The Rio Palena Lodge, the newest property from Eleven Experience, is set on a scenic stretch of river in the dramatic Lake District of Chilean Patagonia. It’s isolated in the best sense, an hour or so down a long dirt road reachable only after three or four flights from America. And it takes advantage of the secluded location, whisking anglers by helicopter to nearby lakes for truly extraordinary fishing.
These hard-to-reach lakes, otherwise accessible only by horseback or arduous daylong treks, can be reached by a helicopter ride of 15 memorable minutes over lush green Andean peaks. (Our chopper was captained by Gabriel, a former pilot in the Chilean Air Force with over 2,000 hours in the cockpit.) Land next to remote Lago Cofré, for example, and you’ll find that your guide has already prepared an inflatable raft. In crystal-clear water you cast along the reeds and, if you’re lucky, catch huge wild brown and rainbow trout that put up extraordinary fights. (Lake trout eat well and have the dimensions to prove it.) Any fish you haul out—and it is a haul—will be one worth remembering.
But what if you’re an especially ambitious fisherman looking to further hone his practice while visiting the region? In March of this year, fly fishing legend Brian O’Keefe will be hosting guided fishing tours where he’ll divulge hard-won tips and teach his technique.
The lodge provides more than just a fishing paradise. After the angling is done, the helicopter drops you at an open-fire cooking spot by a nearby river for cocktails and a delightful asada grill. Back at the lodge, you can celebrate over a pisco sour and soak in a cedarwood hot tub. For anglers who like to catch large fish in spectacular settings—which sounds like every angler I know—this is fly-fishing at an elevated level.