Our Favorites Rivers
The Alumine is one of the longest rivers in northern Patagonia. This freestone river drains Lake Alumine and continues until its junction with the Catan-Lil- River where it becomes the Collon Cura. Much of the Alumine has restricted or difficult access which limits fishing pressure. This is a world class fishery and is float fished on either a daily or multiday basis. We spend the night or nights in our deluxe camps. The lower section has a variety of riffles, pools, boulders and willow lined banks. One of the most unique situations on the Alumine is the willow worm hatch that runs from mid-January to early February. Worms fall from the overhanging willows to hungry trout waiting below. This is a great site fishing opportunity.
The Caleufu is possibly one of the most beautiful rivers in northern Patagonia. This river’s 40-mile flow starts at the junction of the Meliquina and Filo Hua-Hum Rivers and ends at the Piedra del Aquila Reservoir. It begins as a mountain stream running through a canyon with unique rock formations, and it gradually gives way to an open valley in a desert environment. From the beginning of the season thru early January the river is floatable and offers great quality fishing. The Caleufu is the only river in the region that holds more browns than rainbows. Browns over 20 inches are frequently caught. By early January the flow reaches a level where the river is no longer floatable. However, in late January/ early February the river begins experiencing the same minnow migration as the Collon Cura. Wade fishing is available on the last half dozen riffles prior to the outlet at the reservoir.
The Chimehuin begins at the mouth of Huechulafquen Lake, near the base of the Lanin Volcano. It runs for 30 miles until the junction with the Collon Cura River. Junin de los Andes city divides the river into the upper and lower sections. We fish the more productive lower section, which has a slower gradient, with willow lined banks, riffles and pools which create spectacular fly fishing conditions. The lower section has some of the most prolific mayfly and caddis hatches in Patagonia, and provides great hopper action in mid to late summer. Fish targeted are browns and rainbows in the 15 to 20 inch range with the possibility for larger fish. The majority of the lower section is restricted access. Andes Drifters has permission from the various ranch owners to wade and float these private access waters.
The Collon Cura is a major river of this region. Most of the other rivers of this drainage area are its tributaries. The course of the river travels through a beautiful valley from north to south and varies in width from approximately 70 to 150 feet. This is a mild gradient river and it’s shoreline varies from willow lined banks and lush vegetation to wide open stretches. With many different channels, gravel riffles, deep pools and cut banks the Collon Cura is highly populated with both rainbows and browns. The fishing techniques vary as the season progresses. In the early season it goes from streamers to dries, in mid to late summer from dries to minnows and in the fall from minnows back to dries.
The minnow hatch usually commences in late January when minnows from the downstream reservoir migrate upstream. During this period most of the trout focus their efforts on busting minnows on the surface in the runs and riffles. This is a very exciting time to fish the Collon Cura. We float this river as a day trip or as a multiday float trip with deluxe camping.
The Malleo, a freestone river, internationally recognized for its dry fly fishing. The river drains from Tromen Lake near the base of the Lanin Volcano. After flowing approximately 30 miles it reaches the junction with the Alumine River. Over the entire flow the river crosses meadows, canyons and great willow tree galleries and presents great hatches throughout the season. This is a wade fishing only river. To properly describe this river we have divided it into three unique sections: upper, middle and lower. Upper Malleo is the section from the inlet at Tromen Lake until the junction with Huaca-Mamuil Creek. This section could be described as a mountain creek with a large variety of pocket water. You can target brook, rainbow and brown trout on 3 and 4 weight rods. The majority of the fish are in the 12 to 15 inch range but many of the pools hold fish over 20 inches. Middle Malleo, is the section from Huaca-Mamuil Creek until the Mapuche Reservation. This section continues to offer fast flows with large boulders but eventually gives way to willow lined banks. These willow trees provide great trout habitat. The trout here are in the 15 to 19 inch range but you can find fish over 20 inches. Lower Malleo is the section from the Mapuche Reservation until the junction with the Alumine River. The water flow slows and the willow trees are not as dense as those on the middle section. The environment is more dessert like with a unique canyon and rock formations. Wade fishing here is easier than on the two other sections. The rainbows and browns range from 15 to 20 inches. As in the upper and middle section you can find fish over 20 inches.
Nahuel Mapi Spring Creek is a mountain spring creek with exclusive private access and is a remote paradise. Reachable by a 45-minute horseback ride it’s reserved for those with a more adventurous spirit. The creek runs thru a narrow canyon covered with large boulders and thru a monkey puzzle tree forest. We target brook, rainbow and brown trout ranging from 15 to 22 inches. This is an ideal stream for 3 or 4 weight rods.
Quemquentreu River is a mountain creek that begins in the highlands of the Chapelco Mountains and runs for 40 miles where it joins the Collon Cura River. In the early season we fish the final 5 miles for large brown trout and rainbows. This is a nice stream to spend the day walking and wading the numerous productive runs.
Quilquihue River is a medium size stream that drains from Lake Lolog and is a tributary to the Chimehuin River. This is a fast flowing stream with numerous boulders and willow tree lined banks. The river provides a good float trip during November and December when the water level is high. We target browns and rainbows ranging from 16 to 22 inches.
Our Favorite Lakes
Lake Lolog is located adjacent to the town of San Martin de los Andes and the water source for the Quiquihue River. We normally fish this lake in the early season thru February. We target rainbow, brook and brown trout that range between 15 and 20 inches. We will sight fish along the shoreline looking for patrolling fish. This lake is fished from motorized boats.
Piedra del Aquila Reservoir is created by the flow from the Collon Cura and Caleufu. This lake is home to large rainbows and browns which feed on the multiple minnow species that inhabit the lake. We fish this lake from motorized boats, casting minnow imitations and dry flies to large trout. Occasionally, we reach the outlets of the Caleufu and Collon Cura and fish the last few riffles before the reservoirs outlet.
Lake Queni is located near the border with Chile this is a secluded high mountain lake. We normally fish Queni from mid-December until late January while the dragonfly hatch takes place. During the hatch the rainbows move towards the shoals, covered with reeds, awaiting the hatching of dragonflies. This is a great sight fishing situation where spectacular acrobatic takes will be witnessed. Fishing is from rafts as no motorized boats are allowed on this lake. Rainbows range between 17 to 22 inches.
Lake Tromen is located at the base of Lanin Volcano. This beautiful lake is the source of the Malleo River and the home of large brook, rainbow and brown trout. We normally fish this lake sight casting to large fish in areas near fallen logs, rocky cliffs and shoals. This lake with its stunning scenery is fished from motorized boats. Rainbows and browns range from 19 to 24 inches, and brook trout range between 16 to 20 inches.