fishing is a grand excuse to find yourself in beautiful places with
something fun to do. Truth is, if more people went fly fishing, the
world would be happier. And to properly enjoy and celebrate
the sport of fly fishing, one should focus on its defining
attribute...the cast. Although it's true that any fly rod or outfit
can catch a fish, it's not true that all cast the same. To enjoy each
fly cast, a worthy fly fishing outfit (rod, reel and line) should be
balanced and efficient. That's exactly why we at Leland Rod Co.
designed the Sonoma Traveler Outfit.
a chaotic world of fly tackle choices, our simple goal was to provide
a sensible solution. We did this by designing our own gear from the
ground up, where each component (fly rod, fly line and fly reel)
complimented one another. The result of this project is a balanced
and efficient trout fly fishing outfit, where the whole is greater
than the sum of parts. Not only is this outfit brilliant for anyone
just getting into the sport. It's also the perfect solution for any
angler who's grown tired of tinkering with disconnected fly gear.
It's all right here waiting to be efficiently cast and enjoyed.
fine rod like our Sonoma Traveler is made even better with the right
fly line. Our Leland New Zealand “Pliny” Trout line is just the
ticket. In fact, it's so good, we named it after our favorite, local
beer (Pliny The Elder). We softened the line's coating, shortened the
head (the weight-forward part) and created the most efficient profile to efficiently roll your casting energy down the fly line,
through the most efficient leader we've ever cast (our New ZealandTrout Leader) and to your fly. When you cast this line on our rod,
you'll finally understand what we mean by efficient.
course every fly fishing outfit needs a fly reel. Yes, it does store
your fly line...but there's more to it than that. The proper fly reel
should be the correct weight to balance out the rod. It should have
the correct capacity to store not only our fly line, but have enough
backing (emergency line) should a big trout head down stream. A
fully-sealed, disc-drag is unnecessary for trout, so we went with the
classic and proven click and pawl system. It's easy to adjust, and
requires little to no maintenance. Best of all, when your trout takes
off, the classic sound of our Leland Classic Trout reel celebrating the moment will make
you smile. Yes, it's fully-machined, anodized and all, but most
importantly...this is a fly reel your granddaddy would want.
assembled, our fly rod, our fly line and our fly reel makes every
forty foot trout cast efficient, controlled and accurate. More
importantly, our Sonoma Traveler outfit will make your day on the
water that much better and really, that's why we all fly fish in the
first place. Take our word for it. This outfit is the one we use
every day at our ranch, teaching people how to efficiently control their fly line. It's also the outfit we personally take to the water
on our days off.
• Weight: 5.7 ounces
• Spool diameter: 3.500 inches
• Spool width: .750 inches
• Capacity: Standard WF 5 line plus 125 yards of 20 lb. Dacron backing or WF 6 plus 100 yards of backing
• Material: Spool, frame and foot machined from 6061-T6 cold finished
aluminum bar stock
• Drag system: Draw bar actuated cork disk
• Finish: Corrosion-resistant anodized
• Colors: High gloss black coral or non-reflective matte black, other custom colors available at an additional charge
So, what’s this?? A beefy, brawny saltwater tough guy posing as a trout reel? Isn’t that a bit …well, overkill?
all, in fly fishing, unlike conventional spinning or bait casting, we
don’t actually use the reel to make the cast. In the old genteel days of
trout fishing, the reel simply stored line until we’re lucky enough to
hook something that took out more line than we had in our hand. I grew
up using a stamped, Japanese import, then a stamped Pflueger Medalist,
and finally graduated to a variety of die cast Hardy reels, the gold
standard of trout reels in the early 1980’s. I treasured all of them in
their time. Maybe it was the insistent buzz made by the clicker as a
trout peeled off line, or maybe I felt the reel was my fishing
companion, sharing in each new adventure.
Fast forward to 2007.
