Up close to the trout of the Baker

E-mail Print
 
 
The Baker River in southern Aysen is currently making more waves in political news than in the minds of fly fishermen. But despite the controversies over plans for building dams there, this remains for me the most spectacular fishing destination in all of Patagonia.
 
At first sight, the Baker River is imposing, awesome, unforgettable. The Baker's emerald-green waters rush south from Port Bertrand toward the Pacific Ocean, where it eventually washes up against the picturesque hamlet of Tortel.
 
As if the waters were not enough, the backdrop astounds as well. Ancient forests, mountains, glaciers, Patagonian steppe, lush flora and fauna. Amid this beauty, the trout of the Baker, mostly Rainbows, offer quite the impression of their own. Looking at them, one finds it difficult to think these fish haven't lived in these waters for millennia—in fact, they were introduced less than a century ago. The trout have adapted quite naturally to the pristine Patagonian waters and have even absorbed the entomological dynamics of the river.
 
TECHNICAL CHALLENGES
Ideal fishing conditions are found within the first few miles of its source, before the river reaches the imposing falls that mark the confluence of the Baker and Nef rivers. The latter carries considerable glacial sediment and clouds the subsequent 95 miles of river until reaching Tortel. But this first stretch of river is a paradise for rafting, kayaking and in particular, fly-fishing.
 
To the novice fisherman, the image of a river of such proportions could be intimidating, but the Baker always allows more than one strategy. First, much of this first stretch can be fished from shore. It's easy to find small channels and deep cuts among the rocks by the riverbanks, ideal places to fish for trout as these allow access to food and protection from the current. It's also feasible to fish the river by boat, but to do so you'll need a guide.
 
The main challenge to fishing the Baker is not so much locating promising spots—there are plenty—but the question of figuring out which is the trout's preferred food at the moment. Read the rest of this article in the magazine, subscribe to Patagon Journal