Having already hit Palena and La Junta, part three of our four-part series on our destinations at Chile West covers our stay in Cisnes.
The drive to Cisnes is spectacular. We head further south on the Carretera, into the Queulat (Kay-oo-lot) national park, passing through the town of Puyuhuapi (Poo-you-hwapee). One of the first German settlements to the region in the early 1900’s, this small fishing village is nestled at the north end of the Puyuhuapi fjord.
Continuing through the park, we travel along the fjords of Puyuhuapi and Queulat, which offer some awesome scenery. Oftentimes we see porpoises and sea lions just off the road’s edge.
Driving east, away from the fiords, the Carretera winds deeper into the heart of the Andes, through valleys of dense forest, snow capped peaks, glaciers and waterfalls. During the day, we have gone from sea level at the fiords, to an elevation of two thousand feet, over the Queulat pass and back down to where we meet the Rio Cisnes.
For the next two days, we have rented a cabin-style house for our stay. We are bit more isolated here. There are no phones, internet or television and we use a generator for power. Not to worry, the accommodations are every bit as comfortable. It’s just like a cabin in the woods.
We’ve again got a bunch of fisheries to choose from. The middle section of the Rio Cisnes is medium in size. A short drive up river, we launch on a day float which takes out just below the house. Fishing dries, nymphs and streamers for Brown trout is the game here. There is also a good run of Chinook salmon. Depending on the month, you might want to give them a shot. In the fall, it’s pretty cool to see these monsters doing their thing on the spawning beds as you float by.
Lago Las Torres is quick drive south. We fish Damselfly and Dragonfly dries or nymphs or leeches on the edges of the lake. The reed beds offer good cover for both fish and insects. Speaking of lake fishing, we’ve got a private lake on the property we rent that offers some of the best lake fishing we’ve seen in Chile.
The upper Cisnes usually offers a drier climate. Flowing from the pampas of Argentina and through Chile to the fjords, the river is much smaller in comparison to the middle section of the river. This is classic dry/nymph dropper water. We float through wide open valleys to small boxed in canyons.
The headwaters of the Rio Manihuales (Man-yee-hwall-ace) offer float trips or walk & wades depending on water conditions. This is another classic stream for fishing dry flies and nymphs.
We cover what we can in two days, and again head south, this time to Coyhaique.