River of Dreams Basecamp

We have been fishing with Eduardo Barrueto and the guides at Magic Waters for several years and have been impressed with the amazing variety of fishing options and the high quality of Eduardo's guide team. Over the years we had heard whispering of a large but remote river that was accessible only by horseback. Several years ago we hiked into the upper reaches of this fishery where it exits a large lake and experienced great fishing for large browns. We were limited by travelling further into the system do to a steep gorge and massive rapid. The lower reaches of the river near the coast could be explored by jet boat but again access was limited by another massive rapid and gorge if you tried to get too far upstream. A few years ago Eduardo and his team cracked the code to access the remote "River of Dreams" by enlisting a local gaucho to ride over the mountain. In the remote central regions of the river system lies 40 miles of untouched classic wild brown trout fishing. The valley becomes broader and the river is reminiscent of Paradise Valley on the Yellowstone River with side channels, productive riffles and structure laden banks. On the first forays into this hidden valley the fishing was off the charts good. Large browns recklessly attacked big foam dry flies. To make matters more interesting the team discovered a productive spring creek filled with big fish patrolling the currents for dragon flies. The final discovery was a classic freestone wade fishery from a tributary that tumbles out of the coastal mountains filled with classic pocket water and hungry medium sized dry fly loving trout.

After the initial discovery of this special valley Eduardo and his team spent two seasons making repeat forays into the valley followed by constructing an Alaskan style basecamp complete with a generator based electrical system, shower tent, kitchen and dining tent and elevated sleeping tents. Helicopters were contracted to fly in new catarafts with jet engines. Hank Welles and the Montana Angler team made one of the first test runs into the camp to photograph and document the experience. Hank the crew reported high catch rates on reckless wild trout that aggressively attacked even the largest flies. Welcome to the River of Dreams!

This program is not for the faint of heart. To gain entry into the remote valley guests must ride up and over a mountain with the local gaucho on a 2 hour horseback ride. This is not a Forest Service maintained trail and there are several steep sections. While having experience on horseback is not a requirement your do need a reasonable fitness level for the ride in. Once you arrive at the river guests meet the guides and drive an hour upriver via the jet-catarafts. A week in camp is recommended to allow enough time to fully explore the extensive water in the valley. We often blend the camp program with a longer stay by extending to Magic Waters Lodge.

Rates

Rates
$6000 for 7 night/6 days fishing
$4500 for 4 night/3 days fishing

*Ask about custom programs combining Magic Waters Lodge and the River of Dreams Basecamp

($300 per day for a single angler, private guide)

Included:
Meals, flies and terminal tackle, wine and beer, transfers from Balmaceda airport (BBA), guided fishing, fishing licenses

Excluded:
Gratuities, flights, rods and waders (rentals available)

Montana Angler hosted trips to Magic Waters
We host several trips to Magic Waters each season - call us to inquire about joining a Montana Angler host to Chile

Fishing

The River of Dreams Basecamp provides anglers access to three distinct fisheries: the Rio Blanco, an unnamed spring creek, and the  Rio Bongo Bongo. These are hands down the most remote fisheries in Patagonia and the team at Magic Waters has a unique back country fixed basecamp that allows unique access to these waters. Anglers can expect to encounter extremely lightly fished waters (only a handful of anglers see these waters each season) filled with aggressive wild brown trout.

