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Patagonian pursuit of an endless summer

Updated: Aug 12, 2019

By Phil Hilbruner

As fly fisherman, we are extremely fortunate to be based in Alaska with our free flowing wild rivers teeming with salmon, steelhead, trout, char, grayling and more. Alaska, with Cooper Landing in particular, provides a truly amazing setting to pursue these fish in a land with epic scenery and wildlife. There are certainly enough angling opportunities in Alaska to satisfy a lifetime of fly fishing. That said, the majority of fly fishing opportunities are limited to a short season. True, you can find places to wet a line in the winter, and we do, but it is human nature to be curious... what else might be out there?

This curiosity led me to start thinking about fishing in Patagonia a long time ago. It seemed like a distant dream at first, traveling to the other side of the world with nothing but a backpack and a couple fly rods. I was particularly attracted to the idea of a year round summer! When it gets cold and bitter outside in Alaska, the summer in Patagonia is in full swing. The dream continued to grow, until this past winter I decided I’d dreamt enough, it was time to head down there and satisfy my curiosity.

What I found was a distinct but equally beautiful setting in the Lakes Region of Patagonian Chile. Imagine yourself comfortably wet wading a freestone trout stream in February. Fishing resident and sea-run browns gobbling up big streamers, rainbows sipping dries, big white water between runs, great people to fish with, low angling pressure, the list goes on and on. One of the highlights was fishing 27 kilometres of river, connected to the road system without seeing a single other boat or angler!

Angling in a different ecosystem is an incredibly insightful experience. While there are some of the same aquatic insects that we find in Alaska, there are also food sources unique to the area, such as the Pancora Crab, which makes up a huge part of the food chain. I had a lot of fun playing around with new fly patterns and ideas to imitate Patagonian trout food.

Patagonia has everything a trout angler could hope to find. When you take in the whole experience of great fishing opportunities, excellent food and wine, warm hearted Chilean hosts, the sum is truly greater than its parts. I’ll be going back as soon as I can, and I can hardly wait.

What are you waiting for?

If you are thinking about traveling to Patagonia, get in touch with us at Lakeview Outfitters. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have, and can set you up with some great guides while you’re there.

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