Finally getting around to writing a review for a trip I took almost 6 months ago. I had put a considerable amount of effort into researching lodges in patagonia and ended up selecting Paloma due to 3 factors 1. Willingness to accept a single angler 2. Price 3. Diversity of fishing available within a short distance of the lodge. As they say, they spend their time fishing not traveling to the fishing.
I will start off by saying that this is not a luxery lodge like some you see in South America. I would classify it more as a place for hardcore fishermen rather than those looking for a vacation with a bit of fishing. The lodge is clean and well kept and the food is very good, but not what I would consider gourmet. In general we fished fairly long days with a short break for lunch. Apparently some lodges take a long (2 hour) break for lunch and have wine, gourment meal ect. With Paloma you eat a quick lunch and get back to fishing which is the reason I traveling to Patagonia in the first place.
The fishing was outstanding. We did a nice mix of river and lake fishing. I generally don't have a lot of interest in lake fishing, but the lake fishing at Paloma was unlike anything i have ever done. Most of it was casting big dries (beetles) to the shoreline for big browns. In many cases this consisted of sight fishing. The river fishing consisting of floating the beautiful Paloma River and getting out to fish side channels and other particularly fishy spots. My biggest brown was 23" with a good number of 16-20" fish in the river. The lake fish averaged a bit bigger with most fish running 18"-22".
I spent most of my week fishing with head guide and manager Fena. Great guy, great sense of humor, and really knows his stuff. It seems like some guides in South America aren't really fly fishermen and take up guiding as a way to make a living. Fena is a real flyfisherman and it shows. Just a very fishy guy. The rest of the staff was great and do everything in their power to make you feel like family. Jorge is a character and great cook. As a avid drinker, I definitely appreciated the cold beer or pisco sour they would have ready for me upon arriving at the lodge at the end of each day.
Overall, I highly recommend this lodge. I have spent a decent amount of time in Montana and would say that fishing at Paloma is comparable to slightly better. The difference is you will see virtually no other anglers and you are able to do it in the middle of january when most trout streams in the states are frozen solid. The scenery is incredible. Bonus points for a willingness to accomodate single anglers. So many places expect you to travel with a partner and if you don't, want to charge you the double rate (or close to it) if you are a single. When some lodges in South America cost $5k plus, you almost wonder if the price at Paloma is too good to be true. That is not the case at all, and if I can make it back to Patagonia, I won't consider another lodge.
I also recommend planning on arriving in Santiago a day early. I had all sorts of travel problems (American Airlines are horrible) and missed a half a day of fishing. If I could do it over, I would fly into Santiago early and give myself a buffer in case of travel problems.
Some friends and I returned to Patagonia for a fourth time. We wanted a place that was closer to the river. This place fit the ticket. The staff was fantastic, the fishing was tough but we were successful. But, the beauty of the landscape still takes my breath away. The glaciers , the color of the water, the color of the fish. The people of Patagonia are friendly and welcoming. We even ate one evening at a local gauchos home for an amazing asado. The quaint lodge is comfortable and the meals were delicious. There is no doubt I will be back. Oh Patagonia, how I love you!
Without exception all members of the Paloma River Lodge staff went above and beyond in making our stay the trip of a lifetime. The accommodations and meals were exceptional. During the day we caught many wild Brown Trout in the 18-22inch range and in the evening we enjoyed outstanding Chilean wine with each meal while lamenting about the big ones that got away. Our guides were knowledgeable and worked tirelessly to put us on fish and shorten our learning curve as to how best to cast and present the fly. I will definitely be back.
We had a great week at the lodge. While all aspects of the stay were top drawer, the most outstanding component was the staff. All were clearly invested in ensuring that we had a totally unique and enjoyable experience. They interacted comfortably and light-heartedly with the guests and between themselves ,creating a relaxed, congenial atmosphere that maintained throughout our stay. Very impressive, in our view, was that all of the staff possessed active senses of humor, which added to the social ambience. The accommodations were very good. The meals and service were excellent. The guides were obviously well trained, knowledgeable in the local waters, clearly motivated in getting us into fish, while not overly intrusive. Suffice it to say that the fish were cooperative. To quote Douglas Macarthur, we shall return.
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The lodge is located in one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. The guides and staff were wonderful and made sure everyone had everything they could need or want. Delicious local food and wine were served everyday and the fishing was fantastic. I would definitely recommend this lodge.
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