SEASON: Feb 15-April 15
TRAVEL: Arrive Rio Grande, drive 1 hr 25 mins to the lodge
FISHING: Rivers, wade only
CAPACITY: 4 anglers
PACKAGES: 5-7 nights
FIRECOMMENDED STAY: 7 nights
INCLUDED: Lodging, meals, open bar, Wi-Fi, guided fishing, loaner fishing gear, transportation to/from the Rio Grande Airport
NOT INCLUDED: Flights, license, Ushuaia Airport transfers and services in Buenos Aires.
Welcome to Estancia San Jose Lodge, a private home on the Rio Grande that breaks the mold of the traditional way anglers access the largest Brown Trout in the world.
The ranch is located above Kau Tapen Lodge and opens it’s doors to only 4 anglers per week, allowing exclusive access to a private 12 miles that has historically seen very little fishing pressure. The lodge is open to the public starting mid Feb 15, after the owners have enjoyed their annual visit and about the same time healthy numbers of sea runs have entering this upper section of the river.
Being a private residence, the lodge experience is less than tradition but still provides all the professionalism, talent, comforts and culinary delights found at other 5-star fishing lodges within Argentina.
San Jose is a 24,000 acre sheep ranch located on the Rio Grande, above Aurelia Lodge and Kau Tapen Lodge, but below Camron Lodge on the Chile side. Previously, the main private residence was only used a few weeks out of the season by the owner and his fishing friends, family and distinguished guests.
The home or lodge can accommodate up to 10 people in 4 private double rooms, each with a private bath. However, the lodge limits the number of anglers to 4, allowing each angler their own private room. In 1999, wind turbines were installed that still power each building on the estancia today.
The lodge staff and chef will be the same individuals who have been catering to the owners and their guests for years. Anglers should anticipate an experience similar to being a guest in someone’s vacation home rather than one you’d find at a regular fishing lodge.
San Jose Lodge owns 12 miles of both banks of the upper section of the Rio Grande within Argentina. Considering most of the Rio Grande flows in Chile, this is really a portion of the middle river. Most of the fishing takes place on the lower sections where the river is wider and deeper. The portion that cuts through Estancia San Jose is more narrow and shallower, making for high concentrations of fish in the deeper pools. With shallower water, a good cast and softer fly presentation is required. Wading the soft sandy river bottom is easy as one does not need to wade past their knees to access either river bank. Double handed 8 wt rods are still the name of the game although a single-handed 8wt rod should always be rigged and ready to fish at all times.
The lodge has 2 guides for the 4 angling guests, both which are veterans on the Rio Grande and know these waters better than anyone. Drive time to the river in the lodge’s 4×4 trucks is only 15 minutes. With 12 miles of river for a maximum of 4 rods, anglers can be sure they are fishing well rested waters.
In 1935, John Goodall stocked 60,000 salmo trutta eggs in 2 tributaries on the 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 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 4 fish per rod. The key to success is to adapt your 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. 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 but generally fall between Jan 15- March 15. However, despite 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 San Jose
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 1 hour and 25 mins to Estancia San Jose. Cocktails and dinner.
Day 2-7: Six days fishing the Rio Grande.
Day 8: Check out, transfer back to the Rio Grande Airport for your flight home.
Included: Lodging, meals, open bar, Wi-Fi, guided fishing, transportation to/from the Rio Grande Airport and services in Buenos Aires depending on your package.
Not Included: Flights, gear, license, gratuities and transfers to and from the Ushuaia Airport, services in Buenos Aires.
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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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