All You Need to Know About Fly Fishing in Patagonia
- September 14, 2018
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Esquel, Rio Pico and other areas in Chubut Province show a very diverse landscape and geography, offering to the angler a wide variety of different fishing opportunities. Here you can fish quiet spring creeks, small lakes hidden in the deserted patagonian and big fast mountain rivers all in the same week.
Many of the locations where we operate suffer from little fishing pressure, their trout are wild, unselective and they don’t demand for refined sophisticated fishing techniques. On the other hand, some locations as the worldly famous Arroyo Pescado and Rivadavia River suffer the pressure from many anglers every year, so their trout only respond to refined fishing techniques and to a correct imitation of the insects they usually feed on. These places are a challenge.
In this region you can satisfy your appetite for catching unselective wild trout or you can accept the challenge and go for the most elusive trout in Patagonia.
The basic tackle you need to fish these rivers would be a 5 or 6–weight rod, equal reel and a floating line. To try the big fish in certain specific locations we would recommend a 7-weight rod and shooting taper lines or Teeny fly lines.
Many rivers and streams in this area are perfect for using very light tackle (2 or 3-weight rods, equal reels and lines), good size trout are found within casting distance and it is all sight-fishing there.
A basic fly box should carry, among others:
Dry flies: parachute Adams, black gnat, yellow humpy, elk hair caddis, Griffith´s gnat, stimulator, dragonflies.
Terrestrials: hoppers, small flying ants, Chernobyl ants.
Nymphs: bead head prince, copper John, hare’s ear, pheasant tail, midge larva, scuds. Streamers: woolly bugger, black ghost, marabou muddler, rabbits.
Regarding the leaders we follow the basic rules about fly fishing, only in some special places like spring creeks or shallow small lakes we prefer to use long leaders (more than 12 feet long) and to diminish the tippet’s diameter to a 6x or 7x.
Polarized glasses are essential to protect your eyes and to locate fish. Fly dressing, soft lead and strike indicators complete your fishing tackle.
Esquel is one of the wildest fishing destinies in the argentinean Patagonia. It is a place where there are still unnamed streams waiting for someone to discover them and hook their trout for the first time.
Dozens of rivers and lakes await for you offering one of the best quality wild trout fishing in the world.
Enjoy it the same way we do it.
Esquel city is located in the Chubut province, central-south of argentinean Patagonia, close to the Andes. This province, having a very low human population, keeps its rivers and lakes in a pristine state.
High mountains and deep forests crossed by clear water creeks, streams and rivers are distinctive to the West area of the Chubut province. As we move to the East of the province rain percentages decrease abruptly and the huge patagonian steppe is born. Here we find steppe-rivers with their slow water and winding courses, some of them very similar to spring creeks.
The fishing season in the Patagonia starts on 1st November and finishes on 1st May.
Rivers and Lakes
The famous spring creek Arroyo Pescado is a paradigmatic place. According to the moment of the season and the specific hatches going on at that time, we may hook many brown and rainbow trout using hoppers and classic dry flies. But sometimes it may become a challenge for a good nymph angler, having to use number 24 midge pupas. And all of it would be sight fishing. But one thing very important about this place is that it never stops giving us its powerful trout!! This is without a doubt one of the best places in the province.
Only ten kilometres away from Esquel city we find Laguna Willimanco. Its blue water and sandy beaches offer us exciting sight fishing. Here we use adult damselfly patterns or small scuds to deceive its powerful rainbows. When fishing from a raft, chances of catching a really big rainbow improve, and fast retrieved streamers may help us hook the trophy of the trip.
