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An Overview of Fly Fishing Options in Southern Patagonia, Argentina

Region Facts

Target Species:  Rainbow, brown and brook trout, with seasonal steelhead

Season:  November – April 

Major Fisheries: Lago Strobel—aka Jurassic Lake, Barrancoso River, Santa Cruz River

Non-Angling Area Activities: Birdwatching, hiking, horseback riding, glacier tours

Closest Major Air Hubs: Calafate (FTE), Comodoro Rivadavia (CRD) and Rio Gallegos (RGL)

As the second-largest and most sparsely populated province in Argentina, Santa Cruz is also one of the most underdeveloped and untouched fishing regions in all of Patagonia. Extending from the towering and jagged cordilleras of the Andes Mountains on its western border with Chile, Santa Cruz is also bordered by Chubut Province to the north, Tierra Del Fuego to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean on the east.

The majority of this southern Patagonian province is a desolate and windswept semi-desert environment marked by vast plateaus, wide-open grasslands and massive lakes created by glaciers that once-upon-a-time receded from the Andes.

Although there are numerous fishing options throughout the region, this is an area that is perhaps most famous for being home to Lago Strobel, a massive piece of water that is more commonly known as Jurassic Lake. Over the past ten years, Jurassic has earned its reputation as the world’s best and most consistent trophy rainbow trout fishery on the planet – home to rainbows that routinely meet and exceed the 20-pound mark.

The area is also home to the Santa Cruz River—which has the only known run of steelhead on the Atlantic Coast—and well as a vast network of small spring creeks that are filled with larger-than-average-sized brown and brook trout. While most waters in the region are largely devoid of insect hatches, they are teeming with insane populations of scuds – tiny freshwater shrimp that trout eagerly feast on.

It is common to fish all throughout this region in total solitude: wading and exploring remote waters without seeing another person. And while the fishing programs are indeed the major draw for this area, non-angling guests can arrange glacier tours in Los Glaciares National Park and trekking excursions around Mount Fitz Roy before or after fishing packages. All in all, the southern Patagonia region is ideal for anglers seeking off-the-beaten-path fishing experiences in a seldom-seen and largely unexplored part of the world.

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.

Learn more about our lodges and outfitters in this region:

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