The author releasing a typical Patagonian brown trout. Photo: Kyle Kolodziejski
Why Two weeks are Better than One
atagonia is a vast, wild region spanning between the 40th and 55th parallel south. It is made up of both Chile and Argentina and, at over 400, 000 square miles, it is more than twice the size of California. While its signature feature is the incredibly dramatic spine of the Andes, Patagonia is comprised of an unparalleled variety of landscapes, including arid high desert, glaciated granite spires, lush semi-temperate rain forests and virtually every bioregion in between. Adding to the intrigue, it is also home to six of the world’s most sought-after freshwater gamefish: rainbow, brown and brook trout, sea-run browns, steelhead and king salmon. To fish all of Patagonia’s countless rivers, lakes and spring creeks would take the most dedicated angler multiple lifetimes, as it would to fully explore its mountains, coastline and trails. For all of us in North America, this magical, sparsely populated region of our sister continent to the south is a long haul from home. With an average travel time of 24+ hours from PAGE 84
By Kyle Kolodziejski
departure until you take your first step through the door of a Patagonian lodge, it seems almost remiss to spend only a week per visit exploring this incredible playground. Just because most lodges focus on week-long stays, it doesn’t mean that you need to pack up and head home after six days. With inter-country travel becoming more reliable and comfortable due to improved infrastructure, it’s now easier than ever to coordinate multi-lodge itineraries, allowing travelers and anglers to seamlessly explore different regions of Patagonia in a single trip. The majority of our seasoned guests who are on to the benefits of extended South American travel spend 1014 nights in the country. Travelers either divide their time between multiple fly fishing lodges, increase their stays at a single lodge or combine fishing experiences with other activities like touring in Torres del Paine, Fitzroy or Buenos Aires, taking an Antarctica cruise, wing shooting, wine touring or adding a few days of dorado fishing up north.
Why Fly Water Travel The simple answer is that we have paid our dues and spent the important time needed to create a vast network of unique lodges and professionals that we enjoy, respect and trust. Likewise, if you are in Patagonia and ask outfitters which of the North American fly fishing travel companies they feel the same way about, you will quickly here mention of Fly Water Travel. In my three years as Fly Water’s Patagonia Destination Manager I have already logged nearly 20 weeks of fly fishing travel in Chile and Argentina and before that spent 14 weeks in the region backpacking and mountaineering. I have been extremely fortunate to have visited all of Patagonia’s major regions including stays at nearly 30 lodges and 120+ days on
the water, fishing over 50 different rivers, lakes and streams. As a result, Fly Water Travel is uniquely qualified to help our guests best understand all the destination options, transfers and travel details and to customize trips that best suit their travel and fishing needs. The possible trip combinations are virtually endless with the following selection of four extended combination trips designed as examples of how you can best experience Patagonia. Patagonia’s Ultimate Trout Tour Las Pampas Lodge and Coyhaique River Lodge This itinerary combines two of our most popular and highly regarded Patagonian trout lodges in the same trip: Las Pampas
A typical float in Argentine Patagonia. Photo: Bryan Gregson
“With inter-country travel becoming more reliable and comfortable due to improved infrastructure, it’s now easier than ever to coordinate multi-lodge itineraries, allowing travelers and anglers to seamlessly explore different regions of Patagonia. in a single trip.”
Lodge in Argentina and Coyhaique River Lodge in Chile. We have sent countless anglers to these destinations over the years and time after time, both programs consistently receive the highest possible marks from our guests. On this trip anglers have the opportunity to visit two uniquely different, diverse and highly productive fly fishing regions in Patagonia. Between trips guests will transfer five hours by vehicle with a quick stop at a border checkpoint. In our opinion, this multi-lodge trip showcases the best all-around fly fishing for trout that Patagonia has to offer. Tierra del Fuego Sea-Trout Squared World’s End Lodge and Estancia Despedida
seamlessly pairs two totally unique southern-mainland Argentine destinations. The first week guests will fish for large, wary sea trout on the gorgeous and essentially private Rio Gallegos. Then, anglers have the opportunity to chase Atlantic steelhead on the massive and totally unique Rio Santa Cruz. There is nowhere else on the planet where anglers can chase these two species of anadromous fish in back to back weeks on essentially adjoining systems. On this trip guests will visit the friendly, fun Las Buitreras Lodge on the pristine and gentle Rio Gallegos and then transfer three hours by vehicle to the unassuming four-person Los Plateados Lodge located on the banks of the mighty Rio Santa Cruz.
Northern Patagonia Luxury Sampler Without question, the archipelago off South America’s Patagonia River Ranch and Estancia La Limay southernmost tip known as Tierra del Fuego hosts the greatLocated in the heart of Northern Patagonia’s most producest returns of sea-trout on the planet. On this featured trip tive waters, Patagonia River Ranch is arguably the most anglers will visit World’s End Lodge on the intimate, deluxe, luxurious and refined fishing lodge in all Patawooded and largely unknown Rio Irigoyen followed gonia. Nestled on the banks of the legendary by a stay at Estancia Despedida on the world Chimehuin River, guests enjoy world-class famous Rio Grande. The Rio Grande offers trout fishing, an extensive activities program relatively large water revered by spey casters and a service ethos where the word “No” is and is known for its high catch rates of rarely uttered. In addition to meals prepared larger fish. The Irigoyen is arguably the by two full-time professional chefs, Patagonia world’s most unique sea-trout river with lots Fat A l be r t River Ranch has a fully-accredited sommelier of woody structure, shelter from the wind and and an impressive wine cellar stocked with fine technical single-hand fishing for handsome regional wines. Next, anglers will transfer three hours by sea-run browns. Between venues, anglers will transfer to vehicle to the intimate eight-person Estancia La Limay, Rio Grande and overnight before heading into Estancia which is one of only two lodges on the remarkable Limay Despedida. This unique combination will show folks the River. The Limay is a large, crystal-clear desert gem that is full spectrum of Argentina’s finest sea-trout fishing. home to some of Patagonia’s largest rainbows and browns. Argentine Anadromous Sampler Under the same ownership as Patagonia River Ranch, this Los Plateados and Las Buitreras Lodge is another stop where guests will enjoy the highest level of service and amenities. For anglers that long for the finer For serious spey anglers that like chasing a variety of big, things in life, this extended trout tour will be hard to beat. challenging sea-run fish, we created a custom itinerary that PAGE 86
Top: A private trophy lake near Coyhaique and dinner at Estancia Despedida. Middle: A Rio Grande sea-trout. Bottom: Visiting Torres del Paine. Photos: Brian Gies, Ken Morrish and1-800 Kyle Kolodziejski -552-2729 PAGE 87