Fly fishing Patagonia, Argentina
In January Jim Cramer and I flew down to Argentina for a week’s fishing at El Encuentro Lodge. Located in the Esquel area of Western Argentina on the Futaleufu River, this family run lodge has been welcoming fly fishermen for three generations. The Beale family, owners of the lodge have an agreement with several other lodges in the Esqual area of Patagonia so we stayed and fished at different locations and several types of water. Jim and I started on private waters on the Rio Pico River and its tributaries, fished spring creeks, the Futaleufu River (also named the Rio Grande). We caught large strong trout everywhere we fished and over 95% on dry flies. This area is a fantastic fishery and we had a great time.
Our guide ‘Nico’ was an excellent companion for the week, hard working and knowledgeable of the area and the fishing. Other guests also praised their guides highly. Fly fishing Argentina in January is great. Its summer there and the weather is like California’s, warm and sunny. The opportunity to fish different locations and types of water added to our enjoyment. Fishing a lot of different places and types of waters on a trip is always an added bonus.
We initially stayed at Tres Valles Fly Fishing Lodge where we fished the Rio Pico and the spring creek that feeds it. After going through multiple different gates and crossing several rancher’s properties we arrived at the Rio Pico. The Rio Pico (small river in Spanish) is a nice river of medium size where we both landed big browns and rainbows. Walking the Riop Pico's spring creeks and tributaries also brought a lot of 18” – 22” heavy and strong fish, again, almost entirely on dry flies. I enjoyed fishing for some of the most beautiful browns in the world, not to mention the view of the mountains. The wind increased throughout the first several days making it difficult to fish dry flies at times. Late in the afternoon of the second day with the wind blowing our lines across the water, Jim switched to a sink-tip line and a sculpin pattern to put a great finish on an otherwise blown out afternoon.
After three days we drove to El Encuentro Lodge on the Futaleufu River. A much larger river with a lot of side channels and islands. I had a problem with my knee so instead of fishing different waters as planned, we drifted the Futaleufo tiver for three days covering different stretches each day. Great fishing, big strong fish and over 95% of them were caught on drys. We hit one stretch in the afternoon where fishing slowed and Jim again brought out a sculpin pattern he calls his ‘Slump Buster’ and he picked up several nice brown trout. Both lodges served excellent food and unlimited Argentinean Malbec Wine… I enjoyed it so much I’m going back next year.
Jim and I won this trip at the Flycaster’s Conservation Dinner. The Beale’s have generously donated a trip for two to El Encuentro Lodge for the last three years supporting our conservation efforts. Not only have they helped us raise money for conservation in California, we had an opportunity to have a great time and get in some excellent Trout fishing in Argentina.