Angling for a Whopper in the Fly-Fishing Paradise of Patagonia

Angling for a Whopper in the Fly-Fishing Paradise of Patagonia

The lodge itself, a rustic-deluxe structure built from native lenga trees and river rocks, is tucked away in a small, verdant hollow with its own glacial lake. The owner and operator, Eduardo Barrueto, the son of a local teacher and angler, was guiding a wealthy client on the lake some years ago when the man asked Mr. Barrueto if he’d like to open a fly-fishing lodge there. Mr. Barrueto built the operation from scratch, eventually bought out his partner, and now runs the outfit with his wife, Consuelo Balboa, whom he met during a stint in culinary school.

During the fishing season, the couple lives at the lodge with their children, Manuela, 13, and Martin, 10, their dogs, Blanca and Gauchito, and a house cat named Ruby (named for the Montana river, one of Mr. Barrueto’s favorite places to fish). Meals are served at a large communal table, and the family and guests, only 12 at a time, typically eat together.

Guests are welcome to fish the lake as soon as they arrive, but because it was raining, cold and windy on the afternoon I checked in, I enjoyed a pisco sour in front of the fireplace and chatted with Mr. Barrueto about where we would fish during the week ahead. Dinner that night was an asado, or traditional Chilean barbecue, of beef ribs, rib eye and flank steaks, pork loin, chicken legs and local sausages, accompanied by boiled potatoes, a simple salad of lettuce, tomatoes and yellow bell peppers grown on a nearby farm, and several bottles of Marques de Casa Concha Grand Reserve, a Chilean cabernet sauvignon. Dessert was leche nevada, a classic Chilean sweet dish similar to a French floating island. Just about every meal was similarly fit for a gourmand lumberjack. By 10 p.m., I was in a deep, asado-induced sleep.

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