Carrileufu Valley Lodge
Carrileufu Valley Lodge is based near the small town of Cholila, surrounded by what is arguably the most stunning scenery in all of Patagonia. It is quite fittingly where Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and Etta Place, the most notorious ménage á trois in American history, chose to homestead in their epic run from the law. Much of the region still retains the frontier feeling sought by these outlaws over 100 years ago.
The lodge is conveniently located just outside the northern border of Los Alerces national park – a verdant, botanical nirvana home to some of Patagonia’s most exotic scenery and biodiversity. It is also the heart of the region’s trout fishing, and within the park’s astounding 1,000 square miles sits a staggering assortment of massive natural lakes, all linked by corridors of large, pristine rivers flanked by sumptuous curtains of dense Valdivian Rainforest. The system’s transparent waters often allow sight-fishing for its healthy population of rainbow, brown, brook trout and salmon, and pursuing them under the unique backdrop of bamboo thickets, sinuous cypress trees and snow-capped peaks is a curiously exotic experience, seemingly of another world. Indeed, fly fishing within this setting is one of Patagonia’s most sublime experiences.
Fishermen at Carrileufu Valley Lodge will have access to more water than can possibly be fished in a week’s time, and will have a wide variety of water types at their disposal. Depending on conditions, angers will have the option of floating the Carrileufu, Rivadavia, Arrayanes, and Chubut rivers (multi-day float trips available).
Fishing out of powerboats on a number of lakes is also available, and at the right time of year the dragon fly fishing can be mind-blowing. Let’s not forget the area’s spring creeks, where technical sight-fishing for oversized trout is the norm. With all this available water to fish anglers can have a different experience every single day of the week, and the fishing program can be tailored to your preferences and the current conditions.
What to bring:
- Polarized sun glasses, and binoculars
- Breathable waders, felt or rubber-soled wading boots without studs. (We recommend new or bleach-washed boots to prevent the spread of whirling disease and New Zealand mud snails.)
- Good quality breathable rain jacket
- Capilene fleece pants
- Sweaters, fleece jacket, capilene underwear (layering system)
- Fleece or wool fingerless gloves and stocking hat
- Wool wading socks for waders and Neoprene wading socks for wet wading
- Long sleeved quick-dry fishing shirts, quick dry fishing pants, and shorts
- Fishing hat, sun gloves, sun block SPF 30+ and lip sunscreen
- Personal medications, ibuprofen, allergy medicine, etc.
- US Currency, credit cards, valid passport, and copies of passport
- Camera and film, or digital camera and battery charger with spare batteries
- Rods: 4 to 6 weights. A fast action 6-weight is ideal for Patagonia. A 4 or 5 weight can be used for spring creeks when calm. A 5 or 6 weight for sink tips and streamers.
- Leaders: 7.5 foot or 9 foot 0X and 3X (3 of each)
- Tippett: 0X – 5X regular monofilament and 3X – 5X fluorocarbon
- Sinking Lines: Rio, Scientific Angler, or Teeny 200 grain sinking tip line (one will do)
- Floating Lines: New or like-new RIO or Scientific Angler weight forward floating lines
- Small hip pack or vest with nippers, forceps, fly flotant, line cleaner, etc.
- Beetles: (8-16) Black and peacock
- Chernobyl Ants: (6) black/tan
- Grasshoppers: (8-10) a good variety
- Flying Ants: (14-16) Black
- Dragon Flies: (a few will do)
- Elk Hair Caddis (14 and 16)
- Parachute Adams: (14-18) with high visibility posts
- Bead Head Prince: (14-18)
- Bead Head Pheasant Tail: (14-18)
- Bead Head Copper Johns: (14-18) copper and red
- Scuds: (14-18) Olive
- Midge: (18-22) various nymph patterns olive/black
- Wooly Buggers: (2-4) black, brown, and olive
- Wooly Buggers: (2-4) black, brown, and olive with white rubber legs
- Zonkers: (2-4) olive, black, natural, grey
- Double Bunnies: green/white, grey/white, natural/white (a few will do)
- String Leeches: Heavy lead eyed dark colors (a few will do)
Dry flies for Patagonia are probably larger than you are used to. Flies tied with foam and rubber legs work great in our fishing areas. The best colors seem to be black, peacock, and tan. That being said, it is often times necessary to match a particular hatch and some small dries are also needed. Try to buy (or tie) dry flies that are highly visible for your benefit. If you bring a good selection of the flies listed above, you’ll be in great shape!
