At Chile West we run a mobile program – working our way down the Carretera Austral or ‘Southern Highway’ through Chilean Patagonia, staying in four locations along the way. Today we start a four-part series covering each of our four destinations.
Our first stop is Palena. In Palena we stay in a small bed and breakfast consisting of a lounge / dining room and several small cabins. We have the place to ourself, so the atmosphere is quiet and intimate. Our hostess is a wonderful Chilean woman who ‘rolls out the red carpet’ on our behalf.
As is the case with all of our destinations, we’ve got several different options for fisheries, and we choose our fishing depending on weather, water levels and angler preference. In a typical stay we might fish the Rio Palena and the Rio Tigre– combining big water and tiny water to start things off.
Our put-in on the Palena is all of 3 minutes from our B&B. The Palena is a good-sized river with a mix of rainbows and browns. Dry flies, nymphs and streamers can all be productive on the Palena, and some of the most picturesque fishing occurs in a canyon section – there’s nothing like throwing flies up against canyon walls next to streaming waterfalls.
The Rio Tigre is a beautiful small stream, gin clear and loaded with brookies. This day is a walk-and-wade. No boats involved – we drive about 30 minutes to the Tigre and fish it on foot. The fish aren’t big but they’re beautiful, and guests are often amazed at the giant dry flies that these bold fish like to chew on!
After Palena we head to La Junta – Part Two in this series.