FISHING IN PATAGONIA
Big rivers, streams, lakes, framed in barren plateau landscapes or surrounded by exuberant forests. There is really a lot to choose from in Patagonia.
The fishing season in lakes and streams in southern Patagonia starts in spring and lasts until the beginning of fall. Trouts are highly valued, and numerous foreign tourists come to this area especially to fish them and also, to enjoy the spectacular landscape they can contemplate.
Undoubtedly, trout and salmon are the most popular varieties. The outstanding ones are the "salmón encerrado", the "rainbow trout", the "stream-trout" or "salmonada", the "trucha criolla" or perch, and the brown trout.
There are no significant seasonal limitations for fishing in the sea or in the rivers, except for those imposed by the migration of the species.
Chimehuín: one of the most famous rivers
In Junín de los Andes, Neuquén, flows this river worldwide known for
the quality and quantity of trouts and salmons it offers. The surroundings
Province of Chubut: great trout-fishing place
From sea to mountain, this province offers a great variety of opportunities.
In Esquel, Los Alerces National Park and the Futaleufú basin are waiting
for you. Also Corcovado (where an 18 kg. salmon was fished in 1983),
Senguerr river, the five lakes of the Pico river and more.
Correntoso: the shortest river for the greatest fishing
With its 40 meters of length, Correntoso river joins two great lakes.
Its mouth is a well-known fishing place visited by many enthusiastic
fishers. It is near Villa La Angostura, in Neuquén.
Bariloche and its surroundings
This city offers the fisherman the possibility of first-class accommodations
and services, the perfect complement for an incredible range of lakes
and rivers to choose from in its surroundings.
Las Grutas: sea fishing and more
In the extensive Patagonian Atlantic littoral, species like "pejerrey"
and sea bass can be caught, with the additional incentive of obtaining
delicious octopus and mussels, amongst other sea food. In this case,
the excursion includes fishing both in the middle of the sea and on
the coast, near the beautiful beach resort of Las Grutas, in Río Negro.
The Negro River: 600 kilometers of fishing
From the confluence of the Limay and Neuquén rivers up to its outlet
into the Atlantic Ocean. You can access its main river-bed from several
cities in the north of the province of Río Negro: General Roca, Cipolletti,
Regina and Choele Choel, amongst others.
Río Grande: extremely select
Abundance of quality trouts at the southernmost place in the world.
Fishing spots: main fishing locations in Patagonia
In the province of Chubut:
˜ Lago Puelo basin
˜ Yelcho basin (Futaleufú River and affluents)
˜ Corcovado basin.
˜ Pico River basin.
˜ Senguerr River basin.
˜ Esquel, Los Alerces National Park and Cholila area.
In the province of Río Negro:
˜ Bariloche and El Bolsón.
˜ Medium Valley islets.
˜ Las Grutas and San Antonio Oeste.
˜ From Viedma: San Blas Bay.
In the province of Neuquén:
San Martín de los Andes.
Junín de los Andes (Chimehuín river and lakes).
In the province of Santa Cruz:
˜ "Steel-headed trout", in Comandante Luis Piedrabuena.
In the province of Tierra del Fuego:
"South of the south".
Adventure Travel & Tours...
A fisherman's paradise. The ideal spot for fishing achievers. That
is San Carlos de Bariloche's worldwide reputation.
Bariloche guarantees the fisherman a large number and variety of fish.
The scenario changes: Immense forests, wide and torrential rivers,
majestic snowy peaks. However, fishing remains top-notch, ranging
from the elegant trout to the fighting dorados.
Experts mingle with laymen, arriving at Bariloche every year for the
fishing season, attracted by the natural beauty of the landscapes
and by the fish to be caught. They alone account for up to eight million
pesos worth of transactions involving the sale of permits, lodging
and food expenditure, fishing articles, fuel and transport.
This is why during summer the area is just as geared to sport fishermen
as it is to ski enthusiasts in winter.
WHERE TO FISH AND WHAT TO FISH FOR
Aside from the majestic Lake Nahuel Huapi, practically all the rivers
in the area interconnect, with deep lakes allowing valuable species
To find the ideal spot, according to what each person wants to fish
for and the technique to be used, what could be better than having
the advice of expert fishing guides or gillies.
Experts claim that the ideal place for beginners to this sport to
try their luck is Pichileufu River, where wading-type fly casting
is practiced from the shore, because fishing in the major rivers like
the Limay is much more difficult for a beginner.
