Fly Fishing

Patagonian fish

Home 24.08.2023

Fish of sport value from Continental Patagonia.

Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

It is the trout with the largest distribution in Patagonia. There is an anadromous variety in the Santa Cruz River that migrates to the sea for feeding purposes. It is distinguished by the wide purple band that it has on each of its flanks. Its back is olive green and silvery on the sides, turning white on the belly. It has rounded black spots on almost the entire body and its dorsal and caudal fins are profusely speckled. When they live in lakes they take on a darker color on the back, silvery flanks and white belly. Their diet is varied, feeding mainly on invertebrates.

Brown trout (Salmo trutta)

It is the one that reaches the largest sizes (eg 16.3 kg in Lake Nahuel Huapi). In the Rio Grande, Tierra del Fuego, 7 world records have been approved, on a variety that migrates to the sea. It is characterized by its golden coloration; brown back, silver flanks and yellowish belly. Orange mottling on flanks and dark blotches with slightly pale halo on sides to well below lateral line, back, and opercula. Generally, the adipose fin is orange in color and the caudal fin has few spots and is generally in the upper lobe. It has a varied diet and is extremely voracious, capturing invertebrates, fish, birds and rodents.

Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)

It is the most showy trout due to its remarkable coloration. It has an olive green back with irregular yellow-green spots. The pectoral, pelvic, anal, and caudal fins have a white front end edged in black. On its flanks it has red spots, often surrounded by a bluish halo. The body is covered with very small scales. It inhabits the coldest waters which have a poor fauna that limits its growth. However, in more productive environments, it is common to find sizes that exceed 4 kg. It feeds on a wide variety of invertebrates.

Lake trout or mouth trout (Salvelinus namaycush)

Present only in the Argentino and Burmeister lake basins. It is a very voracious fish with marked cannibalism. It reaches very large sizes, which sometimes exceed 20 kg. It is less combative than the other trout, which is why it is not so appreciated for sport. It reproduces well in lentic environments (lakes and lagoons) in deep areas, without depending on rivers or streams.

Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.)

They appear in some basins that drain into the Pacific (eg Río Pico, Corcovado, Futaleufu, Lake Pueyrredón, Lake Buenos Aires and Lago Puelo) and Atlantic (eg Río Santa Cruz). They are semelparous anadromous species, that is, they die after reproducing in fresh water. Their high growth rates in the sea make them very attractive for fishing. Specimens that easily exceed 20 kg have been captured. They feed on small invertebrates and later mainly on fish and marine crustaceans.

Patagonian silverside (Odontesthes hatcheri)

It has a slender, very hydrodynamic and fusiform shape. It has two dorsal fins, the second non-adipose with rays, a protractile mouth and a silver band on both flanks. It basically feeds on large crustaceans. Pure populations are found in some environments in the provinces of Chubut, Neuquén and Río Negro. In some cases it coexists with the introduced silverside from Buenos Aires or white silverside (Odontesthes bonariensis), producing crosses between them. The Patagonian silverside is more robust and dark, reaching smaller sizes.

Perch (Percichthys trout)

It is native in Patagonian waters and part of Cuyo. In Argentine Patagonia, three species have been described, although recent studies speak of only one species. It has a dorsal fin with an anterior part with spines and a posterior part with soft rays. It has large scales, a protractile mouth, the body is golden brown with more or less dark spots. This color may vary depending on the environment. They swim slowly with efficient use of the paired fins as oars that allow them to stop abruptly when required. It is protected in the areas of National Parks, except in the Laguna Blanca National Park, where it was introduced, currently presenting an overpopulation that severely affects the environment.

Carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Originally from Asian countries, it was introduced as food and pond ornament almost everywhere in the world. In Patagonia it was accidentally introduced by an overflow of the Salado River. It has an omnivorous diet and performs a fund removal action that causes a severe impact on the environments. For this reason, in Patagonia its fishing is encouraged without limit of collection.

Native fish with special protection and mandatory return throughout Patagonia.

Autumn Catfish (Diplomystes viedmensis)

It has a single pair of chin whiskers, a body without scales, and two dorsal fins, the adipose one very large. The mouth is wide and opens slightly downwards. The color is grayish with dark spots on the back and the belly without cream-colored spots. The adult can exceed 35 cm. full length. It is a species that lives at the bottom of rivers and lakes and feeds on crustaceans, leeches and aquatic insects.

Torrent Catfish (Hatcheria macraei)

It is a small fish that does not exceed 15 cm in length and does not have scales. It has three pairs of barbels and has spines on the operculums. It has a single dorsal fin on the posterior half of the body and lacks an adipose fin. The general color is brown to olive with the back darker than the belly and irregular black spots. It inhabits rivers and lakes in Patagonia where it feeds on bottom organisms, mainly insect larvae.

Puyen Grande (Galaxias platei)

It is a fish that can reach a kilogram in weight and exceed 35 cm in length, it lacks scales and does not have barbels. It has a single dorsal fin located on the back of the back facing the anal fin. The coloration is dark greenish with a cream-colored belly, although it varies depending on the environment. Juveniles swim in schools but as they grow they become benthic and solitary, remaining hidden on rocky bottoms or with submerged trunks. It is a carnivorous species that consumes bottom organisms such as amphipods and aquatic insects. It inhabits rivers, streams, mountain lakes and lagoons very rich in steppe nutrients.

Small Puyen (Galaxias maculatus)

It is a small fish that rarely exceeds 10 cm in length. It lacks barbels and its body does not have scales, it has a single dorsal fin that starts at the level of the anal fin. Its body is stylized, its trunk is rounded and it has a characteristic pattern of spots on its back. It is frequently observed swimming in schools on the shoreline of the lakes. Juveniles form large schools and perform important migrations. They live in rivers and lakes where they feed on small aquatic invertebrates.

Sugared almonds (Aplochiton spp.)

Sugared almonds have two dorsal fins, the second is adipose and scaleless. The body is usually tapered with vertical bands on its flanks, dark in color, the mouth is short, the snout is rounded, and the eyes are large. They live in lakes and rivers and the juveniles swim in schools in the littoral zone. They are carnivorous, feeding mainly on insect larvae.

Lampreys (Geotria spp.)

Lampreys are vertebrates that, unlike other bony fish, lack jaws, gill slits, gill slits, and paired fins. The body lacks scales and is cylindrical, being able to exceed 50 cm in length in the adult. They have dorsal fins and/or caudal fin. They have a single median nasal opening and seven pairs of gill holes. They have a rounded mouth that forms a sucking disk with teeth or horny plates with which it attaches to the host from which it obtains tissue remains and blood (they are parasites of other marine fish). Lampreys migrate to freshwater to spawn where they die after reproducing. The larvae live for two to five years in the river in fresh water, feeding on single-celled organisms, algae, and detritus. They then become adults and migrate to the sea, where they continue to grow for a few more years until reproductive maturity.

Snook (Eleginops maclovinus)

It inhabits shallow marine coasts and estuarine areas, and can also venture into rivers. It has a fusiform body, robust and slightly compressed laterally. Its body is covered with highly visible scales that give it a blue color turning to a darker gray on the back, with lighter flanks up to a silvery gray on the belly. It has a single lateral line that distinguishes it. It has two dorsal fins, the first smaller and triangular, the second extending from just before the middle of the body and almost to the caudal fin, with the first rays higher. The caudal and pectoral fins are grey, while the ventral and anal fins are white. Its head is small in relation to the body, with a mouth with thin lips in a terminal position that does not go beyond the front edge of the eyes. It feeds mainly on invertebrates.