/ Opinion

Patagonia: an example of ecological preservation

With strong rules on fishing, the Patagonia region is a must visit for fishing, keeping in anglers' mind that preservation of their playground is needed.

Some say that fishing is the best way to do unwind, to calm restless minds and to escape the hectic daily routine. No wonder so many people go fishing when they need to rest. Moreover, fishing is a fascinating way to get to know different places and to have a deep connection with nature.

Patagonia has for sure established itself as one of the great destinations for anglers attracting fishing enthusiastics from all around the world and is the place to be if you are a fan of amazing views combined with rivers where the fish population is abundant.

Located mostly in Argentina, but also with a small extension beyond the border with Chile, the region is a dazzling destination, not only for its sometimes inhospitable and occasionally breath-taking scenarios but also for its wildlife. On one side, the Andes, snowy giants of granite that make the joy of climbers, skiers or those who simply love a postcard landscape. On the other, to the east, the Atlantic Ocean, frozen by the Antarctic currents, but rich in marine species such as penguins, seals and whales. It is considered one of the remotest regions of the globe and is marked by a rich and surprising natural life where, for thousands of years, various animals and plants have adapted to the region, evolving in the middle of strong winds, low temperatures, and ceaseless rains.


Fishing in Patagonia

When it comes to fishing, the best time to go is during summer, from December to March. The water ranges from calm lakes and streams to whitewater rivers. Patagonia is most famous for its trout, but there is also the opportunity to fish salmon and the native perca. In this region, any fisherman must undertake to return their fish to the lake - no matter how large - just after catching it.

Fly-fishing is one of the main techniques used in Argentina, especially in Patagonia region, and many anglers argue that such style of fishing elevates this pastime to a true art. On fly-fishing, fishes are attracted to baits made with dried flies and the fishing line is thinner than the traditional ones in order to not hurt the fish. The angler should also stay inside the frozen water of the lake while fishing, wearing special and waterproof clothing.

Before going on a fishing trip in Patagonia, all anglers must go through "fishing lessons" that include a lecture on fly fishing, a theoretical video about the line pitch, line-throwing training on the grass, reading of rivers, morphology and aquatic insectology. Only after getting all these information anglers are free to go fishing.

Note that Argentina classifies sports fishing according to the type of species and the region. Places such as the Patagonia Park is considered a conservation area and is strictly protected. There is also the need for a fishing license in order to be able to practice sports fishing. The license is personal and non-transferable. Furthermore, an identity card is to be carried to evidence identity. The license will be carried in a visible way while fishing and it must be shown to authorized inspectors' request. The fishing license is an official stamp on a printed form. The form without the stamp is non-valid for fishing, with no exception.


Ecological Preservation

Fishing inside the Patagonia Park is discouraged since many of the ponds and lagoons in there are inhabited by endangered fish species, such as inanga and perch. To fish outside of the Park is allowed, in rivers inhabited by species that are exotic to Patagonia, such as rainbow, brown, and fario trout. The Baker and Cochrane Rivers, as well as Lago Cochrane, offer excellent fishing as well.

There are many reasons why fishing in Patagonia makes it a legendary experience - the unclimbed peaks, pristine glacier-fed rivers, and herds of guanacos galloping across the expansive grasslands. This explains why in 1978 UNESCO declared the park as a Biosphere Reserve due to its beauty and biodiversity.

The strong rules on fishing in Patagonia show that it is possible to enjoy all that nature has to offer without damaging it. Once we enter a natural area, we realize that something in us changes. The deeper we go into this relationship, in this intimacy with the natural elements, we realize that there is a great school there that gives us one of the rare opportunities we have to really evolve. We should definitely preserve this.


Where to stay

Cities such as Bariloche, Puerto Madryn, and El Calafate have good hotel infrastructure and various services, including travel agencies and good internet connection. Thus, the obvious options in choosing as a base to stay.

Inside of the national park you have the option of making Lodge at Valle Chacabuco your base for exploring Patagonia Park. There, it is provided options to access trails, which wind through the park's grassland valleys and up among the high lakes. For the more adventures ones, there is also the option to stay in one of the car-accessible campgrounds, complete with full bathrooms, cook shelters, and spectacular mountain views.


Where to eat

Eating well is obviously part of the ideal Patagonian itinerary. That means savoring a good lamb roast, tossing it with hot empanadas - a delightful Argentinian pastry - and mastodon grills. For those who want to try something different, it is worth trying the curanto, a local dish made with varied meats prepared in the earth, on hot stones. For those who want something less typical, there is also a good offer of houses that offer pizzas, sandwiches, assorted buffets and Italian food.

Another highlight in the region is the good wine charts, with Chilean and Argentinean labels that often do not reach the overseas markets. Bars and breweries are a good choice for a get-together or to relax after a full day of fishing, as well as comfortable, charming cafes serving a hot chocolate.


What to bring with you

It is important to remember that Patagonia is a region where all kinds of weather can happen on the same day, so be prepared! The temperature can drop, or rise, twenty degrees at any given moment. The sunny weather unexpectedly closes, bringing strong winds and even snow, and this can happen even during summer. The tip, therefore, is to prepare yourself by taking basic items: sunscreen, cap, raincoat, good boots or hiking shoes, sunglasses and warm clothing.

And enjoy making caloric meals and moisturize well. Do not abuse when you are in high mountain regions. Most of all, enjoy every single moment at this magical destination and have fun discovering this journey to the end of the world.

Got interested on fishing in Patagonia? Check out the Spring Creek Lodge.