Four species of salmonids, introduced a hundred years ago, are found
in this area. They are: rainbow, brown and stream trout and "enclosed"
salmon, that is rarely found in Traful River, but may be found in
Río Limay, as well as the native perch, that may be fished but not
In the lakes the spinning spoon ("cucharita") gives the best results,
and is the technique most beginners use.
On the northern shore of Nahuel Huapi there are several rivers and
streams that empty into the lake, among them the Chiñuraco, Huemul,
De la Estancada and Correntoso, in all of which one can fish stream
and brown trout.
On the west shore of the lake is Pireco Stream; on the Machete arm
may be found the stream of the same name at 15 kilometers from the
mouth of the Correntoso; and in the northern Blest arm area lie the
El Cuerno and Millaqueo streams. All these places must be accessed
by motor boat or launch. The most used technique in these streams
is "trolling", or dragging the bait from a boat..
There are also native species belonging to Nahuel Huapi such as perch,
that are similar to the corvinas, and pejerreyes. There are two more
species, the puyén chico and the puyén grande that are not fished
because the former is too small (about 10 cm), and the latter lives
at 30 m depth.
Towards the south of Bariloche one should mention the Manso River
system, with the small Lake Los Moscos, with its many rainbow and
Then there are the Fonck, Hess and Roca lakes, with good specimens
of rainbow and stream trout, and the Martín and Steffen lakes, where
perch are also found.
However, beyond any doubt, the most popular place is the mouth of
Limay River, the most important river in the system. The best place
is its left bank, close to the lake. There one finds mostly rainbow
For fly fishing enthusiasts, nothing beats the north sector of Limay
River up to its confluence with Traful River.
Good fishing areas also include Caleufú River (in the Casa de Piedra
zone, near the track to Córdoba Pass) or the Pichi Traful and the
Ruca Malen, on the Seven Lakes Route.
In El Bolsón and Río Negro
With its wide range of geographical environments, this city, surrounded
by ancient forests, snowy peaks and pure fresh water, is a star spot
for non--conventional tourism and an extraordinary place to do sport
In Lake Puelo, only using trolling, one can catch rainbow trout, if
one remembers to return the catch to the water. However, on Puelo
River, an excellent trout fishing area, the mode allowed is fly fishing.
Another good spot is Las Grutas, and while vacationing there one can
take advantage of the warm and prolific waters of the Gulf of San
Antonio. From the port of San Antonio Oeste, only 20 kilometers from
Las Grutas, the fisherman can embark to the middle of San Matías Gulf
to fish sea bass, salmon and pez palo.
The Negro River, in all its length is a fishing area, especially on
its small islands in the mid-zone, near Choele Choel. One can catch
prizes of up to one kilo. We must also mention the famous San Blas
Bay, a few kilometers from Viedma, the provincial capital. This is
considered a "fisherman's Eden" due to the quantity and variety of
THE SEASONS AND RULES
Sport fishing in Bariloche is conveniently regulated. In order to
practice this sport you must always have the corresponding permit
(granted by the National Parks Service, provincial organizations or
authorized fishing stores). As well, one must respect the prohibitions
and used the techniques allowed in order to protect the different
Fishing season in this area, as all over Patagonia, starts in mid-November
and ends in mid-April. Meanwhile, the fishing season in National Parks
is November through April.
This is no coincidence: at the time that fish are reproducing they
are much more vulnerable. No fishing is allowed at this time to make
sure that there are fish for the next year and for hundreds of years
more. It is both important and necessary to allow fish to develop
without interfering in their reproductive cycle (during the winter).
It is worthwhile remembering that the fishing day extends from dawn
to dusk. Nocturnal and underwater fishing are expressly forbidden.
Bear in mind the following:
- You must always fish with a lure. No live bait such as crabs,
worms or shrimp may be used.
- You may not fish with triple hook lures, trotlines or nets
that are used for scientific fishing.
- The fact that should be foremost in your mind is that the catch
should always be returned to the water.
- The accepted methods are: spinning (spoon), fly casting (fly)
and trolling (drag fishing employing different lures). You may
also fish from the coast or in a launch or motorboat.
- Within the National Park there are preferential areas such
as the mouth of Limay River, where only fly fishing may be done
and you have to pay a more expensive permit to fish, because the
catches are larger size and the quality of the fish is better.
