Target Species: Rainbow, brown, and brook
Season: November – April
Major Fisheries: Arroyo Pescado, Rivadavia, Arrayanes, Corcovado, Tecka, Carrileufu, Corintos, Chubut, Nilson, Rio Pico, Rio Grande
Non-Angling Area Activities: Hiking in Los Alerces National Park, horseback riding, birdwatching
Closest Major Air Hubs: Esquel (EQS) and Bariloche (BRC)
Argentina is home to some of the planet’s most diverse fly-fishing destinations and the Central Patagonia region, and more specifically this part of Argentina offers the greatest variety and diversity of fishable waters in this South American country. With small creeks, natural spring creeks, small and large rivers, and lakes, all back-dropped by micro-regions of open steppes, rugged mountains, and temperate forests, Central Patagonia feel like parts of the U.S. West of nearly a half-century ago.
The region is comprised of three separate and distinct areas including Esquel, Los Alerces National Park, and Rio Pico. The waters throughout this region are as varied as the countryside.
In many ways, the Esquel area resembles fishing in the northern Rockies of the US. With dozens of rivers flowing through an arid steppe ecosystem defined by wide-open valleys and rocky escarpments, the look and feel are akin to Montana or Wyoming. In contrast, Los Alerces National Park contains a network of rivers and glacially-formed lakes surrounded by thick, temperate rainforest and feels remote and undeveloped.
Further south, the remote and open expanses of the Rio Pico region offer anglers the chance to explore and fish several off-the-beaten-path rivers, spring creeks, and high-desert-like lakes for larger-than-average trout.
With so many fishing options found throughout this region, guests can customize a fishing week based on their preferences to wade small technical freestones and spring creeks, float big rivers, or chase trophy-sized trout on productive lakes. Additionally, depending on the time of year and conditions, anglers can employ a wide range of techniques, including stalking fish with small dry flies and nymphs to stripping streamers to large, aggressive fish.
Over the course of a trip, on many of the rivers and creeks anglers can expect to catch good numbers of strong, wild trout in the 12 to 20-inch range, with plenty of shots at fish exceeding 20-inches.
Although this region of central Patagonia is home to a diverse and exciting array of fly fishing options, a variety of non-angling activities including hiking in Los Alerces National Park, horseback riding, birdwatching, and whitewater river rafting can be arranged.
For the most part, the fishing lodges located in this region offer fixed, full-week packages where guests can fish different rivers and lakes each day and non-angling companions can enjoy a wide array of options each day. With lodge-based operations, anglers and non-anglers come home to the comfort of a “home base” lodge for an evening of amazing food, great wines, and genuine Argentine hospitality.
Listen to our WAYPOINTS podcasts with Patagonia River Guides owners Travis Smith and Rance Rathie about the “inside information” on fly fishing in Patagonia. Click here for Episode 1 and Episode 2 of this two-part series.
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