The Las Torres Lake National Reserve was created in 1982, although in its early years it was nothing more than a resting point for horseback travelers making their way through Cisnes Medio, as this sector was known. In the years that followed, Conaf installed a Ranger Cabin, fencing, and a dock, and beautiful Las Torres Lake debuted and began to gain recognition and visits. It quickly caught on as a good spot for fly-fishing and catch-and-release values have kept a good population for fishermen who visit its shores and waters today.
The natural setting of the lake will captivate you immediately. Jagged snowy peaks jet up around you year round, giving birth to the tributaries of the Torres, Santa Andrea and Tobiana estuaries and the Cisnes Rodríguez y Picaflor Rivers. Add in the crystal clear waters of Los Torres Lake and you’ve got the ideal Reserve in which to spend a few days of good fishing. The lake has an area of approximately 330 hectares, with an abundance of large rainbow and brown trout. You can almost always find calm waters, as the mountains of the Pichacho and Torres chains enclose and protect the lake from the majority of Patagonian winds.
One of the most special things about Lago Los Torres National Reserve is its location next to the Carretera Austral and the services it provides for fishermen, cyclists and other visitors. You will find small shelters for camping, where you can assemble your tent to the side or sleep inside. Each shelter is built in an attractive and rustic way with a large table where you can cook and eat, using your camping stove. There is also a grilling area, bathrooms with showers, a quincho, a small beach, a pier and guided boat excursions. If you prefer to sleep in a bed, Señora Mirta Arias, the manager of the area, offers both lodging and meals in her rural inn. She is an excellent cook so don’t hesitate to speak with her to coordinate breakfast, lunch, dinner or picnics.
In order to conserve and protect the fish populations of Aysén, normal practice involves catch-and-release ethics. This practice consists of releasing caught fish with the least possible damage, so that they can survive, once returned. Some tips to release fish with minimal damage:
- Avoid tiring the fish.
- Touch the fish at little as possible. Holding it inside the water with as little pressure as possible, is your best option.
- Do not cover their gills with fingers or other objects.
- Use barbless hooks; they are easier to remove, and can easily be made by clamping the barbs with a set of pliers.
- Don’t pull or force the hook, if it is tough remove, cut the line near the mouth of the fish.
- Return the fish to the water. If the fish has not yet recovered, allow fresh water to enter its mouth and exit below its guts, by placing it in front of the current.
- Let the fish swim away by its own means (don’t toss or otherwise propel it).
Ten kilometers north along the Carretera Austral, you’ll encounter the tiny town of Villa Amengual. Here there are several small hospedajes and minimarkets, a local handicrafts cooperative and a picturesque church crafted with tejuelas (hand carved wooden shingles) in the style of the famous churches of Chiloé. This church is very significant for the people of Villa Amengual. They built both the building and all of its furniture themselves, working together as a community, with the support of Father Antonio Ronchi, a missionary who worked in Aysén for close to 30 years, helping local communities to lower the barriers of isolation and poverty.