Fly Fishing Program

Dave Whitlock, widely traveled author, angler and fly designer, himself a legend in fly fishing, wrote after a March trip that, “I’ve never seen a river so full of big browns that were so totally hooked or spoiled on hoppers as this place.” John Randolph, editor and publisher or Fly Fisherman magazine, states that the ranch’s home river, the Rio Ñirehuao, is, “arguably the best wild, resident brown-trout river in South America and perhaps the world.” High praise, indeed, from people who have experienced the finest fly fishing on the planet!

The Chilean government has designated the Ñirehuao as the first study-catch-and-release river in the country. It has been estimated that approximately 9,000 brown trout swim in each mile of the river, a mid-sized stream that is easily waded and very user-friendly. Expert casters often hook large numbers of tout each day, and when the “hopper grab” is on, even novice flyfishers can expect lots of strikes, with a monster fish an everyday possibility. The lodge record, set during the 2003 season is in excess of 14 pounds!

Anglers who have visited El Saltamontes in the past will attest to this remarkable fishing, but recently the program has improved even further. Spearheaded by innovative professional guides,  and their intrepid crews of local and imported guides, the angling opportunities at El Saltamontes have blossomed.

In addition to the homewater, flyfishers now have the opportunity to ply pristine off-property waters, fisheries that have in many cases never before seen a fly!

The Flyshop’s own Pat Pendergast describes a day exploring an unnamed grassy, spring-fed lake that was full of heavy-shouldered 20-24 inch browns. Wading the edges, he’d plop a #6 Chernobyl Ant into openings in the weeds, and watch as huge mouths engulfed his offerings. Clients have reported fishing remote spring creeks full of feisty 12-16 inchers, rising eagerly to large dries. For the angler wanting a challenge, Alejandro has found locations that seasonally offer demanding small dry fly opportunities, as well. The lodge even has rafts and pontoon boats for day trips to local lakes and rivers.

Fishing conditions range from easy to moderately demanding at El Saltamontes – there truly are no scenarios that accomplished anglers would describe as remotely difficult. The vast majority of the fishing is done with a floating line, with rods in the 4-wt to 6-wt range. Occasionally, a heavy rain spate may briefly cloud the water, making streamers as effective as dries, but most of the fishing here is done with surface flies, particularly large terrestrials. As in most of Patagonia, breezes range from light to strong – fortunately, the lodge has such a diverse fishing program, there is always someplace to go to avoid the heaviest winds.

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