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Futa Lodge, Chile

Futa Lodge, Chile

Across the border from Esquel, Argentina, and deep into the Coyhue Forest of the Tenth Region of Chile, flows the azure-depth of the Futaleufu River. A world away from the hustle and bustle that even sleepy Esquel, Argentina represents, the "Big River" (Futaleufu's translation from the native Tehuelche tongue) rolls along amid some of the most unspoiled mountain scenery on the planet. This giant river grows healthy stocks of Rainbow and Brown trout that are fed by abundant hatches of mayflies, caddis, and stoneflies. A heavy resident stock of fish and great hatches combined with classic fly water make the Futaleufu a trout fisherman's paradise! The dry fly fishing on the Futaleufu can be some of the best in the world and the lodge is located directly on the river's best water. Expeditions from the lodge will allow anglers to enjoy wade fishing trips on smaller tributaries as well as floats on waters near the coastal region for anadromous runs of salmon and trout.

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Seasons & Species

November through April

The fishing at Futa lodge is largely based on the Futaleufu River which flows right by the front door of the lodge. In addition, there are also some smaller rivers and lakes close by that may be fished. The Browns and Rainbows of the Futaleufu River, and the Catchments of Chile as a whole, were stocked from European and American stocks in the early 19th Century. The fish on the Futaleufu River, in particular, have gone on to establish an extremely healthy population that is envied among wild Trout fisheries the world over.

Seasonal expeditions from Futaleufu will also encompass some of the further flung lakes and coastal fishing areas. A large number of Chilean rivers play host to anadromous fish. Every year the number of these fish grows, as the fish develop wild strains from the original escapee stock that first ran these rivers. Principal species encountered are Chinook and Silver Salmon, with a few Rea-Run Browns and native Rainbows.

Rainbow Trout

Is there a more beautiful or popular fish? Depicted on corporate logos, ball caps and gas station signs, the rainbow trout is the ideal symbol, combining beauty and sport. The rainbow is favored by fly fishermen because of its beautiful coloration – for which it is named – and it's fighting ability. Wild rainbow trout typically have olive-colored backs and tails that peppered with dark spots and silvery sides that look as if they've been painted with pink to crimson watercolors.

As the rainbow is actually an anadromous fish (spawning in freshwater migrating to the ocean for growth and returning to its natal stream), not only can they be found in freshwater streams, rivers and lakes they also may be found in the saltwater bays of Chile as they return from the open ocean as steelhead.

The rainbows size relates generally to the size of the water they can be found in. Smaller creeks are usually home to smaller fish, while bigger rainbows inhabit bigger watersheds. Although when living in nutrient-rich and non-temperature fluctuating spring creeks, these same fish can grow to immense proportions.

Brown Trout

The brown trout can behave quite similarly to the rainbow and can be of the resident or the "sea-run" variety.

But each is a horse of a different color, to mix fish and equine metaphors. They are distinguished chiefly by the fact that the brown trout is largely a freshwater fish, while the sea trout shows anadromous tendencies, migrating to the oceans for much of its life and returning to freshwater only to spawn.

The brown trout is normally considered to be native to Europe and Asia but the natural distribution of the migratory forms may be, in fact, circumpolar.

Brown trout like well-oxygenated waters, especially large streams in mountainous areas. Cover is important to browns, and they are more likely to be found where there are submerged rocks, undercut banks, and overhanging vegetation.

The brown trout is a medium sized fish, growing to 9 lbs or more in some localities although in most small rivers a mature weight of 2 lbs is common. In certain locations, sea-run fish can reach 30 lbs or greater.

Brown trout are active both by day and by night and are opportunistic feeders. While in fresh water, the diet will frequently include invertebrates from the streambed, small fish, frogs, and insects flying near the water's surface. The Brown's penchant for insect larvae, pupae, nymphs and adult insects is what allows this trout to be a favored target for fly fishing.

Itinerary

One way to get to Futa Lodge is for guests fly to Buenos Aires and typically overnight there to relax and spend a day touring the city and its nightlife. The Lodge can then be accessed from Buenos Aires via commercial airline to the local airport of Esquel, which is located in Argentina with close proximity to the Chilean border.

Or guests desiring to fly only into Chile will arrive via Santiago and will connect through to the Chaiten airport. From Chaiten you will be transferred by the staff of Futa Lodge to the lodge, via a 4 hour car transfer

You will need a valid passport to travel to Chile. No visa is required for U.K or U.S.A citizens but there is a one-time entry fee (approx. $130 US) that needs to be paid if this is to be your first time arriving in Chile. Other nationalities should check with their local consulate.

To avoid the midday heat, anglers generally leave the lodge early in the morning around 8 am or earlier.

Guests generally will return to the lodge for lunch and drinks at around 12.30 pm. After lunch and a siesta, boats will typically leave the dock around 4:30, returning at dusk, which during the summer fishing season is quite late, sometimes as late as 9:00 pm or later. Fishing hours will change slightly depending on the time of year.

Demanding fishermen can fish through the day and can arrange this with the head guide.

Non-fishing activities such as horseback riding or canoeing are available to allow guests to enjoy the amazing wildlife and scenery of the area, and these trips can be organized with the head guide.

Accommodations

The lodge´s inaccessibility through the Valle de las Escalas makes this part of the river unique, lazy horseback trails wind down to the river´ s edge - a riot of Lupins and other wild flowers; no engines pollute the river there, either chemically or audibly, and time appears to have stood still.

Futa Lodge stands sentinel on the river bank wishing you well on your daily fishing foray, its lights twinkling a greeting in the evening as you return from the river.

The lodge can host up to 8 guests (6 anglers and 2 non-anglers). There are two cottages, one next to the main lodge and one right on the edge of the river. The main lodge consists of a cozy living room with a fire place and two more double bed-rooms.

Other Activities

There are many activities available for non anglers to spend the day. For a relaxing afternoon spent near the lodge; hiking and mountain biking are great options with many trails to take. The wood fired hot tub will soothe any sore muscles.

Horseback riding is a popular activity for all ages, with several horses on the property it's no problem to take a group of five on a full day adventure. A great trail takes you to Don Benny's farm that has many different farm animals like sheep to make rugs, hats, sweaters and gloves. Fresh cheese is made from the dairy cows' milk and fresh eggs are always on supply. All of these wonderful local products are used by the chef at the Futa Lodge to delight your taste buds.

For those that are interested in more adventure but still need to appeal to the whole group of non anglers; sit-on-top kayaks are a spectacular adventure with plenty of opportunity to take photos of the gorgeous surroundings. Hard plastic sit-on-top or sea kayaks, singles or doubles, will be waiting for you at the beach of the beautiful Espolon Lake. On the perfect day, the lake is gorgeous for swimming and rock jumping. It's a glacial fed lake with views of beautiful beaches, waterfalls and mountain peaks.

Another type of kayak is an inflatable sit-on-top kayak called a "duckie". It's used to float down the Espolon River, consisting mostly of class I and II rapids, maneuvering around the rocks and through the rapids is high energy entertainment.

For the most adventurous guest, white water rafting down the Futaleufu River is extreme fun. Class IV and V rapids (on a I-VI scale) will take your breath away as you float through the Futa valley, soaking up the incredible landscape

Rates

Call for package rates as the rates depend on group size, number of days, desired activities


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