Sea Trout in the Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is the largest river on the Tierra Del Fuego Island, and is well known for its huge Sea Trout and the solitude of the countryside.
In the 1930’s British fishing fanatics first introduced the Brown, Rainbow, and Brook Trout to the Rio Grande region. Given the choice between the convenient escape to the salt, with its abundant forage opportunity, or the nutrition poor rivers of Tierra Del Fuego, all but a few of the Trout fled. The Browns, however, came back!
All of the Rio Grande is great and some of it is truly incredible. The entire river is about 150 Kilometres long. Less than half of that is on the Argentina side of the Chilean border.
The estancia cameron main houses are 60 kilometers from where our cameron lodge is located. Our lodge is the estancia cameron’s recently refurbished administration houses, built on a high cliff, with a great view over the darwin range and less than one hundred yards from the r’o grande. This estancia has about fifty kilometers of frontage on the north side of the rÃo grande (all the way down stream to the argentinean border), with ted turner’s estancia san jo’s neighboring on the “other side of the fence”. Camerons water is almost identical to our downriver neighbourâ€™s section, for those who have already fished on the argentinean side.
It’s a beautiful place, surrounded by wooded hillsides, with the snowy darwin range overlooking the region. The wildlife and birds are much more plentiful than on the argentinean side – on any given day, its not unusual to see hundreds of grazing guanacos, or observe dozens of magnificent condors soaring overhead. You will especially enjoy the solitude of having this splendid fishery to yourself, with the chance of fishing yet unnamed pools where few outsiders have ever cast a fly!
It’s an excellent river for flyfishing, sometimes more challenging and rewarding than downstream in argentina, due to the different techniques and finesse that have to be employed. The water is much clearer, and maintains its clarity, even in higher flows. The fishing is also rewarding because there’s always action. In this section of the river sea run browns average ten pounds, with monsters up to eighteen/twenty pounds. On occasion well even land really huge fish, well over twelve kilos (twenty six pounds)!!!
Unlike the lower argentinean section of the river, there are also resident river browns up to the six pound class, beautifully colored fish that readily take our flies. In addition, anglers will find some healthy, chromer lake run browns, with the shape of a rugby ball, that enter the river from the blanco lake for our enjoyment. And, completing the “grand slam”, there are rainbows too! You will see them some meters from you, down stream, feeding on the aquatic insects you kick up from the bottom of the river. It’s something to be seen!!!
We accommodate twelve guests in two very nicely arranged cabins. The original lodge, cabin #1, has two double bedrooms with private facilities, and a nice living/dining room with a cozy wood stove – very welcome after a long days fishing – with a splendid sight of the river and the mountains! And now, since the last season, at the new cabin #2 we have four more doble bedrooms with their own facilities and a very nice living area with a warm wood stove.
The daily menu includes regional chilean meals very rich in seafood, like king crab, mussels, scallops, calamari, clams, (collected at the punta arenas area) and, of course, the popular beef or lamb asado (tierra del fuego is a foot and mouth disease-free zone). Cocktails, like the typical chilean “pisco sour”, and the justifiably famous chilean wines are served with the meals.
The fishing season on the rÃo grande runs from october through april. In november and december the fishing is very good, but the peak months are january, february, march and april. We encourage you to make your reservations as soon as possible, as there is usually a great demand for the peak months on the whole river.
A layering system is mandatory, waterproof, breathable hooded wading jacket, polarfleece midlayer, capilene underwear or similar. Fingerless gloves, windstopper hat, polarized glasses (rated 100%uv protection). There might be hot weather in summer but that’s unpredictable. In those days, ligth clothing with a windproof shell are a better option. The ozone hole and corresponding increase in uv radiation is a problem in october and november. We reccommend you to use prescribed sun blocking creams. Clients should have health insurance with international coverage before leaving their countries. If they are taking medicine prescribed by a doctor, they should bring enough for the entire trip.
Day 1 (Saturday)
Meeting at the pampa guanaco or porvenir airfields or at the punta arenas and
rÃo grande airports, your choice! After lunch a brief siesta (nap), and then a
ride for the evening’s fishing.
Day 2 to 7
Fishing the rio grande, rotating pools along the more than 50 kilometers of available water.
Day 8 (Saturday)
Transfer back to the airfields or airports.
Most uk clients will fly to RIO GRANDE via Buenos aires
Your domestic airline tickets in Argentina, if booked by us, will be sent to your hotel in buenos aires or will be readily available for you at the airline's check in counter at the airport in ba.
British or american passport holders do not require a visa for argentina nor chile. Other nationalities should check. All clients should ensure that they have at least 6 months validity before the expiry date on their passport.
ARRIVAL IN BUENOS AIRES
We thoroughly recommend that you use the â€œmeet & greetâ€ services offered by our buenos aires agents. Depending on your connecting flights you will either be taken to your hotel or directly to the domestic airport. If staying in a hotel, meals, drinks and services must be settled directly with the hotel before you leave.
ARRIVAL IN RIO GRANDE
A representative of our ground operator will meet you at the airport and take you to the Cameron lodge in Chile.
