Tierra Del Fuego - Sea Run Brown Trout
Estancia Maria Behety: 7 nights, 6 days: Regular $6495, Special $5197; A few openings left for 2017. Call!
Estancia Despedia: 7 nights, 6 days: $6100.00
March 25-April 1, 2017. FULL! April 1-8, 2017. FULL!
We really wish Tierra Del Fuego was a whole lot closer to home, because there is no other place in the world that is quite like it! Most of us trout bums have spent countless days fishing streams that hold brown trout. To many of us, there is nothing more beautiful than a big hook jawed male in full Fall spawning colors. We've tried to target big browns, throwing huge articulated streamers and heavy sink tips, even fishing in the middle of the night! A lucky few have caught them in the 25+ inch range. This trip is an opportunity land one in the 25 POUND range! That is not a typo, it says POUNDS!
The brown trout in TDF exhibit the same behavior as steelhead. They are born in the river and migrate to the fertile waters of the ocean where they grow large, before returning to their river of origin to spawn. The run begins and the season gets underway in January, and extends through mid April. During those 4 months, an estimated 70,000 fish enter this river. To put that number into perspective, consider that this river is roughly the size of one of our main steelhead rivers, the Klickitat. The run of steelhead in the Klickitat may be as high as 5,500 to 7,500 in a good year. That being said, we have all had great days fishing the Klickitat, and appreciate every steelhead we catch there, especially on the swing.
This does not mean that the fishing in TDF is easy and you should expect to have 20 fish days. It does mean that there are enough fish in the river that you can try and catch them "on your terms", and you should have an opportunity to do that nearly every day. For many anglers, this may be skating dries or swinging damp flies on floating lines, whereas many new spey converts enjoy the ease of casting a Skagit line with sink tips. A lot of trout bums out there still enjoy using the single hand rod, and this river is conducive to doing that! I personally like to maximize my chances to catch fish on any given piece of water at any time, so I'll fish floating lines or intermediate tips in the low light periods, then switch to heavier tips during the day.
From our experience and in discussing the TDF fishery with many experienced anglers and guides who have been working there for years, we have landed on the end of March and first part of April as our preferred time to fish Rio Grande. The weather at this time is ideal by our standards (perfect Fall steelhead weather - maybe down to the 30's overnight, but near 50 during the day). However, the main reason we like it is that the bulk of the run has entered the river. Anglers can fish with confidence knowing that any piece of water they swing a fly in is holding fish, while a few of the best pools are absolutely loaded! That being said, there are still plenty of bright fresh fish entering the river that will eat the fly on the run and have 3 cartwheels in before you realize what's happened!
The prime weeks in Tierra Del Fuego are hard to come by, so once you get one you hate to give it up! While all of the lodges in TDF run excellent programs, we have committed to the two that we feel give us access to the best water at the best time of year. This is a big enough trip that it is difficult to make it an annual event, so we'd like to establish several groups that can rotate through dates, returning every few years.
SHOULD I GO?
Let's analyze the top 5 reasons why you would or wouldn't make this your "1 big trip." First of all, you must enjoy fishing for brown trout or swinging flies on 2 handed rods (although you can fish single hand rods and even strip flies all day if you like). To reiterate, we are fishing for 20+ POUND brown trout using 2 handed rods and swung flies. It's almost too good to be true... Next, it should be something unique, not something you could experience closer to home or for less money. Brown trout only exhibit this behavior and achieve this size in a few places in the world, and this is the premier location. Couple that with the fact that you're 300 miles from the penguins of Antarctica, and this is a pretty unique experience. Another reason to take this trip is that it's fairly stable compared to other destinations. We've all seen rivers go out overnight or weather move in and had fishing trips ruined because of it. This time of year is predictably good in terms of weather, water conditions, and fish numbers. Along those lines is the next reason, and that is because even at these prices, TDF is a good value. The lodge, the guides, the food and wine, and the fishing program itself are very high quality and combine to create a world class experience. Last, it is a lot of money, so maybe there are cheaper ways to experience it? Rio Grande is comprised entirely of private ground, so the only way you can fish Rio Grande is to pay one of the lodges. On one hand, it's unfortunate, but it certainly preserves a quality fishing experience. You and one other angler will fish your own pools each day on the best section of the river, never having to compete for good water. So really the question becomes "Why shouldn't I do it?"
