Fly Fishing in Chile Guide
The main goal of Fishing is to catch fish, either in sea or freshwater, for commercial, sport, nutritious or recreational purposes.
Recreational or sport fishing is practised using special equipment, commonly referred to as fishing tackle,Â that consists of a number of hooks attached to a fishline handled directly or with the aid of an structure. However, sport fishing does not allow the use of nets, traps, harpoons or firearms, among others.
Sport fishing is characterized as not being necessarily competitive. In this sport, the struggle is between the fisherman and the fish, following certain rules the sportsman imposes to himself. This results in a gratifying experience by being in close contact with nature, and by being able to return the fish back to its natural environment, in good shape.Â
There are four types of recreational or sport fishing:
- Spinning: where the equipment has an artificial decoy or bait tied to a fishline; in this equipment, the weight needed for casting is determined by the bait or any external element other than the fishline.
- Fly Fishing: uses a particular bait named "fly", a special fly line (or "leader") and a fly rod. As opposed to spinning, in fly fishing the weight necessary for casting is determined by the line.
- Catch and Release:Â is a type of fly fishing, in which the captured fish is freed immediately back into the water, alive.
- Drag or Trolling: uses an artificial lure attached to one or more lines which are drawn through the water by boat.
Although the development of fly fishing is relatively recent (XIXth century) it is known that it was already practiced since medieval times but in more primitive ways.
This fishing modality was practiced since the beginning of the XIIIth century, in Medieval Europe. Diffrent German texts point out that, from this date on, fishing was done with a â€śfeathered hookâ€ť called â€śVederanglelâ€ť. The first of these references is found in a romance written near 1210 by Wolfram Von Eschenbach. The heroe of the story, Schionatulander, was crossing the ford of a river with his bare feet, in order to catch some trouts and graylings with a fishing fly.
There are at least a dozen of ancient manuscripts filled with references to fly fishing in Great Britain during the 14th and 15th centuries but none of them describes accurately any of the techniques used. Even now, what we know about techniques used in times prior 16th century is still pretty limited.
However, we do know about the equipment used: 14 feet (3,6 meters) Â rods or even longer, with a line attached to the tip made of horsehair braids. As it is unlikely that fishermen during 15th century used lines with lengths greater than two times the rodâ€™s length, trout or salmon fishing must have been a great challenge to them.
The first flies used for salmon fishing (16th century) must have had a body made of bear hair, attached with dyed silk threads and a collar made of feathers either from roosters, pheasants, partridges, macaws, flamingoes or parakeets.
But it was during the 19th century that fly fishing underwent a major breakthrough. First, during the appearance of winged wet flies which marked the beginning of the evolution of the dressed fly used for salmon fishing. Then, rods also began to get several enhancements, with mass-produced silk lines and the widespread use of silkworm guts. Moreover, it was during this century, when the reel began to be used widespread, that fake casting was discovered along with the dry fly technique.
In the XXth century new improvements began when fiberglass was introduced for rods manufacturing, in 1954. Sooner, carbon fiber rods would appear and, in time, rodâ€™s weight decreased up to a point where the lineâ€™s weight began to be considered in order to handle the rod correctly. At the present time thereâ€™s no doubt that, without plastic, fly fishing as we know it would pretty much be unknown as a sport, even though its basic principles have remained the same.
With a coastline of over 4.000 kms and countless lakes and rivers, Chile offers spectacular locations and diverse fish species for differents fishing modalitiesg. This is why fishing-based tourism is one of the most popular activities in Chile.
Sea fishing is practiced all the way along the Chilean coast, the most common species being: Sole, Tuna fish, Bonito, Sierra, Sea Bass, Rollizo, Sarge, Tollo, Vieja and San Pedro, amongst others.
Fresh water fishing is practiced mainly in the Central andÂ Southern areas, ChiloĂ© Island, and Northern and Southern Patagonia (from the Vth to the XIIth region). The numerous rivers, lakes, lagoons, dams, estuaries and reservoirs across the territory have mainly "Pejerreyes", "Carpas", "Tencas" and several salmon species.
Where to go fishing in Chile?
Atacama Desert and Altiplano
- Mouth of Loa River: One the border of the Ist and IInd regions.
- BarquitoÂ Creek: III Region, near ChaĂ±aral port.
- Puerto Viejo: III Region of Atacama. In front of Copiapo
- Salada Beach: III Region of Atacama. 50 km (31 mi) south from Copiapo
- Papudo: Vth Region
- Quintero: Vth Region
- Algarrobo: Vth Region
- El Tabo: Vth Region
- Cartagena: Vth Region
- Las Cruces: Vth Region
- Rocas de Santo Domingo: Vth Region
Fresh Water Fishing
- Lake Elizalde: XIth Region. 30 kilometers (19 mi) from Coyhaique.
- Lake Yelcho: XIth Region.
- FutaleufĂş River: XIth Region. FutaleufĂş.
- Lake RisopatrĂłn: XIth Region. Puyuhuapi.
- Lake Rosselot: XIth Region.
- Lake Verde: XIth Region. 1 km north from La Junta.
- Cisnes River: XIth Region. Puerto Cisnes.
- Uspallantes River: XIth Region. Puyuhuapi.
- Magellan Strait: XII Region of Magellan.
Fresh Water Fishing
- Penitentes River: XII Region of Magellan. Located 158 kilometers (99 mi) from Punta Arenas.
- Grande River: XII Region of Magellan. Tierra del Fuego.
- Azopardo River: XII Region of Magellan. Tierra del Fuego
- Serrano River: XII Region of Magellan. From Torres del Paine National Park to Ultima Esperanza fjord.
- Be respectful of nature.
- Practice "catch and release", that is, returning the captured specimens to the river.
- Do not fish more fish than the amount permitted by law and respect the allocated sizes and minimum weights.
- Respect the closed seasons of the species.
- Use proper equipment in accordance to fishing laws and regulations.
- Always fish in the company of someone when in potentially dangerous areas.