A Day with Mario’s Fishing Zone, Pucón, Lake District, Chile

Wanting a taste of fishing in the Lake District we stopped by Mario’s Fishing Zone our first afternoon in Pucón hoping to arrange a trip for the following morning. As the shop was closed at 3 p.m. on a Monday with no hours posted on the door we called Mario and he met us at 4. He speaks just enough English to arrange a trip so a little Spanish goes a long way. We really didn’t know what we wanted to do and went with his suggestion of a half day on the Liucura River. Mario assured us that our guide would speak good English and had us say hello to him when he called him to confirm the trip with the guide.

Francisco and his brother Pablo picked us up in front of the shop at 7:45 a.m. The pickup had been scheduled for 7:30 but they were running behind due to traffic. School was back in session and there was a lot of traffic coming into Pucón.

The drive out to the river is about 30 minutes. We stopped by their house to get the boat, a zodiac outfitted for two fisher persons and the rower. They set up all the gear for us, both spinning and fly rods.

We would be drift fishing with the fly rods for trout; and in the deeper pools trolling with spinners for chinook salmon. The coho arrive in another couple of weeks in later March.

It was a beautiful morning with no other boats and very few people on the water. The pretty river was running fast. Headed down stream Francisco mostly rows backwards to keep tension on the lines.

The water is clear with views of the Villarrica Volcano around certain bends.

So if I’m talking about the how beautiful the river is then the fishing isn’t that good. True. We caught lots of tiny salmon and a couple of small trout, the biggest one maybe five inches. According to Francisco this river is overfished for trout. Limits aren’t observed and they don’t stock it. It would be better to time your trip with the salmon runs.

The chinook aren’t as aggressive – we saw a great pool of them but none biting – and the coho weren’t running yet.

Francisco speaks pretty good English, certainly well enough to communicate what he needs too. He says he is still working on it. He’s very friendly, professional and helpful when you wanted him to be.

A fun day, but you could find better fishing experiences.

March 6, 2018

For links to the posts in this series visit the Lake District and Chiloé page.