Best Fly Fishing in Patagonia

Patagonia Rivers


Where can you fish in Argentina?

Argentina is the 8th largest country in the world, so you can imagine, there are a lot of places to fish! In Patagonia, there are endless rivers and lakes that provide some of the world’s best trout fishing. Spring creeks, tailwaters, freestone rivers, glacial rivers, and lakes are all scattered throughout the country. There are also a variety of climates in Patagonia, making these fisheries incredibly diverse.

At Patagonia River Guides, we focus on fishing three very productive and diverse regions: Trevelin & Esquel (access to Los Alerces National Park), Rio Pico, and San Martin de los Andes. Each region we fish showcases a different and beautiful side of Argentina, but one thing they all have in common is the world-class trout fishing.


The Esquel or Trevelin region resembles fishing in the American west in many ways, but the water and the way it flows through the Andes Mountains is unique just to this region. Rivers in this area originate from snowpack from in the Andes Mountains or from spring creeks born in Patagonia Steppe.  Unique to this region, all rivers except for the Arroyo Pescado, Tecka, and Chubut flow west – through the Andes – to join the Pacific Ocean and not the Atlantic like many other rivers in Argentina.

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.

The Rio Grande is one of Argentina’s most prolific and beautiful trout streams. It is a large river containing plenty of flat water (for rising fish!), riffles and deep pools all of which give you a chance to try different techniques and to catch good numbers of fish on dry flies. The Rio Grande is one of the best terrestrial fishing rivers in Patagonia, and is our home water in the Trevelin Area. The PRG Lodge at Trevelin lies fifteen minutes from the upper reaches. From our lodge, we float severl different sections all with varied water and fishing conditions. The average fish is 16 to 20 inches and it is not uncommon to boat 20 fish per person per day here.

The Arroyo Pescado is easily one of the best spring creeks in the world! It is situated about thirty minutes east of Esquel (45 minutes from the lodge) in the Patagonian steppe and flows about five miles before joining up with the Rio Gualjaina (which in turn joins the Chubut.). The Arroyo can be fished from January 1st through May 1st and is strictly enforced by the private estancia. There are daily hatches and rising fish depending on conditions. Arroyo Pescado offers something for everyone especially the bird lover and has many species such as: pink Chilean Flamingos, Magellan and Ashy Head Geese, a variety of ducks, black neck swans, ibis, parrots, greater rheas and condors. The water is extremely clear and shallow in most parts so the fish can be selective like on any spring creek, and by far the best way to fish the river is by sight fishing. You will surely enjoy the 16-22+ inch fish and the beautiful Patagonian steppe.

The Corcovado is a fabulous fishery that stretches more than sixty miles in Argentina before crossing the border into Chile, where it is renamed the Palena. The river originates at Lago Vinter, one of the largest lakes in the region, which keeps it cold and full of water all season. It offers some classic trout water and contains some very large brown trout as well as average sized rainbows. The lower stretches around the town of Corcovado fish well with streamers, large dries, and nymphs. A day on the Corcovado provides a combination of white water and classic riffle pool water. You will also enjoy some wading in the many riffles in the river. Some of our largest brown trout of the season are landed on this river, and they are very strong and stocky due to living in this fast flowing river.

The Nant Y Fall is a small lake fed stream with the character of spring creek. It is best to fish this river in the early season and in late season when the water temperature is cool. Some large Rainbows can be taken here and the average can be more than eighteen inches. The only way to fish the stream is by wading on private access. Guests will have spectacular views of the Andes and will be in the middle of a large waterfowl habitat giving you opportunity to see many of the birds in Patagonia. This is a great choice for guests that like challenging walk fishing for large trout.

The Corintos flows about 30 miles before meeting and flowing into the Rio Grande offering walk wading opportunities for those wanting to get their feet wet. Not all the fish are large but the occasional fish over 18 inches can be caught on dry flies. The character of water is most often times like that of a freestone but some sections are also spring creek like.  The Corintos is  a nice choice for those that wanting to walk with a light rod and enjoy fishing in spectacular scenery.

The Rio Chubut is a small willow lined stream, which flows east to the Atlantic Ocean. The only way to fish the best sections of the river is to float and camp for three days. Although the scenery of the Chubut and the Patagonia steppe is not as beautiful as other rivers, you will enjoy comfortable camping and nightly asados (barbeques) with friends and guides. It is a great river to catch good numbers of rainbows from 14 – 18 inches on dries and pancora (freshwater crab) streamers. The best time to fish the Chubut is in the spring and early summer when there is still plenty of water for the expedition.

