The Patagonia Journal

Fly Fishing Adventure at the End of the World

Trip Planning and Booking Assistance

Fly Fishing Trips in Patagonia

If you’re contemplating an adventure to fly fish in Patagonia, please contact us. We live here, we fish these waters, we write about it, we have stayed in many of the destination lodges and have personally fished with many of the guides. We can help you make the right decisions.

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Patagonia Journal Blog Posts

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Fly Fishing Patagonia Argentina

Fly Fishing Patagonia

Fly fishing Patagonia is the dream of every serious fly casting enthusiast in the world. Fishermen from around the globe venture to the southern reaches of Argentina each season in search of the ultimate challenge in fresh water fly fishing, and brown and rainbow trout of epic proportions.

The fishing legends and photos brought me here many years ago, and the landscapes, people, and endless trout water captured my soul. I came back a second time, and never left. Having abandoned a career and normal life in the northern hemisphere, I now make my home on a quiet mountain side, over-looking gin clear water in the “Lakes Region” of northern Patagonia; and watch the trout rising to the evening hatch from my terrace. It’s an experience that needs to be shared, and I hope you find interesting reading in the regular Blog Posts. Please take a moment to connect with us via email subscription to receive updates when new articles and posts are published.

The available trout water varies from pristine lakes to roaring rivers, with a few small streams and spring creeks thrown in for good measure. All fed with cold snow melt by the towering Andes on the western border with Chile. The landscapes begin with old growth arboreal forests and change to open land with willows lining the river banks, and eventually to open pampa with endless vistas. You will never find boredom here, nor lack views for your photo album.

The trout in Patagonia grow to enormous size, and its best to bring fly gear to accommodate a real pig. Many an angler has ventured south with his favorite 4 weight dry fly rod in hand, and left with it in more pieces than it arrived. Fish can average 17-18 inches in length, and on any giving day you may well hook one in the mid-twenties. Streamers, nymphs, and dry flies all have their place here; and if you have a favorite, you can find water fully suited. You will also find an abundance of multi-lingual guides to help you along the path.

The season typically begins the first of November and runs through early May, with the peak being around the Jan-March time frame. Early season brings aggressive fish, but the weather is a bit more intimidating. Late season offers a chance to fish some of the rivers that harbor monster migratory browns, if you are interested in targeting the trophy of a lifetime.

Fly Fishing Lodges, Outfitters, and Guides

Fly fishing lodges are available with extremely high standards of comfort and services, including many suitable for the entire family with activities to keep everyone very well entertained. Patagonia is known for much more than fishing, and adventurers will find horseback riding, trekking, kayaking, and many other options for diversion if your casting arm wearies.

A number of excellent outfitters can plan very flexible trips to take advantage of changing conditions, or in case you want to explore more than one region of Patagonia during your adventure.

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Contact Us

To contact The Patagonia Journal staff, please send an email To:
managingeditor@patagoniajournal.com

This website is designed to serve the adventure tourism market, and we would be happy to post relevant information on fly fishing, hunting, and other tourism activities related to specific destinations and services, so long as they meet our standards of service and are relevant to readers.

Advertising and custom pages related to your business are very reasonable; please send us a note to inquire. As well, we produce a limited number of Adventure Articles and Destination Reviews each season, so feel free to email regarding any interest in hosting a project.

Saludos,

Memo Stephens
Managing Editor

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Tipiliuke Lodge

Tipiliuke

International caliber Fly Fishing and Hunting destinations are the retreat of choice for the adventurous sportsman. First class lodging, pristine wilderness, and access to world-renowned trout fishing waters and vast tracks of unspoiled hunting range full of Red Stag and European Boar are the expectation. Imagine finding a destination lodge with these qualities in the heart of Patagonia Argentina, nestled within a short driving distance to a Jack Nicklaus design golf course, and a European inspired resort town bordered by mountains, lakes, and full of interesting shops and restaurants for those who like a little variety in their vacation. Now mix in secluded terraces and trails, horseback rides into the mountains, elegant bathrooms with teak floored showers and massive claw-foot tubs, and a sauna and massage center. Did I mention this was in the heart of Patagonia? Welcome to Tipiliuke Lodge.

