As Chile West travels further south, the Carretera Austral meets up with the Rio Manihuales (pronounced man-yee-hwal-ace and sometimes spelled Maniguales). Located midway between our Cisnes and Coyhaique destinations, the Rio Manihuales is another on our long roster of fishing possibilities.
Starting from the confluence of the Rio Toqui and the out flow of Lago Pedro Aguirre Cerda, there are about 45 miles of river that flow through the Manihuales valley until the confluence of the Rio Simpson – from here the Rio Aisen is formed. In early summer, as far as the eye can see, this valley is filled with blooming lupines, which make for a spectacular drive.
Of the 45 miles, most of the river is accessible by foot from the Carretera and there are also a few floatable sections.
This river is home to brown and rainbow trout and also has a Chinook salmon run.
The upper river is quite small. There are approximately 12 miles of river which can be floated, depending on water levels, or accessed on foot. Here the elevation drop is around 26 feet per mile with a short section of class III water. Below this, there is a 4 mile section that is not recommended for floating, and then another 12 miles of floatable water before the river gets nasty again. The lower ten miles of river is easily floated with an elevation drop of around 7 feet per mile.
As with most of our fisheries at Chile West, dry flies and nymphs are popular with the trout here on the Rio Manihuales and in the deeper sections like the lower river, we always like to get “down and dirty” with a streamer.