- There are other areas where only "capture followed by obligatory
release" is allowed. This means that when you catch the fish,
you can only take a photo but must return it immediately to the
water unless it is excessively injured. This rule holds in the
sector of Limay River up to its confluence with the Traful, for
example, because this is in the jurisdiction of the National Parks.
- In the first part of Limay River, you can fish with the spinning
lure, but flies are recommended because they have only one hook
and pose less risk of injury to the trout that must be returned
to the water. To fish in this area, it is best to choose the regional
flies that imitate the live insects that normally form part of
the diet of the salmon and trout.
- It is very important for fishermen to respect all the rules
established in the fishing regulations that consider the special
features of each natural environment.
WHAT IS NEEDED?
Every tourist arriving in the area needs the right equipment. If he
intends to fish in the lake he must bring spoons, and for trolling
he should use rapadas, or large spoons with lead sinkers. A good rod
In the case of wading in the river, the recommended gear is the neoprene
wader, although there are also more economical PVC waders.
There are spoons in a wide range of colors and sizes. But the best
accessory for good equipment is the reel. The cheap ones may be used
for children who are just starting out, and the more sophisticated
ones have six to eight ball bearings and aluminum spools.
There is a wide range of offers. The firms that specialize in organizing
fishing excursions offer a "full service", that is to say they take
care of everything, from picking fishermen up at the airport to making
hotel reservations, and they even provide them with all the necessary
equipment. The fishing guide makes sure that nothing is left to chance,
and the customer feels as comfortable as possible.
AND FLY FISHING
Adventure Travel & Tours...
Fishing as a sport has a privileged place in El Calafate. The extensive
lakes and rivers in the region offer a natural and unique setting
for both sport-fishing and fly fishing. There are organized excursions
that include all the necessary equipment and the experienced help
of the experts. In this region rainbow trouts (both stream and lake)
as well as perches can be obtained.
The region is also considered as one of the most important areas for
the fishing of Patagonian salmonidae, and all fly-fishing, trolling-fishing
and spinning-fishing are highlighted.
An important fishing destination is Lake Roca, only 51 kilometers
from the small town of El Calafate. This privileged water mirror offers
lots of rainbow and Canadian trouts, perches and puyen. Another option
is the swift De las Vueltas river, near El Chaltén. In both options,
the added value to the attraction of fishing are the incredible surroundings
with forests which allows the sight of local species.
Other alternatives are:
Santa Cruz river, "Little Fellow": rainbow trout, the precious Steelhead,
and lake trout.
Lake Argentino: rainbow trout, lake trout and perch.
Lake Viedma: lake trout, rainbow trout and brown trout.
Lake San Martín: lake trout, rainbow trout and brown trout.
De las Vueltas river: brown trout.
La Leona river: brown trout and lake trout.
Rubens river and Penitente river: brown trout.
Coyle river (northern arm): brown trout and stream trout.
Remember that you have to obtain the corresponding fishing license
in some of the Park offices. Your specialized travel agency will help
you with all the necessary steps to obtain this license and will also
organize the fishing excursions day by day; they will provide you
with the necessary equipment and they will also recommend the places
where there are more specimens and, consequently more chances to obtain
Madryn Adventure Travel & Tours...
The main feature of Puerto Madryn is the presence of two gulfs that
surround it: Golfo San José and Golfo Nuevo. In these amazing crystal-clear
waters, fishing is a gift from Mother Nature that the traveler cannot
afford to reject.
It can be practiced both from a rocky outcrop on the shore and from
a boat. The scenario and final product will always be the same: spotless
beaches, wonderful landscapes all around, and a variety of species.
According to his or her sporting interests and program of activities,
the tourist can practice fishing in the daytime or at night. Squid,
for example, is a species that awaits the fisherman after dark.
This sport has become so popular in the city that during February
each year the Puerto Madryn Fishing Club organizes the classical contest
known as "twenty hours of fishing", with important prizes for the
According to the different species of fish populating the Puerto Madryn
coastline, fishing here is classified in two seasons, as well as by
style and methodology.
This starts in mid-November and ends in late March. It is characterized
by large catches, and fishing is practiced in the open water from
specially designed boats which have been approved by the Coast Guard
and the Board of Continental Fishing and Maritime Interests.
Heavy tackle is used, including clamped rods (preferably with pulley-equipped
reels). The reels are of the rotating type to stand 200 meter loads
or more. The line is ¾ mm nylon with single hooks and, usually, cylindrical
weights of 250 grams.
