ArgentinaAhh...Argentina, think succulent steaks, kick ass wines, great people and wide open Montana style country with rivers upon rivers filled with mid sized trout. Yup. If you're after solid American West style fishing, Argentina is your place. Ok. So there are some huge sea run trout as well and we'll include them in our Argentina overview.
Southern Argentina, the Lakes Region South, is where the best trout action lies. Our favorite venues are trips based out of San Martin de Los Andes or Neuquen. Both have incredible uncrowded fishing for trout, rainbows, browns and brookies, that average 14-22 inches in uncrowded conditions. Generally speaking the season runs from November-April. For larger fish, focusing on the Southern Hemisphere's spring and fall is probably your best best option. Similar to the American West, the higher the temps the better the hatches. Consequently the best dry fly times are January, February and early March. This is a trip that won't disappoint, but there are over forty outfitters in the region and less than five that we'd recommend so please reach out for our advice prior to booking.
Tierra Del Fuego and Santa Cruz River
Tierra del Fuego, the land of fire, has the best sea run brown trout fishing on the planet. The Rio Grande winds through a desolate grassy landscape filled with alpaca, fox, condors, sheep and more sheep. It's not the prettiest place we've ever fished, but it sure is the windiest...oh and it's got more double digit brown trout than the rest of the world combined. Incredible lodges up and down the river that have set the precedent for incredible cuisine, comfort and well trained Argentine guides are the norm here. A normal day is getting up in the dark for giant breakfast and then driving to fish one of many beats for the morning. Followed by a giant lunch, a siesta and yup a second day of fishing in the afternoon. We've never encountered a more exhausting fishing schedule, but apparently brown trout like to eat in low light. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend doing the Rio Grande as you'll get exactly what you pay for: an ass kicking, trophy brown trout fishery that will put ten pounds on your frame and permanently rearrange your hairdo. But go? Yup. At least once.
As for the Santa Cruz River because you'll ask...it's 500 yards wide, glacial, equally windy and has a fraction of the action. Pass. Unless that is you're into looking for artifacts as it's got some of the best arrowhead hunting on the planet.
Many of our jungle clients angling for peacock bass are interested in dorado. In Argentina there are some solid options, but in our view none of them stack up to Bolivia. They include La Zona, a tailwater fishery that has the largest dorado in the world. Think 30-50 pound fish not at all uncommon. Unfortunately it's ugly as sin and a two mile stretch of water...blind casting for hogs. We'd do it just for the fish, but you might as well understand the reality of the fishery before considering it.
Ibera swamp is scenically impressive, the wildlife outstanding and the lodges first class. The fishery for dorado in the 3-7 pound class with moderate action. Definitely worth a visit to see this marsh and all its glory, but bear in mind that if you are going to catch a pile of giant dorado, or any giant dorado, you've come to the wrong place. Head to Ibera expecting to see Amazon wildlife out on the grassy marshlands and the dorado will be a side bonus. The lodges there never disappoint from a food and accommodations perspective.
For Bolivian style dorado, try the Juramento River. Very cool fishery that has not yet been fully developed. The fishing program is run from rafts with clients casting large flies to the banks and stripping them back Beaverhead style.