Posts Tagged ‘rio grande’

Being the 8th largest country in the world, Argentina offers an incredible diversity of angling options. This is in part what makes deciding where to fish in a limited amount of time such a difficult proposition. Imagine coming to the US for the first time & only having 3 weeks to experience the best of what our country has to offer. Do you target trout, steelhead, tarpon, redfish, salmon, bass or some combination of the above? And where? When? With which guides? The possibilities are mind-boggling.

Argentina challenges us with  a similar dilemma (if you call too many fishing options a dilemma). For the sake of brevity, there are essentially 3 target species found within Argentina, and they inhabit different corners of the country:

  • In the north, Dorado occupy the Rio de la Plata basin, and are unique to this watershed.  Dorado is arguably one of the best freshwater flyrod species on earth, though they remain relatively unknown to many foreign anglers.
  • In northern/central Patagonia, multitudes of pristine rivers & lakes provide habitat for robust populations of brown, rainbow and brook trout. This is the most popular destination among visiting anglers.
  • In southern Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego, the world’s best runs of sea trout (i.e. anadromous brown trout), draw anglers from around the globe to brave the elements for a chance at 20 + pounders.

To experience all of these fisheries would be much like fishing for tarpon in Florida, steelhead in Alaska, and trout in Montana all in one fell swoop. It’s the ultimate fishing itinerary, and requires a minimum of 3 weeks to pull it off without cutting yourself short in any one destination. Trips like this are my favorite to plan because they are a non-stop, whirlwind fishing adventure hard to top. I had the pleasure of doing exactly that for Trent & Ken from Anchorage, Alaska.   One week & Patagonia, another in Tierra del Fuego, and a few days of Dorado fishing to top it off. Here are some pictures they just sent me of their trip:


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Some more pics from the Rio Grande:

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Villa Maria lodge’s Fishing report :

Week: 12th to 19th of March:

Straight from the horse’s mouth:

This week we have welcomed a group composed of 4 anglers, two austrians, Mr Andreas Bachler and Mr Gerard Hoerl, one american and old friend Mr Jim Monguillo and Mr Hugh Chesternon from UK.

We had another good week at Villa Maria altough the fishing was tough. Anglers and guides worked very hard to find the fish  due to the difficult conditions. In terms of numbers we hooked 73 fish and landed 46 fish! The size of the fish keep on improving, this week we had an average weight of  10 pounds. The fishing was very irregular, some good sesions followed by some very poor ones. But despite the difficult conditions, we managed to catch three 24 pounders, one 26  and one 26,5 pounders!! And 4 of this huge fish were caught in the last session of the week, on Thursday evening, what a way to finish the week guys! Best award for the hard work anglers that fished with us this week. Well done guys!

We fished mostly with skaggit lines with type 8 tip or15 feet of T14 and teeny 300 in the single hand rods, depending on the water temperature, fish mood and the pools. We had a couple of morning with very cold water, 5 degree celsius! And the water was never warmer than 10 degrees. So we followed the rule of cold water conditions: to fish deep and slow. The most successful flies were the tube flies like the collie dog or sunray shadow, leeches and rubber legs.

All  the big fish we caught this week were very fresh, that means that there are still some big fresh fish coimng into the river. We also hooked and lost some really big fish, the huge monsters are waking up and everything can happen the following weeks….

By Alejandro Bianchetti

Fishing Manager

Villa Maria Lodge.

In terms of numbers:

46 fish caught for 6 rods;

Average fish per rod: 1,92

The best day we landed 13 fish with 4 rods.

Biggest fish: 26,5 pounds caught by Gerard Hoerl

6 fish over 20 pounds, and 7 over 15 pounds;

The average weight was 10,05 pounds;

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Here’s some more photos from our week of sea trout fishing on the Rio Grande.

Mil gracias to our guides, Ale, Jorge & Lucas, to Sebas for the incredible food, and Valeria for her hospitality!

