Trophy Sea Run Brown Trout
The famed Rio Grande River, located on the island of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego at the southernmost tip of South America, hosts the most prolific and consistent sea-run brown trout fishing found in the world. The Rio Grande offers comfortable and easy wading for brown trout that frequently run over 20 pounds, and with a few fish just under the 30 lb. mark, this is a fishery like none other. The river hosts a healthy population of 8 – 12 lb. fish throughout the season. Estancia Despedida’s 3.5 miles of riverfront property is located in the middle to lower stretch of the Rio Grande River, known by the locals as the “heart of the river”. In addition to the prime beats and pools of the Rio Grande River, the estancia also provides access to 35 km of the Menendez River, a productive and rarely-fished tributary to the big river. Estancia Despedida is a small and intimate family-run operation. Owners and onsite managers Danny and Helen Lajous have been operating the Estancia for nearly 20 years and have put together an elite team of guides.
Estancia Despedida is a warm and comfortable log-style lodge located in the middle of the Tierra Del Fuego wilderness in the heart of the best sea-run brown trout fishing on the planet. The lodge is located in a scenic location within minutes of both the Rio Grande and Menendez Rivers. The small and intimate lodge has three bedroom suites, each outfitted with two beds, plenty of space, and private heated bathrooms. The suites feature two double beds, nightstands, dressers, and a full closet. Rooms are spacious with ample room for all gear, equipment, and belongings.
This is very much a “fishing-focused” lodge that prides itself on the quality of its guide staff and the quality of the lodge’s waters and beats. After long morning and evening sessions on the water, anglers enjoy relaxing in the lodge’s main living room and bar area. This large and spacious great room is tastefully decorated and furnished with lounging in mind; with comfortable couches and chairs, a full bar, and a big screen satellite television and sound system, relaxation comes easy.
Food and Beverages
Estancia Despedida serves a variety of classic Argentine dishes, primarily excellent meat cuts paired with fine Argentine wines. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the lodge’s main dining room. Guests typically return to the lodge after a four or five-hour morning session on the water for lunch and a ‘siesta’ (the obligatory time of rest in Argentina). After lunch and a brief nap, anglers are back on the water for a long afternoon and evening, almost always fishing until dark. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the lodge’s main dining room.
Typical Length of Stay
Seven (7) nights / six (6) days of fishing. Most packages run Saturday through Saturday. Please contact Yellow Dog for more details.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
This destination is not the ideal option for non-anglers, as the program and focus is all about fishing on the Rio Grande. While the lodge is very comfortable and the food and wines are fantastic, Estancia Despedida does not offer guided non-angling activities.
Internet / Communications
The lodge currently has wifi, albeit limited. Each room is equipped with a phone and guests are welcome to call home for a fee of $3.00 per minute.
How To Get There
Getting to Argentina is not difficult. Take an easy overnight flight to Buenos Aires’ Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE) from one of several major cities in the U.S., get a good night’s rest, and wake up in Argentina. You will arrive at the International Airport in Buenos Aires, called Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini Airport (EZE). From there, you will need to transfer to the domestic airport in Buenos Aires, Jorge Newbery (AEP), which is located across the city. The fastest way to get to Despedida Lodge is with a three-hour domestic flight to Rio Grande on Aerolineas Argentinas. Despedida Lodge is a one hour drive from the Rio Grande Airport. Another option is to fly from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, Argentina. Ushuaia is a three-hour scenic drive to Despedidia Lodge. Yellow Dog will be happy to assist with all transfers, logistics, and flights.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
The lodge runs on a Saturday-to-Saturday, 7 night / 6 fishing day program. Most anglers choose to fly into Rio Grande on Saturday afternoon and depart the following Saturday on a mid-morning flight back to Buenos Aires. We strongly recommend booking the afternoon flight for the incoming day and the morning flight for the outgoing day.
Citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and other Western European nations do not need a visa for tourist trips of up to ninety days. You will need a valid passport and will have to fill out an ‘arrival card.’ You will then be given a tourist visa stamp for stays of thirty, sixty or ninety days. Staple the duplicate of your arrival card into your passport as you will need it to leave the country. If you lose it, it’s rarely a serious problem, but you’ll have to fill out a new form at border control. Upon entering the country, you will also be given a customs declaration form. Duty is not charged on used personal effects, books and other articles for non-commercial purposes, up to a value of US $300. Make sure you declare any valuable electronic items such as laptop computers, as customs officers can be suspicious that you may be bringing them into the country to sell.
Yellow Dog can assist with travel logistics required for your trip and can recommend you to a preferred travel agent who can help you book airline tickets, hotels, transfers, trip insurance and other travel needs. Contact us at 888-777-5060 for more information.
The Rio Grande River winds through a broad valley of shallow grasses and shrubs that is completely void of any type of trees or willows. The river bottom is mostly comprised of pea-sized gravel with a few large rocks or boulders in between, which means that the river is incredibly easy to wade and cross. Most of the beats are accessed by truck and often the truck is parked within 100 feet of the run or pool. Estancia Despedida’s lodge is only minutes away from the most productive waters on the entire river. A typical day of fishing on the Rio Grande consists of two fishing sessions: a morning session that typically lasts from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM, and another in the afternoon/evening that typically runs from 5:00 PM until well after dark. Breakfast is served at 7:30 AM each morning and anglers depart the lodge by 8:00 AM to begin their fishing day. At 1:00 PM, anglers usually return to the lodge for lunch followed by an afternoon siesta. Everyone returns to the water at 5:00 PM and fishes until 9:30 PM or later. The Rio Grande is noted for being the most consistent sea-run brown trout destination on the planet. With fish that average near 12 pounds and opportunities to find fish in the 30-pound class, this river is truly one-of-a-kind.
The fishing techniques vary on the Rio Grande and many anglers prefer to fish a two-handed rod. The river is not large, however, and single-handed rods can also easily be used. Anglers fish a variety of different flies for the sea-runs, including small nymphs, streamers, and – during certain of the months of the year – large, skated dry flies.
Boats and Equipment
There are no boats used on the Rio Grande, and this is strictly a walk-and-wade destination. The water is slower moving, however, and wading is extremely comfortable and easy on the pea-sized gravel. Each guide uses a four-wheel drive truck to move up and down the river and always parks fairly close to the productive pools. Please contact Yellow Dog to arrange for rental gear if you don’t want to travel with your own.
Yellow Dog’s services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge or outfitter. All prices listed below are per person, based on double occupancy fishing and accommodations, and quoted in US dollars. Trips of any length of stay can be arranged, so please call Yellow Dog for details and custom package pricing.
- Accommodations at Estancia Despedida
- All meals at the lodge
- Local alcoholic beverages (beer and wine) while at the lodge
- Meet and greet at Rio Grande Airport or Ushuaia Airport
- Round trip ground transfers between the Rio Grande Airport or the Ushuaia Airport and lodge
- Professional daily guided fishing
- Airfare to Buenos Aires and Rio Grande or Ushuaia
- Gratuities for guides and staff
- Rods, reels and terminal tackle is not included
- Hard alcohol (bring your own!)
- Fishing license/permits ($300 USD, paid upon arrival in cash)