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Extraterrestrials in Chile: Fly Fishing the Cantaria Beetle

Posted by yellowdog on Sep 27, 2017 11:59:09 AM

We love fishing large fly patterns – mice, hoppers, streamers, salmon flies, if it’s big, we want to cast it.  Aside from breathtaking mountain ranges, friendly people, and delicious food, Chile offers anglers a chance to catch trout on beetle patterns.  But unlike the beetles of the western United States, the Cantaria Beetle of Chile can reach sizes up to 2 ½ inches!  If you’re like us and get a rush from big fish taking big flies, then you’ll want to put Chile on your angling bucket list.

The Cantaria Beetle which is indigenous to Southern Chile has a menacing appearance with two long protruding pincers and looks like some sort of creature out thought up in a horror novel.  Thankfully, the long mandibles are only on the males and are used for sparring over the females.  However, when these monster-like insects fall into the water trout don’t hold back in scarfing down a hardy meal.

Cantaria Beetle Patagonia

There are few things that compare as you watch your fly on the water as a trout rockets to the surface and rolls on your line.  The take can be violent and exhilarating – with such large flies the whole experience is extremely visual.  Anglers of all levels can enjoy the excitement. 

cantaria beetle underside Cantaria Beetle on Hatch Fly Reel

The season for the beetles starts around mid-February and can last through March.  Since it’s the tail end of summer in Chile during this time, it’s the perfect wintertime getaway for anglers above the equator. Although all the rivers in Chile fish well with Cantaria Beetle patterns during this time frame, the Coihaique region is especially good – at least that’s what our sources say.     

Chile Fly Fishing Insider

John Hudgens, Yellow Dog’s director for South America fishing programs, (he worked for a number of years as a guide in lodges across South America) shared some advice to fish successfully with the large flies. 

“You want something that’s large, black, foamy with big rubber legs.  At times, you’ll be fishing them stagnant, but most of the time you want a little action on the fly.  A little twitch should be enough.  As long as you have something that’s big and buoyant, visible to the fish, you should have success.  You want something that’s able to move.”

Cantaria Beetle Claws

With a smile stretching across his face, John talked about catching 28-inch rainbow and brown trout - as the age-old adage goes, big flies for big fish, or maybe it’s big beetles for big fish. 

If you love fishing with big flies, be sure to reach out to John Hudgens to start planning your trip down South.  Yellow Dog prides itself on its experience, reliability, and authenticity.  Our team of experts can assist you every step of the way in planning your next fly fishing adventure. 



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Topics: Freshwater Fly Fishing, Chile