Welcome to Futa Lodge!
Worlds away from the hustle and bustle, Futa Lodge sits on the “Big River” (Futaleufu translated from the Tehuelche tongue). The river slices through some of the most remote and breathtaking countrysides on the planet. The only tweets here are sent by birds, and oxen still ply the gravel roads hauling straw and firewood to remote outposts.
Experience nature before man left his imprint. Futa Lodge presents a landscape as untouched as any in the world. And a Patagonia fly fishing experience equal to the magnificent setting.
Reasons to choose Futa Lodge
- Spectacular diversity of fishing from float trips on the Futaleufu River to intimate tributaries and hidden lakes where trout may have never seen a fly.
- Prolific fly hatches throughout the season.
- Brown and Rainbow Trout with occasional Sea Run species.
- Trophy trout in addiction to prolific numbers of fish in the 15-18 inch class.
- Excellent home waters fishing, right on the lodge doorstep – Great for after hours fishing!
- Spectacularly private and romantic lodge setting.
- Horseback guided fishing excursions.
- Uncluttered and relaxed pace at the lodge – no cars, engine noise or pollution, just pure mountain air. Imagine the American West 150 years ago.
The fishing at Futa lodge is largely based on the Futaleufu River which flows right by the front door of the lodge. In addition, there are also some smaller rivers and lakes close by that may be fished. The Browns and Rainbows of the Futaleufu River, and the Catchments of Chile as a whole, were stocked from European and American stocks in the early 19th Century. The fish on the Futaleufu River, in particular, have gone on to establish an extremely healthy population that is envied among wild Trout fisheries the world over.
Seasonal expeditions from Futaleufu will also encompass some of the further flung lakes and coastal fishing areas. A large number of Chilean rivers play host to anadromous fish. Every year the number of these fish grows, as the fish develop wild strains from the original escapee stock that first ran these rivers. Principal species encountered are Chinook and Silver Salmon, with a few Rea-Run Browns and native Rainbows.
The fly-fishing and equipment suggestions that follow are drawn from years of experience fishing the Futaleufu River and surrounding water ways.
The Futaleufu River and its tributaries/surrounding lakes are famed for prolific hatches of fly. As a result, most of the techniques used require delicate presentations of nymphs or dry flies. The best rod for the river and its tributaries is a 5-6wt. (9ft.) rod. There are times when you’ll use larger streamers or have to deal with stronger winds. At this time having a 6-8wt. Rod may prove useful.
The average size of fish on the Futaleufu River is in the 16-20” range, however there are much larger fish present and you never know when you might encounter one of them! Therefore, it is recommended that you bring a reel and drag system that is capable of handling at least 150yds. of 20 lb. backing. Appropriate reels include Abel, Tibor, Hardy, Lamson, Scientific Anglers, Ross, Etc.
To be well prepared for Chilean Patagonia, anglers should include at least three lines to accommodate variance in water levels and wind conditions. #5 and #6 weight forward fly lines are generally used on the Futaleufu River. Floating lines are useful in presenting your dry flies and for fish that are feeding on or near the surface. If you fish streamers, in anticipation of the larger fish of the Futaleufu, you’ll need to bring some sinking lines along as well. Sinking tips can be useful in high water, but a full sinking line will allow you to present a big streamer to larger fish that are lying deeper in the water column. We’ve found that the teeny series of lines in weights from 200 -300 are ideal.
Experience on the Futaleufu, indicates that when fishing wet flies the Trout aren’t particularly leader shy. However, during the peak of the summer especially in low water conditions, these trout can become relatively wary of heavy diameter line. We suggest you bring spools of nylon in weights from 15 lbs. (for butt sections) down to tippet strengths of 2lbs. Our guides use a range of leaders from 1x to 4x monofilament and fluorocarbon. Should you encounter any very selective leader-shy fish feeding on the surface you’ll be well equipped.