Our “genteel” art has become, on many fronts, a slugfest. No longer are
we satisfied plying our trade in bucolic settings fishing for small
trout. Today, many of us travel
the world seeking larger trout in New Zealand, Patagonia, and Chile. We
fish the salt water flats for species such as bonefish and permit that
swim much faster and pull much harder than their similarly sized
freshwater cousins. Consequently, we’re harder on our tackle and have
come to expect greater performance from our fly reels.
think it wouldn’t take rocket science to come up with a little metal
wheel with a brake that was dependable. But I’ve seen just about every
brand of reel fail at one time or another. Whether it’s grit or grime,
extreme heat or cold, component wear, or impact from a hard fall, if
there’s a weakness, we usually find out about it exactly at the wrong
Enter Steve Abel. Although not a rocket scientist, he is
an experienced aerospace machinist, who started selling his fly fishing
reels in 1987. His motto then, and the company’s motto today is “to
design and build the best, most dependable gear in the world and give
world class customer service.” In the ensuing twenty years, Abel Quality
Products has succeeded in carving out a niche in the increasingly
competitive arena of high quality fly fishing reels and built a devoted
following of end users. The latest offering from Abel is the Super 5
Narrow Large Arbor, a trout sized reel that boasts a robustness usually
found only in its larger, saltwater brethren.
The Abel Super 5N Fly Fishing Reel is the newest addition
to the Abel Super Series, which have a large arbor design for faster
line retrieve, reduced line coiling, and better drag continuity. The 5N
spool, frame, and foot are cut from a solid block of 6061-T6 cold
finished high molecular density aluminum. The spool and frame are
aggressively ported (ventilated) to reduce weight, while maintaining
great strength and rigidity. The draw bar, main shaft, pawls, and screws
are machined 303 stainless steel. The drag is comprised of a large surface
area, cork composite covered drag plate tightened against the inside of
the aluminum spool by the draw bar. All aluminum surfaces are protected
against corrosion by Abel’s proprietary hard anodizing process. The 5N
is convertible to left or right hand retrieve. At 5.7 ounces, it’s
relatively light considering its bombproof strength. The drag system is
silky smooth, with low start up inertia, and based on a simple design
that has proven itself over two decades. The spool capacity is suitable
for 5 or 6 weight lines, making it ideal for large trout and small
steelhead. Substituting smaller diameter gel spun backing in place of
Dacron, one could pump up the backing capacity to over 150 yards for
medium steelies, smaller bonefish, specks and reds. Overall, a nearly
flawless, extremely rugged and reliable fly fishing reel for taking
fresh and smaller saltwater species on light tackle.
• Large arbor, narrow spool design for quick line pick up
• Machined from 6061-T6 cold finished aluminum bar stock
• Impact resistant spool rim and frame
• Smooth, reliable cork-draw bar drag system
• Durable, hard anodized finish
• Custom colors, handles, and engraving available at additional charge
Fly fishing reels machined from a solid bar of metal have
the greatest rigidity and strength per weight, but in the long run, are
more costly to produce than stamped, or die cast reels. Over thirty
years ago, American companies such as Seamaster and Fin Nor pioneered
the construction of machined fly reels, primarily for a small following
of hard core salmon and saltwater fly enthusiasts. The increased
popularity of fly fishing, coupled with political and economic expansion
of the Far East in recent years, has led to an influx of many
reasonable quality, less expensive machined imports primarily targeting
entry and mid level customers. Many U.S. makers of good reels have
folded under this pressure, and the majority that have remained, like
Abel and Tibor, have done so by directing there efforts at top of the
Although you may find some custom $2000-$10,000
titanium reel models on the Internet, aluminum is the choice for mere
mortals. Abel uses 6061-T6 cold finished bar stock in all of their
reels, which is the strongest, densest, most corrosion resistant
aluminum for this purpose. The spool, frame and foot of the 5N Super are
cut from this, and the mainshaft and drawbar from 303 stainless steel,
on Computer Numerical Control lathes and mills. In fact, every
machinable part in the reel is made in the Abel factory to insure utmost
quality control, right down to the stainless steel screws. The only
non-metal parts are the cork drag washer, a neoprene o-ring, and the
laminated, sealed wood handle.
The overall weight of the reel is
significantly reduced, while retaining structural integrity, by
precise, aggressive porting throughout the spool and frame. All parts
are hand de-burred, hand polished, cleaned and inspected and aluminum
parts are protected from wear and corrosion (and colored) by Abel’s
unique hard anodizing process, which penetrates and bonds to the metal.
Two sealed waterproof ball bearings on the spool and one on the drag
plate provide near frictionless rotation.
