Tuesday, February 1, 2011


When we last heard from “Normando” and his fishing amigo “Ethando” they were still in the afterglow of a fantastic fishing day in the Valley of the Moon.  Sunday morning, the 30th of January, found them looking out of Veronica’s kitchen window at a steady rain.  Undaunted, but slowly, they prepared for their day.  Perhaps over the mountains and out of the Rio Simpson valley by Villa Ortaga it would be dry.  And if it was raining there they could go over the next mountains toward the Richards.

It was still raining when they got to Villa Ortaga, so they turned to the east and headed for the Richards.  It was raining there as well!  But it wasn’t a wasted trip.  There is a farmhouse where the Richards come close to the road.  This area is above an impassable gorge.  Even with a name like “Normando”, he can only say a couple of thing in Spanish.  His Spanish is so bad that last year he told the attended at the service station to fill the truck with “hotdogs”.  But his trusty companion Ethando is rather fluent.  Over the gate and to the farmhouse they went.  The farmer said it was OK to fish there. They have another new place to fish and explore. Back toward Coyhaique they headed with a quick stop in Villa Ortaga to make sure the little restaurant/living room they had eaten in last year was still in operation.  It is.

Monday’s plan was to fish the Pedregosa from the bridge up to just above the first gorge.  As they came down over the hill they could see a truck parked there.  So, on they went toward Coyhaique Alto where the landscape is more pampas like to fish the Pedregosa above the gorges on the Estancia del Zorro.

Things are changing in Patagonia. Chile’s rules are Montana rules. If you can access a stream at a public access point you can walk the banks to fish.  In fact, most farmers wouldn’t say anything to you if you were fishing without asking first.  We still always try to find the farmer and ask first.  On the smaller rivers and streams it has never been a problem getting permission.  The big lodges and operations are changing things.  The Cinco Rio/Estancia del Zorro consortium is a prime example.  The Estancia’s  15,000 acres on the upper Pedregosa is clearly posted “No Trespassing” in both Spanish and English.  Additionally the consortium is purchasing leases on other properties. (Follow this link to get a feel for things http://www.cincorios.cl/articles/flyfisherman02.html)
Estancia del Zerro property would be off limits but a tributary of the Pedragosa would be OK to fish.  It flowed from the north, under the bridge and onto the Estancia.  Upstream of the bridge would be OK.  And OK it was.  Ethando had the better Karma, both in terms of size and number of fish, than Normando’s.  Both of them could have used a little more big fish Karma.  There were opportunities for both of them but they couldn’t finish the job.

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