TRAVEL TO AND FROM RIO GRANDE:
Regardless of your US departure location, it is likely that you will end up in Buenos Aires to make the connection for the Rio Grande flight. Most departing flights leave the US in the evening and arrive into BA in the early morning. The 3 hour flight from BA to Rio Grande then departs about 1 pm. Incoming guests have 2 options: arrive in BA the day before the flight to Rio Grande and stay in a hotel for one night; or suck it up and travel straight to the lodge in one shot. The choice is yours on that, but I will say - we overnighted and had dinner at Don Julio's steakhouse in BA and it was well worth the effort. Not to mention we were all feeling well rested and sharp for our first day of fishing! The departing Rio Grande flight leaves at 9 am and arrives into BA about noon. Departing flights from BA were all late evening for us, so we arranged a van to pick us up and take us downtown to have lunch and walk around until we needed to be back at the airport. This proved a much better option than sitting in the airport bar for 6 hours!
LODGING & FOOD:
Estancia Despedida hosts just 6 guests per week, while Maria Behety has capacity for 12. The lodge buildings are comfortably positioned with leeward side patios offering guests an opportunity step out and enjoy a cigar under the Southern cross, even on the windiest of nights. Guests sleep 2 to a room, which are nicely appointed with private bathrooms and plenty of hot water and good pressure in the showers. It's unlikely that anyone will have trouble sleeping soundly given the intense fishing schedule. It's hard to imagine anything overshadowing the amazing fishing and incredible fish; however, a week or so after the return, we find ourselves missing the delicious food and wine. Our hosts know how to indulge in food and drink in the Land of Fire and they treat us right!
DAILY ITINERARY FOR TDF:
7:30 AM Breakfast then depart for guided fishing
1:00 PM Return to lodge for large meal, complete with Malbec
2:00-4:30 PM: Siesta
4:30 - 9:00 PM: Fish the "Magic Hour"
9:30 PM: Incredible dinner with more great Malbec
Bed then wake up and do it all again... 6 days in a row!
FISHING EQUIPMENT LIST:
- Skagit line with appropriate tip system to fish all conditions
- Scandi line for skating dries or fishing just under the surface (full floating or intermediate)
- Assorted flies: 2 dozen large swinging flies, approx. 5 dozen assorted nymphs (weighted, unweighted, sizes 12-16)
- 0X and 1X monofilament tippet AND fluorocarbon tippet spools. We prefer fluoro for swinging small nymphs.
- Rods: 2 switch/ spey (6, 7, or 8 wt recommended) and one single hand 8 weight
- Sink tips - my favorites are 10' and 12.5' T-11, 10' T-14, Intermediate, and floating. For spey rods 13' and longer, bring 15' tips in Type 3, 6, and 8.
- Hemostats with nippers
Don't go cheap on flies! The most important part of the fly is a quality hook. You don't want the reason you lost your fish of a lifetime to be because you straightened or broke a hook that you saved a buck on!
- Polarized Sunglasses: Amber/ Copper best all around
- Sun screen
- Under wader pants
- Comfortable shoes/ slippers for wearing in the lodge
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Book to read
- Fly tying vise for afternoon siesta time
- (2-3) Lodge shirts (dinner wear)
- (2) pairs Lodge/ travel pants
- Bug repellant - we've never had issues but worth bringing
- Personal medications
- Jackets for layering - soft shell & puff ball, at least one hoody
- Fishing Hats - Stocking and baseball
- Dry bag for daily transport - extra jackets, fly boxes, head lamp, camera
- Rain jacket
- Hip pack or back pack to carry daily accessories if preferred
- Fishing gloves
WHAT'S INCLUDED: 7 nights lodging, 6 days guided fly fishing, all meals, beer and wine, ground transfers from airport to and from lodge.
NOT INCLUDED: Airfare to Rio Grande, Argentina, gratuities, fishing licenses, hard alcohol.
Email email@example.com with questions the TDF fishery. Whether you book a trip with us or not, we are happy to help you plan and obtain the right information so your trip can be the best possible experience!