For bait, fresh octopus fry, squid strips or tentacles, or fresh fish
fillet is used, although experts recommend shrimp, whole young squid
This is a little used fishing style in local tourism, although it
is undoubtedly one of the most exciting ones. Generally it is restricted
to local fishermen, but can be practiced on any stretch of coast in
Highly prized sport fish can be caught, including the dogfish shark,
the pez gallo, the manta ray, the false sea salmon, the grouper, the
turco and the sea bream, among others.
Minimal knowledge of the beaches and tides is required.
This starts in early April and extends to mid-November.
The most common fishing mode in winter is bait or fly fishing.
For bait fishing or angling, light tackle is used. The rods are two-piece
of 2.7 meters length approximately with rotating or frontal reels
and nylon loads that vary from 100 to 150 meters, with a line gauge
of 0.2/0.3 mm.
The lines have three 8 - 14 hooks of the "cormorant" or a similar
type, and the most-used bait is shrimp and prawn (previously soaked
in horse mackerel oil).
This type of fishing can be practiced at any point on the Chubut coast.
Also, it is better to fish by day because of low air temperatures.
Fishing with artificial bait (fly-fishing, lure-fishing and spoon-fishing)
features the use of very light tackle. This is a mode that is becoming
more popular in Puerto Madryn. In some cases it involves compulsive
returning of the catch to the water, whereas in others, the fisherman
decides what he does with his catch.
The species that are most sought after are highly combative, which
adds to the excitement of the sport. A good example of this is the
haddock, that is easily caught with fly or lure, in the same way as
Where to find the best "biting"
Experience indicates that an incoming tide makes fishing easier. The
first two hours of flowing tide and the first two hours of ebbing
tide should be thoroughly taken advantage of.
It should also be pointed out that biting is very slack at the full
moon; therefore, the best days to fish are during new moon and between
the first and last quarters.
This makes it important to refer to a tide chart, which can be obtained
directly from the shops in the city or by contacting the Tourism and
IN SAN MARTIN DE LOS ANDES
Martin de los Andes Adventure Travel & Tours...
Sport fishing on the lakes of southern Argentina is a unique experience
because the special nature of this type of fishing itself - quite
different from fishing in the sea or in the northern rivers - makes
an ideal combination with the natural setting in one of the most wonderful
landscapes the planet has to offer.
Among sport fishing target species are: salmón encerrado, trucha marrón,
trucha de lago, trucha arco iris, pejerrey bonaerense, pejerrey patagónico,
etc. However, in Patagonia the species that is most highly prized
and attracts fishermen from all over the world is the trout, that
was introduced early in the 20th century.
The season lasts from mid-November to mid-April, although some areas
are open all year round.
San Martín de los Andes has innumerable rivers, streams and lakes
where you will find excellent places to practice your favorite sport,
thanks to the quantity and high quality of the species inhabiting
The best known fishing lakes and waterways in the area of influence
of San Martín de los Andes are: Lolog, Huechulafquen, as well as the
Chimehuin river, world-famous for the quality of its trout. Other
prime spots for fishing are Falkner, Correntoso and Pichi Traful lakes;
in addition to the lakes and rivers mentioned there are infinite places
where the fisherman and his family can enjoy a very special day
Species available in the lakes are: rainbow and brown trout and fontinalis.
Atlantic salmon can also be caught. The particularity of this fish
is that it offers a prolonged struggle when caught. It may be caught
in the Curruhe and Traful lakes, and must be returned to the water
WHERE ONE CAN FISH
Chimehuin River (60 km approx.)
This is a middle-sized river, born in Lake Huechulafquen and eventually
joining the Aluminé to form the Collón Cura river. The waterway, due
to its extraordinary layout and the spectacular catches that were
made here in former years, has achieved global fame as the most important
fishing river in our country and correspondingly, as this chapter
will show, is one of the rivers that has been studied in greatest
depth and which we know most about.
It offers both sections framed by high embankments with craggy outcrops
that are followed by deep sinkholes making it necessary to use heavy
equipment, and small detours that enable the enthusiast to use his
most refined gear.
Its banks are generally densely populated with trees, dominant species
being the willow and the michay. The salmonid variants to be found
here include the rainbow trout and brown trout, in sizes varying between
500 grams and 3 kilos. Catches of greater size, especially brown trout
are not uncommon, although they require a good knowledge of the area,
something that only experienced fishermen or local "gillies" can provide.
