Looking for info re Argentina Lakes District

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Ramblin Rick, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. Ramblin Rick

    Ramblin Rick Member

    Mar 17, 2013
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    Snohomish Washington
    I am planning a trip to Argentina to fish the lake district around Bariloche. I am looking for first hand information about the long distance bus service, guides, and best time for the trip. Thanks in advance for any advice and insights.
  2. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Jun 28, 2005
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    Seattle, WA
    Rick -

    I've been to that part of Patagonia a few times and did a do-it-yourself fishing trip to the vicinity in late February/early March 2010. The weather was perfect; the fishing was great; and the cultural experience was an added bonus. We rented a car in Bariloche and traveled as far north as Lago Alumine and as far south as Esquel. We camped about half the nights and stayed at guest houses the rest of the time. We traveled quite a lot and sampled a lot of rivers, but in a future trip, I would stay in one place longer and fish a few rivers more thoroughly.

    Some folks prefer the early season (e.g. December) or late season (e.g., April) to target the lake-run rainbows and browns, respectively, in the 'bocas' (where rivers enter or leave lakes). However, water is high in December, which makes for tough wading, and weather is likely to be lousy in April, so I prefer their late summer. Fishing at that time is for resident trout in the rivers, which may not run as big, but they are big by North American standards, and plentiful.

    Here are a couple of tips:
    1) Get copies of both William Leitch's "Argentine Trout Fishing: A fly fisherman's guide to Patagonia" (this is out of print, but available on Amazon used and is much better, in my opinion, than the following) and the more recent "Fly-fishing in Patagonia: a trout bum's guide to Argentina" by Mattison and Jones. The latter is mostly an update of the former, but isn't as fun a read and the authors hadn't, at the time they wrote it, put in the years that Leitch had fishing Argentine Patagonia.

    2) Stay for part, or all, of your stay at Hosteria Chimehuin in Junin de los Andes. This is the classic old fly fisherman's guest house in the most prominent of fishing centers in northern Patagonia. However, it is still modestly priced and comfortable. You'll meet other do it yourself fly fishermen from other parts of Argentina and around the world. The proprieters can refer you to local guides, and there is fun fly fishing within walking distance (heavily pressured, no doubt; we just fished there evenings). There are several good rivers within a short distance of Junin de los Andes. I would spend more time in this vicinity on a future trip.

    3) Before you go, look up the fishing regulations online. Argentina has perhaps the worlds strictest regulations, 'on the books' at least. Enforcement, not so much (we only encounterd "Guarda pesca" on the Rio Malleo). Beware that regulations require that anyone coming from outside of Argentina, or countries that have contiguous borders with Argentina, must have NEW waders and wading boots to prevent introduction of invasive organisms (I wet-waded the entire time I was there, since it is hot during their mid-summer season). There was talk at that time of even stricter regulations that would require NEW wading equipment on every river drainage that you fish!

    4) Speaking some Spanish will be almost essential for a DIY trip to that part of Argentina. Outside of the main cities in Argentina, English is not spoken by locals much. Bariloche is no problem in that regard, but the proprieters at the Hosteria Chimehuin spoke only limited English. It wasn't a problem for us, but one of the other guests was from Australia and didn't speak any Spanish.

    5) I'm not sure why you are asking about long-haul bus service. To get to Bariloche, I recommend flying from Buenos Aires (or Santiago, if you get a cheaper fare through Chile), rather than taking the bus. The bus will save you some money, but it is a lo-o-o-o-ng way from BA to Bariloche, through a lot of boring country - better to spend that time fishing. Once you are in this part of Argentina, you can take the bus from town to town (e.g., Bariloche to Junin), although you might be better off hiring a taxi for that trip, but not to the water. Since you are investing a lot in this trip anyway, I'd suggest biting the budget bullet and renting a vehicle in Bariloche. Roads are mostly gravel, but good, they drive on the right, traffic is light, towns are small (even Bariloche), and you will have the freedom to pull off wherever you want to fish or stop for the night. Camping is easy and free or cheap in this part of Argentina (National Park camping can run to $20/night); you can almost make up the cost of car rental by camping part of the time.

    I'm not going to give away any favorite spots on a public forum, even for Patagonia! If you want any more details, drop me a PM, or search the forum archives; I think there are some similar threads in years gone by.

    Ed Ramberg likes this.

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