For more information on booking for 2011, drop us a line at Info@FarawayFlyFishing.com

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Fishing the Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego is often an emotional rollercoaster – it can be exciting, frustrating, humbling, and immensely gratifying all at once.  Break off a big fish or have a couple days of poor fishing and one begins to feel despondent and full of self-doubt. Just when things are beginning to look futile, in a blink of an eye a 20 pound sea trout appears out of nowhere and takes your fly on its 500th cast. All of a sudden adrenaline is pulsing through your veins and your heart is beating at 500bpm. You’re simultaneously thrilled yet horrified at the thought of losing what you have worked so hard and traveled so long for. At these moments one ceases to think, and becomes an animal of pure emotion.  After several tense minutes, which seem like an eternity, the fish is finally in the net and ecstatic celebration, hugs and high-fives replace what just a few minutes ago was nothing but cold feet and the building mental toll of yet another fish-less cast. These are the impassioned moments that every fisherman seeks to experience at least once in their angling careers, and we go to great lengths to achieve it. Steelheaders, permit fisherman, or anyone who pursues difficult fish can relate well to this.

True to form, the Rio Grande provided these emotional angling moments in spades during my week-long stay at Villa Maria Lodge on the lower river. I was with a great group of guys – Calvin & Jim Fuller from Washington, Trent & Ken from Alaska, and Peter and John from the UK. I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of chaps (to use Peter’s vocabulary).

Jim, a nuclear physicist and nuclear weapons security specialist, is also an avid fisherman and this was his first trip to Argentina. He probably had one of the most bittersweet weeks in Rio Grande history. Now, Jim is no slouch of a fisherman, and has more than his fair share of big fish under his belt. But everything is relative, and fishing for a week alongside his angling prodigy of a son, Calvin, makes even a seasoned veteran start to doubt himself. I have known and fished with Calvin since college, and he is definitely one of the best casters and fisherman I have had the privilege of knowing. Like the star of a sports team, he seems to make everyone around him fish better, and even the guides start to study what he’s doing to try to glean some sort of insight. He’s just a super fishy dude. Period.

But, if you have to fish with him for a week and everyday he’s hooking fish left and right, while you continually come up empty-handed using the exact same fly and line, it can become pretty frustrating. Such was the case with Jim. After nearly 6 days of fishing, he had lost several very large fish, landed only one decent one, and had a handful of smaller fish to hand. Several sessions were complete skunks. Calvin, meanwhile, was having very consistent action and already had a number big fish in the net. Granted, Jim was quite happy for his son’s success, but the week’s fishing was going to be a personal bust for him. He had entered the humbling and frustrating depths of the Rio Grande, and couldn’t get out.

Game 7, bottom of the 9th. Last day, last session. He needed to hit one out of the park in a big way, and we were all rooting for him.  3rd cast into the last pool of the evening, and BAM, his chartreuse leech gets slammed. It was obviously a nice fish, and Calvin, our guide Ale, and I, were all silently praying to the fish gods that it wouldn’t come unbuttoned.   Not a word was uttered. The silence and tension were palpable,  much like the crowd when a well-hit ball seems to hang in the air for an eternity before it finally and definitively sails over the fence. The fish was in the net! The crowd goes wild.  And, in a bittersweet end to a roller coaster week, it turned out to be the biggest fish of the week. 32 x 23, and 24-25 pounds on the scale. An absolute pig of a brown trout, and one of the fattest and healthiest fish any of us had ever seen.  One fish completely changed the entire trip, and made for an unforgettable week. This is the power of the Rio Grande, and why it continues to be one of the most coveted angling destinations in the world.

Ken, our comic relief from Alaska, had an almost identical experience, and also came through with a nice 21 pound chromer on the last day, which coincidentally was caught in the same pool where Jim got his several hours later. Talk about clutch players! Ken got his in the morning, however, so he didn’t have the same urgency as Jim and spent his last evening celebrating on the river by downing more than a few Quilmes. Here are a few pictures from the week:

We are already booking for 2011, so if you are thinking about possibly experiencing the Rio Grande rollercoaster for yourself, drop us a line at:


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After very high water that rendered the Rio Grande completely unfishable, the river has come back into shape beautifully and the fishing has been incredible. For the next week our so I’ll be plying it’s coveted waters at Villa Maria Lodge after a two year hiatus, and it looks like my timing couldn’t have been better! Even having guided on the river before, I still find myself getting pre-fishing trip jitters – fitful nights constantly preoccupied in anticipation of that narcotic feeling when your line suddenly comes tight to a 20+ pound brown after a perfect spey cast. As metalheads like to say, “the tug is the drug”, and i’m starting to get flashbacks. The Rio Grande truly is an unequaled place anywhere in the world. Stay tuned for what could be the most explosive fishing of the season!

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