We fish 3 different rivers & one spring creek in Los Alerces National Park, private rivers &
lagoons around Esquel, and various rivers & lakes in the Rio Pico region. Here are just a few:
Rivers in Los Alerces National Park
The Rivadavia: This beautiful river is born in Lago Rivadavia and flows about 5 miles through a lush forest with views of distant snow capped peaks into Lago Verde. Floating is by far the best option, but there are sections that the guides like to wade. The river is loaded with rainbows and browns and the occasional brook trout or land locked salmon. The turquoise, gin clear water makes sight fishing challenging and exciting. You will see trout (16-24 inches) everywhere! These fish often require you to fish small nymphs, but the trout you don't see, near the banks that are hidden in fallen trees, will come up and take a large dry fly, such as a chubby chernobyl. Streamers fished in the woodwork will often get the attention of the larger, resident browns. This Argentine river is a favorite of many experienced anglers due in large part to the challenge, the beauty, and the trophy trout. There are few floats on planet earth as beautiful as the Rivadavia!
The Carrileufu (Green River): Like the Rivadavia, this river has stunning scenery and gin clear water that is loaded with rainbows and browns. Without a doubt this is one of the best rivers in Patagonia to catch a landlocked salmon, especially in the early season. I once caught a 7 pounder, but that was years ago. Most of the salmon are around 16-20 inches. Last season a brown of 10+ pounds followed my streamer off the bank but turned away when he saw the boat. Next season?
The Carrileufu is born in Lago Cholila and flows about 20 miles before entering into Lago Rivadavia. There are a few different floats that you might do on this river and there is excellent diversity. There are large pools, rifles, runs and timber lined banks where the big boys wait to ambush a streamer. A good cast up under the willows with an attractor dry fly or small caddis is also productive.
The Arrayanes: This river is very wide, relatively short in length, and my favorite for targeting trophy browns up to 10 pounds. The Rivadavia spills into Lago Verde and this gorgeous lake gives birth to the Arrayanes. Typically we spend the first part of the day fishing this productive lake with both dries and streamers. Often we will find rainbows suspended close to the surface that will innocently inhale a small dry. Browns are taken along the steep rock faces along the shore with large dries and streamers. The second part of the day you will be floating the river, casting streamers on a sink tip line looking to hook up with one of the rivers huge browns. There are some smaller back channels and tiny lagoons where sight fishing becomes an exciting option.
Rio Chubut: This gem of a river flows through one of the largest estancias (ranch) in Patagonia. Currently, only Esquel Outfitters has the privilege to float & camp along this incredibly productive dry fly river. With over 40 miles of river to explore lets just say that these fish do not see much fishing pressure during the season. It is not uncommon, given decent conditions in flow and temperature, for a skilled angler to catch and release 70+ trout in a day. Many of these trout are from 9-14 inches, but 20% will range from 14-18 inches in length. Loaded with pancora crabs, it is almost unfair to fish weighted wooley buggers to these aggressive trout. We typically float this river for 3 days with two nights "glamping." Camp staff sets up tents with cots, sleeping bags, and pillows and a large dinning tent where superb open fire cooked meals are served. This trip will revitalize your soul. There are no cell phones, roads, or street lights; just you, good friends, the stars, a camp fire, and a river loaded with trout!
Rio Gualjaina: Like the Chubut, this river flows through a private estancia, but this one is only 600,000 acres! We have exclusive access to over 20 miles of what can only be described as one of the best meadow hopper streams in the world. Stalking rainbows and browns that can exceed 20 inches in some of the rivers smaller channels in one of my favorite forms of fly fishing. The casting here can be technical and the trout easy to spook, but this is why it is so rewarding and fun. I have found that the best way to catch them is to cast your hopper a couple feet down stream of the waiting trout. They are there, waiting, listening for that tell tale "plop" of a hopper to hit the surface. They will turn, come down stream and suck it in! Magic!!!
Arroyo Pescado or "Fish Creek": Reservations must be made in advance to fish this famous spring creek. Once booked it is likely that you will be the only party fishing on that particular day. The areas to fish are varied. There are a couple spring fed ponds that have trout in the 4-6 pound range and the river itself which is shallow and broad in some areas and narrow and fast flowing in others.
Sight fishing is a great option here and all methods can be productive. Dries, streamers and nymphs stripped slowly can entice these wild trout to take. Aside from the trout, this area is a mecca for Argentina's ducks, swans, flamingoes, falcons, eagles, and many other birds unique to this area.
Private Lagoons: A lagoon simply means lake or small pond and there are several in the Esquel area that produce monster trout. Some have brookies from 2-5 pounds and others rainbows & browns up to 12 pounds. It is the type of fishing that has made the Rio Pico region so famous, but its right here in Esquel! The trout in these lagoons will take attractor dries and even nymphs, but the most productive method is typically a streamer fished on a sink tip line. This might not be everyones preferred method to fish, but some real trophies can be caught in these special and beautiful lagoons.
The Rio Grande or Futalafu: This is a large tailwater river which provides anglers with consistently good fishing, because water temperatures remain cool in the event of a hot summer. Like many of the rivers on the menu, how you fish it is up to you and your own personal preferences. It is a river that can provide excellent dry fly fishing with caddis, mayflies, and midges, but it is also and excellent streamer river. No question that the very best way to fish this river is via drift boat.