This waterway is divided into three sections:
1. Boca del Chimehuin (Mouth of the Chimehuin river)
Chimehuin river mouth (500 m on each side of Huechulafquen lake up
to the Garganta del Diablo).
This area has become known as the "Mecca of fly-fishing", not only
because of the great number of exceptionally big fish that have been
caught here or the stories of even bigger ones "that got away", but
also because of its majestically beautiful landscape. The mighty passions
aroused in hosts of sport fishermen by this tiny spot of the globe
have been aptly described by Joe Brooks as "Boca fever". According
to him, the only cure for this pathology is retrieving from its waters
their greatest treasures, namely the monstrous prize trout inhabiting
It is divided into two sections:
- Mouth upwards (from the lake to the bridge).
The first important fishing area is the so-called Radziwill Stone,
that stands to the right of the Volcadero (Tipple). Further on, appears
the Cajón (Boxed-in Area), a very well-stocked sector that ends in
the area formerly known as Pozón de los Giles ("Sucker's Pit"), alluding
to its easy fishing features (great depth and lack of obstacles for
casting), because most rookie fishermen preferred this spot.
The ideal technique and gear is a tackle consisting of N° 6 and N°
8, 9 to 9.5 foot-length teeny or shooting fast-sinking line (III or
IV), 4-foot leader, and oversized Matuka Rabitt, Zonker, Woolly Bugger
or Marabú Muddler flies on N° 2 and N° 6, well-ballasted hooks. The
best technique is casting upriver, letting the line sink as much as
possible (this section is more than 4 m deep), and moving the fly
as deeply and naturally as you can with tiny jerks, enabling the monsters
below to catch it with minimal effort.
- Mouth downwards (from the bridge to the Garganta del Diablo).
Beyond the bridge, the river swerves to the right, flowing through
a ravine, complicating things for the fisherman, as it is impossible
to reach the remotest and most profitable areas with traditional casting
techniques. In the whole section, except for one or two well-defined
spots, one has to use the "roll cast" technique, which is rather difficult
with a fast-sinking line, unless you are an experienced caster.
Preferred area: only fly fishing allowed, with a mandatory permit
Daily limit: 2 perch.
2. Chimehuin upriver (approx. 25 km)
(From Garganta del Diablo up to Junín de los Andes city).
From Boca up to the city of Junín de los Andes along Provincial Route
N° 61, the first important pool is Las Viudas, a very prolific area.
This pool, together with El Manzano and Balsa Vieja, due to the closeness
of the lake, possess the greatest number of large specimens. The river
on the whole upper stretch is quite accessible from the highway, except
some stretches where permission is required from farmers. Near the
highway lies the La Herradura pool, which was named El Rincón some
years ago, and is one of the river's most beautiful spots. Some kilometers
below lies the La Usina pool. In this sector, the river splits up
into multiple arms and minor streams that enable us to fish specimens
weighing between 500 grams and 2 kilos with ultra-light nymph and
dry-fly tackle in high water at the beginning of the season. After
January, the drop in water level and the increased temperature makes
the fish move to the main branch. The last pool that one finds near
the city and downriver from the bridge is known as El Basural.
Preferred area: exclusive for fly fishing, with additional permit
Daily limit: 2 perch.
1 brown trout over 75 cm.
1 rainbow trout over 60 cm.
Between the Garganta del Diablo and the bridge on National Route Nº
234 (adjacent to the military barracks)
3. Chimehuin downriver (approx. 35 km)
(From Junín de Los Andes city to its confluence point with the Aluminé).
This sector is almost entirely privately owned and up to the confluence
point of the Quilquihue has well-defined access points. Beyond this
stretch, access to the river may only be gained by paying a fee to
owners. The first pool, appearing approximately one km from the town
is El Matadero. Then come areas such as Piedras Blancas, the confluence
with the Curruhue and the Curva del Manzano, where prizes weighing
1 to 3 kilos can be tempted with light equipment and the use of the
nymph or dry fly techniques.
Then comes the La Marquesa pool and the confluence with the Quilquihue,
accessible from National Route N° 234 after a 400 m walk. That is
the point where the best-yielding stretches of the river begin. These
have been closed off by their owners, who run their own fishing lodges
Among the most highly yielding pools we can mention, which used to
be freely accessible, are the Puente Negro, Mallin Redondo, El Farallón
and the confluence with the Aluminé.
