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Arguably the most complete, comprehensive, high-end, and professional fishing operation in all of Patagonia, Patagonia River Guides' southern program offers first class accommodations, the best in Malbec wines and gormet and regional cuisine, and an endless frontier of incredible fly fishing. This southern offering is Patagonia River Guides' original operation, the pre-cursor to the newer PRG North program located further to the north in the San Martin area. In 2010 PRG acquired The PRG Lodge at Trevelin, located just outside the small Welsh community of Trevelin which is about 10 miles south of Esquel. Combined with PRG’s lodge operation in the Rio Pico region to the South, this overall program ensures you will be fishing the very best waters in Patagonia at exactly the right times. One of PRG’s greatest strengths is their guide staff – the best in the Chubut Region. All have in excess of ten years of experience, speak excellent English, and have an impressive fleet of trucks and boats at their disposal. Each of these trips is 100% custom-designed and structured around your desires, expectations, time of year, and local fishing conditions.
All packages are completely customized, and trips of any length can be arranged. Our favorite itinerary for PRG South is a 9 night / 8 fishing day package that includes 4 days of fishing out of the Esquel area, and 4 days of fishing out of the Rio Pico area. This is a scenario that allows you to experience two totally separate fishing experiences and location in the same overall trip package.
Patagonia River Guides South utilizes two exclusive fishing lodges. The first lodge is located in the Esquel - Los Alerces National Park region and other in the Rio Pico fishing region. Having two exclusive and unique locations available at all times delivers a huge advantage for extended trips by making countless rivers, streams and lakes available. The variety of waters and fishing opportunities available in these two locations is second to none. The
Patagoinia River Guides Lodge at Trevelin (Esquel and Los Alerces Area) -
Up to twelve guests per week can enjoy all the comforts of our beautiful Lodge located near the town of Trevelin, ten miles south of Esquel. Located in a stunning mountain valley, PRG's Lodge at Trevelin has unforgettable 365-degree views of the area and five mountain ranges. The lodge has unbeatable access to both Los Alerces National Park and the Esquel Area's best rivers. The main lodge features nine rooms each with private bathroom. Six spacious bedrooms are located upstairs and three are on the main floor. Each of the main level rooms has a door extending to deck. Two of the downstairs bedrooms are configured in a suite with a connecting door perfect for friends that want to have a shared room concept. The lodge also includes a cabin, which contains three large bedrooms each with private bath. Each room in the cabin opens to a deck overlooking the Rio Percy and its valley. The rooms in the cabin are completely independent of each other and this unit is perfect for a group of friends. Each of the twelve rooms - all with private baths - are tastefully appointed with everything guests would expect at the finest hotels, and because we never accommodate more than twelve guests at a time, every guest will enjoy single occupancy complimentary! There are few lodges that offer such a luxury without an upgrade charge. The main floor of the lodge contains an office center for guests, gift store, dining room, and two living rooms each with their own bar. The living rooms are on opposite sides of the lodge allowing guests separation if desired. One living room contains a pool table and cigar bar complete with some of the best single malt and whiskeys. The other has a six-stool bar overlooking the Trevelin Valley with direct access to a huge deck. Our dining room includes a large table and an indoor parillia (indoor barbeque grill) at the end of the table, where guests enjoy gourmet and regional dishes prepared by our professional staff in the evening. The lodge sits on the Rio Percy and has access to all the area’s rivers including: Rio Corcovado, Rio Grande, Arroyo Pescado, Rio Corintos, Nant Y Fall, Rio Rivadavia, and Rio Frey. We also have access to several lakes in the area including: Lago Menendez, Lago Verde, Lago Krüger, and Hog Lake (with fish up to twenty pounds) and are daily options. The lodge is also ideal for non-fishing guests wishing to relax and spend the day or as a base for those looking to explore the non-fishing activities available throughout the area. For complete river descriptions and non-fishing activities, please call Yellow Dog.