Abel currently employs
28 production workers and 7 support staff in their Camarillo,
California facility. They offer a lifetime warranty on manufacturing
defects for all their reels. Although you’re not likely to need that
warranty, it’s nice to know that Abel, due to their success, will
probably be around to back it up if you do.
In a nutshell, there are two basic types of fly reel
drags; the classic spring and pawl, popularized by Hardy Brothers of
England well over a century ago, or one of many variations of the more
modern disk drag. Most anglers, and manufacturers today overlook the
click pawl, unfairly in my opinion, in favor of disks for all fly
fishing. Actually, the click pawl, if well constructed, is very reliable
for smaller trout and is the lightest, simplest, and least expensive to
build. And as it works, it creates that sweet sound that many of us
find synonymous with fly fishing.
As we seek fish that pull
harder and faster and fight longer, our fly reels are progressively
subjected to greater amounts of what most often kills them; heat. A disc
drag slows the spool by friction, applying pressure between two or more
discs, usually one on the spool and one on the frame, or within a hub
mounted on the frame. A great number of variations of this seemingly
simple concept are available today, each one claiming superior
However, the big game fly reels that have been the
most successful in landing fish over 100 pounds, and, therefore, operate
smoothly and survive the greatest amounts of stress, have draw bar
drags. This simple system has two center mounted disk shaped brake
surfaces that meet when the spool is attached, and drag is increased as
the draw bar tightens the frame against the spool through the central
Although most newer disk drag systems use synthetics such
as Rulon, Delrin or carbon fiber, as the brake material, natural cork
(ground and mixed with a polymer), is still considered by many
to offer the best balance of durability, low start up inertia, stopping
power, and adjustability. This cork composite, unlike the synthetics,
is compressible, providing for its smoothness. The Abel 5N Super has the
largest drag of this type of any 5 or 6 weight reel I’ve seen, and the
“open” design dissipates heat rapidly into the rear of the spool and
throughout the reel frame. “Closed” or completely sealed drag systems
offer the advantage of low maintenance, but generally can not cool as
Cork must be lubricated occasionally to replenish
its natural moisture, usually with pure neatsfoot oil. Make sure to
follow the manufacturer’s directions, as petroleum products or solvents
may harm the cork, and back off the drag tension when not in use.
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of the draw bar drag is that it does
not allow for quick change spools, as some disassembly is required.
Choose another design if this is a priority for you.
to the International Game Fish Association, Abel reels where used in
setting the greatest number of new world records for 2006. Though you
may not land a world record, you will at some point encounter that fish
of a lifetime. The Abel 5N Super Large Arbor Fly Fishing Reel, with its
impeccably machined strength and superb drag, is as likely as any to get
the job done.
At $550, the Abel 5N Super is much more expensive than
some other very serviceable trout reels and is an ounce or more heavier
than others with lighter drag designs and frames. The draw bar does not
allow for the convenience of quick-change spools. Open design requires
occasional cleaning and lubrication.
The Abel 5N Super, compared to other reels of its size, is most likely to withstand extreme conditions, and the one you’ll probably hand down to your grandchildren.
Having been in the fly fishing industry for over 25 years
as a professional guide, fly fishing school director, writer, and
manufacturers sales representative, I’ve been fortunate to fish with a
wide array of equipment from almost all of the top makers.