Fishing techniques and gear
If you are after large fish, the best thing to do is use the same
gear as recommended for Boca. As all-round equipment we recommend
a Nº 5 or Nº 6, 8.5 to 9 feet long, with a floating-line reel and
a medium-to-fast sinking shooting (II or III). The first line will
enable us to fish with dry fly or nymph, while the second is ideal
to try with streamers, especially those mentioned for high water in
Boca and the Malleo river.
The ideal spinning gear is a light one, and the flies that work best
are the same as those for the Aluminé river.
Preferred area: exclusive for fly fishing, with additional permit
Daily limit: 2 perch.
1 trout smaller than 30 cm or larger than 60 cm.
On the stretch corresponding to the CEAN (800 m) mandatory returning
of catch and an unbarbed hook. Between the National Route Nº 234 road
bridge and the confluence with the Aluminé: mandatory returning and
Curruhue River (25 km approx.)
This is a small, short river, whose width fluctuates between 4 and
8 m. Its banks are very overgrown and steep, making it difficult to
walk along them without sliding down. The river bed has an even layer
of pebbles with larger rocks now and then, used by the fish as a protection
against the current. It has very clear water, and is highly populated
with insects and other aquatic invertebrates.
This is an ideal place to fish at the beginning of the season and
in the middle of summer, since at other times the water level drops
so much that the larger fish move away due to the increased temperature
of the water and lesser flow. In November and December one can find
specimens of rainbow and brown trout weighing between 500 grams and
1 kilo, whereas towards the end of January one rarely finds fish weighing
over 300 grams. This is not a suitable river for beginners, due to
the heavy vegetation and steep river banks making casting techniques
Fishing gear and techniques
Although it is well suited to fishing with light tackle, including
nymphs or dry fly, it is not suitable for beginners. Also, wading
is difficult at the times of highest yield. If you use dry flies,
the best type are voluminous Wulff, allowing good flotation. Some
of these are Royal Wulff, Royal Humpy and Irresistible Black, using
N° 10 and N° 14 hooks. Among the nymphs, the best are Zug Bug, Casual
Dress and Black Stone, with N° 10 and N° 14 hooks.
Between Lake Currhué Chico and the limit with Lanín National Park:
an obligatory returning area and also exclusive for fly fishing and
unbarbed hooks, with additional permit necessary.
Between Lanín National Park and the confluence with the Chimehuín:
obligatory returning and unbarbed hooks. Daily limit: 2 perch.
Quilquihue River (25 km approx.)
This is a middling-sized river that has its source in Lake Lolog and
flows into the Chimehuin river as its main tributary. It is mainly
a high-gradient river that progressively becomes less pronounced towards
the mouth. It contains a great number of small rainbow and brown trout.
The weight of the resident fish ranges between 500 grams and 1.2 kilos,
with case of weights above two kilos near the juncture with the Chimehuin
or the mouth into the Lolog. The size of the river and the fish makes
it suitable for using light tackle and dry flies.
Fishing gear and techniques
In the area of the mouth, the ideal equipment is a N° 5 or N° 6 with
medium-sink lines (II), together with medium streamers or "impressionist"
Soft Hackle o Casual Dress nymphs on N° 8 and N° 14 hooks.
For fishing the rest of the waterway, especially from early January
onward in the lower waters, one can use ultra-light N° 1 and N° 4
gear, as well as a similar assortment of flies to that detailed for
the Malleo river.
Obligatory returning and unbarbed hooks.
Daily limit: 2 perch.
Collón Cura River (40 km approx.)
This is a large-volume, wide river resulting from the confluence of
the Aluminé and the Chimehuin. This waterway runs along a beautiful
valley in a north-south direction. Its median width is 15-35 meters,
alternating long runs with large pools, that by the end of the season,
thanks to receiving brown trout reproducers from Piedra del Aguila
dam, often contain enormous fish. The river meanders quite a lot,
and its main tributaries are the Quemquemtreu stream and the river
Caleufu, although this last now empties into the Piedra del Aguila
dam. As from 1993, the latter, according to its level, occasionally
floods 10 to 15 km of the former lower reaches of the Collón Cura
Embankments alternately present clean gravel-covered sectors and densely
vegetated areas, mainly consisting of willows. It is well-stocked
with rainbow and brown trout, the former being caught more frequently.