Tres Rios Ranch (Rio Pico Region) - When fishing in the Rio Pico region, guests stay at Tres Rios Ranch, which offers the best accommodations and food in the entire Rio Pico area. Accommodations are in four double rooms, each with a private bath and the best showers in of Patagonia! The main lodge features a large sitting room, a central fireplace where guests gather for story-telling and cocktails, and a main dining room. All guest rooms open to a covered porch with a spectacular view of Cerro Desnudo. The area is as remote as you can find in Patagonia and the vistas are incredible. From the lodge, fishermen have access to dozens of lakes holding some of the largest fish in all of Patagonia, small spring creeks to test guest’s accuracy and rivers with miles and miles to walk and explore. The Rio Pico area is rugged and there are few signs that things have changed here for decades. Guests love the solitude and the "unconnected" experience that you can only get by being so far removed. And did we mention big fish?
The Patagonia River Guides Lodge - The cocktail lounge includes a large deck and an outdoor fireplace as well as an indoor fireplace. When seated at the indoor bar, you can enjoy 180-degree views of the mountain valley. The lodge is completed by a beautiful dining room where you’ll enjoy a healthy breakfast in the morning and gourmet food (some of the best in Patagonia) prepared by a very talented chef in the evening. The meals at PRG are some of the best we've found anywhere in the world, and over the years, this an operation that has become known for their great menu, amazing meals, and an impressive line-up of the finest Argentine wines.
PRG Lodge at Rio Pico – The focal point of the lodge is it’s central fireplace in the great room of the main lodge, which allows guests to gather after fishing and have a few cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The meals are delicious and prepared with local ingredients. Many of the vegetables come from the local school’s greenhouse. Our talented chef, owner, and lodge manager, was trained at the finest culinary institute in Buenos Aires. Dinners are exquisite, and something guests look forward to throughout the day.
A typical day of fishing in Patagonia starts with a healthy breakfast around 7:30 AM at the lodge. After breakfast, you will be met by your guide and depart to the fishing area of your choice. You will fish one of the magnificent rivers in the area until around 1:30 PM, at which time you will enjoy a gourmet streamside lunch that includes by the finest Argentine wines, meats, cheeses, olives, fruits, and vegetables. After a relaxing lunch, you can grab a quick siesta before starting your afternoon fishing session. The fishing day ends sometime around 7:00 PM when you are transferred back to the lodge for a hot shower and cold drinks. At approximately 9:00 PM you will enjoy dinner in the lodge's main dinning room. Dinner is served late in Argentina, allowing for much longer days on the water. One thing to keep in mind is that all trips are custom designed and structured around your desires, expectations, the time of year, and local fishing conditions. You can leave early or fish late, structuring your schedule however you would like. It’s completely up to you! One of the greatest things about the PRG fishing program is that every fishing day features a different river, spring creek, or lake. Patagonia River Guides utilizes both private and public waters and they have miles of streams under lease for their guests’ enjoyment. Some waters are floated, some are waded, and some a combination of the two depending on conditions and desires. Dry fly, streamer, and spot nymphing (sight fishing) are the most common techniques used to fish the crystal clear waters. Larger flies and tippet sizes are the norm because of less fishing pressure and large fish. Most Argentine trout are in the 16 to 23-inch range with many exceeding 23 inches. Trout species, size, and numbers vary depending on the watershed fished. Some waters produce numbers, some produce size, and some produce both!
FISHING IN THE ESQUEL REGION
In many ways, the Esquel region resembles fishing in the American West – fifty years ago. The quaint village of Trevelin, south of Esquel about 10 miles is located in one of the most beautiful valleys in all of Patagonia. It was originally colonized by Welsh settlers in the 1800’s. It is a small farming community and is known for it’s grain production. The valley is on the eastern front of the Andes Mountains about 20 miles from the Chilean boarder. The Esquel region has great services for fly fishermen and is the center of some of the best trout fishing on the planet. This is the gateway to Los Alerces National Park and to the Southern Andes Mountains. The area has many creeks, lakes, and rivers, all of which contain excellent numbers of trout. A short drive offers incredible trout fishing on the Rio Grande, the Corcovado, the Nant Y Fall, the Rio Chubut, the Arroyo Pescado spring creek, and many more smaller streams and high mountain and desert lakes.
