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Subscriber Joseph Fredi has supplied us with this great report from a Patagonian lodge that he remarks as “5-star” and “an all around outstanding experience in a truly spectacular setting”. Enjoy!
We spent a week at Estancia de los Rios located north of Coyhaique Chile in central Patagonia. In general, this fishery is a pure brown trout ecosystem. It is located on a vast estancia in central Patagonia on terrain known as the pampa. This is a working sheep and cattle ranch of approximately 350,000 acres and you are the only anglers in sight. The fishing operation and lodge is run by Marcello Duffloc, a veteran of the industry.
To get there, we flew from Atlanta overnight to Santiago, and then connected that day to Balmaceda. We stayed overnight in Coyhaique, and the next day were picked up at the hotel in Coyhaique by the guides. From there we had about a 4-hour drive to the lodge, where we had lunch and fished that afternoon. Later on the way home, we were driven to the airport in Balmaceda for a flight to Santaigo and then directly to our connections back home to the US. Uniformly, the people we met in Chile were very kind to us and helpful. All flights went well. We used Latam Air in Chile and they are excellent.
The accommodations at Estancia de los Rios are superb. Marcello’s wife and daughter work with him, and there are also two excellent chefs on staff. This is a very well run operation with excellent, clean accommodations and superb gourmet quality food. The wine was truly outstanding. Guests want for nothing and the team goes out of their way to be accommodating. This is a 5 star operation. On the way back from a day of fishing the guides call ahead and they have your drink of choice waiting for you upon arrival. The guides also provide transportation to and from the lodge to the water.
As far as the guides go, they are simply outstanding—all of them. They were uniformly very helpful, nice, professional, and worked hard to get fish. They truly were a really great group of professionals that know the fishery well. The fishery is so expansive that they are still exploring sections of the estancia to fish! Each and every one of the guides were really great. Marcello(not Duffloc) is the head guide and he obviously sets a professional tone. We typically fished with one guide to every two guests.
The fishery consists of fishing the Cisnes river, local spring creeks, and different lakes on the property. The fishery is massive and you will never see another fishing party in a day. It is so large in fact, that water is often rested so as not to be over-fished and to keep the quality of fishing at its highest level.
We were there towards the end of the season and had a combination of both dry and nymph fishing, depending on the conditions and water. I think that one could only fish dries in the streams and do pretty well. I would say an average day for us on the streams were ~8-15 fish/day, some days more. The lake fishing within driving distance from the lodge was a little more hit or miss; the fish are much larger but a good day on those lakes for us were 2-6 large browns.
I think the highlight is the opportunity to horseback ride to 2 mountain lakes where they have a nice little camp set-up. The fishing in these lakes is fantastic and it also holds larger fish. My favorite was the smaller of the 2 lakes up on the mountain; I caught 20-30 browns in about 4 hrs-all on dry flies and all sight fishing. The experience was fantastic and, for our party, was clearly the favorite rotation.
I would have to say that the size of the fish on the streams are average and generally not too large. Usually in the 10-16 inch range; however these are strong wild fish and are fun on a 4 or 5-weight setup.
A couple of caveats: First, We booked through Frontiers travel, and their info said we could purchase flies for $85 for the week. While they do have flies, I would strongly advise you to bring your own flies to use. The trout are not that picky, but come equipped with flies for the best experience. You should be able to get an idea of suggested flies from your booking company. Secondly, the fish in the streams are not large so don’t be unrealistic about that; if you only want large fish then this might not be the best fit for you.
The experience was fantastic. The fishery is amazing in scope. The variety of water and the beauty are tremendous. The entire operation is very well run, and it results in an all around outstanding experience in a truly spectacular setting. I am very happy to have chosen Estancia de los Rios and would highly recommend this experience.
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