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Patagonian Basecamp – Chilean Patagonia

Deep within the seldom visited Aysen Provence of Chilean Patagonia, there is a special lodge perfectly suited to adventuresome anglers that take pride and pleasure in fishing off the beaten path. Marcel and Carolina Sijnesael built their dream lodge on the banks of the Rio Palena for all the right reasons; the main one being they wanted to show their guests the beauty and bounty of Patagonia without having to see other anglers. Here anglers will fish a wide range of systems from rafts and jetboats targeting wild rainbows and browns. Most of the fish will range from 14 to 20 inches with, 20-plus inch fish caught daily, 24-plus inch fish caught weekly, and a few fish over 30 inches netted each season. Marcel prides himself on having created a unique experience that incorporates ultra-comfortable overnight trips at established and well-appointed riverside out-camps into the lodge program, making for a most memorable adventure.

For more information please give us a ring at 800-552-2729.

Expert Interview and Q&A with Patagonian Basecamp, Owner and Manager, Marcel Sijnesael

Why Go?
1) To experience the incredible natural beauty of Chilean Patagonia.
2) To fish for healthy populations of wild brown and rainbow trout, including some true trophy fish.
3) Unmatched angling variety, seamless logistics and easy access to remote and hard to reach waters.
4) Friendly and knowledgeable lodge hosts.
5) Ability to spend a night or two at one of our comfortable river camps.

Where is the lodge?
The main lodge is located in northern Aysen area of Chilean Patagonia near the town of La Junta.

How do I get there?
Guests fly to Santiago, Chile and take a connecting flight south to Puerto Montt. Guests stay the night in Puerto Varas, just outside of Puerto Montt, and the next day take a one hour charter flight to Chaiten. Our staff meet guests at the small Chaiten airport and transfer them 1.5 hours to the lodge.

When should I go?
Our season runs from early December to early April. Seasons are opposite from those in the US with December marking the end of spring and March signaling the start of fall.

Where do they fish?
The main drainages we fish are those of the Río Palena, Río Figueroa and Río Yelcho and the numerous tributaries, lakes and lagoons within these systems. Having a centrally located main-lodge and three outpost camps, we are able to offer an enormous diversity of fishing without long drive times to the water. Guests fish new and different water each day, never fishing the same water twice.

Who is best suited for this destination?
With so many available options, we can accommodate almost any type of angler. However, that said our program relies heavily on boats to access and fish our waters. Anglers who enjoy boat-based fishing will love our program. Although we do have walk and wade options, PBC is probably not the best option for anglers looking to spend most of their time wade fishing.

What are the accommodations and meals like?
The main lodge offers accommodation for 10 anglers in eight rooms. There is a covered deck overlooking the river and hot tub and sauna in a secluded stand of trees near the river. The outpost camps sit directly on the river edge and offer accommodation to 4-6 anglers at a time. All accommodations are very comfortable and built with anglers’ needs in mind. At PBC we make it a point to serve locally harvested organic meat and vegetables most of which is raised and grown on our own farm.

Describe the atmosphere and style of the lodge?
The main lodge is on a small working ranch on the bank of Río Palena in the midst of a dense rain forest with stunning views of river valley and snowcapped mountains. The atmosphere is warm, familiar and friendly.

Is there an onsite manager, owner or point person at the lodge?
The owners and/or the lodge hostess are always around to answer guest questions and see that everything runs smoothly. Marcel or Carolina team up to host dinner each night and line-out guests on the next day’s fishing plan.

Is there internet and cell service?
There is slow but reliable internet and good cell coverage at the main lodge.

What is the cost?
Please see the Rates and Details section of our Patagonian Basecamp page for the current rates:

How do they fish?
This depends greatly on where guests fish and the conditions for the day. Generally speaking, we spend a lot of time most of the season casting large dry flies, dry dropper rigs and stripping streamers while fishing from various styles of boats.

Is there wade fishing?
Although a lot of our fishing is done while floating, we have an array of wading options for guests to enjoy.

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds?
Anywhere from a two-minute walk to the river to a one hour drive. The average drive time is roughly 25-35 minutes.

What fish will I catch?
We focus mainly on wild brown and rainbow trout. We see a lot of fish in the 14 to 20-inch range. Fish over 20 inches are caught daily, over 24 inches weekly and over 30 inches each season.

How many fish will I catch?
This completely depends on the destination, angler skills, conditions and the focus of the day. In general, guests land 10-20 fish per day. However, there are plenty of days when guests hook into 30+ fish and others when guests get 10 or less.

Will we see other anglers?
Most likely the only other anglers you will see are your friends around the fireplace at the lodge. Rarely do we cross paths with other anglers on the water.

Do guides speak English?
All the guides are from the USA, so they speak perfect English.

What are the guides like?
Our guide team is an assembly of pleasant, professional and skilled American anglers, oarsmen and boat operators who spend their time guiding in the American west or Alaska when they are not guiding in Chile. These guys work extremely hard on and off the water to do what it takes to make sure our guests are having a great visit.

Does the lodge provide equipment?
We supply all the leader material and flies. At the lodge we have spare rods, reels, waders, raingear and wading boots to loan guests should they need them.

What is your favorite rod(s) for the trip?
If you would only take one rod, take a fast action 6 weight for both dry fly and streamer fishing. If you bring 2 rods, which is highly recommended, bring a 6 weight for dry flies and a 7 or 8 weight for streamers. Your streamer rod should be equipped with a 10-15 foot sink tip line.

Are there other activities?
We offer wide variety of non-fishing activities which include hiking (forest hikes or to hanging glaciers), horseback trips, float trips, canoe trips, and visits to hot springs.

What are the physical demands?
The lodge and camps are located in remote areas, medical attention is hours away. Anglers should be in good physical condition. As we offer both float trips and wading days, we can easily adapt the programs to angler’s abilities.
Are there special skills required?
Arriving with basic casting and fishing skills will greatly improve your success and enjoyment.

Dangers and annoyances?
No really, Patagonia is often called “wilderness without teeth” – meaning here are no bears, snakes or other dangerous animals. There are not many mosquitos, but in some weeks of the year and on some rivers only, horse flies can be annoying. Chile is still a wild country; medical care is good, but far away so we do recommend travel insurance and medical evacuation plans.

Experience the incredible natural beauty of Chilean Patagonia.

Fish for healthy populations of wild brown and rainbow trout, including some true trophy fish.

Unmatched angling variety, seamless logistics and easy access to remote and hard to reach waters.

Friendly and knowledgeable lodge hosts.

Ability to spend a night or two at one of our comfortable river camps.