Sunday, January 4, 2015

Fly Fishing Patagonia: Junin de los Andes, Argentina

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Patagonia Fishing Season: November to the end May (national parks close May 01).

Why Visit and Fly Fish Argentina

Argentina is the 8th largest country in the world and covers over 1 million square miles. Despite its size, Argentina is only inhabited by 40 million people.  Half of the population lives within ten of the largest metropolitan areas.  The other half of the population is spread throughout rural areas and in some parts of the country, population density is among the lowest in the world.  This affords visitors the opportunity to entertain in modern cities' such as Buenos Aires, yet escape to...

  • Oceans of open land in Patagonia...equivalent to the America West +100 years ago
  • Explore the longest mountain range in the world,  the Andes at 4,400 miles.
  • Visit the highest mountain in the western hemisphere, Aconcagua 22,841ft
  • Stand on wind swept beaches and view Sea Lions, Penguins and Orcas.
  • Drive to the end of the earth and visit the land of fire, Tierra del Fuego.
  • Tour Antarctica, it's only +/- 400 nautical miles from Tierra del Fuego.
  • Watch monkeys and other exotic species while fishing in subtropical forest.
  • Feel the power and the spray of the longest waterfall in the word, Iguazu Falls.
  • Witness one of the few advancing glaciers in the world, Peritio Moreno. 
  • Savor Argentinas famous cuisine (beef) and Malbec wines.
  • And of course, wet a line in the immense network of lakes and rivers filled with wild Salmon, Steelhead, Sea Run Brown Trout, Brown-Rainbow-Brook Trout and South America's very own apex predator, the Golden Dorado.

For the Angler: In my opinion, we love Chile, but Argentina is less expensive and there are more miles of DIY walk-wade waters in Argentina than any other place on earth!  This is why Argentina is our home base.

Our Home Waters...Junin de los Andes, Argentina

Bamboo Thickets in Valdivian Rainforest. Photo by FCFF.

In the 1960’s, fly fishing gods such as Joe Brooks and Mel Krieger made the rivers surrounding Junin de los Andes famous. What they discovered back then was a trout fishery unlike any place on Earth. They discovered many of the rivers in the area are attached to large trout producing Andean lakes. As a result, during the spring and fall runs, they targeted monster rainbows and browns moving in and out of the lakes. When the runs slowed down in mid-summer, they discovered an amazing dry-fly fishery second to none. Today, dry fly fishermen have pioneered the use of large attractor dry flies, such as the gypsy king, chernobyl ants, large hopper patterns, and big beetles. Folks, Junin de los Andes is the fly fishing capital of Argentina. Though vacation towns such as Bariloche and San Martin de los Andes offer more for the average tourist, there is no other place other than Junin that offers more accessible rivers/lakes and modern conveniences for the fly fisherman.  Below is a list of rivers and lakes that we fish in the surrounding Junin de los Andes area. 

Chimehuin River – is a large freestone river (similar to the Madison River) and offers the walk-wade fisherman a chance to wet the fly in the world famous 'Boca.' Downstream, there are a handful of walk-wade spots to fish, but the remaning stretch of river is best fished by floating.  Floating the upper and lower Chimehuin offers the angler the opportunity to sight fish while prospecting with streamers, nymphs, and large attractor dry flies. The river fishes best from early December to the end of February. March tends to be a transition month.  In April and May, when the rains and cold weather come, the 'Boca' can produce large migratory brown's.

Collon Cura River – is known as the most prolific trout fishery in all of Patagonia! The trout are wickedly wild and average in the chunky 14” to 20” range, and fall browns can come close to 30”. As you float this large river, the willows and high sandstone cliffs will remind you of Wyoming’s Snake River. During low water levels, its mild gradient and broad gravel riffles make wading possible. Minnows are an important food source in this river, so you’ll find streamers are effective throughout the season (particularly in December, April and May). Like other local rivers, dry fly fishing with large attractors will produce action throughout the day.

Alumine River – is a slower river for the dry fly purest who loves to match hatches for large sipping trout. The river is often compared to Montana’s Missouri River and anglers often take rainbows between 16" and >20". The river fishes best during peak summer months when the caddis and mayfly hatches occur.  During the months of April and May, the brown trout fishing ranks with the Collon Cura and other rivers.
Malleo River – The queen of northern Patagonia!  This river is a spectacular fishery for the dry fly enthusiast. Known for its spectacular caddis and mayfly hatches, anglers will delight with wild, hard fighting fish.  This is a wade only fishery and for those who like to walk-wade for trophy wild fish, this is your river.
Caleufu River – Due to the proximity to the Piedra del Aguila reservoir, this river fishes extremely well early and late in the season. In fact, late in the season there is what locals call the minnow hatch.  If the minnow hatch is on, and if you have a small minnow like pattern, fishing for large rainbows and browns can be amazing!  Warning, your minnow fly and presentation must be exact or these fish will not take it. Overall, this river is a medium-size tributary of the Collon Cura and can be floated till the end of January, beginning or February.
Tromen, Huechulafquen, Epulafquen, Carilafquen, Verde, and Curruhe Lakes – a trip to Patagonia would not be complete without fishing one of these magnificent trophy trout filled lakes! The combination of crystal clear waters, breath taking views and water filled with rainbows, browns, brookies and land locked salmon makes for an unforgettable day. You’ll be stripping streamers, tossing dries and sight fishing with a chance to land all four species in one day!  Don't forget to ask about our over-night lake camping trips.  Camping the heart of the Andes is an unforgettable experience.

Final Word

We love hosting anglers from all over the world. We believe we have the best and most diverse fishing programs in northern Patagonia.  To read more about our services, including our DIY walk-wade and float programs, please visit

Thanks for reading and hope to see you in Patagonia.


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