Tipiliuke Lodge is part of a private estancia, Cerro de los Pinos, near the Austrian inspired resort town of San Martin de los Andes. It holds riches of mountains, valleys, and perhaps most important, about 15 kilometers of the famous Rio Chimehuín within it’s borders. Cerro de los Pinos is a 50,000 acre estancia pioneered and cultivated by an adventurous Frenchman, Santiago de Larminat; and to this day remains under the watchful guardianship of his heirs. The story of their history and that of the estancia is chronicled in a fascinating book, written by Santiago’s grandson Miguel, and available at Amazon:  A Pioneer In Patagonia: The Remarkable Life Of Santiago de Larminat. It’s a place that has been meticulously forested, landscaped, and cultivated for 100+ years into something that feels like a privately held national park. Your hosts, Kevin Tiemersma and his wife Maria Josefina (Mary Jo) will do everything possible to ensure your Patagonian experience is precisely as you imagined.

The Lodge itself is a modern renovation of one of the original structures, and for guests it takes on the sensation of being in a large private home. The main entry welcomes you with a seating area and fireplace, and leads to a well stocked open bar and an ample living area with oversized furnishings and enough seating for a large group. Bay windows look out over a stream and wooded surroundings, and as we discovered during our stay, the floor area may occasionally be cleared to accommodate a late night Tango display. Refreshments and gourmet snacks seem to magically appear in the gathering areas at the right times of day, and for those business travelers who need to stay in contact with the outside world, Wi-Fi is available for your laptop. The one modern appliance you will find noticeably absent is a large television, and this has been left out of the scheme at the direct request of Tipiliuke Lodge’s frequently returning guests. They come here to leave the rest of the world behind. The main lodge has 9 spacious guest rooms, each with views to the natural surroundings, and extremely comfortable beds and furniture. The bathroom in our room was large, open, and elegantly appointed.

For the fly fisherman, the river some consider the holy grail of Patagonia, the Chimehuín, is literally only moments from the lodge; as fully 15 kilometers of it winds through Cerro de los Pinos, and you will have private access to wade extraordinary sections of the river with a guide to assist. The Manager of Tipiliuke Lodge, Kevin Tiemersma, is a true Chimehuín expert, and authored the section on the Rio Chimehuín in a book called Fly Fishing the Best Rivers of Patagonia Argentina (Spanish Edition).

No need to rush out of bed before dawn and gulp hot coffee during a one hour drive to your fishing destination; take your time, have a nice breakfast in the dining area, and discuss your fishing interests for the day with your guide. You will still be in the water quite early and have all the fishing excitement you want, and then be only minutes from the lodge and a hot gourmet lunch early in the afternoon. Fishing during the hottest part of the afternoon usually slows anyway, so I prefer to come back for a short siesta and then make it back out for the evening hatch. Another unique opportunity at Tipiliuke is perhaps the only private spring creek fishery in Argentina. I spent one evening by myself working around the headwater pond and then slowly creeping along the stream and casting into the multiple riffles and pools and was rewarded with a number of beautiful brown trout.

Mid March through May is the time to come to Tipiliuke Lodge to chase European Red Stag and Boar, which are plentiful on this estancia; and if you are here in May you can take a crack at an abundant population of California Quail and Snipe. Seasoned guides and gauchos stand ready to lead you to game.

Perhaps the thing that struck us most about Tipiliuke Lodge was the diversity of the other guests. Whereas at other destinations you may encounter only groups of hard-core outdoorsman, Tipiliuke provides possibilities for the entire family. World-class fly fishing, hunting, horseback rides, hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, sauna and massage, golf, and shopping in nearby San Martin de Los Andes can keep almost anyone sufficiently entertained or relaxed, as the case may be. We found ourselves sharing the evening dinner table with entire families from the northern hemisphere, who come back to Tipiliuke year after year and had endless stories involving every aspect of the activities available.

Some of these activities require an article on their own, such as fly fishing the Chimehuín, so look for a more detailed article in the near future. But in the mean time, if you are looking for a destination lodge in Argentina that can satisfy both the expert outdoorsman and a family with varied interests, then Tipiliuke Lodge should be on your list.

We can assist you with booking your own trip to experience the magic of Patagonia at Tipiliuke. Please fill out the form below and we will contact you soon will information and available dates.

Carrileufu Valley Lodge

Fly fishing at Carrileufu Valley Lodge in Argentina

About 3 hours south of San Carlos de Bariloche in Patagonia Argentina, is a sleepy little town called Cholila, in which the humble ranch house of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid still stands as a remnant of their attempt at a peaceful existence. But just beyond the outlaws’ hideaway, lies one of the most scenic of Argentina fly fishing destinations; with multiple river and lake watersheds and spectacular Los Alerces National Park, and all within a moment’s reach of Carrileufu Valley Lodge.

