Ben Johnston grew up fishing the front range of Colorado, where he discovered his love for fly fishing at a young age. While he may tell you he moved to Montana to pursue a Fish and Wildlife Management degree at Montana State University, after spending a few hours on the river with him it becomes clear that he moved to Bozeman for the fishing. Ben’s desire for adventure has also led him to Alaska where he guides fly-out overnight fly fishing trips for trout and salmon. Ben lives and breathes fly fishing, but in between breaths, can be found in a corn field goose hunting, or behind his vice working on his next best fly.
Carolina or rather Caro, joined the BaseCamp project in 2004 and turned it simply in what it is now. With her attention to detail, her urge to make everybody happy and smile it is difficult to not feel at home when she is around. She is a great chef and knows how to mix a mean Pisco Sour.
But Caro´s real passion is the farm. She built up a unique organic farm around the lodge. Sheep, cows, pigs, goats, chicken, turkeys etc. raised on the farm guarantee you the best ingredients for an organic meal. Her gardens provide everything that’s green and red: from vegetables to fruits. And everything you can soak in water to make a delicious and healthy drink.
After organising BaseCamp well, she now is in charge of the El Escondido Project – see www.elescondido.cl – our conservation and wilderness fly fishing initiative, where she makes sure everything runs smoothly.
Esteban’s passion for fishing began while growing up in the Araucania Region in the south of Chile. Spending his free time fishing in the Conguillio National Park , surrounded by glaciers, unique landscapes and hungry trout.
After his graduation, earning his Bachelors Degree in Tourism Management, he decided to chase his dream as an outdoor guide.
After moving back and forth to the United States, working different jobs, visiting different places and most importantly meeting his wife Lauren, he realised that no matter where he goes, he always has fishing on his mind. Tired of working at fishing store’s, he decided it was time to make a change and go for his dream. That’s when Patagonia knocked on his door and his dream finally came true. Esteban is now heading for his third season at BaseCamp.
After getting married in 2019, he also became father of a 3 year old boy who has already begun to experience the incredible world of fishing. Esteban is always calm on the water and open to answer any questions you might have and to share all his knowledge as a fishing guide so that you can have the best fishing day of your life!
Exequiel. Always happy, always ready to help you and always with brilliant ideas and solutions. Since five years now, he is helping us with almost everything that happens around the lodge and in the camps. He helps with farm and the animals (although most of the lambs might not call it “helping” when they are ready for an asado), but also with the maintenance of the buildings and preparing the camps for the season and keeping them up during the season. Lately he has been very involved with our building projects in TempleCamp and BaseCamp, but also in our Escondido Project. His attention to details can be recognized in many of the constructions.
Felipe, born in Santiago, studied international gastronomic administration. He showed a great interest in cooking from a young age, but actually picked it up again in 2018, when he started working independently as a pastry chef. In January 2022 Felipe joined our chef Ivo as a sous-chef at BaseCamp, thus making his first steps of development in a professional kitchen. This season he works hand-in-hand with Ivo and together, every night, they bring amazing meals to the table. In addition, he is a lover of swimming and on on warm days he dares to challenge the cold water of Rio Palena.
“I love nature and the tranquility that comes from being in a place like Patagonian BaseCamp, where I have been able to develop and improve my work as a professional and at the same time enjoy being together with my friend and colleague Ivo and the whole team.”
“I love knowing that at any moment in my free time I can go and swim in the river, the water fills me with energy and what possibly could be a better place than here in the middle of beautiful Patagonia”
Fernanda born and raised in the Casablanca Valley in the Central Zone of Chile. That valley is famed for his white wines from world class vineyards. That’s where she learned the skills of organizing and where she became a great cook. She also worked a while in a large hotel in Mexico, where she learned a lot of techniques which she now puts in practices with us.
She started in BaseCamp already back in 2014 and she is now in charge of the kitchen organization, purchases and logistics. But also of the pastries and of all the river lunches. She will make sure that your guide leaves for the his day with his cooler full of goodies.
If you are here, walk in the kitchen and let her permanent smile do his magic on you. Fernanda, or how she wants to be called, Feña (say Fenya), will make you happy!
Garrett`s second season as a guide at BaseCamp. He was born and raised in southwest Ohio where his passion for fishing started at a young age. He has now been fishing and guiding the waters in Montana for over a decade. And Montana is where his family calls home. There are few things that I enjoy more than rowing down a beautiful river with no one around. If I could guide on one river for the rest of my life it would defenitely be the Rio Claro in Patagonia, I just like every aspect of that river, challenging as it is.
Next to guiding the Rio Claro, Garrett became one of our main guides on Rio Palena. His passion for fly fishing, his sense of humour and his inexhaustible patience makes him a great partner on your fishing day.