Also known as the Rio Gualjaina, this small stream is born on the Patagonia steppe and offers miles of uninterrupted wade fishing. The fish are not all large but the ability to fish a light rod and dry flies makes up for the size of the fish. Both rainbows and browns can be landed. This is a good choice for those that want to walk, cover water and fish to rising fish.

The Rio Percy flows from behind Los Alerces National Park and Esquel to the Rio Grande collecting the Rio Corintos along the way.  The river has a few surprise sections with great fishing in a secluded canyon or other sections with willow lined cut banks.  It offers miles and miles of water to walk and a short drive from the lodge if not fishing by directly accessing the water from PRG’s Lodge at Trevelin.


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 Rivadavia is considered to be one of the most beautiful rivers in the world and possibly the crown jewel of Argentine fishing. It flows from Lago Rivadavia five miles until it reaches Lago Verde. The fishing is challenging but very rewarding as the fish average over 18 inches and pull like freight trains! Every angler is excited about their trip to the Rivadavia because of the beauty and the numbers of fish they can see and sight fish to. The water is gin clear and the banks are lined with beech trees and fallen logs, which often times make the casting challenging. Wading and sight fishing with small nymphs is a good way to hook up as well as fishing large dries over the logs or chucking streamers under the tree lined banks to entice the large browns. There is also a fishable spring creek that flows into the Rivadavia and offers some exciting sight fishing. This river is the favorite choice for most experienced anglers because of the challenge, beauty, and the fishing. The Rivadavia contains rainbows, browns, brook trout, and landlocked salmon.

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.

These small lakes are hard to beat when they are fishing good. Nice fish will readily rise to eat large dry flies cast to the bank. Coupled with the beauty of ten thousand foot peaks, this is a good option for those wanting to fish dry flies to willing fish and see the beautiful lake system of Los Alerces.

This lake is one of the most remote in the National Park and offers some of the most incredible scenery on earth and eager trout that readily take a dry fly. You will be fishing under Torcillas Glacier and the lake offers the only place you will be able to see the Alerces Tree in the national park. The expedition to get here is half the fun with the trout (some over 25 inches) being the other reason.


The Rio Pico area is located about three hours south of the Trevelin and Esquel areas and offers anglers the chance to explore and fish off-the-beaten-path rivers and lakes. Our research, experience and knowledge over the past fifteen years has been aimed at opening this frontier for you to enjoy. The area offers the chance to catch larger than average trout, and the opportunity a wild part of Patagonia without much influence from tourism. Nightly barbecues, fine wine, and stories told around the fireplace and add to this amazing experience. Much has been written over the years about “Jurassic Lake” and we’re happy to tell you that we have excellent lake fishing with large fish that you can enjoy for a day or two without being stuck for a week and without the uncomfortable camping. The Rio Pico lake fishing is quite exciting not only because because of the size of the fish, but also the potential to sight-fish to these bruisers when conditions are right. Lakes are not the only reason to visit this area and there are several smaller rivers and spring creeks, which provide plenty of action and exciting moments when a day on moving water is requested. Click on the MAP for a larger image.

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.

Their names are not a joke or secret code to hide their location. These high desert lakes full of large rainbows and browns and are one of the main reasons to be here. They offer the angler some legitimate shots at fish up to 20 pounds. Fish can be taken on dry flies, streamers and nymphs depending on time of year and conditions. We weren’t lake fishermen until we fished here and are sure that you will be telling stories of gigantic fish after a few days on the water. It is worth the time and effort and very exciting to fish for these huge specimens some of which you will see before you cast to them.

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

The San Martin area – fished by PRG North – reminds anglers more of Montana than any other fishing region in Argentina. Every river in the area, without exception flows to meet the Limay River and eventually meeting the Atlantic Ocean.  Each river offers classic riffles and pools over long distances and offer some of the best dry fly fishing in Patagonia. These hard to pronounce Mapuche Indian named rives and much easier to fish than pronounce and offer variety depending on the valley they flow through.  Some, like the Malleo, Filo, and Traful, are strictly waded while others like the Chimihuin, Alumine, Collon Cura, and Limay are best fished from our drift boats.

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.

The Rio Chimehuín begins at Lago Huechulafquen and it’s world-famous boca, where Argentina’s record brown trout of 25.5 pounds was caught. We generally fish this river from the Estancia Tipiliuke, a five star fishing lodge that offers many activities for non-fishermen also. This is great for people who love wading above floating. Besides the water inside the private estancia, there are also several stretches of river that we can float while staying at Estancia Huechahue. The river fishes very well with every technique, dry fly, nymphing, or using streamers.

