Chile and Argentina Trip Report Part 3

Montana AnglerMontana Angler Junior MemberPosts: 7 Junior Member
Day 5
Since the Limite float was so high the first two days we decided to try it again on our last day in Chile. We were also transferring to Carrileufu Valley Lodge in Argentina at the end of the day so logistically being close to the border made sense. It was amazing how much the waters receded over the course of 5 days and this seemed like a completely different float. Still high by March standards, but the river had dropped about 4 to 5 feet. One of the channels that was deep and swift on our first day was now a small shallow trickle. We had a great time in the morning sight casting to some fish in the aquarium and wading some riffles. Shortly after pulling in for lunch we heard a shout and turned in time to see Bryan with a deep bend in his rod and a huge trout tail walking across the surface. I collected some great photos of the fight as the drifted by a 200 foot waterfall before pulling up in front of us to net the monster. We didn’t tape the big rainbow but I would safely put it at 23 or 24 inches - the biggest landed at Futa lodge for the season - nice work Bryan! The afternoon float was great and the fun faster water with giant boulders that was too high to fish on day one had dropped to fishable levels for pulling streamers and I had some great action on some nice browns on the last hour of the float. After pulling out Carlos and the crew at the lodge were waiting at the takeout with our luggage to transport us to the border where we met Jorge Miglias. Jorge is the spitting image of the “Most Interesting Man in the World” from the Dos Equis commercials and even more interesting! We drove the the spectacular Los Alceres National Park before arriving at the Carrileufu Valley Lodge where we were greated by our new host Pancho Panzer and a terrific dinner.

Day 6
We fished the legendary Rio Rividavia on day six. The rivers in this region all begin and end in lakes and are gin clear. They are smaller waters than the giant Futaleufu (where they later drain into). Prime time on the Rividavia is in December and the fish were exceptionally spooky. This might be the most beautiful river I have ever seen - on par with some of the smaller wade fishing waters in New Zealand that I fished but with more trout and larger. The water is emerald green and very clear. You have to be careful jumping out of the rafts because what seems like ankle deep water is often 3 or 4 feet deep. We spent the first hour or two at the exit of the lake site casting to big cruising rainbows. I had 2 hookups and one 19” bow to the net along with lots of refusals and spooked trout. The Rividavia sees more pressure than the Chilean waters and the trout were very selective. This was definitely the hardest day of “catching” with only a few eats. All in all it was well worth it to see this famed river and I hope to return some year when the dragon flies are hatching in December to see it when the trout are more willing. The highlight of the trip was watching our Argentine guide Facu hucking bread at lunch to giant 20” rainbows that bull rushed the bread but ignored our flies...talk about adding injury to insult. Our lunch on the Rivadavia was amazing as we sat under the shade of a large tree along the banks of the gorgeous river enjoying empanadas and some great Argentine wine.

Day 7
Both boats hit the Rio Carrileufu on our last day. This reminded me of a big version of the East Gallatin or Beaverhead with more down timber. It was also gin clear and we spent most of the day stripping big streamers on sink tips. The morning fishing was productive and I managed a few nice 17” bows and with a lot of chases from bigger fish and a lots of small fish chasing and tugging at the rubber legs. The streamer fishing turned off after lunch but we found some fish eating fat alberts and small parachute adams. It wasn’t a huge numbers day but a great float all in all and nice to put some more fish in the net after our tougher day on the Rivadavia. We never got to see some of the trophy streamer eating browns that the river is known for, but that will have to be for another trip!

Summary
What a great trip to Patagonia. The Futa lodge was definitely the highlight of our stay. There are larger and more opulent lodges in the world but Futa had a special charm that is hard to describe. There is something special about being in a valley that is so pristine and untouched by the modern world. The fishing on the Futaleufu is very special and of the highest quality. We were fortunate to experience nearly perfect weather during our trip and enjoyed the best of company with our motley crew. A big thanks to Bryan, Anthony and Randy for joining me on this adventure as well as to our great guides and hosts at both lodges. And a very big thanks to my beautiful wife Ann that gave me the green light to spend 12 days away from home while she tended to our lovely but energetic three children!

By Montana Angler Fly Fishing

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