TREVELIN & ESQUEL REGION
Waters in this area are as varied as the countryside, and there are many different kinds of creeks, lakes and rivers, which all contain excellent numbers of wild trout. Some of the rivers are large and carry a substantial volume of water year round; others are small and intimate and require a stealthy approach; and others offer miles to walk and fish large attractor patterns. About half of the area rivers can be floated while the other half are perfect to wade. The area is one of the most visually stunning in Argentina and home to PRG Lodge at Trevelin – PRG’s base of operations. Click on the image of the MAP for a larger version.
LOS ALERCES NATIONAL PARK
Los Alerces National Park was formed to protect one the last stands of giant sequoia trees in Patagonia. The Park encompasses more than 500,000 acres and contains an incredible river/lake system with over two dozen rivers and lakes. Most of the national park is rarely touched because of the limited access on just the eastern edge, and access to the best fishing requires an expert guide and great equipment.
The ecosystem is almost exclusively temperate rainforest (Valdivian Rainforest to be exact) making it different than most of the drier parts of Patagonia. Trout were planted here in 1964 and they have flourished. You can catch rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, and even land locked salmon in the emerald colored waters and sight fishing is the norm. The visibility of the water is astounding and in most rivers, every fish can be spotted before you cast. Get off the beaten path a little bit and anglers will find fish that will confidently swallow size four dry flies.
The Arrayanes River connects Lago Verde to Lago Futalaufquen. The slow and deep river stretches about four miles and offers some exciting fishing mostly in the early season (Nov-Jan). The river is named for the strange trees with orange bark and snarled branches (resembling manzanitas). The most exciting way to fish is to sight cast dry flies to cruising rainbows suspended just under the surface or pull streamers on sink tip lines to find the large browns. You won’t believe the distance a fish will move for a dry fly and how slow they eat your fly! It is a good choice when the conditions are right.
The Frey is the largest river in the park and one of the most remote. You will have to cross two lakes to get there, which means the river has much less pressure and eager fish. The river is incredibly difficult to access from shore so floating is the only choice. You’ll like fishing the Frey and the journey to get there is part of the special program.
The Carrileufu originates just outside the National Park and flows through the northern border. It is best known for early-season landlocked atlantic salmon; however, it also holds hard fighting browns and rainbows. This beautiful river with some of the clearest water on earth flows from Lago Cholila through the dry Cholila Valley, once home to Butch Cassidy. The river eventually flows into Lago Rivadavia and is the source of the Rivadavia River. Early in the season (Nov-Jan) is best and floating is the best way to access the river.
RIO PICO AREA
The Rio Pico is a willow-lined stream that is entirely spring fed in its upper reaches and fed by the Rio Nielson and Rio Las Pampas in its lower reaches. Access is challenging but rewarding and normally requires some hiking and walking. You have the possibility to catch some large fish in this small river. There are both rainbows and browns in the Pico and some of large size. Walking the bank is the only way to fish this river until it picks up tributaries toward the Chilean border and has enough water to float.
The Nielson is a delightful river filled with mid-sized rainbows and some larger browns. It is a great place to fish dry flies to eager fish while walking through the vast ranches in the area. This is a perfect size freestone stream that offers miles of riffles and pools to walk and spot fish.
Named after the frontier town of Las Pampas, this river is very similar to the Nielson and offers great wade fishing in a remote setting. Walking the bank and spotting fish seems to net the bigger trout while blind casting will keep you and your dry fly occupied.
San Martin & Junin de los Andes Area
Many of the northern rivers have daily hatches and daily fishing opportunities can choices are exciting. Most of the best waters are on private estancias protected by large tracks of land, but just about anywhere you can get to the water will produce beautiful rainbows and brown trout. In addition, the area is beautiful and the town of San Martin de los Andes is one of the most charming towns in all of South America, an ideal location to base a flyfishing adventure.