Patagonian BaseCamp, Fishing Report
By Charlie White
It is now thirteen years since Marcel Sijnesael welcomed his first guests to Patagonia BaseCamp, the lodge he had built on a pipedream in the Northern Chilean outback...
He had been working as the manager of a Dutch shipping company when he decided he had become too far detached from his dreams of an outdoor existence as a fly fisherman. He packed some bare necessities – a credit card, few clothes, a single air ticket, his girlfriend and his fly rod - and a year later had stumbled across the site which he would later call home. He says he simply had to stay: ‘The unbelievable beauty of the scenery, the unspoiled nature, the untouched fishery and the endless variety in rivers and lakes was something I had not seen before in my travelling.’
Marcel fell in love with the area around Lago Rosselot, the nearby rivers Figueroa, Rosselot and Palena are the best trout rivers in the country. Within months he owned an estancia on the banks of the Rio Palena and considered himself the luckiest man on earth.
The fishing continues to be world class but the true measure of a lodge is that it can offer exceptional fishing in unfavourable conditions and that guests return year after year. The weather did not do what they wanted last week but as most of the guests had been before - one of them nine times previously – it turned into an exploratory week and they had a great week fishing new waters.
Admittedly, not all of the exploring sounds that much fun. The keen party went in search of a hidden lagoon on the Palena, involving a two hour hike across mud pools, steep slippery mountain slopes and crossing tree trunks over creeks. They lost a boat but there was definitely light at the end of the tunnel – they hooked 8 brown trout over 20inches and landed two healthy, fat fish of 21 inches.
The ‘slug lagoon’, a hidden gem which was only discovered last year, proved very fruitful too. The lagoon can only be accessed in high waters, and they had plenty of that. The group hooked well over 20 rainbows all pushing 20 inches. Remarkably, one of the fishermen returned to the lagoon the next day and caught the same number of fish but they were all browns, ten of them were over the 20 inch mark.
The week’s biggest fish were caught on the Rio Figueroa – a 24 incher, a 23 incher and several fish of 20 inches.
The guides are looking forward to the weeks ahead as the forecast is looking brighter. They are predicting some fantastic fly fishing with the Golden Stones ready to hatch.
If you are interested in fishing the phenomenal waters of Patagonia BaseCamp, please contact Charlie White or Hannah Treliving.
Isobel S with one of 9 fish she and her husband Ian, landed on just one session on the Rio Grande. A great session for sure but made slightly more epic when you are told that they were sharing a rod and that the combined weight of those 9 sea trout was 122lbs. Just an astonishing fishery.
What do you want from a fishing destination?
We are all different but if you want reliability, big fish, excellent guides, supremely comfortable lodges, a week of varied fishing techniques and fabulous food and drink then you really shouldn’t look any further than the Maria Behety fishing on the Rio Grande in Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina.
One of the great pleasures of working in the travel business is when you speak to returning clients who have had a fishing holiday that has surpassed all their expectations. It is really rewarding to hear the genuine enthusiasm in their voices as they tell you all about it. I recently spoke to clients who just returned from ten days of fishing the rivers and lakes from Patagonian BaseCamp in Chile.