Tuesday, January 25, 2011


It has been a few days since I’ve let you know about the fishing, so let me get you caught up on the three places I’ve been.

Saturday the 22nd.  I went back to what is most likely my favorite river/watershed, the Guillermo.  Just after you pass Villa Ortaga you come to the first of several Route 7 bridges over the Guillermo.  I fished several kilometers downstream of the bridge a few days ago and I’ve fished it several kilometers upstream but I’ve always passed this section by.  I've stopped and looked up and down from the bridge the over the years but have always passed this section by.  It doesn’t look fishy – straight and almost with a channelized look with high banks of hubbie to larger rock.  (For those of you that don’t know what a hubbie is, it is a New Hampshire term for a rock that is bigger than a baseball but smaller than a softball.  You don’t throw hubbies, you chuck them.  Since it is long gone, as am I, I’ll now admit that as a kid I chucked more than a few hubbies at the Hame Shop hoping to break one of the remaining windows.)  

The Guillermo has both rainbows and brown.   Like any river that has both, you can fairly well predict which species you are going to catch with each cast, depending on the micro-habitat.  Pockets and riffles produced mostly rainbows and slower water and runs produced browns.  No more than a hundred meters above the bridge the Guillermo losses some of its gradient and starts to develop some broad brown trout bends with rainbow riffles at the head of the bends.  The way the Guillermo bends and snakes I have no idea of how far I fished and I didn’t bother to look at my watch when I started.  About 5:30 I told myself I would keep fishing until the next fence.  Ten minutes later I started the walk back along the river bank.  It took me about 40 minutes to walk out.  Typical Chile small stream day – a LOT of fish in the 12 to 14 inch range with enough 16 inch fish to keep the adrenalin running for the good possibility of a 20 incher.

Sunday the 23rd.  Chile is the salmon aquaculture for food capitol of the world.  Many of the rivers have salmon hatching and juvenile rearing stations.  Last year we explored over near Maniguales.  That exploration was a bust.  But after we crossed the rickety old suspension bridge over the Maniguales, we turned left.  What if we had turned right?  Over the winter I traced the right hand turn on Google Earth.  Upstream on a tributary of the Maniguales I found a hatchery.  The value of a hatchery is primarily the increase in fertility just downstream.  Chilean streams are not very fertile.  The hatchery is on the Pica Flora River.  It is a spectacular river to see.  So spectacular that I might even be willing to float it just to see more of it and to catch some of its fish.  It is crystal clear with big down and submerged trees and tree lined banks.  The only spot I could easily fish gave me a 13 inch brown on my only cast. 

Just about a kilometer north of the hatchery is a fork in the road.  The right fork takes you back to Route 7.  The left fork heads toward Rio Picacho (to see the area go to 45O 58’ south and 72O 17’ west via Google Earth).  Two gates and a stream ford after turning left, the “road” ran next to the Rio Cobarde for about 50 meters.  The Cobarde looked nice and there was space to pull the truck of the road.  Down I went.  I fished about 500 meters of the river.  Early on it was just the odd 12 inch fish.  I was fishing a big foam hopper like pattern with a 14 caddis about 24 feet behind it.  Either fly produced fish. 

Then I came to the best water of the day.  Three cast and 60 inches of fish!  (I just took a couple of sips of my coffee to let that sentence sink in with you!)  I did it the hard way.  The foam hopper would hit the water and a 12 inch fish would come up and take it.  Before I could land it an 8 inch fish would take the dragging caddis.  Three casts in a row it happened.  I’ve had more than a few two for’s with a dry - nymph dropper combo but only one other time with two dries.  As I climbed up on the bank to walk back I did see a BIG fish.  A fresh Chinook Salmon about 3 feet long shoot out from a root wad.  The Cabarde is a long way from Coyhaique – about 120 Km.  I might go back over there again before I head back.  Hell, just seeing the Pica Flora is damm near worth the drive!

Monday 24th.  Last year we meet a young Dutchman who comes over here for almost 5 months.  Nice young man and a kindred spirit.  We both prefer to fish the smaller streams and both are always looking for the “stream less fished”.  We connected Sunday night and off we went to fish yesterday.

Our destination was Baco de Leon, a tributary of Largo Elizalde.  My first year in Chile I caught a 24 inch rainbow from the Baco.  The Baco is a snow melt stream and there is still a lot of snow in the mountains.  It was running about 20 cm too high to fish well and a few degrees colder that French Creek Cold.  Made me wish I had worn my waders until we had to walk out.  The less than ideal conditions limited our success a bit.  Nothing over about 14 inches for either of us. 

In about an hour I’m going to pick up my Dutch friend and we are going to spend the day above the Pedragosa Gorge!  Let’s hope it gets “meadowy” with some undercut banks!


  1. OK Norm, finally figured out how to do a comment ! Those small streams are just up your alley ! Me ? I'm still fishing tailwaters which *I* like. Yes, there is another fly fisher within 20 yards ... but if I fall down and boink my head ? help is on the way ! Drop me an email BEFORE you go to WY this season. I got up there last year and ready to do more. Maybe after or before your clients arrive ? SUE