The Dragonfly Lodge is strategically placed to give an exclusive fly-fishing adventure and guide service access to a vast virgin watershed in remote Patagonia, Chile. The local water is home to abundant resident Brown and Rainbow Trout and the lodge is hidden amongst sheer forest, temperate jungle, and absolute wilderness. No roads lead there. Tracks and trails fade into greenery with the last humble huts, belonging to a handful of mountain men, well before the latter part of your journey to The Dragonfly Lodge. One must take to the water and follow the green depths, clear riffles and rapids of the river, as it meanders deeper into steep mountains, swathed in an impenetrable green mantle. The following is an account of how this hidden treasure was found.

As newly weds in the early1980's, José (Chilean) and Erica (Australian) Gorroño, were looking to get away from it all. The young couple searched the south of Chile with a dream, an idealist meld of his "Bonanza" style cattle ranching and her "Little House on the Prairie" lifestyle. A chance meeting, drinking "yerba mate" in a Patagonian kitchen, sent them off on horseback, on an unusually sunny autumn day, into the road less forests of the "cordillera". Arrival at their destination took 2 days of riding on a treacherously muddy horse track and numerous fording of a swift river. The final leg consisted of rowing a little hand built boat, miles along a long lake and up another river, before they arrived at a little shingled hut that would soon be home for the next two years. Armed with a motley assortment of beef and dairy cattle, precarious loads on their packhorses, optimism, ignorance and lots of love, they set off to build their dream.

Despite their conjugal bliss, as winter stole the sun away and their cow's ribs began to show like the washboard ruts in the Chilean roads, a sneaking suspicion grew. Perhaps their steep forestland was not really apt for cattle. As the poor beasts scrambled up and down sheer mountainsides and gnawed at cane, ferns and wild fuchsia, it became increasingly clear that these creatures would be better off with some flat grassland. One Godsend during those tough times however, was the abundance of fish. When their human food supply got low, Jose could grab his Nescafe tin wound with nylon and a rusty lure, cast into the neighbouring lakes and rivers and provide a nice fresh fish for his family (as they were now blessed with a baby daughter). With the experience and knowledge gained over two years of observing just what extremes cattle are capable of surviving, Jose and Erica mounted their horses and bid farewell to their cold, forested Eden. The fickle finger of fate found them another property and this was fat-cow paradise. "Fundo Adelaida" also had a river running through it, brimming with wild brown trout.

After ten years of building up a fine herd of Herefords and blessed with a baby boy, the couple decided to changed themes. Cattle were cashed in and a 47-foot sailing ketch was purchased with the proceeds. The boat was provisioned and the two children (7 and 4 years old) bundled aboard in Chile's northern city of Arica. "Patagonia" set sail on the assumption that if they followed the sunsets for long enough, they would eventually hit Australia. After nearly two years of meandering through the South Pacific and third baby well on its way, they did make a happy landfall on the Queensland coast. Blessed by another son, the family returned to their home in the Patagonia, cashed in the boat and again purchased a herd of beef cattle with the proceeds.

Travel, having broadened their horizons, led them to introduce the first alpacas into their region. Meeting Mike Michalak of The Fly Shop led them to create El Saltamontes, the first established fly fishing lodge in their region. On the fertile banks of the River Nirehuao, The Grasshopper Lodge has hosted anglers successfully for eleven southern summers.

Jose had for many years, considered developing his abandoned first property for anglers. The logistics of transporting potential guests in and out of that fishy wilderness were daunting, in a country where choppers are still a thing of the future.

Enter young Canadian fly-fishing guide Adam Henderson. Adam's varied and numerous talents soon had him in position as head guide at El Saltamontes. A competent bushman, horseman, boat/oarsman, fisherman, scientific freethinker and nice guy, Adam was invited to join Jose in an expedition to fish the wilderness property watershed. By putting two creative, tenacious minds together, over what proved to be an amazing fishery, the solutions soon came tumbling in. Over the next couple of years, this dynamic duo poured their energies into devising and adapting a river craft and engine combination that would finally prove viable for use under all conditions, from drought to flood.

With the transport issue solved, and an enthusiastic young team of supporters, Jose forged ahead with the planning and construction of The Dragon Fly Lodge. Every item, from carpenters, to cement, glass and steel was waterproofed and rafted down the riffles and rapids of the Picacho River. All the timber was hewn from the surrounding forest, with nothing but a chainsaw and a hand winch. The building of El Saltamontes was child's play compared with the creation of her sister lodge The Dragonfly Lodge, where dynamite had to be used, just to carve out a platform to begin with.

An ambitious architectural design focuses on the spectacular view of the River Picacho emerging into Lake Copa, surrounded by forest, mountains and glaciers. Inside the lodge, the focus is on comfort, with a spacious, welcoming interior, cozy fireside and individual bed nooks, which make it a unique refuge, in a virgin wilderness. The Gorroño family, together with Adam Henderson and their team, now wish to invite a limited number of anglers to share and experience this fly-fishing adventure of a lifetime.