Check out the Abel Super 5N Fly Reel
Back to Reviews
Dragon Fly Lodge Fishing: The Dragonfly Lodge fly fishing adventure and guide service in Patagonia, Chile caters to the expectations of both novice and experienced anglers. We offer a flexible guide service, adapting each fly fishing program on a daily bases to the prevailing conditions. The diversity of water in this fishery provides many opportunities to fish your choice of fine dries, large terrestrials, nymphs, or streamers in both still and moving water. Of course the weather and various factors will govern the choice of water and technique that will be the most successful. Trophy size trout lurk in all the water. A few large Browns continue to "get away" and elude our sight! The fishing is based on The Picacho River which provides the only means of transportation to and from The Dragonfly Lodge during this fly-fishing adventure in Patagonia, Chile. The river is crystal clear under normal water conditions and full of exciting log, gravel, riffle, big pool and tail out structures to fish. The upper river is the nursery of the system and many young fish with the odd large predator brown trout inhabit the upper faster water. After the Rio Picacho merges with the Rio Roosevelt, the river is much larger and full of healthy large resident trout. Trophy Brown and Rainbow Trout can be found anywhere in these waters. You never know what will strike next! This is our feature river fishery and it is very close and easily accessible from the lodge. The prime sections of river can be floated and fished any time throughout the week. The delta in front of the lodge is a great place to walk and wade. Most of the fishing is done from the boat. The confluence of the Rio Picacho and the Rio Roosevelt is a very special spot. The Rio Roosevelt crashes into the Rio Picacho over a beautiful waterfall creating a spectacular and huge fishing hole. Dry fly fishing in the river is very exciting and is usually done with a big terrestrial. Some fine dry flies can be used to match the hatch when the bugs are active. Streamer fishing is incredible! The fish are very cannibalistic here. Passing a streamer down beside the shadow of a big log can yield a huge surprise. The Browns and Rainbows of this system are very aggressive. The resident Brown and Rainbow Trout are eager to investigate large terrestrials including beetles, spiders, mice, and anything else that may fall of a cliff! Fish are often seen stalking adult dragonflies as they cruise above the water and are eager to demonstrate their acrobatic abilities in pursuit of them. Caddis, small stoneflies mayflies and midges are all on the menu. Nymphs and streamers will clean up in most situations. Dragonfly Lodge Accommodation and Meals:The Dragonfly Lodge is strategically placed to give an exclusive fly-fishing adventure and guide service access to a vast, virgin watershed in remote Patagonia, Chile. It is hidden amongst sheer forest, temperate jungle, and absolute wilderness. Tracks and trails fade into greenery with the last humble huts belonging to a handful of mountain men, well before the latter part of your journey to The Dragonfly Lodge. One must take to the water and follow the green depths, clear riffles and rapids of the river as it meanders deeper into steep mountains swathed in an impenetrable green mantle. Forged of stone, steel, glass and local timber, the lodge is an architectural masterpiece that reflects Jose and Erica Gorronos ingenuity and commitment to providing excellence. Located where no road or trail goes, the lodge is only accessible with our special boats. Nestled in the Andes Mountains, the lodge is a very comfortable and an efficient base for the weeks fly-fishing adventure. Guests will enjoy traditional Chilean and North American cuisine and fine Chilean wines. Come prepared to fly fish untouched waters, be awed by glaciers, temperate rainforests and crystal clear water in the spectacular Andean mountains in Patagonia, Chile Dragonfly Lodge Climate:The summer climate of this southernmost region of South America is extremely changeable, and a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions should be expected. The sun can be very strong during the day, but the wind chill factor makes the use of protective gear necessary all season long. Dragonfly Lodge Power and Communications:The lodge has 220 volts and takes the rounded two prong adaptors. Included:
Early morning caddis followed by a nice PMD hatch followed by a mess of hoppers! This is a typical day when fishing the Chilean Mountains. Add lake fishing, for monster browns and rainbows, to these pristine rivers and you have quite a trip. What does this all mean for an equipment list? You better make sure you have the right equipment to handle not only small dry flies but also big hoppers and sinking lines. Also, don't forget that you are fishing in the Roaring 40's of the Southern Hemisphere so bring some warm clothes. We suggest bringing as much equipment as possible so that you are prepared for all of the conditions you will experience. We've tried to keep the list simple and effective.
DON'T FORGET YOUR PASSPORT!!!!!
Provided by the Resort (additional charge) or Leland Signature Chile Selection
There's no doubt that photographer and
friend of Leland, Val Atkinson, is something of a fly fishing legend.
But his recent trip to South America is as much a celebration of
angling landscapes as the sport itself. Capturing the immensity of
the Southern Hemisphere's most coveted fishing destinations, Val's
latest collection depicts life at the edge of the world. And, of
course, the trout that call these sacred waters home.