The lodge has a better than average selection of local patterns both for the Futaleufu and its tributaries, as well as some larger streamers for the large Trout and Salmon found on the Futaleufu. However, if the river has been fishing one particular technique well for more than a few weeks, fly patterns will sell out. Bring with you the same flies that you might fish for Trout on the spring creeks and freestone rivers of the American West, or larger chalk-streams of the U.K. Unless they become fixated on particular fly-hatches on the surface, the fish in the Futaleufu are opportunistic feeders and will readily take leech, woolly bugger, and sculpin patterns. Larger patterns will work well in other areas like the coastal rivers and some of the larger lakes. We suggest packing a range of flies in various patterns and sizes, and urge frequent changes when one is not working. Listen carefully to your guide, he’s there to help provide you with local information that will improve your catch and therefore make your trip more enjoyable.
Woolly buggers (conehead or bead head variety)
Rabbit leech patterns (varying colors; generally darker patterns)
Sculpins and Dog Nobblers (varying sizes small to large in varying colors)
Traditional Scottish patterns for Sea Trout and Salmon (low-water) will also work.
Bring stonefly nymphs, dragonfly nymphs and damselfly nymphs, bitch creek and other rubber-legged nymphs. All bead head style nymphs down to around size 18 and as large as size 6. Finally bring a good selection of Pupa imitations between sizes 14-18.
Dave’s hoppers and parachutes sizes 10-14
Parachute Adams sizes 12-18
Elk air Caddis sizes 14-16
Humpy’s and Stimulators sizes 10-18
Parachute ants sizes 16-18
Terrestrial patterns like beetles and hoppers, in foam. Sizes 8-16
Spent patterns like Lunn’s particular or Houghton Ruby in sizes 12-18.
Wading isn’t difficult on the Futaleufu, and you will be spending most of the time in a boat. However, we recommend chest waders for warmth and to manage deeper water when you need to. Fine choices would include Simms Gore-Tex Guide, and Patagonia SST+ Breathable Waders or any good 3.5 mm neoprene wader. Wading boots can’t have studs, and felt is also forbidden. Given Chilean Patagonia’s climate, and water that can be in the 40′s (F.), be sure to pack long johns, wool or fleece trousers, and wool socks. The river’s mostly soft bottom isn’t mossy but you might find that the security of a good sole, like Vibram brand, aids in casting and landing fish, by keeping your mind off your feet. The bottom also calls for gravel guards. Be sure to use a wading belt.
The summer climate of this southern region of South America is extremely variable, and a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions should be expected. We recommend layering clothing, enabling you to add or remove garments during the day. Pack polar fleece jackets, thermal underwear, polar neck covers, wool socks, and a wool cap in order to be prepared for the extreme weather. Flannel or chamois clothe, and polar-tec shirts are ideal for the stream, but you’ll inevitably change to something lighter while in the lodge. Also take a reliable windstopper/rain jacket. Gore Tex an excellent choice of material. Its waterproof yet breathes and thus comfortable on sunny, windy afternoons. Simms Gore-Tex and Patagonia SST wading jackets are popular choices as well.
Most first-time visitors are surprised at how wet this region is. Attire in the lodge is casual. Casual, but neat, is also the dress style in Buenos Aires and Santiago.
Laundry service is available at the lodge.
To avoid the midday heat, anglers generally leave the lodge early in the morning around 8 am or earlier.
Guests return to the lodge for lunch and drinks at around 12.30 pm. After Lunch and a siesta boats will typically leave the dock around 4:30, returning at dusk. Fishing hours will change slightly depending on the time of year.
Demanding fishermen can fish through the day and can arrange this with the head guide.
Non-fishing activities such as horseback riding or canoeing are available to allow our guests to enjoy the amazing wildlife and scenery of the area, and these trips can be organized with the head guide.
Non Angling Activities
There are many activities available for non anglers to spend the day. For a relaxing afternoon spent near the lodge; hiking and mountain biking are great options with many trails to take. The wood fired hot tub will soothe any sore muscles.
Horseback riding is a popular activity for all ages, with several horses on the property its no problem to take a group of five on a full day adventure. A great trail takes you to Don Benny’s farm who has many different farm animals like sheep to make rugs, hats, sweaters and gloves. Fresh cheese is made from the dairy cows milk and fresh eggs are always on supply. All of these wonderful local products are used by the chef at the Futa Lodge to delight your taste buds.