The Rio Malleo begins at Lago Tromen and winds its way southeast thirty-five miles where it flows into the Rio Aluminé. The water ranges from quick-moving to tranquil and easy to wade, and the rainbows and browns vary from 16 to 20+ inches. Most of the river is mid-size freestone, except for an exceptional area in the meadows section of The Olsen’s San Huberto Ranch. In this section, the character of the river is much more like a spring creek with small gravel and the best hatches in the entire Patagonia. Dry fly fishing is the preferred and most effective way of catching fish in this magnificent river, and matching the hatch is essential.

This is one of the country’s most demanding rivers, but it holds potentially big rewards. This is not a numbers fishery, and it is possible that on some days you will catch few fish. When things turn on and you make the right presentation, you will have the possibility of catching the fish of a lifetime. The river is spectacular and it’s gin clear pools allow for the ultimate in sight fishing. There are a limited number of rods allowed on the ranch per day and wading is the only option. On this river, you will have shots at trophy rainbows, browns, and even a Landlocked Salmon.

The Rio Aluminé begins at Lago Aluminé and runs for about a hundred miles before meeting the Rio Chimehuín to form Collón Cura. The Aluminé offers excellent dry fly fishing, great streamer fishing, and if necessary fishing nymphs can be very productive. It’s not uncommon to catch 15-25 fish per rod each day with the average fish averaging 16 to 18 inches. Overnight trips on these rivers are known for fine meals and viewing of wildlife such as guanaco and red deer.  The Alumine is best fished from Estancia Huechahue.

The Rio Collón Cura is the largest river in the area and offer a little bit of everything.  It maybe best known for seasonal minnow runs, willow worms, and pancora crabs, but the Collon Cura also offers some decent hatches and one of the healthiest populations of trout in Argentina.   It’s not uncommon to catch 15-25 fish per rod each day with the average fish averaging 16 to 18 inches.  It is ideally fished from Estancia Quemquemtreu to reach the last 30 miles before Alicura Reservoir , but day trips are also possible from other area estancias, including Huechahue.

The Rio Meliquina and Rio Filo Hua Hum join to create the Rio Caleufu which flows west to east 40 miles before it flows into Alicura Reservoir. The only way to really fish this river is a one or two night camping float trip since the water flows through private property most of its length. The fish are not all large on this river and average about 15-inches. The water is beautiful though and the ability to camp out and cover water makes it a very special trip.

The Limay River is getting rave reviews and many are saying it is one the best rivers in the world, but careful planning is needed to enjoy the best fishing!  The Limay around Bariloche is crowded and although it may be productive at times, is better avoided.  We fish this river out of the town of Piedra Del Aguila situated about an hour and a half away from San Martin de los Andes. From there we have access to the middle section of this river (Limay Medio), where we utilize three different sections. This huge river provides excellent fishing on dries, nymphs, and streamers with the opportunity of catching huge brown trout up to and sometimes exceeding thirty inches. A two or three day camping trip (PRG Unplugged) on the lower stretch of this section is also possible – and highly recommended – to get into water that has almost no fishing pressure from other anglers and to enjoy great camping and nightly asados.

The Filo Hua Hum is a short river connecting two lakes almost exclusively inside Estancia Tres Lagos. The Filo is a very scenic river that holds large brown trout as well as rainbows. This is a river that is best left to the experts and experienced waders since the fish are spooky and require expert presentation and stealth. The fishing is best with dry attractor patterns and nymphs.

In addition to the above rivers, we also have several other options to fish small rivers, spring creeks, and lakes. Some of these rivers are exclusive accessed within private ranches like the Arroyo Quemquemtreu or the Rio Huaca Mamuil. Others are public accesses that are rarely concurred by the general public in and out of the Lanín National Park like the Rio Aunquinco that feeds into the Lolog Lake or the Malalco Spring Creek, which flows into the Rio Quillen. There are still more smaller and seasonal rivers and creeks like the Quilquihue, Catan Lil, and Meliquina. During the middle of summer there is also spectacular lake fishing in the San Martin Area with chances to sight fish with large dry flies to large fish like Lago Tromen, Lago Lolog, Lago Filo Hua Hum, Lago Curruhue Grande, Lago Curruhue Chico, and Lago Falkner.