In March, Val hosted a group of international
anglers for the trip of a lifetime: one week fishing for browns at
the Remota Lodge in Chilean Patagonia, one week chasing sea-run trout
at the Kau Tapen Lodge in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, and an
opportunity to wet a line with a fly fishing great. Equipped with a
selection of Loop and Leland's finest gear, Val and the gang trekked
across the wilds of a trout fishing mecca. With them, a brand new
Leland Switch prototype and Leland Brass Sea Run Reel, two Loop Cross S1 Fly Rods with Leland Limited Edition Opti Reels (9ft 5wt with a Dryfly for
browns, 12ft 7wt with a Speedrunner for sea-trout), and a 12ft 7wt Loop Yellow Rod equipped with a Classic Fly Reel, 8-11wt.
no better place to put fly tackle to the test than Patagonia, with
the Rio Grande boasting the largest run of anadromous brown trout in
the world. Big fish, long days, and ripping winds made for beautiful
photographs and serious strain in environments where lesser gear is
best left at home. The season's exceptionally low water levels also
demanded delicate presentations and put rods and anglers to the
ultimate test. But this didn't stop them from landing enormous fish
amid spectacular settings. In Val's own words, the trip was “truly
remarkable, among the most productive and enjoyable fishing
adventures I've ever gone on.” Not to mention, the response to the
gear was hugely positive and had the guides offering to purchase
Val's own rods and reels.
And what about the man behind
the camera? Val landed the largest fish of the trip, of course: a
whopping 23 pound gem of a sea-run brown. With fish like that and
photos like these, it's easy to see why Val's is undoubtedly the best
job in the world. As for the rest of us, there's nothing like gawking
at a few South American slabs to get you through the work day.
**Look for Val's Bolivian Dorado
series in the latest edition of Catch Magazine, or browse his
Located in Chiles remote southern Andes, Heart of the Andes Lodge ranks among the most unique and interesting operations in the country. Part of what makes this experience so unusual, is the fact the owner Mark Kniprath has the only fly-out operation in the country. Mark spent more that a dozen years pilot-guiding for No-See-Um lodge in Alaska and started his operation in Chile in 1994. In the week package you fly three days and fish local waters three days. The Three days flying in the Andes will be a memorable experience. If you can bear taking some time away from fishing have him fly you over the ice fields and then land in the Fiords to check out the Glaciers up close. You will not regret it. You will have the opportunity to fish spring creeks, large and small freestone rivers, and glaciated fjords. While Rainbows and Browns are the prime target, opportunities also exist for Bookies, King Salmon, Silver Salmon and Sea Run Browns. The average fish size in most systems is 14" to 18" although larger fish are common. Anglers should be prepared to fish with dry flies, wet flies, sink tips, and mouse patterns. For the adventurous, there is the opportunity to be dropped at a remote camp for a stay of any duration to find trout that have most likely never felt a hook. Heart of the Andes Accommodation:Heart of the Andes Lodge consists of a main lodge for dining, tying flies and relaxing and private cabins for the guests. Each cabin has two bedrooms with queen sized beds, shower, and a small living room with a wood stove. Mark's wife Margarita, a native Chilean, does all the cooking and most of the entertaining. She is a joy to be around, always greets you with a Pisco Sour and makes great bread in her wood cook stove. Heart of the Andes Travel:To get to Heart of the Andes Lodge you will need to Make travel arrangements to Santiago, Chile and then to Balmaceda, Chile. You will need to make you travel arrangements to arrive in Balmaceda by 12:00 noon on your arrival day. On your departure day it is recommended to depart on the 2:00 pm flight to Santiago.
The majority of flights to Chile depart the US in the evening and arrive early in the morning at the Santiago International Airport. Upon arrival you will be charged a $100.00 entry tax. Domestic airport taxes are $8.00 and departure tax is $18.50. After receiving your luggage and clearing customs, you'll make a short 5 minute walk to the National Airport where you'll connect with your 90 minute flight to Balmaceda. Your arrival will be in the late morning or early afternoon. You'll be greeted in the Balmaceda airport by Heart of the Andes staff and be assisted on to your short flight to the Lodge. Heart of the Andes Sample Itinerary:Day 1: Arrive Santiago and spend the night.Day 2: 8:10 am fly from Santiago to Balmaceda arriving @ 11:10 am. In Balmaceda you will be met by Mark of one of his pilots. They will assist you with your luggage and get you on their private plane for the flight to the lodge. Once you at the lodge and settled in to your room you will have lunch and head out for an afternoon of fishing.Day 3-8: 6 full days of fishing.Day 9: Depart for home.
