Rio Pico Expeditions

Fish the path less traveled

When anglers envision the quintessential Patagonia fishing experience, virgin wilderness, uncrowded water, and large, eager trout generally come to mind. One of the best kept secrets left in Patagonia is the Rio Pico region, one of the few places that actually live up to this reputation.

Situated approximately 3 hours south of the quaint city of Esquel, Rio Pico is home to a dozen lakes and several rivers, and is a veritable paradise for fly fishermen. Far from the trappings of civilization and tourism, one enters into a land that has largely preserved its Patagonian frontier element – a harsh, sparsely populated territory where the pace of life slows perceptibly, tourists are notably scarcer and poor infrastructure complicates access. The effort required to get there is most certainly worth the reward, as anglers can expect to find big brown, rainbow, and brook trout that take flies with abandon. One would be hard-pressed to find better trout fishing anywhere in Patagonia.

Fishing Program

Anglers will have the option of fishing a variety of different waterways in the region, from large lakes to intimate spring creeks. In the lakes it is common to sight-fish from shore or cast from small watercrafts for trophy brown and rainbow trout. In the rivers and creeks one can expect to find robust populations of brown, rainbow and brook trout of very good average sizes. Fishing techniques are variable, from sight-fishing with small dry flies and nymphs, to stripping streamers in search of a trophy fish.

The unimaginatively named Lagos 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are home to one of the largest average size of trout in Patagonia, and it is common to find fish over 6 pounds. On the western (windward) ends of the lakes, the shoreline is often choked by vast expanses of juncos, which harbor a great deal of aquatic life and tend to terminate abruptly over relatively deep water. On the eastern (leeward) end, the shoreline is dominated by rocky outcroppings, where endless wave action has piled stony beaches between them. Anglers who approach Lagos 1-5 will thus have the choice between pursuing cruising trout from the shallow eastern shores, or jumping in a boat and playing the deeper reed-lines on the far side.

Nilson River

Coming from the Andes, Nilson River is a beautiful freestone river. It is ideally suited to sight fishing in it’s crystalline waters. Here we can find large quantities of brown and rainbow trout between 1 and 2 pounds, and, of course, there is always the chance for larger fish.

Pampa river

This river is the biggest tributary of the Pico system, and is characterized by long riffles followed by deep pools. It has a diverse insect population, making it a perfect river for dry fly and nymph fishing for its brown and rainbow trout.

Pico river

This river is divided into 2 distinct sections- the upper and lower. Both, of which, are completely different. In the upper section it is an extremely productive spring creek that holds a big population of fish. In terms of insect life, it’s the most productive river in the area and a perfect place to catch big fish between 2-7 pounds with dries and nymphs. Even though the water is not gin-clear, most of the fishing is made by spotting the fish. In the lower section the river gets bigger and wider due to its affluents. This section is also very productive but different from the upper stretches insofar as it has a steeper gradient, here we can find brown trout, rainbow trout and even Pacific Salmon make an appearance depending on the time of the season.


The fishing runs from November 1st to May 1st, but weather conditions can vary greatly over the course of the season.

In the early season, (Nov-Dec), one must be prepared for almost any condition, from warm, sunny days to rain showers and strong winds. Due to the amount of water we have available, we will be able to catch fish in almost any weather condition.

Jan-Mar is the driest and warmest time of the season, and the weather is relatively stable. Everywhere in Patagonia, though, one must come prepared for the possibility of inclement weather.

By April, summer is over and temperatures are dropping. Temperatures from 5? to 15?C are common at this time of the season, and precipitation (rain or maybe even snow) is more frequent.

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