Home: Springers on the Dee
Early season on the River Dee is a treat. Frozen fingers and ice in the rod rings can’t quell that first day of the season optimism, and a few hefty drams in the hut at lunchtime with a bunch of old pals is almost as special as that first, magical draw on the line as your first springer of the year makes contact. Make sure you do the right thing: watch her swim away strongly and savour the long year ahead.
Away: Chinooks in Chile
February is the perfect month to head to Chile. Pack your Spey rods to target the massive chinook salmon with Nico and Alex, the brilliant Trochine twins. These likeable young fly-fishing pioneers have discovered an astonishing new fishery where mint-fresh 50-pounders are a real possibility. Unlike other emerging Chinook fisheries in Chile, these fish are spanking fresh and straight from the ocean, and they pull like a train.
Once you’ve caught a few of these huge beasts, head to Chimalfe Lodge to fish with my old pal Jaime Castillo. Sight-fish on fabulous Lake Yelcho or any number of beautiful side-streams for countless handsome browns and rainbows with anything from tiny emergers to absurdly large dry dragonfly patterns.
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From the giant King salmon to equally giant trout in Chile’s lake and rivers, Chile offers some of the best freshwater fishing there is today in scenery only equalled by places such as New Zealand or British Columbia. From remote wilderness camps deep in the Andes to mega-estancias further south, the variety of rivers and lakes boggles the mind. One day you might be floating on a big blue river, the next working a crystal clear spring creek, the next catching big wild rainbows on a clear lake. No matter what, Chile must rank amongst the top flyfishing nations with the added bonus of plenty of other interests for the non-fisher.