Fly fishing and outdoor journeys at Laguna El Encanto

The fascinating art of fly fishing is a discipline with endless lessons to be learned and experiences to be enjoyed, a continual search for rare moments of perfect performance and environmental alignment, which while extant are becoming harder to find.

Success in fly-fishing should not be measured by the number of fish hooked, how well they fight or how many you land. There are other important reasons why an angler might want to fish at a certain place over and again.

Fifty-five years have elapsed since I first fished at Laguna El Encanto (Enchanted Lake), located southeast of Lake Ranco in Chile’s Los Ríos Region, and inside the private conservation area Futangue Nature Park, created 18 years ago. The name of this lake in fact does justice to what this stretch of water really is: a pristine jewel set in the middle of a native forest-covered Andean mountain amphitheater.

Most of the last remaining quality waters for fly fishing in the Southern Hemisphere are found in Chile, Argentina and New Zealand. In Chile, the best fishing is located in remote, nearly inaccessible places, or beyond locked gates and tightly protected waters.

Advantages of Laguna El Encanto

Several comparative advantages make it an almost ideal location:

  • The remoteness of the place brings solitude (no one lives there)
  • The subtle “music of silence” played by nature
  • The spectacular scenery, with crystal clear and unpolluted waters
  • The fantastic variety of native flora and wildlife

In addition, a generous self-sustaining population of wild trout complements the picture.

Part of an isolated watershed, privately owned and managed, at the headwaters of the Pichi-Riñinahue River, a series of hot water springs flow to mix their waters with small creeks seeping from the high, snow-capped ridges of the Caulle system, that includes the Caulle volcano. This river feeds the Laguna El Encanto with cool waters, which flow for several miles of mostly unexplored wilderness before reaching the lake.

We found that Laguna El Encanto is a reservoir for wild trout close to perfection. Its feeding tributaries have ideal spawning gravels of the right size and are completely undisturbed.

The biotic production of the lake itself is excellent. It has efficient photosynthesis, and of crucial importance, an important part of the bottom of the lake lies within reach of light. As a result, the benthonic fauna is extremely rich: the quantities and variety of invertebrates, insects and crustaceans available for the trout’s diet is amazing and thus affords excellent growth rates and general conditions.

The conditions here allow the use of light and medium sized tackle; catching sizable trout with light rods, floating lines and weightless flies is a delight. “Quality” is the key component, and although much in vogue today and not very pleasant, we found that there is no need to fish with weighted flies.

More than fishing

In addition to its rich fishing resources, the Futangue Nature Park has a fantastic variety of other outdoor recreational activities on offer, some of which might even tempt the most avid fly fisherman to skip a day or two of fishing.

Trekking

At the Funtangue Nature Park for instance, there are almost limitless opportunities to treks for miles upon miles through pristine, virtually unexplored areas en route to the headwaters of the Pichi-Riñinahue and other fascinating places.

Kayaking

Adventurous kayak lovers could go kayaking on the rivers and faster rapids, as skill levels allow. Another great activity is to horseback ride across its pastoral landscapes among the rough, wild, forested mountains.

Mountain Bike

The park also has ample opportunities for mountain biking on well-maintained trails, which receive little to no competing two-wheeled traffic.

Futangue is filled with different landscapes, surprises and challenges. For outdoor enthusiasts, this park is a real privilege and one of the few of such quality left anywhere.

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