Heart of the Andes Clothing:In the Patagonia it is always possible to encounter a wide variety of weather conditions. We recommend that you always come well prepared with different layers including lightweight long sleeve and short-sleeved shirts, fleece top and bottoms, synthetic long underwear, rain jacket, sun and rain hats and fishing gloves. Evening attire is casual. Heart of the Andes Documentation: Passport Required : Note your passport must have an expiration date that is at least 6 months after your initial travel date.
Included:Accommodations, meals, wine, alcohol, guided fishing, transportation from Balmeceda to the lodge.
Not Included:Air transportation to and from Balmeceda, arrival and departure taxes, fishing license.
Opened in 1995, Bella Vista Lodge is the most exclusive lodge on the Rio Gallegos, offering exciting fishing for giant sea-run trout as well as some of the finest dry fly brown trout fishing, on an intimate spring creek. A much bigger system than its sister river the Rio Grande, the Gallegos and its pools are far more varied in their character. Slow oily looking holding pools are interspersed with fast riffles and boulder strewn runs, and the gravel bottom makes wading very easy.
The Estancia owns nearly 50 kms of double bank private access fishing which is limited to a maximum of eight rods per week. Guided by one of a team of experienced guides, each pair of rods have only the the diverse wildlife of the river valley for company. The Rio Gallegos has earned a deserved reputation as being a true "Fisherman's River". Though most pools can be covered with a single handed rod, the Rio Gallegos is most effectively fished with double handed rods. These will also help deal with the legendary Patagonian wind! Even the most experienced angler will learn new techniques and skills that will improve his averages elsewhere. A challenging but infinitely rewarding river, the Gallegos' list of devotees grows year after year.
Bella Vista Lodge Region and Rivers:
Bella Vista Lodge is located half way up the Rio Gallegos Valley. Which is the southern-most, large river, on the Argentine mainland in Southern Patagonia. Large sheep farming estancias share this land with herds of wild llama-like guanacos, red foxes, and condors. The total acreage of land is around 650,000 or an English county of the size of Oxfordshire.
Santa Cruz province in southern Patagonia is a bleak land similar to the open plains of Wyoming or the flow country of Northern Scotland. Barren rolling hills, stretch from the coast all the way to the "Cordillera" the mountain chain that is the terminations of the Andes and a natural border between Argentina and Chile.
Bella Vista lodge Fishing Program:
The fishing at Bella Vista comprises of two principal fisheries. The Rio Gallegos of which the Estancia has 50 km and the Gallegos Chico which is a spring creek tributary of the main river of which we fish 20 km. The brown trout of the Rio Gallegos and Gallegos Chico are extremely well documented fish, originally stocked in the late 1920's and 30's the fish on the main river have gone on to establish a healthy sea-run strain of large running fish, present in only a few other rivers in the world. High average sizes persist and improve year on year and the chance of a trophy sea-trout are present with every cast. The Gallegos Chico is a small charming spring creek with huge character that flows into the main river on the estancia's eastern boundary. Abundant weed growth and rich aquatic food combine to make this one of the world's most exceptional dry fly fisheries.
Bella Vista Lodge Climate:
The summer climate of this southernmost region of South America is extremely changeable, and a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions should be expected. The sun can be very strong during the day, but the wind chill factor makes the use of protective gear necessary all season long.
Bella Vista Lodge Clothing:
It is recommended that anglers layer their clothing, enabling the adding and subtracting of garments throughout the day. Pack polar fleece jackets, thermal underwear, polar neck, wool socks and a wool cap to be prepared for the extreme. Flannel or chamois cloth shirts and polars are ideal for the stream. A reliable windstopper/rain jacket is also recommended. Attire at the lodge is casual and laundry service is available.
TransferRio Gallegos airport to lodge (round-trip), dinner wines, all fishingservices including guiding, fishing license where applicable.
Buenos Aires hotels and transfers, personal equipment, staff and guide gratuities, laundry services.
Bella Vista Lodge Travel:
To get to the Bella Vista Lodge, you will need to make reservations to and from Rio Gallegos, Argentina via Buenos Aires. You will likely need to overnight in Buenos Aires before departing on a morning flight to Rio Gallegos. A lodge representative will meet you at the Rio Gallegos airport and transport you to the lodge in a four wheel drive vehicle. Transfer from the airport to the lodge takes approximately 1.5 hours.