This is going to be the second season of Chef Ivo at BaseCamp. Together with Chef Felipe he is responsible for the magic that happens in the kitchen. Ivo graduated in gastronomic administration. As he says it: “while my profession is my great passion, with full dedication and love, I want to bring harmony and happiness in each dish”. “Being able to use raw materials from our own garden, such as aromatic herbs, organic meats, organic seasonal fruits and vegetables is a real treat and it makes every meal unique for this part of the world”.
Since I was a small boy, I was always thinking in going fishing in my free time. Next to my work in the kitchen, being on the water front is my great passion. Working as a chef in a fly fishing lodge is like a dream come true.
John MacMurray was born and raised in the mountains of Colorado. That is where he has attained a serious passion for catching trout on the fly. Learning the craft on the freestones and tail waters like the upper Colorado, Eagle, Arkansas, and the Roaring Fork he is a well rounded angler. Given the steep gradient of the trout rivers back home, he enjoys fishing fast pocket water and running lines in rapids. Although ripping streamers for brown trout is his favourite thing to do, he believes letting the trout decide what method to use is the best plan of attack. The past season John spent guiding the Jackson hole area in Wyoming, teaching anglers how to catch cutthroat on big foam dry flies which transfers nicely with the Terrestrial bite in Chile.
Growing up on a small ranch in the north western United States Liam´s education consisted of equal parts formal as well as outdoor instruction. His parents instilled in him the desire to be outside, an experience that taught him the importance of hard work, community involvement and stewardship. As he moved onto university to study international business the quality of the school weighed in his decision as much as the proximity to fishing streams. He focused his studies upon marketing, economics, and sustainable development with the eventual goal of finding a career in the outdoor industry or non-profit sector.
It was also during his time at university that he began working at a fishing lodge in Southern Idaho. Despite the cliché; he was instantly hooked. He has been an avid fly fisherman since he was a child. Despite his love of being on the water, he also worked in other areas of the lodge to ensure the best experience for the clients.
Next to being an excellent guide and oarsman, if you have the chance to be on the water with Liam, you will be surprised to hear his life stories. He studied in Germany, worked in refugee camps in Greece and knows all about installing water installations. And I am sure he will have you catching a fish or two in between.
Manuel grew up in the South of Chile in the Lake District (Region de los Lagos). His thing was hiking and biking through the mountains of Northern Patagonia. In his twenties he studied in the USA for 4 years on a scholarship for soccer, but always closely connected to nature and enjoying the variety of sports you can practice in it. He joined The Patagonian BaseCamp for the first time in 2019 spending his first months working at the El Escondido, helping and learning from Exequiel multiple abilities to build and maintain the camps.
During the season he managed TempleCamp and helped with whatever was needed in BaseCamp and the other camps.
This coming season Manuel will be mostly in charge of TempleCamp, helping out the guides and making sure that the anglers have the best time of their lives while in that magical place on Rio Figueroa.
The Fly Fishing Dutchman. After a successful career in the Dutch shipping industry, Marcel decided to change his life dramatically. Bought a ticket to South Africa, travelled the world with a backpack, a tent and a fly rod for almost two years and eventually ended up in Chile. That is in now almost 25 years ago. And see what happened.
In the those 25 years he built up Patagonian BaseCamp to one of the most successful fly fishing lodges in South America and still just loves it. His love for Patagonia and fly fishing for trout is contagious. Be careful for him. But he already found a new challenge, the “Escondido Project”: a combination between a conservation and outdoor-experience project. For the next 20 years or so, he will be busy. Very busy.
But there is another challenge arising, turning his daughters Elena (13) and Isabel (9) into the next generation of fly fishing guides. A big challenge, because for now their lives are about pink ballet dresses rather than large trout from the Palena river.
Born and raised in Montana, Max is the personification of the perfect guide. Always happy, always ready and always fishy. And that is contagious to the highest level. A day on the river with Max stands for learning while catching. He just cannot help him self, his urge to make a better angler from everyone is unstoppable. And you will love it.
Max joined our our team in 2016 and became one of our most versatile guides. He fished most of our rivers and lakes and discovered some new techniques which were an eyeopener to us. Even after 20 years of fishing these waters. And I am afraid that Max is not quite done yet. If he is not on the water, he is inventing new flies or tying traditional ones.
Our white water expert since 2016. Sam is Big. Real Big. And that’s what you want of your guide who rows you through the famed rapids, El Diablo and Pin Ball Wizard on the Río Figueroa and the class 4+ rapid on the Río Rosselot. His expertise on the subject of guiding falls nothing short of the highest level of professionalism in the industry. Sam’s persona and qualities extends way beyond his capacity to have you catching fish, though. On or off the river his presence and demeanor match that of a well mannered, polite, kind, cultured young man. Sam is mainly based at TempleCamp and he is a guarantee for fun nights around the fire place. He is truly a student to the sport of fly fishing and remains steadfast on sharing his love of rivers, conservation, and of course fish.
Some of the particular rivers Sam guides on in the USA are known for its extreme whitewater. He has organized and successfully run multi day trips with clients through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. Safety is always on his radar and his experience and varying certifications puts him as one of the most dependable safest guides on the river.