Rio Blanco "River of Dreams"
The Rio Blanco is one of the largest tributaries of the Rio Aysen before it joins the Pacific Ocean. The river starts in the headwaters of the Cerro Castillo region as the Paloma River (an amazing fishery in its own right often accessed when staying at Magic Waters Lodge before or after visiting the Basecamp). The Paloma/Blanco system interconnects several lakes such as Lago Azul, Lago Paloma, Lago Elizalde and Lago Caro. These lakes filter out sediments from the Paloma and Upper Blanco producing gin clear waters with a touch of glacial flour producing a beautiful azure water color. At the outlet of Lago Caro the river changes names and becomes the Rio Blanco. The majority of the Rio Blanco is remote an inaccessible to modern forms of transportation. Shortly after exiting Lago Caro the river dives into a steep gorge with massive rapids. Likewise near the mouth of the river another rugged gorge filled with whitewater prevents upriver travel by jet boat. In between the two large cataracts is a 40 mile remote valley where the large Rio Blanco meanders through one of Chile's most scenic valleys. This area is in the temperate rain forest with stands of virgin forest dripping with Spanish moss surrounding by towering peaks dripping with hanging glaciers. A tributary of the Blanco shortly after exiting Lago Caro drains a massive ice field. In the Patagonian summer months of late December through mid February the river runs high as the glaciers melt at peak rates. The best times to target the River of Dreams Basecamp is in the Patagonia spring and fall (April-early December and late February-April). The best water clarity and fishing flows occur during these spring and fall months.

Fishing on the Blanco can be absolutely incredible for the hearty angler willing to work to get to the camp. The productive fishery is filled with high trout counts dominated by brown trout with a handful of rainbows caught occasionally. The biggest browns prefer lies near downed timber and driftwood. The most productive techniques are to twitch large foam dry flies and mouse patterns or to strip large articulated streamers. With over 40 miles of water to explore from camp most of these fish still have yet to see a fly.

Most fishing on the Rio Blanco is done via float fishing from jet catarafts. These are high quality fishing machines custom designed for both rowing and running a jet outboard. In the morning guests run up or down the river with the jet and then the guides switch to rowing. There are a few locations along the river that also allow spot and stalk techniques from the banks hunting larger fish.

River of Dreams Spring Creek
The camp is strategically located at the mouth of an unnamed spring creek. This productive fishery holds some very large browns. Although these are spring creek fish they are so remote that they still prefer large foam dry flies vs. traditional smaller technical patterns. The most effective technique on the spring creek is to strip large foam dry flies across the surface that help produce aggressive takes. The spring creek is access directly from the camp via wade fishing and is a great way to start or end a day when combined with the Rio Blanco. 

Rio Bongo Bongo
The Rio Bongo Bongo is a mountain freestone fishery that joins the Rio Blanco about 200 yards downstream of the basecamp. The fishery offers classic riffle and run water along with some great pocket water. The resident fish in the Bongo Bongo are mid sized brown trout although the lower reaches can hold some larger fish that likely work there way up from the larger river. The Bongo Bongo provides classic dry fly fishing options. Access to the Bongo Bongo is wade fishing only after the short hike from camp.

Fishing Equipment
We recommend a 6 and a 7 weight for the River of Dreams basecamp. Even on the spring creek it is nice to fish a 6 weight to help cast larger flies. A 5 weight could come in handy if you downsize flies and would be perfect for the Bongo Bongo. On the Rio Blanco larger dry flies and mouse patterns are best fished on a 6 weight. We recommend a 7 weight for throwing streamers as well. A floating line will work but a sinktip can be more efficient such. A 200 grain longer 18-25' sinktip is an ideal match.

Seasons
The best time to target the River of Dreams camp is in the spring and fall months when the glacial melt is minimized. This produces the best water clarity and also offers more definition to the river. October-early December and late February-April are prime time.

Accommodations

Tents and Camp
The River of Dreams Basecamp is a permanent camp that is left up year round. The camp was designed by Eduardo's head guide Andy Manstein, a German-Chilean who had crafted his back country construction skills on his own off-the-grid home on Lago Caro further up river. The tents are built on wooden decks with large wooden trusses that are covered in heavy duty hypalon (the same material used to build whitewater rafts). There are 4 guests tents for sleeping quarters, each with 2 twin beds, tables and a porch. For the 2018/2019 season Andy and Eduardo have updated the "lodge tent" to construct a large kitchen, dining and living room tent for gathering in the evenings after fishing. The camp is powered by electricity provided by generators. Although the camp is off the grid a satellite phone is on hand for daily check-ins with the main lodge near Balmaceda. A shower and bathroom tent complete with on demand hot water and toilets allows for some of the creature comforts of home.

