TRAVEL: Arrive Rio Grande, drive 25 minutes to the lodge
RECOMMENDED STAY: Sunday-Sunday, 7 nights/6 days only
FISHING: Rivers, wade only
CAPACITY: 6 anglers
INCLUDED: Lodging in single rooms, meals, open bar, guided fishing, loaner rod, transportation to/from the Rio Grande Airport and hotel night in Buenos Aires
NOT INCLUDED: Flights, license, gear and transfers in Buenos Aires
The intimate Villa Maria Lodge is a luxurious Sea Run Brown Trout fly fishing lodge in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Only 6 anglers will access 20 prime kilometers of the lower Rio Grande and have first crack at Sea Run Brown Trout fresh from the sea. The lodge is located on the south bank of the Rio Grande only a few miles from tidal waters. Anglers will fish among seagulls and practically taste the salt in the air. Villa Maria Lodge is a paradise for serious spey anglers who like long casts and wide pools. Each beat has multiple pools with 10-30lb Sea Run Browns and Villa Maria’s veteran guides will rotate anglers through all beats offering expert advice.
Villa Maria Lodge is a renovated ranch house designed for international anglers who prefer refined and private accommodations. It is one of many building that make up the quaint Estancia Jose Menendez village complex located 25 minutes from the Rio Grande Airport and the Atlantic Ocean. This historic ranch still runs 40,000 sheep and 1500 heads of cattle on its 120,000 acre property.
The exterior of Villa Maria Lodge exemplifies its historic past, however, the inside is now a modern and cozy fishing lodge. All 6 guests will have their own private en-suite bedroom, each with high-end bedding and tasteful decorations. Guests will enjoy Villa Maria’s dedicated chef’s creations in an elegant dining room and share stories in a spacious living room amongst a crackling fire and adjacent fully stocked bar.
Villa Maria incorporates a modern hut or day lodge on a high bluff overlooking the Rio Grande. The convenient cabin reduces drive times and offers anglers a beautiful riverside setting to enjoy lunch and a siesta before returning to battle fresh Sea Run Browns during the evening fishing session.
At Villa Maria Lodge, only 6 anglers will fish 20 prime kilometers on the lower Rio Grande.
Their stretch of river is divided into extensive beats, each holding 3-7 pools. This is a wide section of the river making it perfect for double handed rods. Only two anglers will fish a beat per session and then change beats between the morning and evening sessions. With a daily guide rotation, fishing two beats per day and multiple pools per beats all anglers are guaranteed to gain new knowledge and experiences each day.
At 9am anglers will drive to the river, fish until 1pm and utilize a deluxe riverside cabin for a mid-day break. In the cabin anglers will enjoy a 5 star meal, hot showers, cozy beds for siestas and panoramic views of the Rio Grande. Anglers will return to the river around 5pm and fish till dusk.
Villa Maria’s fishing guides are true professionals and focused on your success. They are able to give casting instructions with double handed rods and know how to approach each pool. They are equipped with nets and scales and will assist in releasing all fish unharmed.
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.
Villa Maria Lodge
(7 nights; 6 days fishing)
Day 1: Arrive Buenos Aires (EZE). Transfer to the domestic airport (AEP) and fly to Rio Grande (RGA). The Villa Maria Lodge staff will pick you up and transfer you 25 minutes to the lodge. Warm up session on the river. Cocktails and dinner.
Day 2-7: Six days fly fishing in Tierra del Fuego.
Day 8: Check out, transfer back to the Rio Grande Airport for your flight home.
Included: Lodging in single rooms, meals, open bar, guided fishing, loaner rod, transportation to/from the Rio Grande Airport and services in Buenos Aires
Not Included: Flights, license, gear and services in Buenos Aires
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