Between La Junta and Coyhaique, a trip with Chile West typically spends a couple of days around Cisnes. One of the top fisheries in this area is, you guessed it, the Rio Cisnes. The Rio Cisnes covers a lot of ground and presents a ton of variety – read on!
Located on route 25, approximately 32 miles east off the Carretera Austral, is the town of Tapera. Here a multitude of mountain streams join together to form the Rio Cisnes. Since Tapera is situated on the east side of the Andes range, the climate is much drier than that of the west side – very similar to the Palena area.
There are some 80 miles of river flowing east to west from Tapera to the Pacific Ocean fiords. The upper section of river around Tapera has around 12 miles of navigable water, accessible by road in various places. Here the river is at an elevation of approximately 1,700 feet and drops in elevation at a rate of around 12 feet per mile.
As the river flows farther west, it drops into a canyon section. There are around 12 miles of river that are non-accessible with a lot of white water as the elevation drop is 43 feet per mile. Below the canyon the river flattens out and becomes navigable again. The road meets back up with the river and provides a number of access points and another 12 mile floatable section.
These two upper sections are great dry fly fisheries and hoppers are always a good bet. Approximately 30 road miles below Tapera, route 25 leaves the riverside and joins back to the Carretera. Around 4 miles of river are non-accessible with an elevation drop of approximately 34 feet per mile.
A short, 8 mile drive north on the Carretera brings you back to the Rio Cisnes. From here, the river meanders its way to the sea, with the road following along the river the majority of the way. Now entering into the Andes, the terrain changes to lush, dense forest and this is where Chile West has a home base for a few days. Centrally located between the lower river and upper sections, Chile West has a variety of fishery options here.
A short 30 minute drive upstream from the base camp we have a 10 mile float section with the take out just 5 minutes from camp. If the Andean weather conditions hinder the fishing for us in this section, we simply drive to the upper sections – mobility is key!
The Rio Cisnes is home to brown and rainbow trout as well as Chinook salmon. The combination of Chinooks and browns can present some pretty unusual angling situations, like catching browns on trout beads below Chinook reds – just like Alaska-style bead fishing for rainbows!