It's a combination that one dreams about.
. . glacial blue-green water full of fighting rainbow and
brown trout - unspoiled and eager for your fly. The Alto Puelo
Fishing Lodge is located in the Patagonia region of Chile,
just across the border from Argentina. A four-mile stretch
of the Rio Puelo river and a lake eight miles long are at
the lodge's front yard. The lodge comes with a guide who knows
them both, like the back of his hand and a fabulous chef at
your beckoning call.
Puelo Lodge - Information
The Alto Puelo is warm, rustic and comfortable.
The stars at night are majestic and almost feel like you
can reach out and touch them. Included with the price is
a chef, whose only job was to create meals to delight the
two of us (using the fresh farm produce from the property).
In residence, are ducks, horses (a mare and newborn foal),
cats and kittens, lots of wild birds, and of course a great
dog (Gina, a brown Lab).
The lodge has a well-conceived ecosystem. Solar power lights the
lodge and cooking is on a wood stove. There is no television, radio,
or telephone, except a satellite phone in cases of an emergency. Compost is used
to feed the produce, all of which can be eaten from the ground. We tasted amazing
asparagus, swiss chard, lettuce, edible flowers, several varieties of potatoes,
herbs and all kinds of fruits.
The whole space feels clean and self-reliant. It feels good to breathe
the clean air, drink the water and taste the great food. It is summer on Christmas
Day, and the skies are a radiant blue. Everything sparkles.
and Enza - Patagonia Adventures
Kent Schoenauer (owner of Patagonia Adventures, the Alto Puelo Lodge
and the Dos Rios Salmon Fish Camp) had met his wife in New York City, but they
decided to move back to Argentina, where she had lived, before she married Kent.
Enza now runs their travel agency in El Bolson, a charming town of 28,000 an hour's
jet-boat ride away from the Alto Puelo.)
Kent and his wife were there at the beginning. He discovered fly
fishing while living in Northern California (saw a billboard advertising it and
wondered what it meant!) and basically brought the sport to South America in the
70s, urged on by a travel agent in the United States. When Kent met the travel
agent, he encouraged him to develop a guiding business for fly fishing, so Kent
toured the Patagonia region of Argentina/Chile for years and hand wrote a list
of 12 places and how to fish each one. When he sent the information back, the
agent in California said: "I have booked 14 people for you to take fishing!"
Off Kent went, driving his new clients on dirt roads and packing meals in a cooler.
Patagonia Adventures began and never stopped, providing Patagonia hospitality
and great fly fishing along the way.
Kent's 24-year-old son Eric is one of the knowledgeable
guides. Eric has the energy, the patience and the uncompromising
passion for the sport, born of youth and long experience
of the local water.
Fishing and the Meals
Our schedule was extraordinarily civilized. We awoke about 8:30 AM,
ate breakfast about 9:30 AM, and were out on the water around 10:00 PM. Breakfast
was a light meal of fruit and either French toast or fritters. We fished for four
hours, usually casting an 8 weight rod with streamers into the river, letting
out 20-grain weighted line down to the backing, and stripping it in, often anchored
in the jet boat, because the water was still very high. The challenge for me (still
a beginner) is to feel the strike and set the hook with that much line out.
We returned to the lodge around 2:00 PM for a three-course lunch.
The meal included wine, an elaborate appetizer course (deep fried mozzarella;
with a cold meat delicacy); skewers of chicken and vegetables; an elaborate entrée
chicken in a garlic sauce; homemade ravioli stuffed with broccoli); an elaborate
dessert (cherry pie; cheesecake; brownie with homemade ice cream). Then a siesta
until 5, when we went back out and fished, usually ending with dry flies about
9:30 PM, and another huge meal at 10:00 PM or so. Mike (my husband) loves to cook
and we both love to eat, we have as many photos of the food as we do of the fish
Fishing the Rio Puelo
It became a challenge to pace yourself, so you don't fall into bed
so stuffed you can't sleep! But we both had incredible dreams there-perhaps because
of the intensity of the experience, and the focus on fishing, eating, and just
keeping up. The fitness component cannot be overestimated, one needs lots of stamina,
core strength, strong legs for wading (our Simms staffs were invaluable), and
a strong casting arm to be at it eight hours a day.
Fish and Fly Patterns
The fish we caught large browns and rainbows, which fought hard and were
beautiful in color. There are holes on the Rio Puelo that are full of fish, so
that the two of us would pull out perhaps 15 fish in a couple of hours and lose
a bunch more.
The most successful flies were the Chernobyl
ant (orange and black, size 6); olive-bodied
stimulators; and a special fly that Eric ties resembling an olive
woolly bugger with a sparkly body and legs.
We flew to Buenos Aires on Delta, which meant a hour long cab ride,
around the city, from one airport to another. Kent recommended a Lan Chile flight
direct to Santiago, and then change planes at the Santiago airport and fly direct
to Bariloche, Argentina where Kent can pick us up. This
flight is more direct and faster. We also recommend several days in Bariloche,
a beautiful resort town on the water with enough to see and do.
"Do this trip! It's a winner."
For more information on fly fishing the turquoise
pristine waters of the Rio Puelo in Patagonia Argentina/Chile,
contact Kent or Eric Schoenauer. They can be contacted by
email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone at 011-54-2944.-493280. Kent will gladly assist
you with your fly fishing vacation to the "River of