The Rio Grande – A lot like Montana’s Missouri River, the Rio Grande offers a lot of flat water perfect for dry fly fishing and deep pools that hold large fish. It has been a tailwater fishery for over twenty-five years, and the river is maturing more and more each season. This may be one of the best hopper fishing rivers in the world. Boats are used to access the Rio Grande, and fishing from the boat is usually the most effective method. There is also plenty of wading available for those who have to have their feet in the water.
Arroyo Pescado – This is arguably the finest spring creek in the world. It is situated east of Esquel in the desert, and flows for approximately three miles before joining up with the Rio Tecka. It is fished from January 1st through May 1st, and the regulations are strictly enforced by the area’s private estancia. Expect great hatches daily and – depending on the wind – a lot of rising fish. Arroyo Pescado is home to a large variety of wildlife, including pink Chilean flamingos, geese, ducks, swans, ibis, parrots, and condors.
The Corcovado – A fabulous fishery that stretches more than sixty miles through Argentina before crossing the border into Chile. It originates at Lago Vinter, one of the largest lakes in the region, and the river runs cold with consistent flows for most of the season. It offers classic, Western-style trout water and very large fish. If you are willing to fish hard and wait until the end of the season, then the upper Corcovado is perhaps the best place in South America to catch a huge brook trout in a river. The lower stretch of the river fishes well with streamers, hoppers, and large dries throughout the season.
The Nant Y Fall – A lake-fed stream with the character of spring creek. It is best fished in the early season before weeds fill the stream, or in late season when the water begins to cool. Large Rainbows love the Nant Y Fall, and the average fish is more than eighteen inches. The only way to fish this stream is by wading via private access. You can expect spectacular views of the Andes and a large waterfowl habitat home to many of the bird species in Patagonia.
The Rio Chubut – A small willow-lined stream that flows east to the Atlantic Ocean. The only way to fish this water is to float and camp for three days, covering approximately fifty miles. You float through Estancia Leleque, enjoying the spectacular scenery of the Patagonian steppe and volcanic formations. Expect comfortable camping and nightly asados (barbeques) with friends and the personable guides of P.R.G. It is a great river to catch large numbers of rainbows using dries and pancora (fresh water crab) streamers. The best time to fish the Rio Chubut is in the spring and early summer, when the water levels are up.
FISHING IN THE LOS ALERCES NATIONAL PARK REGION
Los Alerces National Park was established to protect one the last stands of giant redwood trees in South America. It encompasses more than 600,000 acres and is home to over a dozen rivers and lakes. Most of the national park is never touched, due to the fact that no roads exist except on the eastern edge. The ecosystem is best described as a temperate rainforest, making it different than most of Argentine Patagonia (which is generally dry). Fortunately, someone with insight planted trout in this area about one hundred years ago and today they are flourishing. You can catch rainbows, browns, brook trout, and landlocked Atlantic salmon in the area’s emerald waters, and will no-doubt enjoy the park as much for the scenery as the fishing. The Los Alerces region offers access to the Carrileufu, the Rivadavia, the Arraynes, the Frey, as well as numerous lakes and small remote streams.
The Carrileufu (kar-a-la-a-fu) – Begins just outside the National Park and is best known for early season landlocked Atlantic salmon. It also holds hard-fighting browns and rainbows. The river flows from Lago Cholila through the dry Cholila Valley, once home to Butch Cassidy. November through February is the best time to fish this river, and floating is the best way to access the prime spots.
The Rivadavia – One of the most beautiful rivers in the world, it flows for five miles, from Lago Rivadavia to Lago Verde. It is a challenging fishery, with gin-clear water and banks lined with logs that at times can make the casting a challenge. Wading and sight fishing with small nymphs is a great way to fish the Rivadavia. Other great methods include fishing large dries over the logs or throwing streamers against the tree-lined banks to entice the huge browns. There are also two fishable spring creeks flowing into the Rivadavia that offer great wade fishing. This river is a favorite of many experienced anglers due in large part to the challenge, the beauty, and the rewards.