Dining and Meals
You will be amazed at the high quality of the meals when you are in the basecamp. Fresh food is delivered by the local gaucho via horseback twice a week. Meals are prepared by a trained chef in camp. Lunches are often informal "assados" on the river bank grilling up local meats and sausages along with bread baked each morning by the chef in camp. Fine Chilean wines and local beers are also packed into camp.

Travel

The River of Dreams Basecamp is located on the Rio Blanco River. The nearest town is Puerto Aysen which is about 2 hours from the Balmaceda airport (BBA) and Magic Waters Lodge. The largest town in the region is Coyhaique. About half of our guests visit the Basecamp while on a longer trip to Patagonia to blend with a stay at Magic Waters Lodge while the other half come just for the basecamp experience. Once you land in Balmaceda the Magic Waters team will take care of all transfers. Depending on flight schedules a night of lodging along with meals is often provided upon arrival or before departure either at the Magic Waters lodge or at one of the hostarias in the area.

Sample Itinerary (for a week stay, basecamp only):
Thursday - depart US or home country (Friday departure also possible to bypass a night in Santiago - we recommend one night in Santiago to enjoy the local culture and to break up the travel) - overnight international flight
Friday - arrive Santiago  in the morning - transfer to a local hotel in the Bella Vista neighborhood (we will set this up for you at added cost) - enjoy a vibrant neighborhood, markets as well as a unique dining experience at one of Santiago's best restaurants (we will make your dinner reservations for you).
Saturday - take a morning direct jet flight to Balmaceda (BBA - Montana Angler staff will guide you in booking flights). Meet Magic Waters team at BBA, stop by the lodge to drop off gear and continue to the trailhead to meet the local gaucho (2 hour drive). The horseback ride in is about 2 hours. Once arriving at the river the fishing guides will great you with jet catarafts for a 1 hour boat ride upriver to the camp in time for appetizers, cocktails and dinner
Sunday-Friday - guided fishing blending float and wade fishing on three different fisheries, Friday afternoon guest will boat and ride back out of camp to arrive at the lodge or hosteria for the evening
Saturday - fly back to Santiago, connect and fly home (overnight international flight)
Sunday - arrive back home

Sample Itinerary (Magic Waters lodge/Basecamp 11 night/10 day fishing program):
Thursday - depart US or home country (Friday departure also possible to bypass a night in Santiago - we recommend one night in Santiago to enjoy the local culture and to break up the travel) - overnight international flight
Friday - arrive Santiago  in the morning - transfer to a local hotel in the Bella Vista neighborhood (we will set this up for you at added cost) - enjoy a vibrant neighborhood, markets as well as a unique dining experience at one of Santiago's best restaurants (we will make your dinner reservations for you).
Saturday - take a morning direct jet flight to Balmaceda (BBA - Montana Angler staff will guide you in booking flights). Meet Magic Waters team at BBA, transfer to Magic Waters Lodge 1 hour from airport. Enjoy some local fishing on the home laguna, enjoy dinner
Sunday-Friday - enjoy an incredible variety on local waters while fishing new waters every day. Fishing options include floating local rivers, wading spring creeks and smaller freestone streams, and sight casting on lakes to large trout
Saturday - After breakfast drive to trailhead to meet the local gaucho (2 hour drive). The horseback ride in is about 2 hours. Once arriving at the river the fishing guides will great you with jet catarafts for a 1 hour boat ride upriver to the camp in time for several hours of fishing followed by appetizers, cocktails and dinner.
Sunday-Tuesday - guided fishing blending float and wade fishing on three different fisheries, Friday afternoon guest will boat and ride back out of camp to arrive at the lodge or hosteria for the evening
Wednesday - fly back to Santiago, connect and fly home (overnight international flight)
Thursday - arrive back home