are more horses grazing in the tree row than there are cars parked on the street. Nearby there are streams for dry fly fishing, one that can be floated, the other only waded.
There are two float trips down the Rio Figueroa, one through a canyon section, and the other finishing in Lago Rosselot. Browns are predominant in these waters and they'll gobble a large foam dry or well placed streamer. Lago Rosselot has dry fly fishing, while Rio Rosselot is best fished with a streamer above the rapids but small dries will also do the trick in the eddies below the rapids. Rio Quinto is a scenic stream in this same area that can be waded in parts and floated in others. A big foam beetle in the logs does the trick on the Quinto. Salmon are present in the Rio Palena from November to March, so fishing for kings is another alternative. There are lots of options and lots of action in this area.
A trip to this area can also start or end with a stay at Tres Rios Lodge for a few days, fishing the Rio Petrohue and Rio Maullin, as well as all the adventure between Chaiten and La Junta.
We use a network of private cabins, BnBs, and small hotels strategically positioned to cover this entire area. In general we fish a different fishery, or stretch of a river, each day and stay at a different place every other night. Lodging is varied but always interesting and providing all the creature comforts an angler needs. Our friends in Patagonia where we rest and eat are descendents of settlers who first homesteaded the area, who in turn have lived their lives in this magnificent but difficult country. We believe in supporting these hard working people. It's a great treat to savor excellent Chilean wine and enjoy the preparation and feast on a lamb prepared by the local experts. There is absolutely no better way to experience more of Chile and fly fish a wider variety of rivers than to join us on a road trip in deep Patagonia. Looking for an experiece that will stay with you for a lifetime? Here you go!
Lakes Region Fishing
Tres Rios Lodge
Chinook Salmon Fishing