The Arraynes (air-a-zhanaes) – Named for the area’s strange trees that feature orange bark and snarled branches, this river connects Lago Verde to Lago Futalaufquen, flowing slow and deep for four miles. The most exciting way to fish the Arraynes is to sight-cast dry flies to cruising rainbows holding just beneath the surface. You won’t believe the distance a fish will move to take a fly and how gently they eat! This river can be great when the conditions are right.
The Frey – The largest river in the national park and one of the most remote. Since you have to cross two lakes to get there, the river receives much less pressure than anything else in the region. The river is slightly difficult to access from shore, and float trips are the way to go depending on river levels and conditions.
Lago Verde and Lago Kruger - These small lakes are hard to beat when they are fishing good. Nice fish will readily rise to eat large dry flies cast to the bank. Coupled with the beauty of ten thousand foot peaks, this is a good option for those wanting to fish dry flies to willing fish and see the beautiful lake system of Los Alerces.
Lago Menendez - This lake is one of the most remote in the National Park and offers some of the most incredible scenery on earth and eager trout that readily take a dry fly. You will be fishing under Torcillas Glacier and is the only place you will be able to see the Alerces Tree. The expedition to get here is half the fun with the trout (some over 25 inches) being the other reason.
FISHING IN THE RIO PICO REGION
The Rio Pico Area is located three hours south of Esquel and offers anglers the chance to explore a remote and untouched fishery. This region offers you an opportunity to catch large fish and enjoy a part of Patagonia that sees very little tourism. Nightly barbecues, fine wines, and stories told around the fireplace make for an amazing experience. The Rio Pico is mostly know for its high desert lakes stacked full of large rainbows and browns. This type of stillwater fishing is exciting because of the size of the trout and the opportunity to sight fish. There are also several rivers and spring creeks in the area which provide plenty of action. If you plan on fishing the Rio Pico region, make sure that you enjoy wild country and are prepared to live like a Gaucho – in style of course!
The Rio Pico – A willow-lined stream that is entirely spring fed, with phenomenal dry fly fishing. Access is challenging and fishing these waters requires some hiking and walking. Most of the fish are rainbows and browns with smaller numbers of brookies and a hybrid brook/brown trout (strange but true). Walking the banks is the only way to fish the upper river. Near the Chilean border, it picks up additional tributaries and becomes large enough to float.
Lago Uno, Dos, Tres, Quatro, Cinco, and many more – High desert lakes full of large rainbows and browns. These lakes offer the angler legitimate shots at fish up to ten pounds. The best way to fish these lakes is by sight fishing with small nymphs. On windy days, when sight fishing is tough, streamer fishing also produces. Even if you don’t consider yourself a lake fisherman, spend a few days here and you’ll become a believer! It is worth the time and effort to fish for these trophy trout, some as large as 20 pounds.
Upper Corcovado, Lago Vinter, and Lago Gaucho – These fisheries provide the best chance at a trophy brook trout outside of Labrador and the best time to find them is in the Argentine fall (March and April.) The upper Corcovado also has huge rainbows in the early season during their spawning season. Later in the summer, the rainbows are average size and fairly easy to catch. Trips to these areas in the past have provided both large fish and incredible numbers of fish.
Rio Neilson, Rio Las Pampas, and The Condor Creeks – Smaller fisheries that provide consistent dry fly action. These aren’t the only ones in the area, but they are some of the better ones. You’ll enjoy wading and
Patagonia River Guides utilizes a large "fleet" of Northwest River Supply self-bailing rafts with swivel seats, anchor systems, and dry storage in each boat. These rafts were designed specifically for fly fishing and are a pleasure to fish from. Four door, 4x4, turbo diesel, Toyota trucks, all in excellent condition, are used to transfer anglers to the fishing areas. Patagonia River Guides also has plenty of back up Winston rods, Hatch reels, lines, Simms waders and boots, etc. for loaner or demo use. Use of any of this equipment in included in your package. They also boast the largest selection of professionally tied local patterns in Argentina to ensure that you will always have the right pattern for the right time. Flies are also included in your package.
