TRAVEL: Arrive Rio Grande, drive 50 minutes to the lodge
RECOMMENDED STAY: Saturday–Saturday, 7 nights/6 days only
FISHING: Rivers, wade only
CAPACITY: 6 anglers
INCLUDED: Lodging, meals, beer and wine, guided fishing and transportation to/from the Rio Grande Airport
NOT INCLUDED: Flights, license, gear and services in Buenos Aires
Estancia Despedida Lodge is alike a club for Argentina Sea Trout fanatics. Its 5-star reputation is based not on luxury, but rather on solely outstanding Sea Run Brown Trout fishing It offers some of the best (and most famous) pools on the river, no time-consuming drives and long hours on miles of private water for just 6 anglers. Despedida Lodge’s well-seasoned fishing guides continually make anglers successful and play a major role in the high percentage of repeat Sea Run Brown addicts.
It attracts humble, highly skilled international anglers who share a common, genuine bond that is the Despedida experience. Of all the Rio Grande fishing lodges, Estancia Despedida Lodge is the number 1 choice for the diehard, dedicated Sea Run Brown Trout angler seeking world class fishing, expert guides and a great value.
Estancia Despedida Lodge is located in in Tierra del Fuego on the middle Rio Grande. It lies on the south bank, downriver from Kau Tapen Lodge and across the river from Estancia Maria Behety. Built in 1999 from imported Montana logs, Despedida is a modest but well-appointed lodge with nothing overstated or overlooked. It accommodates only six anglers in 3 double bedrooms with double beds and private baths. The log structure offers a spacious living, dining and bar room with panoramic views. Compared to other Rio Grande fishing lodges, Despedida has the most intimate atmosphere. It’s a family run lodge, with managing outfitter Danny Lajous, his wife Helen and their son Tomas. They have run Despedida Lodge for over 20 years and Tomas is continuing the legacy as a renowned guide on the Rio Grande. Estancia Despedida serves delicious Argentine and Italian cuisine paired with fine wines. The breakfast spread includes fresh fruit, yogurt, toast, cereal and eggs to order.
Like all Rio Grande fishing lodges, Despedida anglers will fish hard in the morning and from late afternoon until dusk when Sea Run Brown Trout are most active. After a 7:00am breakfast, anglers will drive 5-15 minutes to the river and return to the lodge for lunch and siesta before the 5-10pm evening session. With dinner ending after midnight, everyone takes advantage of the mid-day rest.
Despedida is known for having some of the best water on the Rio Grande producing around 3-6 Sea Run Browns per angler, per day that average 11lbs. By the end of a week, most anglers will have hooked or landed a fish near the 20 pound mark. There are epic days that make averages irrelevant such as a 36lb record landed in 2008 and the angler who caught 33 fish in one evening in the pool now named, 33. Other famous pools at Despedida are the Boca of the Menendez, Condor and Arturo and all anglers will rotate through them during their stay.
Despedida’s Argentina fishing guides were born in Tierra del Fuego and have fished the Rio Grande most of their lives.
In 1935, John Goodall stocked 60,000 Chilean salmo trutta eggs in 2 tributaries of the 70 km Rio Grande. Today, young Brown Trout spend an average of 2 years in the river before their first migration to the sea where they’ll spend 6 months before returning to the river with an average weight of 6 lbs. Sea Runs that spawn 4 times in the Rio Grande weigh over 20 lbs and some fish have been known to complete the cycle 6 times.
Studies show that the Sea Run Browns in Tierra del Fuego’s Rio Grande are about 17% heavier than other sea trout of the same length. Their size and high return rate are factors of low predation, biologically rich salt waters and a strict Catch and Release policy employed by all lodges. Rio Grande’s Sea Run Brown Trout population was estimated at 75,500 adult fish in 2008.
Today, the average daily catch rate on the Rio Grande is an amazing 3-6 fish per rod. The key to success is to adapt your fly fishing technique. Sea Run Browns are rather moody and will strike when the fly is presented well, at the right time and in the right spot. Be flexible with your tactics and listen to your guide. If a fly moving evenly and slowly still does not produce a strike, consider modifying the depth or fly pattern. Fly placement is also a factor. Like other anadromous salmonids, Sea Run Browns generally move up river at night, congregating at the head of the pool in the evening and at tail of the pool in the morning and against cut banks during the middle of the day. On overcast days the fish could be found in the middle of the pools.
Chromed Sea Run Brown Trout begin to enter the Rio Grande lower pools in early December and continue to enter until May. The peak weeks are unpredictable and fall sometime during the busy early January to late March timeframe, but regardless of the month, if conditions are good, the fishing is good. April is often overlooked and can be equally exciting and productive as mid-season. In April, all the fish that are going to return are now in the river with spectacular fall colors and weighting at their peak. Water levels are at their lowest, fish are more concentrated and the strong Tierra del Fuego winds are significantly diminished.
Estancia Despedida Lodge
(7 nights; 6 days fishing)
Day 1: Arrive Buenos Aires (EZE). Transfer to the domestic airport (AEP) and fly to Rio Grande (RGA). Guides will pick you up and transfer you 50 minutes to Despedida Lodge. Cocktails and dinner.
Day 2-7: Six days fishing
Day 8: Check out, transfer back to the Rio Grande Airport for your flight home.
Included: Lodging, meals, beer and wine, guided fishing and transportation to/from the Rio Grande Airport.
Not Included: Flights, license, gear, spirits and services in Buenos Aires.
6 days Sea Run Brown fishing at Las Buitreras Lodge.
6 days Golden Dorado fishing and/or dove shooting at Parana Sunrise Lodge
4 days Wilderness Trout Fishing Expedition in Junín
With our intimate knowledge of Argentina and our specialized travel agent, we take all the guesswork out of travel so you can concentrate on packing.
With our variety of destinations and lodges, we’ll have the skinny on whatever you’re looking for. We often combine multiple destinations and adventures for our guests.
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