Day 1: Simpson River, Coyhaique
On the day of arrival, we fish at the Simpson River in Coyhaique. The wonderful thing about Chile's rivers is that there are no regulations. They create their natural riverbeds. The result is flood areas and perfect spawning grounds for the fish.
Currently, fish activity is limited to early mornings and late evenings. At sunset, an intense caddis hatch begins, the water surface comes alive, and the fish start rising.
On this evening, I catch some rainbow trout and notice how strong the fish are. Even a 45 cm rainbow trout provides a challenge on a 5-weight setup.
Day 2: Lago Alto
Today, we drive to Cerro Castillo National Park. Beautiful landscapes, impressive glacier views, and vast expanses amaze me. I am thrilled by the beauty of Chile, and I can understand why people undertake the long journey here to hike and explore nature.
We fish at a small lake nestled in the mountains amidst the forest. Luiz calls it Lago Alto. There, we stalk and look for brown trout 10 to 15 meters ahead. Spending a day sight fishing for brown trout with Luiz is an extraordinary experience. // It's not easy: the wind is strong, and the line keeps getting tangled in the tall grass. I miss a few good chances. But in the end, I catch four beautiful, strong brown trout measuring 40 and 50 cm with damselflies.
In the evening, dry fly fishing in the dark at the Simpson River. I catch six more trout, three of them in pitch darkness with deer hair caddis – I'm fascinated.
Day 3: Butterfly Lake
We head to Butterfly Lake. There are countless nameless lakes in Patagonia, and Luis is creative in giving them names. The lake is on the land Luis bought years ago. Situated in the woods, by the idyllic lake, he has also set up a romantic log cabin. I fish at this spot and catch many trout, some up to 50 cm. The fish population is so strong that it's not much of a challenge.
Days 4 & 5: Rio de Oro, Never Lake
Señor Luis, the lodge owner's father, is fishing with me at Rio de Oro today. At 84 years old, he's so fit that I can barely keep up as we hike for half an hour over steep terrain to the riverbed. He doesn't mind standing thigh-deep in the water; logically, he's an excellent dry fly fisherman. Admirable!
I catch over 20 brown trout, including many small ones, on this day. A regrettable experience is seeing the Didymo algae (also known as rock snot) that covers every rock in the lower reaches of the river. Luis tells me that within a year, the algae has covered every rock and multiplied rapidly. It's destroying the ecosystem.
The next day, we fish at Never, Never Lake. I hook many rainbow trout, but many of them are quite small.