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Hitchhiking and Self-Guided Fly Fishing Abroad

Chile

The Fishing - La Pesca

The sport fishing in Chile is managed by Sernapesca (Servicio Nacional de Pesca). Rainbow, brown, sea run brown and brook trouts can be found in the southern half of Chile, along with coho and chinook “king” salmon.

Brown trout

Salmanoid Fishing season

There is no one start and end date to the salmanoid fishing season for all fisheries in Chile. The start and end dates often vary river to river, as seen on this Sernapesca document of the bodies of water in the Los Lagos region.

The fishing season is generally open from the 2nd week or November until the last day of April.

Fishing License

You can purchase a Chilean fishing license by either:

  1. Visiting a municipal or Sernapesca office, locations found here. Once you get to the office, ask for the 'Licencia de Pesca Recreativa'. The fishing license given by the office is a small, poor quality piece of paper. Depending where you are (eg. Santiago), there are some vendors who can laminate your fishing license for you for 1000-1500 CLP ($2-3 USD).
  2. Purchasing the license on the Sernapesca Website. Click 'Purchase License'. From here on out, the rest of the application process is in Spanish.

The cost of a full year fishing license for a foreigner (extranjero) should cost about 35,000 CLP (~$65 USD). The license covers recreational fishing for all fresh water and salt water of Chile. These licenses are good for a full year beginning on the day of purchase.

Rainbow trout

Where to spend your time fishing

If you are limited in how much time you have to fish, the two areas that may be easiest to fish self-guided are the Coyhaique and Los Lagos regions.

If you have a month of time or more, there is heaps of water all along the Carretera Austral that is worth checking out.

Research locations to fish

This can take a bit of work and luck, but you can find fishing locations all on your own. The best source of information are locals. If you make it to a fly shop or hardware store, its possible that the staff will give you some advice about fishing in the area if you buy a few flies. But you need to be proactive in chatting about fishing, most people don't provide any advice unless they are asked for it.

Its possible that the person giving you the fishing advice doesn't actually fish. If someone tells you “that place is great for fishing, I see everyone fish there” you should probably be wary of their advice. If everyone is fishing a certain location, the fish will see a lot of pressure and the fishing may not be all that great. Try to get a feel for the person, if they really know what they are talking about by asking them questions about their own fishing experiences.

Use Google Maps to investigate the water before you get there. This is not a perfect method because the map may not show private property fences that may block water access.

In busier areas, it is possible to fish a stretch of river near a road and hitchhike down to the next stretch of river.

Trout fishing with short bamboo rod and a piece of PVC tube for a reel

Public Access to Water

If you can access a river/stream from a public access point (eg. a bridge), you may walk along the bank of the water as it passes through private property.

Tackle Shops

Fly fishing tackle shops are few and far between. You will find them in bigger cities/towns like Santiago, Pucón, Puerto Varas, and Coyhaique. It is possible to find flies and tippet material in smaller towns, either in hardware stores, sporting good stores and occasionally small markets.

Flies

Below is an assortment of flies that will provide results while fishing for trout down in Chile. For the sake of simplification, it is best to avoid having a selection of 50 different types of flies and stick to the ones that work best.

Dry Flies

Nymphs

You can use the following nymph patterns with or without BH. If you had to take BH vs no BH, take the patterns with BH.

Streamers