Christmas kicks off Summer in Chile, Patagonia's finest fishing
Opening day in Chile is in November, and trout season continues until leaves turn crimson and drop with the arrival of winter in late April. The summers of Patagonia are abbreviated, much like those of Montana and Wyoming. Warm days often begin with cool mornings and can be interupted by a sudden thunderstorm. But for the most part, the best time to visit this fantastic part of the world is from mid-November through mid-April.
November is traditionally a time when North American fishermen are preoccupied with family and holidays. But Coyhaique-based, Monte Becker, of Patagonia Drifters, insists that the best fishing starts in late November, as the landscape sets ablaze with a mind-baffling wildflower display, known locally as "Chocho" (Chilean word for "Lupine Season"). European Lupine carpet the landscape in an explosion of
violets, reds, purples and yellows. Fish are on the surface, targeting caddis and mayfly emergences, as well as blizzard hatches of small creamy moths.
Summer begins in earnest in December. Chilean schools release their students just before Christmas and the warm summer weather lands in Patagonia before the presents have been opened. Trees have dropped their blossoms and the rivers and trout donít see much pressure until after the first of the year.
The fishing season swings into high gear by the New Year. Their January is our June/July, and spring snow melt is gone, the weather's reliable temperatures are pleasant, and trout bugs are predictable. By the first of February fish begin to key on the caddis hatches and
hoppers, stag beetles and other terrestrials that dominate mid-summer fly fishing action. Probably because of the weather, February and March are the most popular months to travel to and fish Patagonia.
April is the beginning of fall in the Southern Hemisphere. Kids go back to school and the traffic is light on the streams and rivers of Chile. Like the Rockies, the weather is less reliable in the fall; days are shorter and temperatures are cooler. Dress for a full range of weather possibilities and plan on fantastic mayfly hatches (especially baetis on overcast days) and streamer fishing. Our winter is a great time to escape to Patagoniaís summer and trout fish for a week or ten days; something difficult to do when the rivers of Montana, Michigan or Maine are frozen solid.
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