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Didymosphenia (aka, "rock snot") has appeared in Chile. It is the latest eruption in the international battle against invasive nuisance species. At least one forward-thinking outfitter, Marcel Sijnesael, had already smelled trouble coming. We wrote about Sijnesael, you’ll recall, in the January issue (page 10), lauding him for purchasing dozens of pairs of Korkers Streamborn wading shoes for his clients to use at the two lodges he owns in Chile – namely, Patagonian Base Camp Lodge on the Río Palena and Temple Camp on the Río Figueroa.

Well, it seems, that Sijnesael’s program may have come too late, as witness the following excerpt from an e-mail we received from him on May 17: "Didymosphenia has been spotted along seven kilometers of the Rio Espolon and 49 kilometers of the Rio Futaleufu. The limit of the infection appears to be the Rio Espolon & Rio Futaleufu confluence. The Futaleufu River coming from Argentina appears to be clean. The Rio Azul appears clean. However, Didymo ‘stalk material’ can be found along most of the Rio Futaleufu at the high water mark almost as far as Lago Yelcho."

The website,, has more information, including maps, photos and even video of this particular infestation, along with general information about the problem. It turns out that rock snot was discovered in Chile in Lago Sarmiento as far back as 1964, but this is the first case of an invasive bloom in South America.

Sijnesael goes on in his email to sum up what every serious angler should be thinking with this news: "We don’t know at this moment if other waters in Patagonia are affected already, but we have something very serious to fight against right now. Please take this as a serious threat to all our waters and fish. What has happened to the Futaleufu can happen to any river. We can only hope that operators working on the Futaleufu/Espolon will take all possible measures to isolate this case and avoid any ‘cross-over’ to other waters. What we really need is national regulation. Let’s hope we are not too late!"

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