Carrileufu Valley Lodge offers a wide array of activities; but make no mistake, this is a fly fisherman’s lodge. It’s comfortable, (bordering on classic mountain luxury in the main living area); but lacks any sense of pretension. It’s the kind of place where you can sit with companions and enjoy a five star meal, then fill a glass with fine single-malt and ease back into a leather chair in front of the huge fireplace, smoke a cigar, and be yourself. Even after long days of fly fishing, I found myself lingering in exactly that mode until the wee hours of the morning, sharing stories and laughter with new found friends. Lodge owner, Pancho Panzer, has taken an extraordinary location and crafted an environment that harkens back to days gone by. I read countless stories as a boy describing the old private fishing lodges tucked away in the Adirondacks, where fishermen from the big cities came to enjoy a respite from their daily lives and find peace in nature; Carrileufu Valley Lodge brought that vision to life for me.

The main living area of the lodge is open and spacious, and offers several seating areas for those who wish to mingle, or find a little solitude. Classic leather furniture and antique fixtures fill the floor level below a towering ceiling and enormous main roof beams chiseled from old growth cypress. An ancient carpentry table has been converted to serve as a bar (nicely stocked), and a good variety of Argentine wines fill several storage racks behind. There is very little you could wish for that won’t be found in this collection; and the varietals are carefully matched with gourmet offerings in the evening. The staff at Carrileufu Valley Lodge is adept at providing high levels of service, and yet remaining almost invisible as they attend to details. They pay close attention to guests’ preferences for beverages, breakfast, etc., and each day that passes brings a more personalized experience.
Five private rooms are accessed down a long hallway, each with a view of the beautiful green lawn in front, and horse pasture slightly beyond. Rooms may have either two single beds for double occupancy, or a large single; and each has a private bath room. Naturally, there are sufficient hooks for your gear outside of each room, and outside the main lodge for wet waders and boots. And for those of you who just can’t quite let go of the rest of the world when you should be relaxing, internet service with Wi-Fi is available.

Fly fishing the rivers of southern Patagonia

So that’s enough about the comfort factor; now let’s get to the heart of it, the fishing. The lodge lays almost dead center of a stunning valley that includes Lago Cholila, Rio Carrileufu, Lago Rivadavia, Rio Rivadavia, Lago Verde, and on and on until the chain pierces the Chilean border and makes its way to the Pacific Ocean. The point is, there is an astonishing variety of world-class fishing surrounding Carrileufu Valley Lodge. I had taken it on good authority from my friend, Willy Ricigliano, (guide, outfitter, master rod builder and casting instructor), that this area would offer untold adventure and rewards; and true to Willy’s word, it didn’t disappoint. The landscape in this part of Patagonia differs greatly from the north, and begins to more closely resemble the old growth forests across the border. Beautiful old Cypress, Coihue (pronounced Coy-Way), and countless other species that I can’t recall fill the hills down to the river’s edge. One of the noticeable differences related to this tree cover, is that trees this size occasional find their way into the rivers, and provide brilliant cover for large trout. The waters here are gin clear, and ambush cover something of a luxury for 4-6 kilo brown trout and rainbows; and being able to see them bolt from cover and smash a fly is a heart throbbing event.

Pancho and his team of guides have been living, fishing, and guiding in this area for decades; and have the on-water experience to keep you in the action. During my stay, I had the chance to fish with guide, Diego Raimondi, and was thoroughly impressed with his local knowledge and passion for fly fishing. Over a two and a half day stay, we fished four completely different areas; including wading riffles, floating the middle section of the Carrileufu, hiking into a beautiful spring creek inside Los Alerces National Park, and finally floating the entire length of the Rio Rivadavia. These waters all offer something unique for the travelling fly fisherman in terms of method and terminal tackle. Most of you know by now that I’m a junkie for throwing full sink line and ripping streamers (quite successfully I might add); but in many of these rivers my fishing companion Willy was making work-of-art presentations with dry flies and taking some really nice fish. We floated a middle section of the Rio Carrileufu one afternoon, and I landed one after another, including an astonishing brown trout that rivaled the best I’ve ever landed. An hour later, I landed a football sized rainbow trout, and was so completely satisfied that I cut off my fly and retired it to the box, and spent the rest of the float taking pictures of Willy and Diego and sipping a cold beer.