For those that are interested in more adventure but still need to appeal to the whole group of non anglers; sit-on-top kayaks are a spectacular adventure with plenty of opportunity to take photos of the gorgeous surroundings. Hard plastic sit-on-top or sea kayaks, singles or doubles, will be waiting for you at the beach of the beautiful Espolon Lake. On the perfect day, the lake is gorgeous for swimming and rock jumping. It’s a glacial fed lake with views of beautiful beaches, waterfalls and mountain peaks.
Another type of kayak is an inflatable sit-on-top kayak called a duckie. It’s used to float down the Espolon River, consisting mostly of class I and II rapids, maneuvering around the rocks and through the rapids is high energy entertainment.
For the most adventurous guest, white water rafting down the Futaleufu River is extreme fun. Class IV and V rapids (on a I-VI scale) will take your breath away as you float through the Futa valley, soaking up the incredible landscape.
About the Rainbow Trout
Is there a more beautiful or popular fish? Depicted on corporate logos, ball caps and gas station signs, the rainbow trout is the ideal symbol, combining beauty and sport. The rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is favored by fly fishermen because of its beautiful coloration – for which it is named – and it’s fighting ability. Wild rainbow trout typically have olive-colored backs and tails that peppered with dark spots and silvery sides that look as if they’ve been painted with pink to crimson watercolors.
The rainbow trout is actually a member of the Pacific salmon family, and has been stocked on six continents. It can be found in freshwater streams, rivers and lakes, also in saltwater bays and open ocean as steelhead (the sea-run form of the fish, which returns to freshwater during the spawn). Trout seem to prefer moderately moving creeks and streams with plenty of cover and pools, although rainbows also do well in food-rich backcountry lakes and rivers.
The rainbows size relates generally to the size of the water they can be found in. Smaller creeks are usually home to smaller fish, while bigger rainbows inhabit bigger watersheds.. Generally speaking, a three-year-old rainbow trout in a general trout stream grows to 12 inches but can exceed 20 inches of food is abundant and water temperatures are mild and stable throughout the year.
And the Brown Trout
The brown trout (Salmo trutta morpha fario and S. trutta morpha lacustris) and the sea trout (S. trutta morpha trutta) are fish of the same species.
But each is a horse of a different color, to mix fish and equine metaphors. They are distinguished chiefly by the fact that the brown trout is largely a freshwater fish, while the sea trout shows anadromous tendencies, migrating to the oceans for much of its life and returning to freshwater only to spawn.
The brown trout is normally considered to be native to Europe and Asia but the natural distribution of the migratory forms may be, in fact, circumpolar. The fish is not considered to be endangered in any location although in some cases, individual stocks are under various degrees of stress mainly through habitat degradation, and artificial propagation leading to introgression.
Brown trout like cold (though in comparison with other trout, this species has a somewhat higher temperature preference of about 60-65 °F, or 15.5-18.3 °C), well-oxygenated waters, especially large streams in mountainous areas. Cover is important to trout, and they are more likely to be found where there are submerged rocks, undercut banks, and overhanging vegetation.
The brown trout is a medium sized fish, growing to 9 lbs/20 kg or more in some localities although in most small rivers a mature weight of 1 kg (2 lb) is common.
Brown trout are active both by day and by night and are opportunistic feeders. While in fresh water, the diet will frequently include invertebrates from the streambed, small fish, frogs, and insects flying near the water’s surface. The Brown’s penchant for insect larvae, pupae, nymphs and adult insects is what allows this trout to be a favored target for fly fishing.
The lodge´s inaccessibility through the Valle de las Escalas makes this part of the river unique, lazy horseback trails wind down to the river´ s edge – a riot of Lupins and other wild flowers -; no engines pollute the river here chemically or audibly, and time appears to have stood still.
Futa lodge stands sentinel on the river bank wishing you well on your daily fishing foray, its lights twinkling a greeting in the evening as you return from the river.
The lodge can host up to 8 guests (6 anglers and 2 non-anglers). There are three cottages, one next to the main lodge and two right on the edge of the river. The main lodge consists of a cozy living room with a fire place and two more double bed-rooms.
