Images of the Rio Mañihuales and the Rio Ñireguao often come to mind during the day. I see the fishing spots that I favor and where I’ve had the good fortune to catch fierce and beautiful trout. I can imagine the riverbank in my mind and feel the pleasure of hiking into pristine locations to fish that few anglers visit. There are barbed wire fences, but it’s easier to squeeze through than in the United States. There aren’t any no trespassing signs, and I am in heaven. I love Chile and Patagonia.
I still haven’t decided if I will fly down this year. The border to Chile is closed to Extranjeros, and if one does get in, you have to isolate for two weeks upon arrival. I looked and discovered round trip flights from JFK to Santiago Airport that are very reasonable. Last week there was a round-trip priced at 450 dollars on Copa Airlines. That’s cheap!
Let me tell you about one spot that was shown to me by a local. Here is how I would get there. In the morning, after breakfast, I would go down the highway and wait for the bus. There was a bus at 8 AM and 9 AM going in the direction of my fishing beat. I would catch the bus, ride it for about 15 minutes, announce my stop, pay my $.25 for the bus ride, and get off. The walk started by walking down a dirt road, across a cable bridge, then I trudged down another road but more of a rocky dirt track for a mile before arriving at my “office.” The scenery is an epic Patagonian landscape with mountains, fields, and the river but best of all, no people. There is a lovely riverbank to sit on where I would put on my waders, assemble, and then line my rod. The rod is a 9′ 6 weight Winston BXIII with a 3x or 4x leader. The quarter-mile of the river I fished is crystal clear, but the fish are not leader shy. The flies I tied on that worked consistently were Fat Alberts, Chernobyls, and different kinds of Hoppers’.