People venture to the End of the World for many reasons; but some have an intent focus on fly fishing, and care little for how close the nearest golf course, spa, or shopping center is located. If this matches your intent, then Carrileufu Valley Lodge may be just the place to provide that old world experience and endless fly casting opportunities you dream of.

We can help book your fly fishing adventure at Carrileufu Valley Lodge. Please send us a little information in the contact form below, and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

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Tres Rios Fly Fishing and Adventure

 

Fly Fishing in Patagonia Chile

Some of my best adventures frequently generate memories of more than just great fly fishing or hunting. Admittedly, I enjoy small, intimate lodge operations where I have the opportunity to connect more closely with the people I’m spending time with.
Tres Rios Lodge in Patagonia Chile is such a place.

Owned and operated by John Joy and his wife Teresa, Tres Rios is by design, a family run Fly Fishing Guide business that focuses on providing extraordinary service to their clients.
Tres Rios Lodge is reached by easy flights into the town of Puerto Montt, Chile; and Lan has several flights per day to Patagonia out of Santiago. John will usually pick you up in person at the airport and you’ll have an hour driving time to get to know each other on the way to his lodge. The most unique scene in Puerto Montt is the fish market at Angelmo and John will take you there if you’d like to see and photograph the interesting assortment of saltwater fish, shellfish, and other colorful local market items . You’ll go through the small lake front town of Puerto Varas, where your non-fishing companions can find a little shopping and tourism fun if desired; and then follow the beautiful lake coastline to the lodge.
The Lodge itself is comfortable, typically Chilean in style, and newly built in 2003. It sits in the middle of a secluded 5 acre parcel, high on a hillside that sits across from the extinct volcano Osorno, surrounded by quickly maturing gardens of flowering shrubs, and fruits that Teresa uses to hand make extraordinary culinary pleasures. And between the lodge and Osorno is lake Llanquihue (pronounced – yan-kee-way). The main lodge has a nicely furnished dining room with a beautiful view of the volcano; a comfortable living/social area; and two private guest rooms upstairs with private bathrooms. A short walk from the main house is a private cabin with spacious sleeping quarters downstairs (and a more luxurious bed than I am used to finding in a 5-star hotel), a loft upstairs, and a well equipped bathroom. Perfect for the family, or a couple that prefers a little privacy away from the main lodge. To say it’s comfortable, is a significant understatement. Tres Rios is the perfect place for small groups, up to 6 total including anglers and companions.
You awake in the morning, after a blissfully quiet night to look out a large window in the cabin and see the volcano staring back at you. Sit outside on the deck with a morning coffee and watch dozens of Andean hummingbirds dancing around 20 foot tall Fuscia trees in front. When you are ready for breakfast, walk up to the main house and prepare for the first big surprise; Teresa is a serious gourmet cook. Every meal you eat at Tres Rios, be it breakfast, lunch on the river, and dinner back at the lodge, will be beyond anything you expected. My wife Cinzia is a finicky eater; and even she couldn’t stop talking about the quality of our meals for a month after we returned home. Teresa makes breakfast to order, and usually starts

asking about your favorite things so she can prepare a unique menu for the next day; don’t expect any pre-boxed “Happy Meals” here, its all made daily from scratch. For all of you out there who have spent days afield with a guide, and had the misfortune of seeing him pull a package of bologna and stale loaf bread from the cooler; fear not. When the mood to stop catching fish and eat a little strikes you, John will start by teasing you with locally made delicacies like fresh cheeses and traditional German salamis on crackers, and let you wash it down with a beer, soft drink, or maybe an excellent Chilean wine if you like. Then he brings out the big guns; hot thermoses stuffed with Teresa’s famous Chicken Wings in wine sauce; Kibe Meatballs; or maybe a nice Pasta Salad with fresh Razor Clams or Smoked Salmon sandwiches. The list is endless; and its all spectacular. When you get back to the lodge, you’ll find appetizers waiting to keep the hunger pangs away until dinner. Teresa has become famous in her own right for home-made Guacamole, and a hot Artichoke dip that makes you forget that you came here for the fly fishing. Wash it all down with selections of wine, whiskey, or (my favorite) Teresa’s proprietary Pisco Sours.
The Fishing

