A Chile Day Of Fly Fishing
A highlight of our Southern American cruise was a river float trip near Puerto Montt
By Larry and Lilliam Larsen
Our real "activities" highlight while cruising South America aboard the
Royal Princess recently (see Cape Horn, Glaciers, Trout & Penguins article
) took place when we arrived at Chile's Lake District. Puerto Montt, the prettiest town of the entire trip, was our port of disembarkation for the
day. After tendering to the dock, we were met by Rene Yefio, the head flyfishing guide at the Yan Kee Way Lodge. A one hour drive through
some of the country's most beautiful scenery led to the first class lodge strategically located on Lake Llanquihue at the base of the Osorno
Volcano. After a tour of the new lodge with owner Michael Darland and general manager Paul Kinney, we headed for the nearby Rio Petrohue for a couple of hours of fly fishing for trout.
Yefio launched our 15-foot pontoon raft as air temperatures began to climb out
of the 40's and Larry began his challenge of the 15-knot wind, the whitewater and the trout. His fly soon fooled a battling trout of about 3 ½ pounds and we
quickly took a few photos of the angler, guide and fish with the backdrop of the snow-capped volcano. Five minutes later, Larry landed another slightly smaller
rainbow. In the following hour, we drifted through rapids and pools surrounded by scenic canyon walls and mountain peaks.
From the raft's bow casting platform, Larry landed and released another three rainbows from the glacier-blue, snow-runoff waters of the Petrohue. A hatch
occurred on one bend and several trout rose to the occasion. One mistook Larry's fly for the real thing. In another area, five fat rainbows
come to the surface to feed in a deep, fast-flowing pool and raced for Larry's presentation. He battled one for five minutes
before it escaped and tossed his fly back to the same spot and hooked up with another.
Best Timing For Maximizing The Catch
We were a little late starting that morning for the best wet fly and streamer action. We
were told. the early 7 am to 11 am time period has less wind and more feeding action in the 48 degree waters. Browns up to 5 pounds are a good possibility then and many
daylong float trips include an aggregate per person catch of 25 or so rainbow and brown trout. Four guides at Yan Kee Way Lodge handle up to 8 anglers per day as they
fish for trout and salmon in a variety of nearby waters including the rivers: Petrohue, Puelo and Maullin, and Lago Todos Los Santos.
The November/December and March/April time periods are reportedly best for visiting fly fishermen who mostly come from the U.S. Fishing in the warmest summer months
(January and February) can also be excellent, and water temperatures are slightly warmer, reaching 54 degrees on some stretches. Loaner equipment is available but
most week-long anglers bring their own gear and flies. Rods of 6 and 7 weight and floating and sinking fly lines are the norm for these waters.
After a scrumptious lodge lunch of Chilean wine (from their wine cellar
selection of 200), appetizer, conger eel and salmon laced "baskets" stuffed with crab meat, and topped off with creme brulee for dessert, we
had time for a quick visit to the magnificent Petrohue Falls before returning through the picturesque countryside back to the ship. A series
of catwalks and stone steps take visitors to the edges of the falls adjacent a backdrop of mountain cliffs, massive boulders, roaring rapids
and plunging falls. Several of the Royal Princess shore excursions include a visit here, and it is perhaps the main scenic highlight of most cruise ship passengers.
Editor's Note: For more information on the Yan Kee Way Lodge, contact Quest Global Angling Adventures at 888-891-3474. Check flight and/or cruise fares and availability!
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