trout flourish in the pristine waters of the Estancia del Zorro.
autor (to and opposite) with the fruit of his labors.
did scoff a bit at Rodrigo when we approached the creek and he pionted
to the little spot where he thought I should drop my fly in the pool.
Actually I didn't scoff so much as I laughed. The wind was blowing so
hard that seven out of 10 casts hit the pasture rather that the stream.
But eventually I plinked one in place, and a flash came off the bank
and made my rod dip like a dowser's. The brown was 19 inches long, more
silvery that its butter-bellied North American cousins, its flanks less
crowded with spots.
is a country that without apology sold its economic soul to Milton Freidman
during the pinochet regime. Chile is so pro-free-trade, a fruit industry
spokesperson told me, that they have their own IRS -an "Instant
Ratification Syndrome," which leads the government to ratify every
trade agreement dropped in its lap before bothering even to check how
the document squares with Chile's own domestic laws and regulations.
result is a country whose export model is seen by some as the star of
South America in terms of economic stability and the production of wealth,
but also a nation that suffers from the ninth worst income distribution
gap in the world. (right up there with other "stars" like
Nicaragua and war-torn Sierra Leone), a country that enjoys a blistering
six percent annual GDP growth and continually expanding unemployment,
and one that is rapidly and eagerly transforming large portions of itself
into a place that looks just like the stretch of highway between Los
Angeles and La Jolla.
is a pleasant exception. Patagonia is what it is -and what it is is
magnificent, wonderful, fantastico and laced with fish-filled
rivers- primarily because there are no roads into the region. Only in
relatively recent years has there been regular air service. Bordered
along the eastern frontier by the looming volcanic peaks of the Andes,
hemmed by fjords on the west, sliced by the Straits of Magellan to the
south, and isolated from northern population centers by hundreds of
miles of roadless mountain terrain, Patagonia is an inner kindom little
disturbed by the busy machinations of the export wizards in Santiago.
of course for the timber trade, in which multinational corpotrations
like Trillium and Boise Cascade scalp vast swaths of ancient and rare
Patagonia forrest, exporting raw logs in exchange for silt-choked rivers
and compromised ecosystems, albeit far from the pesky scrutiny of US
conservation groups. or the mining industry, of which firms like Noranda
propose building five dams on magnificent rivers to power a new aluminium
smelter-far removed from bothersome air and water quality standards
of the developed world, Or the aquaculture industry, which provides
consumers in Dallas and Pittsburgh with plump salmon fillets, but spares
them notice of the toxic chemicals poures into patagonia´s fjords
or the degradation of wild ocean fish stocks, five pounds of which are
used to produce one pound of farmed salmon.
eco-tourism -now there's an export sector the fly-fisherman can line
up behind. In fact, flyfishing in Patagonia is the region´s biggest
eco-tourism activity, and growing fast. Still, anglers log only about
1,500 fishing days in northern Patagonia annually. By conparison, Montana
racks up about three million angler-days. Chilean Patagonia is a big,
empty place. Fly-fisherman have been poking around Chile for 50 years
now, and we´ve only scratched the surface. Folks are just getting
around too many of the springs and smaller streams. >>Next