The Fishing

 


FISH IN :         RIVERS, LAKES, & PACIFIC OCEAN

FISH FOR:      RAINBOW, BROWN, & BROOK TROUT
                          CHINOOK, ATLANTIC, & COHO SALMON
                               STEELHEAD, MACKEREL, & TUNA 

                                                                                                                                                                  
Rio Yelcho offers a diverse fishing experience including dry fly fishing t0 sipping rainbows in large back eddies, wade fishing various runs, fishing smaller rivers that empty into the Yelcho and floating the log jams that line the banks (the wood from the native trees does not float so this makes incredible productive homes for large Browns), especially in the early morning and the evening.  Browns to 20 lbs. have been caught in this river. The river serves as a nursery for the lake and it is not uncommon for anglers to have 50 fish days on the river.  The size varies from 10-36 inches with many being in the 16- 24 inch range. The majority of the river fishing is with sinking or sink tip lines. 
In addition to the trout the three salmon species are periodically present. The Chinook (King) salmon runs have gotten larger and larger every year to the point that we began offering them as a target species for the 2011-2012 season.  The summer/ fall run used to start about the last week in February but the Kings have been showing up in significant numbers earlier and earlier so that by the 2013-2014 season they were running by the first week of February.
The targeting of the Kings by PF is a natural for our guides as our guides from the USA have years of experience salmon fishing in Alaska and our Chilean guides know where the salmon hold and run in the Yelcho River.  The enthusiasm of the clients has been very surprising in that many of our return clients that seemed to be pure trout fly fishermen have succumbed to "KING FEVER".   I was fortunate to catch the IGFA length world record Coho (Silver) salmon in  the Yelcho River in 2011 and during the 2013-2014 season we caught two Chinook (King) salmon that broke the IGFA length world record.  So now the IGFA length world records for Kings and Silvers are from our lodge on the Yelcho River in the Chilean Patagonia --NOT FROM ALASKA! We do not have the numbers that they have in Alaska but we do have the quality and without as many insects, fisherpersons and bears to deal with.  We kill only enough salmon to feed our clients fresh salmon -- so if you are a meat collector this is not the place for you.




From the land based lodge we used to fish a river estuary reached via a 40 minute horseback ride up the ocean beach that has produced incredible Steelhead and Atlantic salmon fishing depending on the time of the year.  Double digit fish have been common in this fishery. Unfortunately a tributary of this river originates from near the Chaiten Volcano so the ash and soil erosion run-off have negatively impacted this fishery since  the eruption in 2008.  We have only been able to fish it a few months in 2010.  Hopefully the ash will finally all wash out into the ocean and regrowth of ground cover will progress to the point that we will have this fine fishery back in the future.  In the meanwhile,  we looked at an estuary further south and found it not to meet our standards so  we  explored two estuaries further north.  Unfortunately these estuaries  require a short trip up the coast via our covered catamaran  rather than the nice horseback ride. Again the quality of these estuaries did not seem to be worth the effort and the risk should a front move in.  So we will keep monitoring the damaged estuary. The 2015 Atlantic salmon run in the Yelcho river was a significant improvement and thus very encouraging.  UPDATE 2016:  The pools had finally reformed in the estuary and we found that the fishing was truely phenominal with 2 anglers catch 25-50 Steelhead per day.  Unfortunately due to riffraff work done in the fall of 2016 we have again lost this fishery because they have redirected the river straight out into the ocean.  What a shame.  We will continue to monitor this fishery and hope that "mother nature" wins out and that the pools get re-established.
                                                                                                                                                                  
The fishing in Lake Yelcho, its bays, and the rivers that flow into it have already been described  under PUMA II - FLOATING LODGE - MOTHERSHIP.  However it is important to emphasize that this is not your usual "lake fly fishing".  It is not uncommon for anglers to have 10 -20 fish days.  In addition, two world record weight rainbows were brought to net in 2011 with the largest 34 lb. 13 oz., ON A DRY FLY! It is realistic to expect IGFA world records to come from this lake and they will not be the genetically altered, hatchery fish that are being caught in Saskatchewan, Canada. I have been amused that over the years it has been a "chore" to get USA anglers to fish in the lake - but when I get them there they don't want to fish anywhere else.  They realize that this is one of the few places on earth that you can have a chance to catch a"trout of a lifetime" AND weather permitting do it with a dry fly!

ONE OF THE MAIN ADVANTAGES OF OUR OPERATIONS IS THAT IT WOULD BE VERY RARE THAT YOU WOULD BE SHUT OUT OF FISHING DUE TO WEATHER.  THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT FACTOR SINCE THE CHILEAN PATAGONIA IS FOR THE MOST PART A TEMPRATE RAIN FOREST - IF THE RIVER WERE TO BLOW OUT WE CAN TAKE YOU TO THE LAKE OR OCEAN TO FISH.  

ANOTHER SIGNIFICANT ADVANTAGE TO PUMA FISHING LTDA. IS THAT WITH PUMA II AND EXCELLENT FLOATING WATERS IN THE RIVER THE ANGLER THAT CANNOT OR PREFERS NOT TO DO A LOT OF WADING AND HIKING CAN EXPERIENCE EXCELLENT FISHING.


In March of 2017 we started fishing the ocean.  The best way to describe the action in the ocean is "WILD & EXPLOSIVE". Not only were we catching many large mackerel (everyone called them Sierra Mackerel but they turned out to be Snoek or Snake Mackerel); but also were catching several tuna up to about 30 lb..  The tuna turned out to be what is called the Slender Tuna and commercial fishermen said this is the first year that the tuna have been present in any numbers.  The fishermen also said that the mackerel  start showing up in Dec. and stay until about June.  

We are submitting IGFA world records for both of these fish -- unfortunately, neither species is on the list for length  (catch and release) species records nor any line classes so all that we could submit were the largest catches of these two species ever caught.

Having the water boiling with mackerel and tuna crashing bait fish while birds (including Patagonian Penguins) are  diving and feeding; then throwing a fly or lure into the chaos and being rewarded by the rod almost ripped out of you hand is quite a rush.The best day was 3 anglers catching 11 tuna and 32 mackerel. We plan on taking clients to the ocean once during their stay, weather permitting.

The mackerel are an aquired taste but the tuna is white meat and delicious -- Australian scientists state that the Slender Tuna is the healthiest fish for humans to eat out of all of the fish that are in their waters.  The tuna was well received by our clients at asados (barbecues) and shore lunches.  




In summary, our fisheries have many options so the weather "Gods" don't shut down the fishing and as important -- your type of fishing preference can be addressed in a positive manner.