Chucao Lodges, La Junta & Yelcho, Chile
Gonzalo Cortes, author of Fly Fishing in Chilean Patagonia, has built two strategically located lodges that service two of the most beautiful and productive fishing areas in Chile. Out of the lodge on Lago Rosselot you will be fishing rivers like the Figueroa, Rosselot, Palena, and a couple other smaller, more remote streams. The lake fishing right in front of the lodge can be spectacular and the drive times to access these rivers is minimal. The fishing out of the lodge on Lago Yelcho is spectacular and the trout in the lake, some of them up to 15 pounds, love to explode on dragon flies fished close to the weedy shorelines. The Rio Yelcho is one of my favorites to target big browns on streamers and most often you will find rainbows from 16-24 inches suspended in the back eddies feeding on small dries all day long. They can be tough to hook but fun and rewarding when you do and you will hook a few:) If you want to target large trout, Chucao Lodge is a great choice.
Sample Itinerary: 7 nights lodging, 6 1/2 days guided fishing $6,000 (This includes the Charter flight to/from Puerto Mont).
Day One: Today you will be arriving from Puerto Mont in the late morning on a small plane. You will be picked up at the airport and driven to the lodge which is right on Lago Yelcho very close to the boca of Rio Yelcho. Before dinner you will have the chance to fish both the lake and the river mouth. The boats & dock are right there at the lodge! The food/wine and over all accomadations are some of the best you will find in Patagonia.
Day Two: After a great breakfast you decide, along with your guide, to float the lower Futalafu which flows from Argentina into Chile, spilling into Lago Yelcho. It a big river loaded with 4-5 pound browns and rainbows. After fishing the river, mostly with streamers, you float down into the lake where rainbows await your dry fly. You may see fish cruising and sipping smaller bugs in one of the lakes many foam mats or fish towards shore where the trout are always looking for dragon flies.
Day Three: The Yelcho is right there out the front door so you jump in a boat, fish the lake for the morning, casting large attractor dries for large trout along the weed margins and then take lunch back at the lodge. After lunch you motor down to fish the river, chasing large browns with a sink tip line and streamers until you come to a big back eddy where you see a group of rainbows that non challantly are feeding on the surface. You put down the 6wt rod with sink tip and grab a 4 or 5 weight rod rigged with small caddis emerger. It is exciting to see these rainbows slowly rise to suck in your offering.
Day Four: In the morning you make the transfer to the second lodge, located on Lago Rosselot which is also just a minute away from the boca of Rio Rosselot. Like on the Yelcho the boats are there waiting for you. You fish around the lake for 20 minutes taking a couple fish on dries and then you float down the mighty Rosselot. Like the Yelcho, it is a big river but the current is stronger and there are more boulders for the rower to navigate. Big browns and rainbows are here and willing to take your beetle or streamer fly.
Day Five: The mighty Figueroa is just up the road from the lodge. You slide the rafts down the bank, climb in, and start casting beetles and streamers to large browns from 4-8 pounds. They take mice also! There are some serious rapids to navigate but well worth the effort. At the end of the day you will float into Lago Rosseot where you will be towed via outboards back to the lodge for another fabulous Chilean meal.
Day Six: There are many choices but you decide to float to around in a remote lagoon. The setting is quiet and peaceful and the takes sometimes explosive. There are good sized browns that will pounce on dries and streamers, like the one below that Gonzalo caught on his birthday (we have the same birthday). After fishing the lagoon, maybe you head back to the lodge for lunch and a siesta. After your short nap you head down to the dock to fish Lago Rosselot for the evening hatch.
Day Seven: This is your last day. You might want to repeat your float on Rio Rosselot or Figueroa but instead you go to the Rio Claro. It is a smaller, gin clear stream that flows through the dense forest. It is stunning and the fishing fantastic also. The Claro flows into the Rosselot so you get the best of both worlds, floating about 6 miles of the Claro and about 2 miles of the Rosselot.
Day Eight: Today you catch a small charter flight into Puerto Mont. You have the option to either spend the night in fabulous Puerto Varas or catch your flight to Santiago and home.