Trophy trout in a magnificent setting
The splendor of the Chilean Andes is the backdrop for this spectacular brown and rainbow trout fishing experience. The classic Isla Monita Lodge is located on a small island at the north end of Yelcho Lake. This provides unsurpassed access to a great variety of water. Six full days of fishing combines float trips on the scenic Palena, Futaleufu, Rosalot and Yelcho rivers. This can be coupled with boat fishing on small lagoons and lake fishing for large cruising browns and rainbows. A special aspect of the lake fishing can be the spectacular "takes" during the dragon fly hatch (one of our reserved weeks includes this hatch) that bring large fish aggressively through the surface, into the air. The ambiance of the lodge and the meals are outstanding and considering the rural nature of this isolated part of the Andes, an unexpected benefit. Many people use a week at Isla Monita as the cornerstone to build a Chilean Andes experience. Adding another three to seven days to your trip will allow you to take pleasure in all of the other enjoyable aspects of Chile, whether it be a visit to the fjords, another fishing location, or just sight-seeing and enjoying the Chilean people and their beautiful country.
Villa Maria Lodge Region and Rivers:
The Rio Grande flows from East to West, from the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean, through 70 KM of Argentine territory. The landscape of Tierra del Fuego is reminiscent of Wyoming or the Scottish Flow country. It is a sparsely populated wilderness. Large sheep farming estancias share this land with herds of wild llama-like guanacos, red foxes, and condors.
The success of the fishery on the Rio Grande is a modern-day fisherman's Cinderella story. In just a decade, through access control and the diligent promotion of catch and release, average catch results have risen remarkably.
Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Program:
Guests will leave the lodge around 9 AM after breakfast each day, fishing until around 1 PM. Following lunch and the traditional siesta (the hours of which will depend on the season) guests return to the river between 5 and 6 PM and fish through until dusk.
The first brown trout were stocked in Tierra del Fuego by John Goodall in 1935. Shipped from Puerto Montt in Chile, 60,000 "Salmo Trutta" eggs survived the arduous journey, to be planted on the Candelaria and McLennan Rivers, both tributaries of the Rio Grande. These fish eventually found their way to the sea, possibly attracted by the rich nourishment of the estuary. These sea-run brown trout now complete the yearly migratory cycle of salmonids, spawning during the summer months in freshwater.
Salmo Trutta remain in the river for a period of time which ranges between 1 and 4 years until their first migration to the sea, where they will feed and grow for about 6 months before their first return to freshwater, weighing approximately 6 lbs. Researchers have found trout which had spawned more than 6 times. A trout which as completed 4 cycles of returning to freshwater can weigh over 20 lbs. The frequency with which they return to freshwater is also an indicator that the fish face very few threats. Whilst also providing a very real example of the benefits of Catch and Release.
Villa Maria Lodge Accommodation and Meals:
Villa Maria Lodge was designed to offer Anglers maximum comfort during their fishing trip, as well as easy accessibility to the pools. The lodge accommodates up to 6 guests and has a large living room that opens up to vistas of the Menendez Valley and Rio Grande Valley. There is a large fireplace and well stocked bar as well as a tackle shop and 4 wading rooms.
Villa Maria offers wonderful cuisine based on local meats, fresh vegetable and delicious deserts. A traditional Asado (BBQ) will be held once during your stay, and you can sample different cuts of meat and wonderful salads. A full cooked breakfast will be available together with fresh fruits, yogurts, home baked breads and jams and a selection of cereals. Villa Maria's cellars feature a wonderful selection of fine wines from the Luigi Bosca Bodega, which will be served during lunch and dinner.
Villa Maria Lodge Climate:
The summer climate of this southernmost region of South America is extremely changeable, and a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions should be expected. The sun can be very strong during the day, but the wind chill factor makes the use of protective gear necessary all season long.
Transfer to the Lodge from Rio Grande, Fishing Licence, Lodging, Meals, all wines, beer and local spirits at the Lodge, Professional guide services
Gratuities for guides and house staff, Airfares, Buenos Aires transfers and hotels, Laundry service.