Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Heading North To Meet Gerlof

The long journey, and I do mean long via Chicago and Miami, from home to Coyhaique was basically without incident.  Everything made except one thing.  Some place in the Santiago Airport is a debit card without a home.   But thanks to WiFi at Veronica’s no harm has or will be done. 

On the 18th, a little later in the morning than I had hope, I started the long trek toward Futaleufu.   I was late getting on the road because I needed to make sure my float tube was OK. The distance isn’t all that far – 420 Km – but when over 300 Km is one or maybe two lane gravel road it is a long if you are lucky, if not it is a lot further.   I headed that far 
north to meet my Dutch friend and once a year fishing companion Gerlof.  He had taken the overnight bus from Santiago to Puerto Montt so he could float the Rio Maullin, the outflow from Chile’s second largest lake.  Gerlof’s idea of floating is not what most people think of.  He floats the river in his float tube!   From there he caught another bus, via Argentina, to Futaleufu where I picked him up for our drive along the Carretera Austral back to Coyhaique, fishing our way home.

Futaleufu is a tourist destination, but not for fishing.  The Rio Futaleufu is world class white water rafting and kayaking water.  But for small stream fly fishers like Gerlof and me there are more than a few opportunities.   The Ro Chico, just outside of town of the road toward Argentina, was our first stop.  This is a small stream fishers kind of stream with pockets and runs.  And, being in the mountains of Chile, there are of course gorges and waterfalls.  From there we headed back toward the Austral.  To reach the Austral we had to cross – that means fish – two more rivers.  The first was a bit of a surprise.   I was expecting Rainbows.  Sure the stream had as a few Rainbows but Brook Trout were the surprise!  As I headed back toward the car, I waded below a slow run.  I made that quick obligatory cast you always make.  Bam, my only brown!   I had my first Chilean Grand Slam!  The last river of the day, the Rio Malito was much bigger and rather boring after the others two streams and we debated stopping to fish it.  But it would have been wrong to drive over it without stopping and catch at least one or two fish.

Our final stop of the day was the shoreline Largo Yelcho.  Largo Yelcho is world famous for its big rainbow trout.  We would camp that night on the shore.  Gerlof, apparently like most Dutch fly fishers, is a confirmed float tuber.   He knows the Yelcho well having floated it many times.   His idea was that if the wind wasn’t blowing we would fish it for something to go with our meal of rice and eggs.  The wind wasn’t bowing.  I have a float tube.  In fact I’ve had one for about 10 year.  And in those 10 years, I’ve used it exactly once!  So here I am on a BIG lake with float tube expert expected to help secure diner.   Graceful in my attempt to get into the tube and then into the water, I was not.  But with only two falls I made it.  Float tube fishing is very different than anything I have done.  First off I was just plain nervous about being in the tube and secondly for a barely acceptable caster trying to cast a full sink line with your elbow just above the water level is not a pretty sight.   Realizing my limitations, I resorted to “trolling” a Pancora imitation.  I’d make the longest and sloppiest cast I could and then just kick like hell and twitch my rod from time to time.  Guess what?  The twitcher secured food while the artful floater came up empty!

The next morning after a shore breakfast of fried eggs and trout we set off for our next fishing adventure. 

1 comment:

  1. hooray, you're 'back on the road' again ... to places I will never see, but through your eyes and words . Looking forward to all your reports. From colorado, sue