Thank you one and all!
It was a fine season last year year in Patagonia and especially along the Simpson River where the lodge is located.
The season began Oct 15th, springtime in Chile, to high water, early running chinook, and reasonably good weather. The season ended the first Sunday of May a bit more than six months later.
Guests, many now close friends, arrived from around the world at Los Torreones Lodge: United States, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina.
Many repeat clients and many new. The serious fly fishing river rats, as well as fly fishing folks crossing off that last elusive item on their Bucket List. Couples exploring the “Carretera Austral”, and solo travelers. And of course many Chilean families who came in for long weekends via direct daily flights from Santiago to Coyhaique/Balmaceda Airport.
Some adventure minded travelers asked us to take the packhorses up to the remote high valleys above the Nirehuao River right next to the Argentine border. We slept in a small, well-appointed cabin and over an open fire, on brisk nights, looked up at the Southern Cross to help guide our thoughts and plan the following day fishing or horse trek.
Occasionally, early and late season, high up in the mountains, you can get dusted with summer snows, which leave a jeweled frost, glistening in the early morning sunlight on the hardy pampa grass. These special moments punctuated a special year for us.
But most clients last year came to float the legendary Simpson River, The Manihuales River, or walk the Nirehuao, and explore wading the smaller, Rio Emperador Guillermo for resident dinosaur trout.
At the end of the day walking down from the Lodge to fish the evening hatch at the final moments of light and shadow was a magic moment for many clients. An orchestrated concert of rising fish: “plop”, “thuchk” and the not infrequent “KARPlulunk”, of large browns breaking the surface and slamming mayflies or caddis; provided counterpoint tempo to the swishing current and evening breeze.
For many this is a highlight, epiphanic moment. It’s difficult to explain the symphony of motion as clouds of dry flies drop out of willows as the sun touches the last rocks in the high torreones. The Simpson hatch is simply a miracle of nature.
Usually we floated for the entire day down different sections of the Simpson and Manihuales Rivers, putting in at nearby access points. Morning floats start around 9.30/10:00am depending on weather conditions. As the season progressed river flows diminished allowing better access to secret fallen logs, and hidden banks. Last season, due to less rainfall river levels dropped significantly.
Around 1:00-2.00 pm we normally stop for a riverside picnic break with Chilean wines and first class food prepared by the Lodge chef.
Clients in good physical condition waded and worked the water by foot, always accompanied by a Chilean bilingual expert guide allowing for an intimate experience of being in Patagonia. Whenever possible we took time to sight fish big cautious browns usually abiding deep in the underwater structure of a fallen “cogiue” tree.
Looking back on last season, is similar to casting; it obliges one to almost simultaneously look forward to the coming year.
Patagonia remains an adventure like none other, an experience for anglers and non-anglers alike. We send best wishes and abrazos to all who might be considering a visit, we´ve saved you some space!