Specimen weights range between 500 grams and 2.5 kilos, with the average
around 1 kilos. Heavy ones weighing 3 to 4 kilos are quite often caught,
plus the occasional monsters.
This river, despite its size and current, can be easily waded, contrasting
with the other similarly sized waterways in our territory, that pose
special risks to fishermen. It should be pointed out that the best
points in the river can only be reached with rubber rafts.
Gear and techniques
The gear recommended is a N° 5 to N° 7, from 8.5 to 9.5 feet in length,
and a quick-sinking teeny or shooting-type line. Specially recommended
are hair streamer slides, using N° 4 and N° 8 hooks, and large, "impressionist"
nymphs. The deepest parts yield more with feather streamers, Woolly
Buggers and all the kinds of Rabbits.
When its level is low, the river, especially in its lower sections,
tends to divide into small branches, enabling the use, wind permitting,
of N° 3 or N° 4 gear, and floating line for nymphs and dry flies.
For spinning practice, light tackle is most recommended, although
ultra-light can be used on the larger streams or the main course once
flow is reduced.
Among the most effective artificial bait we recommend 10 to 25 gram
undulating spoons, naturally colored, articulated bait up to 10 cm
and feather flies.
Daily limit: 1 trout under 30 cm or over 60 cm, or 2 perch.
Caleufu River (45 km approx.)
This river stems from the confluence of the Filo Hua Hum with the
Meliquina, and after a while empties into Piedra del Aguila dam, part
of its original course being under the dam floodwaters. It is a middling
river, with a striking contrast in shape between its upper and lower
The upstream Caleufu features a higher gradient with an abundance
of slipways, a rock bed and more riverside vegetation, especially
in the first stretches, where these features make it almost impossible
to fish in. Downstream Caleufú shows a lesser gradient, and the river
becomes more diverse in nature, tending to form loops and channels,
with riverside vegetation almost disappearing and giving way to the
arid flora of the steppe. Riverbed rocks also reduce in size, and
river bottom sectors of fine sediment and sand appear. The waters
of this sector are cloudier than in the upper one, and are coffee-colored,
showing the greater productivity, which is also reflected in a larger
In this area we find both rainbow and brown trout, although the former
are more abundant. Average weights vary between 500 grams and 1.5
kilos in most cases, with a good chance of fishing specimens weighing
2 to 2.5 kilos.
Gear and fishing techniques
The ideal rod is a N° 5 or N° 6, 8.5 to 9 feet long with a full-sinking
or wet tip moderate sinking (II) line, enabling us free maneuvering
over almost the whole waterway. The most effective technique is streamer
fishing, especially with light Bucktails tied on N° 4 and N° 10 hooks.
Other effective streamers are the Marabu Muddlers and the Fuzzy Wuzzy
Mara, these being more appropriate for slower and deeper waters.
The number of fish in this river makes it ideal for beginners. With
low water one can also use N° 3 or N° 4 gear for nymph and dry fly
Fishing limited to fly fishing.
Daily limit: 1 trout or perch.
SPECIES WITH SPORTING VALUE
The following are the sport fishing salmonids that can be caught in
the lakes and rivers of Neuquén province.
Note: * Species that are currently banned / should be returned to
Source: "Dirección General de Bosques" (Neuquén) and "Parques Nacionales"
(Neuquén Forestry Ministry and National Parks Service).
PATAGONIAN PEJERREY (Odontesthes microlepidotus)
This is a species that is frequently used in restocking pisciculture
(although not in Patagonia, only in Buenos Aires province). Its family,
including its famous kin, the pejerrey de mar, the cornalito and the
pejerrey bonaerense are all of high economic value. This species,
that inhabits an area from Mendoza to Santa Cruz can exceed one kilo
in weight. It is a fairly rare fish, but not considered endangered.
PERCH OR CRIOLLO TROUT (Percichthys spp)
Due to its lack of fight after swallowing the bait, it is not very
sought after, but its white tasty meat makes it important in sport
There are three species, namely: Perca Boca Chica (Small Mouthed Perch),
Perca Bocona (Large Mouthed Perch) and Perquita Espinuda (Spiny or
Bristly Perch), that are not easily distinguished from each other.
In some cases, they can be heavier than 4 kilos, with a 5 kilo specimen
having been caught once in the Collón Cura river. The large-mouthed
variety quite often can be heavier than 4 kilos.