Rio Grande has become Esquel fishing guides´ hobbyhorse, a river which never leaves us empty handed and offers a good variety of fishing conditions. It is a big river which is mainly fished from rafts. The riffles hide good size browns and the banks are full of rainbows feeding on terrestrials which fall from the willows. Warm weather between December and February offers to us excellent all sizes mayfly hatches which we usually fish in back-eddies. But an incredible event to witness in Rio Grande are the caddies hatches, it is very common to find two or three different species of these insects emerging at the same time and dozens of rainbows feeding on them
We know some special places near Esquel city which are perfect for beginners, where dozens of small and medium size trout await for you in unnamed streams in the middle of the patagonian steppe.
Los Alerces National Park: right in the middle of the Andes mountains and covered with native tree forests, it offers a sensational natural environment. The most famous river running inside the Park is the Rivadavia River and the quality of the fishing there is very difficult to match. We can use terrestrials, streamers or match the caddisflies hatches all in the same fishing day in the Rivadavia river. Nymph fishing with midges is outstanding, and the reward can be big, if we master the technique and have a good line control. The majority of the trout here are rainbows with an average weight of 2 to 3 pounds. Occasionally some browns, brookies and even landlocked salmon are captured.
Other privileged places inside the Park are lake Kruger and the Frey river, which are both only accessed by motor boat. Fishing pressure there is almost nonexistent and their waters offer great fishing for beautiful unselective rainbows and browns, all of it surrounded by an amazing landscape.
Laguna Larga: only brown trout populate this stillwater fishery. We fish it from rafts and although we use mostly streamers during the day, the last hour caddisfly hatch may surprise us bringing to the surface every trout in the Laguna. All the trout captured here are good size fish, being very common to land more than 4 pounds browns.
Rio Pico and Corcovado Area: Although this area’s reputation is growing rapidly, many of its rivers and streams are kept almost virgin. The best places are Rio Pampa and Rio Pico, both are inhabited by a big population of voracious and unselective rainbow trout. Also some big browns inhabit those rivers.
Rio Pico offers to the angler its medium size course, its dark and calmed water. On the other hand Las Pampas is a typical mountain stream with a strong slope and a classic succession of riffles and pools. Las Pampas is the most clear example for a trout stream where you will find great sight fishing with dry flies.
It is only walk/wade fishing in these two rivers, we do long day walks and we get big rewards. We fish all these rivers with light tackle, dry flies and nymphs.
Rio Pico area is full of very productive and not too deep lakes and lagunas. These lakes are inhabited by rainbows and browns with an average weight of 4 pounds, but some exceptional trophy trout of more than 12 pounds have been caught here. The best known lake in the area and with the easiest access is lake Tres. Other lakes like lake Dos and Lake Cinco, which are less known by anglers and their accesses are quite difficult, offer to us the beauty and advantage of the wild, deserted and less pressured fishing places.
Corcovado river and Lake Vinter are a hole different story. A big Fall divides the river into two sections, the upper section and the lower section. On the upper section, those anglers willing to cope with the March and April weather, may hook some -more than 4 pounds- impressive brook trout or some really big trophy rainbow trout. These last also inhabiting the upper river in November. This is a place for the angler who’s being after the trophy of a lifetime.
The lower section of the river offers a very different fishing experience, browns and rainbows appear here in greater numbers. The fishing here is mainly done using big attractor dry flies. There are also frequent mayfly and flying ant hatches during the summer, and big browns are usually hooked with streamers in the long and deep riffles.
There are also some lakes and lagunas in this area, two of them are lake Engaño and lake Guacho, famous for holding the brook trout world record. And at last but not less interesting, there are some small unknown creeks in this area which give us the opportunity to hook some of the wildest trout alive whom have never seen a fly before.
Each of these fishing areas offer to the angler a different and unique lodging and services experience. We are not attached to an all-in-one fishing Lodge, so we are free to move from one fishing place to the other following the best fishing according to the time of the season.
The food and lodging experience we offer are of the best quality around, and all of it in what it is still a wild region of the world .
We can offer you from luxury hotels in Esquel city to solitary fishing wood cabins near Lake Kruger which you only access after a two hours motor boat trip.
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Programs Fly Fishing Patagonia