The Chilean Pejerrey is still preserved in a natural state and offers suitable conditions for fly fishing, considering a season that extends until August, in the middle of winter.
The pejerreyes have been part of the culture of fishing in Chile since always. Both the Chilean Pejerrey and its most abundant relative, the Argentine Pejerrey ( Odonthestes bonaerensis ), are found with a certain abundance in much of the territory, especially in the most central regions of Chile.
Identifying the Chilean Pejerrey
Several sources mention two different species: the Chilean River Pejerrey ( Basilichthys australis ) and the Cauque ( Odonthestes mauleanum ), which differ in minor details in their body structure, but share much of the same general characteristics. There is even a more detailed registry that recognizes sub-species of the same pejerrey in diverse geographic zones, from the North of Chile, until the Region of The Lakes.
In general, the so-called "Chilean pejerrey", is characterized by having an elongated body, with a black back and silver sides. Its head is notoriously narrower than the rest of the body, and in particular, its mouth lacks teeth and opens less than a trout of the same size, which is why it concentrates its feeding on small invertebrates.
Although the normal size is slightly longer than a fourth, it is possible to find larger specimens of pejerrey , approaching 500 gr, but hardly bigger.
In Chile, the fishing season of this species begins in December of each year and extends until August of the following year, which is due to its spawning season in September and October.
It should be noted that a recent Sernapesca regulation establishes a fishing ban for 15 years (until 2026) of several of the subspecies, including Cauque del Maule, Cauque del Norte and Pejerrey del Norte, which implies that all Captured specimen must be returned to water in the best possible conditions.
Places where the Pejerrey is found
The Chilean Pejerrey frequently inhabits rivers of medium temperature to cold, as it is the case of great part of the main rivers that cross the central valley of Chile, from the Region of Coquimbo until the Araucan?a, being able also to be more to the south.
Among the places where it is most abundant are the Aconcagua River, mainly in the vicinity of San Felipe, although it also appears below. Also on the Maipo River, and several of its tributaries farther from the Cordillera. The Maule River, mainly in its upper course, a few kilometers above Lake Colbun. Other rivers in the central zone, such as the Rio Claro de Rengo. Further south, in the middle and lower reaches of the Rio Laja, the Biob?o, and is even seen with some frequency in the Puelo River and some of its tributaries.
Fly Fishing of Chilean Pejerrey
Like trout , these species actively feed on aquatic invertebrates, it and larvae of aquatic development insects, small crustaceans, and terrestrial insects that accidentally fall into the water. For this reason, the main strategy for selecting flies is based on the same criteria as for trout fishing: to identify the most abundant organisms at that time in the river, and to present an imitation as accurate as possible.
In particular, given the reduced size of the mouth of these fish, flies, and particularly, in sizes # 12 to # 20 are the most resorted, including various designs of known for their effectiveness under general conditions , notably the Prince , La Hare's Ear , among others.
The fishing strategy can be summarized as follows:
Look for bends of the river where pozones form within the main channel, and even large pools in the rivers more cordilleranos. Unlike trout, pejerreyes are usually located in the middle and end of these pozones.
Present a in free derive, looking for depth. Ideal to be between the bottom and half depth, and these fish concentrate much of their food in organisms that inhabit the bottom, including on occasions when insect hatching .
Keep the derive free as long as possible and as deep as possible. An alternative is to use ballast also have a control of the line to avoid drags to the fly.
Pikes tend to be weak, so you have to be very attentive, and even consider using a gag indicator .