A la Carte Menu
Futa Lodge offers wonderful cuisine, with “a la carte” menu based on local meats, fresh vegetable and delicious deserts. A traditional Asado (BBQ) will be held once during your stay, and you can sample different cuts of meat and wonderful salads.
There is a fully stocked bar – featuring local spirits and a wonderful wine selection served with our Gourmet cuisine.
Lamb asados, attended by a local dance troop who will demonstrate the Cueca (national dance). This special evening has been a long standing tradition at the Lodge.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my trip. Even though I am not a “real” fly fisherman the guides were very patient and helpful .I caught some beautiful trout. The accommodation, food and service were all first class. I felt everyone went the extra mile to make sure we had a pleasant experience. The scenery and beauty of the river was incredible. I enjoyed riding horses through the beautiful farmland. Keep me on your mailing list. Let me know the exact dates for the same week next year.”
Bryant S., Florida.,USA .
“We want to thank you again for a wonderful time at Futa Lodge. It was our favorite lodge to stay in, we loved how remote it was, the scenery, food, wine, guides, staff, fishing, accommodation and the horseback riding — it was perfect!”
Craig & Joan M.,UK.
“I just wanted to let you know what a fantastic time I had on my trip. Futa Lodge is a very special place and you are very fortunate to be able to represent it as a destination to your clients. The staff were exceptional, without exception. Nico, Paula and Joaquin made the trip so much more special in their professionalism and attentiveness to me and all the guests. And Corey and Matt were great guides, that made the fishing that much more enjoyable. I look forward to the day that I can book another trip with Nervous Waters”.
James M., Texas.,USA
“I wanted to write to thank you for a wonderful week at Futa Lodge. I was amazed at the variety of fishing that Futa Lodge has to offer. One day we were fishing the Boca of the main river for big surface feeding browns that crashed our dries like polaris missiles, the next we fished enchanting mountainous brooks with delightfully colored rainbows. The highlight of my week was taking the horses out one day and riding up to a hidden and very secret hill lake where, after catching giant rainbows on dragonfly patterns, we had the most wonderful asado under the shade of some ancient old beech trees with our guides. Futa is a true angler’s paradise and I’ll definitely be going back, thank you and please thank all those at the lodge, for opening our eyes to Chilean fishing, we’ll see you next year!“
Ted M., Texas., USA.
“At Futa Lodge it isn’t just about the fishing. The areas through which we floated must be some of the most scenic on the planet and everyone was agog at the beauty. All in all, we loved Futa.”
Henry M., Florida.,USA.
“My stay was excellent. The Futa Lodge is a special place. The managers are the best lodge hosts I have ever experienced after fishing all over the world. They are a delightful young couple who make guests feel at home. Everything was perfect. The fishing was good, the food and wine were outstanding (very talented chef), and the company super. Someday I shall return.”
Gar J., London.,UK.
“WOW. Andrea, thanks for all of your help and support for our recent trip. The transfers were perfect. The PRANA team, Bianca, Nicolas, and George in Esquel were knowledgeable, on time, and very helpful. Please pass our appreciation to that team.
The Nervous Waters Staff at FUTA, Emer, the Chef, and her assistant made us all feel at home and welcome.
The Drivers were focused on safety and were there waiting on us when it was time to get out of the river.
The Guides were the best I’ve ever experienced. Brian and Shane did an excellent job in teaching, putting us on fish, and putting the boats into a position where anglers of all skill levels could make the cast. They were conservation minded and knew the biology of the rivers, the area, and the fish. Again. THE BEST WE’VE EVER HAD.
And thank you for your assistance in making this dream trip come to life. It’s very daunting and intimidating to try to schedule something like this in another part of the world and you and your staff made it happen. We thank you and wish we were back at Futa rather than in the middle of these snow storms we are all experiencing now.
Way To Go Nervous Waters!”
Doug S., USA.
Please take a moment to download and read through the following information well in advance of your departure. It will help answer most questions concerning your stay.
NOTE TO GROUP LEADERS: Please make sure to share this information with the rest of your group. It is vital that everyone in your group is fully prepared, understands the trip cancellation policy on refunds, and have the opportunity to purchase travel protection insurance, (especially anyone with a health issue).