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Down in Chile, we have news that Derek Botchford and Mike VanWormer, owner/operators of Frontier Farwest Lodge on the Bulkley River in British Columbia have acquired and reopened Rio Palena Lodge in region 10 of Patagonia Chile. Rio Palena Lodge has been closed for the past 10 years.

Together, Botchford and VanWormer have an extensive resume in the fishing business, having operated or managed Alaska Rainbow Lodge for 11 years, and The Fly Shop/Wild Salmon Rivers programs in Kamchatka for eight years. Both have guided extensively in Alaska, Kamchatka, Chile, Argentina, the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. American Guide Matt Nagler, who is a resident of the Chilean town of Coyhique, will ramrod this program for them.

In addition to lodge-based fishing on the Palena, they’ll offer day floats and wading trips to the Futaleafu, Yelcho, El Tigre and El Molito, plus overnight float trips on the Palena. Our only report on this lodge (see Report No. 2532) is from 2000. It’s outdated and, frankly, less-than-enthusiastic about the fishing. It contrasts sharply with what VanWormer tells us about the fishing in the area. Does the report in our files contain old news? Is it just plain unfair? If you fish at this re-opened lodge this coming season, please file a report. An Honor Roll cap awaits the subscriber who gives us the real, detailed “skinny” on this destination.

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