Although we dry-fly fish most of the time, it is necessary at times to nymph fish and streamer fish depending on rivers and fishing conditions. Nymphs will normally be dropped under a dry fly and also will be used for sight fishing. A good selection of nymphs and streamers could make your day or even your trip. Remember big flies catch big fish!!!
As you would expect, our spring starts in November, with water often in the low 50’s. The fish are still looking for food below the surface. Streamers and nymphs are the go-to choices, although a few of our stubborn purists have prevailed at midday with a number of small to medium drys! Even during this cool but sunny period an indicator/dropper combination is most effective.
Fishing All Season
Spring and fall are excellent times to use a medium wgt sinking line. A Teeny 250 gr. is a good choice. By late December, given any consistency to the eventuality of warming weather, we’re all fishing wgt forward #5 floating lines with 9?, 4X – 6X leaders.
The fish – browns, brookies and mostly rainbows – are moving through the rivers, either in preparation for or just after the spawn. These spring/fall migrations provide excellent opportunities for landlock salmon, which for some reason become quite scarce January – March.
Fall is a lovely season comparable to North America, with cool clear mornings and hungry fish still feeding. It can be cold and rainy, too, so bring along warm, dry clothing.
After the dry fly season, we go back to the tried and proven – streamers, content to enjoy the last few weeks of yet another rewarding version of Patagonia’s best!
For most travelers, flying through Buenos Aires, Argentina’s glamorous capital (perhaps spending the night), is the most pleasant route. Once you reach Buenos Aires, your can continue on your own or enjoy the services of our partners with Swan Turismo (see box below map).
From Buenos Aires, you have two options. One is a 2-hour flight to Bariloche (not shown on map area but located north of El Bolson). From Bariloche, Cholila is 2 1/2 to 3 hours driving. It’s a beautiful drive to start getting the atmosphere of Patagonia.
A second way is to fly from Buenos Aires to Esquel via Aerolineas Argentina, a 2 hrs and 10 minutes flight. The driving distance from there to the lodge is much shorter, about 1 hr and 30 minutes, through the Alerces National Park (where you will be fishing later on, so again, you get a preview.)
There is one big difference between these flights: to Bariloche you have 8 to 10 flights every day on 2 different airlines, and to Esquel you only have 3 flights a week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, on Aerolineas Argentinas.
In both cases, we will be waiting for you (assuming you tell us you’re coming of course) to take you to the Carrileufu Valley Lodge. We have all 4×4 vehicles, and in case it is a big group we will arrange pick-up with a van.
- See Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid’s cabin which is only 20 miles away.
- Visit the Museum “LeLeque Estancia” (top photo at left), about 1 hour driving distance from the lodge, located on Beneton’s land which is abundant in the history of Patagonia.
- Ride to the Museum on the old Patagonia Express train.
- Travel to El Bolson Artisan Fair just 1 hour away.
- Bird-watch for beautiful flamingos (yes they live here), condors and other wildlife.
- Visit the Welsh Tea House about 12 miles away.
- Hike, horse-back ride or trek on the many trails around the area.
- Take photos with the noted Argentine photographer Diego Ortiz Mugica (www.ortizmugica.com).
- Kayak on the beautiful natural waterways in the area.
- Lie in the sun, breathe fresh air, enjoy great food and drink, commune with nature, and let your cares fade away!