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Chile/Patagonia Fly FishingWith a title like this, one must wonder if any fisherman has the capacity to really tell a true story about his fishing exploits. I have been very lucky to have fished all over the world and experienced things that most may never have the opportunity to. What I am about to describe is not a fish story (we all tell them), it’s a true fisherman’s story about a blissful place full of fish, natural beauty, crystal clear virgin streams and wonderful people. Twice each year my wife Pam and I and a hand full of friends travel to Patagonia Chile to experience some of the world’s best Brown and Rainbow trout fishing. Most flights leave the USA at night and arrive in Santiago, the capital city of Chile early in the morning. Although we often continue on to Patagonia (another 1000 miles south) doing an overnight in Santiago is worthwhile. Santiago is a beautiful European city and an afternoon tour and dinner in one of many 5 star restaurants is a treat. The trip from Santiago to Balmaceda is full of Kodak moments. On the way south, the left side of the aircraft will give you great views of the snow covered Andes mountains. The right side will reveal a beautiful coastline and many ocean fish farms. Balmaceda airport serves Coyhaique, a city of 50,000 and the regional capital of Patagonia. Upon arrival in Balmaceda my friend Fred Yule, owner of Campo Chileno, meets us and takes us one half hour to the camp. Fred has been a professional guide for over 30 years and has fished the Patagonia waters for over 20 years. First hired by US lodges to scout the best fishing in Patagonia he fell in love with the country and the people and made Chile his home. He and his lovely Chilean wife Amanda run the lodge. The camp provides gourmet food, great accommodations and holds only six guests. Another great thing about the lodge is that ALL equipment (Ross reels and Sage rods, waders/boots etc.) and flies are provided free of charge. Those of you that have lugged your equipment in the past know what a great service this is. The camp is located on Lago (lake) Pollux. Lago Pollux has some of the best Rainbow fishing in the world. It is not unusual to catch 30 inch rainbows from the fishing docks or float tubing in one of the camps many inflatables. In addition to Lago Pollux, Fred has access to over thirty venues within an hour’s drive from the camp. These include rivers streams and lakes many of which he has exclusive access. The scenery at every site is breathtaking. At Lago Paloma, you fish in crystal clear turquoise water for Browns and Rainbows. Waterfalls abound and Condors fly overhead. On the Simpson and Manihuales river float trips every turn and waterfall is more beautiful than one can dream of. At several other exclusive locations we each caught over 100 healthy and beautiful trout, most on dry flies. Catching (and landing) a Coho Salmon on light tackle was exciting. In December Chinook salmon that average 25-30 lbs with fish up to 55 lbs are being caught. If these experiences are too much for us mere mortals to imagine add the fact that I have fished these waters for two weeks straight and not seen another fisherman!Each year the fishing gets better and better. Some attribute this to acts of nature. Several times in the last 10 years ocean fish pens holding Coho Salmon and Trout broke open and turned captive fish into wild ocean going Salmon and Steelhead trout. In the most recent earthquake on April 23 2007, it is estimated that millions of fish went free. The eggs from fish returning to the rivers have added substantially more food to the system and the Trout have benefited. Today major Salmon and Steelhead runs complement the world class Trout experience.If you want to experience a life-changing event, visit Patagonia Chile and enjoy the fishing, natural beauty and Chilean hospitality.