Apr 16th, 2020
The story of Coyhaique River Lodge is really a story about brothers Gaston and Claudio Urrejola – their upbringing, combined skills, vision and their never-ending drive to learn, create and improve. Born in the mid-70’s on a small farm 300 miles south of Santiago, Gaston and his older brother Claudio had the type of childhood many kids dream about. There was a trout stream flowing through their property, endless open space and a culture of trust and independence that enabled kids like themselves to run wild and free in the great outdoors. More than anything else, these two loved exploring and fishing, and while they got plenty of both, life in the country was by no means all fun and games. Living on their property came with real chores and responsibilities starting at a young age. By the age of 10 they were driving trucks and tractors, working in the fields of hay, wheat and corn, and tending to their family’s cattle and sheep. It was all normal enough, but now, looking back they were unknowingly building the knowledge and skills that would ultimately enable them to create one of the finest, most versatile and widely-praised lodges in all of Patagonia.
Both of them recall vividly in the early ‘80s when their father first drove them south on the new Austral highway to the Coyhaique region. Gaston recalled, “There was just so much water and we wanted to fish it all!” Since that trip, a great deal of their adult life has been about assembling an array of skills to enable themselves, and most importantly their guests, to do exactly that. Combined, Claudio and Gaston are likely the handiest and most-capable lodge management team we have encountered, with shared skills in ranching, farming, road building, fine home construction, hospitality, and best of all, guiding fly anglers. Additionally, they share between them careers as a veterinary doctor, a fisheries biologist, a full-time mechanic and a government director of tourism. It’s the full package, and with it they have created arguably the finest and most versatile fly fishing and outdoor adventure lodge in South America.