Brothers Gaston and Claudio Urrejola may be the most talented, multi-faceted lodge owners we have ever met. Between them they can do virtually anything including building a spectacular lodge themselves and then turning that into one of the best run fly fishing and multi-sport lodges in South America. Located just outside of the regional capital of Coyhaique, an area widely considered Chile’s trout fishing mecca, this first-class modern facility sets the standard for premier fly fishing lodges in Chilean Patagonia. The lodge’s program offers a diverse and exciting array of excellent trout fishing opportunities, including lots of private access fishing properties, as well as a wide range of outdoor experiences including hiking, mountain biking, rafting and horseback riding. In short, they have something for everyone and they do it all with expertise and care.
Set where the rolling foothills reach up towards the Andes, Coyhaique River Lodge’s setting is truly spectacular. With first-class accommodations and meals, a convenient location, a staff that prides itself on superior service and a long list of available angling and adventure options, this operation has earned a special place in the hearts of its’ clients for the all the right reasons.
Location: Coyhaique River Lodge is located in Chilean Patagonia, 10 minutes from Coyhaique on the banks of the Rio Coyhaique and 45 minutes from the regional airport of Balmaceda.
Fishing Program: There are over 50 distinct day beats that Coyhaique River Lodge fishes over the course of a season. Of those there are roughly 15 staples, 75% of which the lodge enjoys private access to. Most of their private land use agreements originate with down-home community relations in which neighbor needs help cutting a road, harvesting trees, or managing their cattle. Always capable and happy to help, this often leads the brothers to land exclusive access rights to trophy rainbow lakes, small walk and wade gems or special put-ins on rivers that few others float. In a land where anglers are already relatively few and far between, these arrangements will virtually assure that you will have days with a beautiful spring-creek, river or lake entirely to yourself.
The following is a quick overview of a few of their favorite fisheries.
Rio Simpson: The Rio Simpson tends to fly fish like a classic Montana freestone and has significant caddis and mayfly opportunities. It is most often floated but, several wade options exist also. Browns and rainbows average 14-22 inches, however trout up to 30 inches have been caught on a fly. This river has more fish per mile than perhaps any river in the southern hemisphere.
Rio Ñirehuao: The Rio Ñirehuao is perhaps the area’s most famous fishery. It is a mid-sized freestone wading stream renowned worldwide for its fantastic hopper fishing during mid-summer exclusively for wild brown trout. Fish average in the 12-20 inch range but those over 24 inches are present.
Rio Coyhaique: The lodge property has a mile of river frontage plus additional private access points to miles of easy wading and large quantities of small to mid-sized rainbow and brown trout. This river gets better every year and is still great fishing when the weather isn’t so great elsewhere.
Rio Huemules: The river is wide with sandy bottom where you can wade down the middle and fish towards large browns hiding in the undercut banks. Many deep pools are fun to pull streamers and watch the big guys chase it all the way to your feet.
Rio Emperador Guillermo: It is one of the jewels of the area, with many pools and riffles loaded with hungry trout that average 12 to 16 inches.
Rio Mañihuales: The Mañihuales has a little of everything including a lot of big trout! It is most often floated but some good wade fishing is available on its very upper reaches. It has a healthy population of both brown and rainbow trout as well as a strong run of King Salmon. The Mañihuales often surrenders fish well in excess of 20 inches during an average day with the brown trout usually being the largest. This river has structure like no other and an incredible amount of prime holding spots making it a favorite amongst local guides.
Spring Creeks: Near the Argentine boarder there are several high-country spring creeks. Although they are relatively close to the lodge, the landscape in this area is a world apart and more typical of the high arid pampas often associated with Argentina. These spring creeks combine great walk and wade fishing for really large fish in small well-rested waters.
Still Waters: While many of our traveling anglers shudder at the thought of stillwater fishing, the lakes frequented by Coyhaique River Lodge offer some of the most interesting and pleasant trophy trout fishing imaginable. There are a great many highly productive lakes within easy reach of the lodge and despite their differing characteristics they share a few common elements. They are beautiful, private, hold trophy rainbows and/or browns and are most often fished by sight casting large dry flies to visible cruising fish.
Adventure Experiences: In addition to a world-class fishing program, one of the truly differentiating features of Coyhaique River Lodge is the breadth of quality outdoor experiences it offers guests. While the brothers love to fish, they are also avid hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers. They have a stable of sturdy horses, new high-end mountain bikes, and professional guides to help hikers explore hundreds of miles of trails in the region. The trails range from easy day walks to full day hikes in addition to new purpose built mountain bike trails. The diversity of terrain surrounding the lodge means that guests can easily experience all of these activities in a wide variety of landscapes from the arid steppe on the east, to the rainforest and fjords of the west. Some of the highlights of the region include the jagged basalt towers of Cerro Castillo peak, the chapel-like Marble Caves of Lago General Carrera, and the Puerto Ibañez hand paintings created by the original ancient inhabitants of the region. For those looking for more leisurely activities, the lodge is less than 20 minutes from Coyhaique, a city of 45,000 people and the capital city of the region, where visitors can enjoy traditional handicraft shops, restaurants and friendly local culture.
Accommodations and Meals: Coyhaique River Lodge has everything you would expect from a premier fishing destination. It was purpose-built out of local timbers in a style that could be described as a perfect combination of rustic and modern. It is located on a high bank overlooking the Coyhaique valley and the small intimate flows of the Coyhaique River. They have a beautiful exposed beam great room as well as eight double suites, all with private baths. Meals are of the highest level with dinners featuring local beef and lamb dishes, fresh vegetables, and Chilean salads all paired with renowned Chilean wines from the lodge’s wine cellar.
Saturday: Arrive Santiago in the morning. Fly from Santiago to Balmaceda. At the airport you will be met by a representative of Coyhaique River Lodge, who will transfer you 45 minutes to the lodge.
Sunday-Friday: Six full days of guided fishing in the Coyhaique area.
Saturday: Depart the lodge and transfer to the Balmaceda airport. Fly to Santiago for an evening flight home.
Learn about why you should go and what to expect when you arrive. Read more...
2019-2020 Rates: $5,250 per person for 7 night/6 day package
Included: Accommodations and meals at the lodge, beverages including beer and wine, guided fishing, fishing license and ground transportation to/from the Balmaceda airport.
Not Included: International and domestic airfare, fishing equipment and flies, alcohol, gratuities, and laundry.
Species: Brown trout, rainbow trout
Season: November – April
Capacity: up to 10 anglers & 6 non-anglers
Map: Coyhaique, Chile
Time: The time in Chile is four hours later than Pacific Standard Time (during U.S. winter).