Well as things wind down for us in Colorado, we are already gearing up for the upcoming season in Chile. With a large amount of rain during the winter and a decent mountain snowpack all reports indicate another excellent fishing season at the Valle Bonito Lodge.
Last year was a very dry summer and although the fishing remained consistent throughout the season, a bit more moisture in the high country is always welcome.
The season started in November with some large catches on all of our fisheries including a 28 inch, heavy Brown that our friend/guide Bryan caught on a big dry the day he arrived in Chile. In this early part of the season we had great success throwing large Mouse , Dragonfly and Damselfly patterns in the nearby Lakes and watching fish after fish come up and slowly inhale our flies. By December, the Dragonfly action on Yelcho started to get crazy. We were often entertained by 22-28 inch Browns and Rainbows crashing all around the boat as they attempted to catch the low flying Dragons in the air. For those of you who have never seen this, all I can say is come to Yelcho in the early season, hope for a sunny day and you will.
This Dragonfly action lasted well into February until the Cantaria beetles started to fly. These giant(3 inch long) beetles fly over the water to populate new areas and on occasion fall in. While never very numerous, the fish know what they are and eat them with a vengeance. On calm days we would throw out a Cantaria imitation and watch as big browns would appear over 30 feet away and slowly mosey over to eat the beetle.
What was incredible was how slow the fish moved. Knowing that the beetles are forever grounded when they hit the water, the fish are in no hurry whatsoever and the most difficult part for the angler is to be patient enough to let them eat the fly before setting. The sight of a 6-8 lb Brown slowly opening his mouth to eat your fly is one of the unforgettable thrills of fly fishing in this part of the world.
One of our local fisheries was red hot all season and we had many days where 2 anglers would boat over 100 rainbows, about 1/2 on dries. This is the kind of action that fishermen dream about. One particular day when the fish were on, we caught so many that we looked for a fly that they wouldn’t eat. We couldn’t find one. As we got into March, the fish became more selective yet we continued to have amazing success sight fishing with a size 18 parachute Ant as epic flying Ant hatches continued throughout the month.
The Lower Futa river was on fire last season as the big browns that live here seemed to
come out of the woodwork and feed heavily on the local baitfish, Puyes. We caught some monsters on streamer patterns and big dries and had a few brutes take us to the cleaners. On the Upper river skating big dries was effective throughout the season but our biggest fish came on streamers fished in very shallow water.
We had many good days on the Palena River early in the season and it is one of the most beautiful floats in Patagonia. This fishery is best experienced early season(before mid Feb) as the water warms a bit in mid summer and the fish go deep. Floating through steep canyons with waterfalls pouring into the river makes this section of river one of our favorites.
We are excited to get things rolling for the upcoming season and we’ll open our doors in Mid November and remain open until early April.
If you are looking for a winter get away, a trip to the Valle Bonito may be just what you need. In addition to our fly fishing programs we offer plenty of other activities for our non fishing guests including hiking, white water rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, mountain biking, canyoneering, photography and sightseeing. Come and join us in 2015/2016 for an unforgettable vacation in one of the most beautiful places on earth.