Patagonia has much to offer the non-angler, and there is a great deal more to explore than just the trout streams. The bi-lingual guides of PRG can arrange fun-filled and interesting activities and experiences for the non-fishing angler. Some of the many activities include flora and fauna tours, horseback riding, hiking, and scenic raft trips. More relaxing pursuits include wine-tasting, bird-watching, local shopping, massage, cultural tours, and photography safaris. The level of accommodations, service, food, and overall amenities make Patagonia River Guides a great location for couples trips that include a non-angler. The lodge is happy to accommodate non-anglers.
Getting to Patagonia is not difficult. Take an easy overnight flight to Buenos Aires from one of several major cities in the U.S., get a good night’s rest, and awake in Argentina. There are two airports in Buenos Aires. The Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini Airport (Airport Code: EZE) is the international hub where all international flights arrive and depart. From there, you will need to transfer to the Jorge Newbery Airport (Airport Code: AEP), a smaller airport across town that handles the majority of domestic flights. From Newbery (AEP) you will fly to Esquel or to Bariloche, depending on the day of the week. It is always best to arrange your trip so that you can arrive and depart on days when the domestic Argentine airlines fly in and out of Esquel from Buenos Aires. You can fly in and out of Bariloche, but it is a longer trip to the lodge, and there is a surcharge and extra transfer fee to shuttle you from Bariloche.
If desired, you will be met by Yellow Dog's Buenos Aires transfer agent at the international airport and transferred either to your hotel or to the domestic airport for immediate departure to Esquel or Bariloche. The agent in Buenos Aires can easily re-confirm your flights, make dinner reservations, share a cocktail, and take you on a city tour if you wish. From Buenos Aires, it takes about two hours to fly to Esquel. After landing at the Esquel airport, you will be met by your Patagonia River Guide hosts and guides. This transfer is included in your package. If you fly instead into Bariloche, we can also arrange the transfer from the Bariloche airport to the lodge, but keep in mind that there will be an additional transfer fee.
|Length of Stay||
|Regular Season - (Effective 4/15/2013 – 4/30/2013 and 11/1/2013 – 12/31/2013)|
|4 Nights / 3 Fishing Days||$2,600||$4,000|
|5 Nights / 4 Fishing Days||$3,250||$5,000|
|7 Nights / 6 Fishing Days||$4,550||$7,000|
|9 Nights / 8 Fishing Days||$5,850||$9,000|
|10 Nights / 9 Fishing Days||$6,500||$10,000|
|11 Nights / 10 Fishing Days||$7,150||$11,000|
|Peak (High) Season - (Effective 1/1/2013 – 4/15/2013)|
|4 Nights / 3 Fishing Days||$3,200||$4,600|
|5 Nights / 4 Fishing Days||$4,000||$5,750|
|7 Nights / 6 Fishing Days||$5,600||$8,050|
|9 Nights / 8 Fishing Days||$7,200||$10,350|
|10 Nights / 9 Fishing Days||$8,000||$11,500|
|11 Nights / 10 Fishing Days||$8,800||$12,650|
* Remember that Yellow Dog's services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge or outfitter.
Yellow Dog has a full in-house travel and reservations system, and can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers, and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact us at 888-777-5060 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services and trip insurance.
Being south of the equator, summer and winter are reversed and the Patagonia season runs from November to May 1st. Travel in the region of South America is extremely safe, and there are no dangerous snakes, spiders or insects. Mosquitoes are almost non-existent, and the water is completely safe to drink. Communication to and from Argentina is easy and telephones and internet access are widely available. Argentina uses 220 volt electricity, so any electronic or electrical equipment will need a converter to 110 volts. Esquel is two hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Traveler’s checks are hard to exchange in rural Patagonia and US Dollars should be carried for exchange and gratuity. Argentina pesos can be obtained from several cash machines in Esquel with your credit cards or debit cards for personal spending. Culture Shock Argentina, Spanish for Gringos, and Fly Fishing in Patagonia – A Trout Bums Guide to Argentina are valuable books to read prior to your trip for insight on the Argentine culture and fly fishing Patagonia. Argentines eat and drink late, so some adjustment to your schedule will need to be made.