A Primer to Fly Fishing in Argentina: Part 1

Argentina, the world’s 8th largest country, encompasses more than 1 million square miles at the southern end of the South American continent (about 1/3 the size of the US). It extends from the Tropic of Capricorn all the way to windswept tundra in Tierra del Fuego, just a few hundred miles from Antarctica.

Given its prodigious size, it’s no small wonder that Argentina boasts a dazzling array of premier fly fishing destinations as vast as they are varied. From chasing golden dorado in tropical marshlands to battling trophy brown trout in Patagonia, anglers will not soon tire of the incredible diversity of fishing that only Argentina can offer. The range of environments and extraordinary quality of game fish here has justly earned Argentina a reputation as a world-class angling destination.

Yet deciding exactly when and where to fish in a country of such epic proportions is an overwhelming task for any fisherman. You’ve probably already heard that Argentina and Patagonia have great fishing, but where exactly? When? With which guides? There is rarely enough time and/or money to fish it all, so it’s important to discern your priorities and identify the “can’t miss” areas ahead of time. Imagine coming to the US for the first time having only a couple weeks to experience the best of what our country has to offer. Do you target trout, steelhead, tarpon, redfish, salmon, bass, or some combination of the above? The possibilities are simply mind-boggling, and Argentina presents a similar dilemma (if you call too many fishing options a dilemma).

For the sake of brevity, the three primary fishing regions in Argentina are:

Northern Patagonia (a.k.a. the lake district): Multitudes of pristine rivers & lakes provide habitat for robust populations of brown, rainbow and brook trout. This is the most popular destination among visiting anglers.

 

The lakes district of Patagonia is gorgeous and also produces huge trout

Southern Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego: The world’s best runs of sea trout (i.e. anadromous brown trout), draw anglers from around the globe to brave the elements for a chance at 20 + pounders.

Sea Trout on the Rio Grande

The desolate beauty of Tierra del Fuego

Northern Argentina: Dorado, not to be confused with the unrelated saltwater species, occupy the Rio de la Plata basin, and are unique to this watershed. Dorado is arguably one of the best freshwater fly rod species on earth, though they remain relatively unknown to many foreign anglers.

Dorado can reach over 20 lbs in certain areas of northern Argentina

Dorado never fail to display their acrobatics

In Part 2, we’ll talk about when to go and discuss the separate fishing regions of Argentina in further detail