DRINKS BILLS AND TIPS
Drinks bills, and any other additional costs such as telephone charges or laundry should be settled directly with the hotel at the end of your stay. Credit cards and travellers cheques are accepted in hotels in Buenos Aires. Tipping is entirely at your discretion. 15% is what we suggest as gratuities per rod per guide. At the lodge in Chile hard liquor is not included, so, if you would like to have some drinks during your week you should supply yourself in RÃo Grande. Pisco sour and Chilean wine is served at no extra cost at the Cameron lodge.
In Chile, at the Cameron lodge, the government fishing licence is included.
Yuk bugs and girdle bugs
HEALTH AND MEDICATION
Although at present no inoculations are required for travel to Argentina nor Chile, please consult your doctor prior to your trip. It is essential that you bring personal medicines that you might need with you.
In january and february the weather can be variable. With the best fishing being early morning and late in the evening you need to have warm clothing. The temperature can be as low as 5ºc – 10ºc but at midday it heats up to 20ºc. It is often extremely windy and can also rain. Conditions change regularly and often.
In march and april the air temperature can reach freezing temperatures in the morning as low as 5°c and 15°c at midday.
A DAY ON THE RIO GRANDE
Much will depend on the prevailing climatic conditions of your week and, also, of the time of the season. Due to the high latitude where our cameron lodge is located, the days are very long during the beginning of the season in november and december getting shorter towards the end of it by mid april. As an example, the sun rises and sets in december about 5am -10pm and 8am-7pm in march. However, normally breakfast is from 0730 after which you drive out to the river. Depending on the beat you have been allocated for the morning, the drive can take from 10 to 45 minutes. Lunch is taken around 1330 at the lodge. Most people take a siesta until 1700 when they change beat and head back to the river. In late march and april there usually are no siestas. Dinner will be served upon your return to the lodge after having some pisco sours. It is a long day but with the best fishing being early and late in the day you should be on the river at these times to get the maximum benefit.
FISHING TACKLE AND KIT
Sea trout fishing on the upper rio grande, in chile, is similar to salmon fishing or trout fishing. But there are some subtle differences in both tackle and technique. Please read the enclosed carefully and follow the guidelines â€“ a 15ft salmon rod and a floating line may be fine in scotland or russia, but are not ideal for sea trout on the rio grande. Similarly the techniques will be â€œalienâ€ to many. When on the river please listen to the guides and their advice in order to get the most out of your trip.
It is best to bring at least two rods in case of breakages and also for variety. Traditionally single handed 9/10ft # 8 have been used but increasingly double handed 12 – 14 ft rods have proved successful in the windy conditions. Reels should be sturdy and have a good braking system with 100m of backing.
It is best to have an entire range of lines for the changeable conditions: floating, intermediate, wet cell iii (sinking) and also a faster sinking line such as 200 or 300 grains shooting lines. With the strong winds a shooting head (10 – 11m) or weight forward taper lines might be useful. The interchangeable tips lines are very useful on both, single and two handed rods.
Chest waders are essential with felt or studded soles for added grip. Neoprenes are useful as added protection against the wind (and the temperature of the water) but are not a necessity if one has adequate layers of clothing underneath. The goretex waders have proved to be very good because of its lesser weight for travelling and also because they are very comfortable on the river. With these waders consider extra warm underwear and socks. The wading is not hard and a stick is optional but helpful on some beats.
Polaroid glasses, scissors, wader repair kit, masking tape, sun screen and lip balm. The combination of wind, sun, reflection and the hole in the southern hemispheres ozone layer combine to make the risk of sunburn an important factor that should not be disregarded.
We hope that you will have a successful trip to this remarkable river. However, please remember Tierra del Fuego is the southern most tip of south america. Being so remote everything does not always work in the time and manner we are accustomed to. Our closest town is Rio Grande, in Argentina, 120km and 2 hours driving away. The closest town in Chile is Punta Arenas, 500km and 8 hours driving away. This latter is where our supplies of fresh food comes from...
Dry flies have proved increasingly successful and amongst the most popular are madam x, tarantula, royal and white wulff, buck bugs and atlantic salmon bombers in sizes 4, 6 or 8. Small nymphs are also very effective, particularly in low water conditions. All the flies are readily available at anglers aventuras fly shop in rio grande at a very affordable cost.
Generally the season begins with larger patterns and ends with smaller ones. However, as always climatic conditions will be more of a guide to the size of the fly that you use, so a good selection is recommended.
Marcos czerwinski runs the rio grande fishing outfitters and anglers aventuras fly shop in town. Rafael gonzalez is our ground operator in chile and camp manager and head guide at the cameron lodge. They both will be able to advise you on the most successful patterns and sizes of the moment and there will be plenty of time to stock up on all flies and equipment when you are in Rio Grande. In Chile Rafael Gonzalez will also be your host and most expert guide as he had fished the upper river for more than twenty years.
The following are recommended patterns:
Mamarracho, black or brown Anglers zug bug
Monona Monona bugger
Mini rubber legsn Woolly buggers -black or olive green
Muddler minnow – black or brown Yuk bugs and girdle bugs
Cucaracha Anglerâ€™s green machine
Anglers red ass Anglerâ€™s teddy gay
Anglers prince nymph Yuk bugs and girdle bugs
Prices start from: £3900
7 nights full board accommodation, 6 days fully guided fishing, transfers, international and local flights.