Species - Chile's Paloma River Lodge Fly Fishing

Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Chile Fishing Rainbow trout possess a small head and a long body. Related to the brown and brook trout, rainbows have two dorsal fins, the smallest of which is composed of adipose tissue. Rainbows display a bright blue or green flush on their backs, and a silver-white shimmer on their bellies. The middle of each side of the fish exhibits a distinctive longitudinal red stripe. This coloration is typical of the species, but may vary from one trout to another and even disappear in some fish, particularly sea-run rainbow/steelhead.

There is a distinct color variability as rainbow trout near the spawning season. Mature rainbows in particular display a darker and brighter pigmentation. Rainbows are speckled with little dark spots that extend from their tail and fins to their head, particularly above the longitudinal red side stripes.

Rainbow trout are found in almost every river in Chile's Patagonia region and in many of the lakes. Rainbow trout are esteemed by anglers for their combativeness, aerobatics and size. They reach as much 22 pounds in lake environments. They feed primarily on insects, mollusks, crustaceans and fish and readily take dry flies, terrestrials, streamers and nymphs.

Some interesting trivia about rainbow trout habitat:

  • The optimum temperature for the rainbow trout to flourish and grow is between 56° to 70° F. At temperatures above 70° F, rainbows become sluggish and inactive.
  • The minimum amount of dissolved oxygen in the water required by rainbow trout to survive is 5 to 6 parts per million. Rainbows thrive in highly oxygenated waters, from 9 to 11 parts per million.
  • Alkalinity (pH) is another important factor. The adequate range is a pH of 7 to 8. Rainbow trout will not reproduce in an acidic environment (waters with a pH of 6 or lower).
  • Rainbow trout are sensitive to color. Rainbows, browns and brook trout perceive some colors in spectrums which are invisible to humans. Red is one of the colors they perceive more intensely.
  • Rainbow, brown and brook trout are often found deep in the bottom of holes, under banks, or lily pads. On a bright sunny day, cast to these areas and to the shady sides of rocks.

Brook Trout (Salvelinus Fontinalis)

Chile Fishing The Brook trout is the most beautiful of all the trout species found in Chile, and the most voracious feeder.

They are greenish brown, sometimes iridescent, with white and red spots on their backs and upper part of their heads. Their abdomen is pale pink to bright orange or red. A brook trout's color can change and is influenced by the food it eats. Colors are very vivid and pronounced during spawning.

Brook trout feed primarily on insects and terrestrials but also feed on crustaceans, frogs, amphibians, mice, voles and minnows. They strike dry flies, nymphs and streamers readily, to the delight of those fishermen who work a bit harder, trekking or horseback riding to high mountain lakes and streams where they are the predominant trout.

Brook trout require clear, cold waters rich in oxygen, with a narrow pH range (a pH of 8 is optimum) and they thrive in southern Chile's alpine lakes, outlets, and mountain streams. They are the smallest of the Salmonidae in Chile's Patagonia, and only occasionally surpass 4 pounds in lake environments. Six to eight pounds is truly a trophy brook trout in Chile or anywhere in the world.

Brown Trout (Salmo Trutta)

Chile Fishing The brown trout is probably the most popular Salmonidae among anglers in Chile. Brown trout prefer more inaccessible waters, for example under cut banks and log jams that are hard to reach with a fly or streamer. Browns can be unpredictable, elusive and cunning, which can make them challenging to catch. Fishing for big brown trout can be a bit like trophy hunting.

Brown trout can vary greatly in color. In rivers, their backs are darker brown, with a golden brown color on the flanks and a white yellowish tone in the abdomen. They have spots scattered on the body: green and brown on the upper part, and on both sides they mingle with red dots wrapped in pale circles. Larger trout, found in lakes, can be reddish brown with a few spots along the tail, back and head.

Brown trout can tolerate a wider range of temperatures and water conditions than the other trout species found in Chile. Brown trout are found in different kinds of environments, and are the most abundant trout found in Chile's Patagonia. They feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects, larvae, voles, mice, crustaceans and other fish. Brown trout can weigh 35 pounds or more making them the largest in size of all the trout species.

With proper fishing techniques, brown trout readily take a variety of dry flies, large terrestrials, mice patterns and streamers.