Chile – Martin Pescador Lodge – Dragon Fly Season

Epic Dry Fly Fishing

This year is a seven-year cicada season in Pennsylvania and trout fishermen used to small duns and caddis are chomping at the bit for big PA trout, smallmouth, and many other species to start pounding these size six critters from the surface of our local waters with great anticipation. It is going to be an epic year in PA. This fun fact got me thinking of my years in Idaho and the long drives from Ketchum to the Henry’s Fork Canyon to chase monster rainbows during the fabled Henry’s Fork Salmon Fly Hatch, a bug so big that when one lands on your neck it sends anglers crow hopping and flailing into the woods, good times.

While pondering this and for no particular reason I thought back to my favorite “big bug” experience for trout, and it came to me that dragonfly season on Lago Yelcho and Lago Rosselot was right at the top of my list. This unique phenomenon occurs during the months of December and January along the reed lines and grass beds and brings the largest trout in the system to the surface to aggressively – and often acrobatically – feed on this finger-sized flying protein source. Trout that would otherwise most commonly only chase a streamer pitch caution to the wind some of our biggest fish of the season come to hand during the hatch. Add that the sight of a double-digit rainbow trout launching two feet into the air to take a dragonfly out of mid-air and the spectacle alone is worth the journey. I recall one particular fish on the southern end of Yelcho Lake near the mouth of the Futaleufu River along a broad flooded reed bed. The guide and I had spotted a decent cruising trout and were trying to paddle up within a reasonable casting distance stealthily. Once there, I let out a few false casts and shot the dry fly.  As the leader unfurled and the fly rolled out toward the fish – WHAM – another unseen rainbow hit the ejector button and launched out of the lake taking my fly mid-flight. I jerked, I broke it off, I cussed and then I turned to the guide and said, “Did that fish just catch my fly in the air?” to which he replied “Yup.”

Martin Pescador is a weeklong two lodge program known for its continually increasing water access, top management and guides, exceptional culinary experience and – yes – dragonflies. December and January are a busy time however rods are available, and Ben Hoffman and I would love a conversation. And don’t fear, if you miss the January dragonfly we can discuss the March stonefly… don’t get me started.

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