The Futaleufu Valley in Patagonia, Chile is blessed with more blue ribbon trout waters than you could explore in a lifetime and virtually no fishing pressure.
Consequently, because there is virtually no
fishing pressure in Patagonia, there are also
no places to purchase fly fishing equipment.
The nearest Patagonia fly fishing shop is a three hour
drive away in Argentina, and it does not resemble
your neighborhood shop. The nearest place
to visit a specialty fly fishing shop, that
resembles what you are most familiar with,
is in the United States or Europe, before you leave home.
Words to live by when coming to the Futaleufu
Valley in search of big, dumb fish are: “If
you think you will need it, bring it. If you
didn't’t bring it, you just don’t
While we don’t have a formal relationship
with Orvis, their hard goods have proven themselves
to us over the years. Their stuff is always
easy to get your hands on and the staff cannot
be beat for their professionalism and knowledge.
Check out www.orvis.com and don’t hesitate to call us with questions concerning gear you will need while fly fishing in Patagonia with us.
Our Gear Recommendations for fly fishing Chile:
Please Note: All gear that you bring to Patagonia will be disinfected for invasive species before using on our waters.
Clothing & Accessories
Waders: Gore-Tex stocking foot waders
pack nicely and have the benefit of being
comfortable in a wide range of conditions
you will encounter in Chile. Temperatures
during your visit can swing wildly. We find
that Gore-Tex waders keep you comfortable
whether it is 90 degrees and sunny or 45 degrees
and dumping rain.
Wader Shoes: Due to the spread of aquatic diseases we ask that you not bring anything with FELT soles to Patagonia.
Top Wear: Be prepared for
intense sun or freezing rain in Patagonia.
Our top pick for intense sun is Columbia’s
Long Sleeved Bonefish shirts. They are specifically
made for fly fishing with tabs to securely
button rolled up sleeves and massive numbers
of pockets. For cold it will definitely be
worth your while to bring a wading jacket
that you won’t look goofy in when not
fishing. Hoods are essential. Multiple sets
of appropriate long underwear, synthetic piles,
and hats for sun and cold are also recommended.
Other: For years we saw the
need for something that could carry all of
our gear, allow easy access to it and be compatible
with hydration systems. In the past we have
used Camelbaks®, which
work fine for fly fishing in Chile, if worn with a pocket intensive
shirt such as the Columbia Bonehead shirt.
Over the past few years Orvis came out with a series of
packs that fit the bill. While we haven’t
field tested it yet in Patagonia, the Orvis Chest & Hydration Pack looks like it will be a keeper. In addition
to a 1.8 liter hydration reservoir, the pack
also has almost 400 cubic inches of storage
space. The pack straps have a total of 13
pockets to stuff your fly gear in – all within easy reach.
This one piece of equipment should allow you
to have you cake, eat it too, and then wash
it down with a drink.
Fishing Patagonia Gear:
Forget everything that you know about fly
fishing on most North American rivers. Chile
is one of the few places were a mouse is a
legitimate dry fly pattern.
While you will catch reams of smaller trout
using traditional dry fly patterns, those
browns that are as big as your leg will most
likely ignore a #12 Adams. Big fish want meat,
and you have to fish deep to hook up.
Be prepared for wind while fly fishing Patagonia's unspoiled waters. While most
casts are not long, a 30 knot wind in your
face can make any cast formidable. While beginners
can still catch fish and have an awesome time,
your skill and gear should be suitable for
Western river conditions in the United States
to fly fish the Futaleufu Valley waters effectively. You can expect the wind to be less intense while fly fishing Argentina's Alerce Park - but not much.
Rods: We favor 4-piece, 9’
rods with five or six weight lines. Fast tapers
allow you to punch through breezes while still
allowing a degree of delicacy to your presentation.
Orvis’s T3 rods have proved to have
the right combination of power and control
– but it is more about the person driving
the cast than the rod.
Reels: Large arbor reels will allow
you to pick up line quicker and give you more
control when playing big fish. We live by
them in Chile and Argentina. Make sure that you can stuff
100 yards or more of backing, plus your fly
line, on your reel.
Lines: Five or six weight
forward lines or shooting tapers are most
appropriate. At a minimum, you will need a
floating and sinking tip line. An intermediate
speed sinking line is also useful. We do 80%
or our fishing with sinking tip lines.
Tippets: we typically use
9’ 2X to 5X leaders in Patagonia while fly fishing in Argentina and Chile. Our
fish are not terribly leader shy. Much more
important is being able to throw big flies
and to land fish as quickly as possible. Bring
lots of leaders. Bring lots of tippet material.
Weight: Lead substitute putty
is environmentally safe and great when fishing
deep moving water. Think of the Futa as your
local trout stream – on steroids. Lead substitute is mandatory for our Chile and Argentina fly fishing trips to protect the environment. It is our company policy.
Fly Fishing Patagonia - Luggage:
Luggage: Finally, you will
want to carry your fly fishing gear as carry
on luggage. Once you are down here it is virtually
impossible to get restocked So bring 2 or
more of everything that you will think will
need (rods included – at least 6 of
each fly pattern) and carry it with you as
more complete information please see our fly
fishing packing list.
Other Fly Fishing in Patagonia options include: Fly Fishing the Futaleufu in Argentina. Fly fishing the Futaleufu in Chile. All of our programs adhere to our Catch & Release Guidelines for Fly Fishing in Chile.