Fly fishing in Chile

The interesting thing about fishing this part of Chile, is the diverse nature of different rivers and lakes that are available to you in reasonably close proximity. I’ll hit on a couple of these, but let’s start with the closest; Rio Petrohue. The Petrohue flows directly from Lago Todos Los Santos, and the upper section is fast; Class 3 white-water fast in places, and runs deep and green. John and I have fished this section of the Petrohue many times together, and the only other people I ever saw on the river were white-water kayakers. It winds through shallow canyons, with dense tree cover to the water’s edge. There are big fish in this section of the river, and John may be the only person who can take you there; in fact, as of my last visit to Tres Rios Lodge, he was still the only guide who fished the upper section of Rio Petrohue. The only way to safely run and fish this type of water is with a large cataraft; which he just happens to have. He gets a bit of a gleam in his eye when you suggest fishing there, because he’s a genuine adventurer at heart, and this is serious fun; …if you’re up to it. It’s Run-and-Gun style casting with 200 grain sin k tip, and big streamers; and the fish in this part of the river are opportunistic carnivores. When they strike, they do it with serious intent to do harm. You’ll want at least a fast 6 weight fly rod in your hands here, and a 7 might be better. I’ll tell you why a little further on. My wife has joined me on this run a couple of times solely for the fun. She enjoys riding in the back seat of the cataraft, with a waterproof camera in hand, mixing photography with fast water fun.

As you enter the middle section of Rio Petrohue, it slows and widens, slightly. You have a little more time to pick your casting targets and react, and there are nice sections where you might stop and wade fish it to cover the water more thoroughly. Its in this part of the Pet that having a stronger fly fishing rod can pay off; because broad shouldered brown trout and even a few salmon are not uncommon. I was here with John one December afternoon, only 500 yards from where we were going to pull out, making a few half-hearted casts at the end of an action-packed day. A 12 inch Rainbow came up and snapped my Butt-Monkey,and I started line stripping him in for a quick release. Just as I brought him to the side of the boat, a torpedo sized Brown Trout came up from the depths and grabbed him sideways in his mouth like a Rottweiler snatching a chicken leg off the table; then turned and plunged straight for Hades. About four seconds of screaming folly ended with a loud snap. It still haunts me today, and keeps me dreaming about the Petrohue.

For something a little different, John might decide to take you to the Rio Maullin (Mau-ssheen). For all the world, it reminded me of my childhood years, bass fishing in small tropical tributaries of the St. Johns river in Florida. Its close-quarters, technical fishing while slowly drifting in the boat; but there are monsters waiting in this little river, and John knows where to find them. The water has an almost tannic look to it (the result of a vegetation strainer several miles upstream so thick even canoes can’t pass); completely different from the clear jade waters of the Petrohue. An eight and a half foot rod might be better in these tight conditions, but you don’t want to give up power either; all kidding aside, there are really big fish here. I stayed with my 9 foot 5 weight, and learned to make shorter, side stroke casts around structure.
I could continue to expand on waters that reside very close to Tres Rios Lodge, but it would be only part of the story. As I mentioned before, John is a bit of an adventurer; and he loves to take clients to other parts of Southern Chile to places that he helped pioneer almost 20 years ago. John traveled through Chile back in 1976, when Pinochet was still in power; going from one mountain village to the next by local bus. He returned for several seasons in the early 90’s looking for fly fishing heaven from Temuco to Tierra del Fuego; riding into the mountains on logging trucks, and venturing by horse and hiking deep into the unexplored river country in search of virgin water. He has now expanded his exploration transport mode, and frequently takes his more adventurous clients into remote water by helicopter. For others, he has an almost unlimited number of locations throughout Patagonia to satisfy fly fisherman, and will custom design trips to meet your expectations.
Moving past the endless stories of fly fishing heaven, and Teresa’s sensational cuisine; I think perhaps the most important thought to convey about Tres Rios Lodge, is the way you feel when you are preparing to leave. The first time that we stayed with John and Teresa, my wife and I both felt like we were leaving the home of a family member or close friend, and wished our vacation could have been a little longer; we were not ready to go. I have fished with many guides in my life, and stayed many places; but when the trip ends, it usually feels the same way to me, a very commercial sensation. Tres Rios Lodge is different; John and Teresa relate to people in a manner that seems to typify Patagonia; warm, generous, and with good humor, and you will carry that feeling home with you, where ever home may be.

We can assist you with booking your own adventure to Tres Rios Fly Fishing. Please provide a little information in the form below, and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

 

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