THE RAINBOW OR SILVER TROUT (Salmo gairdneri or Oncorhynchus
This differs from other members of the same family in having a longitudinal
reddish stripe along its sides, including the sides of its head.
Although this coloring is typical, it can vary in some individuals
and disappear in others, which are commonly known as "silver trout".
It is very prized by fishermen due to its combativeness and size,
often exceeding 10 kilos in lake environments.
FONTINALIS TROUT OR RIVER TROUT (Salvelinus fontinalis)
This is a very common trout, especially in lakes, but it is restricted
to low-oxygen and higher-temperature waters. It is easy to identify
by the white edge accompanied by a black stripe on its pectoral, ventral
and caudal fins. It also presents red spots surrounded by a light
blue halo and a few yellow spots on its sides. Close to spawning,
it may show a bright red belly.
This is the smallest of the Neuquén salmonids, only exceeding 4 kilos
in rare instances in lake environments. Due to its beauty, voracity
and its excellent eating quality, it is highly prized by sport fishermen
all over the world.
BROWN TROUT (Salmo trutta)
This is arguably the most popular salmonid among sport fishermen because
it is hard to fool, and since the places it lives in are sometimes
out of reach for the bait, it is quite difficult to catch.
It is clearly differentiated from the other species by its black spots
surrounded by a light halo, present all over its body except for the
The "browns" are European in origin, but are a commonplace fish in
Neuquén, having easily adapted to different environments.
At a maximum recorded 15 kilos, this salmonid is the largest found
as yet in Neuquén.
SALMON ENCERRADO (Salmo salar):
The term "encerrado" (closed-in) refers to its behavior in fresh water,
since in its natural environment it alternates between rivers and
the sea at different stages of its life. It is easily confused with
the brown trout, but differs from the latter in having a smaller mouth
and a jawbone that only reaches to the back part of the eye.
In the Currhué lake and river one can catch excellent specimens, reaching
a great size and weights of over 10 kilos in some cases.
SPORT FISHING SEASON
The continental Patagonian sport fishing season starts on Saturday,
November 1, 2003 and ends on Saturday, May 1, 2004.
Species / months of capture
Brown trout: Nov/Dec/Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr
Salar sebago salmon: Nov/Dec/Mar/Apr
Lake trout: Nov/Dec/Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr
IN USHUAIA - TIERRA DEL FUEGO
- Tierra del Fuego Adventure Travel & Tours...
natural characteristics of rivers and lakes in Tierra del Fuego make
of this province an exceptional attraction point for sport-fishermen
from all over the world. Particularly if they are aware of the fact
that trouts can reach dimensions never seen in other places.
this in mind, tourists should know that pleasure is guaranteed in
a fishing tour in the area. Excursions, which may last for a day or
more, are available from November to March. To make them even more
attractive, rivers are bursting with native fish species, such as
"puyén" and "peladilla". In the salty water areas, fishermen may find
pollack, hake, sea bass, sardine, as well as "brown" and "rainbow"
trouts (Sea Brown and Steelhead), which although originally from salty
water, can be caught in rivers as they lay their eggs every two years.
Excursion costs includes transport, guide service, meals, equipment
and, in some cases, fishing license.
There are two types of licenses: the first one allows tourists to
fish within the National Park areas, also valid in continental Patagonia
and other National Parks in the region. The second type is limited
to the province. The fishing methods allowed are: spinning and fly-casting.
Trolling is strictly forbidden.
The alternatives to enjoy a fishing day are really varied. Travelers
may find trouts such as:
Brown Trout (Salmo Trutta)
Found mostly in rivers and lakes in the Province. Its color varies
according to the location and habitat. Its back is dark brown, lightening
in the sides, with a yellow abdomen. Some individuals migrate to the
sea which fosters a rapid growth, so that it is possible to catch
individuals over 10 kilograms.
Stream Trout (Salvelinus Fontinalis)
It is a precious catch due to its attractive colors, even though it
is considerably smaller than the other species. Its back is olive
green with darker vermiculate spots and it has a reddish abdomen.
The extremes of its fins are white with a black border. It is frequently
found in the Lake Fagnano basin.
Rainbow Trout (Oncorhyinchus Mykiss)
Because of its strength and combative nature, it is highly valued
among fishermen. It is easily differentiated from the rest of the
species due to the horizontal reddish stripe on its sides and the
darker dots which are abundant in its fins and tail.