Charlie White reports on a recent visit to Tierra Del Fuego
By Charlie White
I have just returned from a long awaited return to the Rio Grande and it simply reminded me of what a special destination it is...
I fished the second week of the season and the fish are really starting to come in; to hear reports up and down the river of sea trout of 15lbs plus being landed every day is to know that you are on the best sea trout river in the world – of that there is no argument.
It would be easy, with a river such as this, to simply rely on it and let the smaller details of the lodge, the guides and the staff not be quite as good as it could be knowing that all of the rods are going to have a great day anyway. This simply does not happen at La Villa de Estancia Maria Behety lodge or at Estancia Maria Behety lodge – the standards are as good as you will find anywhere and it could easily be argued that the guide team are amongst the best in the world.
All of the guides are Argentinean and have been on the river for years – their turnover is extremely small and a job with either of these lodges is the most sought after position on the river and they do not waste their opportunity. All of them are expert spey casters and one client remarked that the cost of the trip was outweighed by the fact that he had had 48 hours of intensive casting tuition!
The fish start to run the river in mid November but the accepted peak of the season is from early January to early April. There is no “bad” time to go but if you go earlier you will catch only fresh fish and if you go later you should catch more fish but some will be colouring up. A 25lb sea trout is a stunning creature regardless of whether it is silver or brown.
You will use a combination of sink tips, intermediates and floaters and in early January it is the height of their summer and the hours of daylight are long and it is quite warm. As the season progresses it will get colder and the fishing hours become more “normal”.
It is never helpful to compare lodges on a like for like basis but it is worth knowing that these two lodges fish the most productive section of the Rio Grande and because they are in the same ownership, the rods have unfettered access to all of the beats on the river. This is not the same with other lodges where you will exclusively fish either the lower river or higher river which can of course make a huge difference if conditions are against you.
Local and knowledgeable guides on the best water on the river combined with some of the best accommodation in the fishing world and restaurant standard food would be good enough reason to jump on a plane. However, the real reason is always the fishing and the Rio Grande does not disappoint on any level.
There is no doubt that it is a long way to go and sometimes the wind is fierce but this is one of the all-time top destinations for anyone who enjoys traveling with a rod and please do not hesitate to contact me for any further details.