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Few destinations on earth compare with the sea-run fishing on the Rio Grande, where most fly fishermen rate the trophy sea-run brown trout as the ultimate angling experience. Located in the southern corner of Argentina, most of the Rio Grande is on the Chilean side of the border, although nearly 80% of the prime spawning habitat and all of the Rio Grande's best fishing is on the Argentina portion of the island, much of it in the first 45 miles above where the river enters the sea.
Few destinations on earth compare with the sea-run fishing on the Rio Grande, where most fly fishermen rate the trophy sea-run brown trout as the ultimate angling experience.
Located in the southern corner of Argentina, most of the Rio Grande is on the Chilean side of the border, although nearly 80% of the prime spawning habitat and all of the Rio Grande's best fishing is on the Argentina portion of the island, much of it in the first 45 miles above where the river enters the sea. La Villa de Estancia Maria Behety is the most deluxe lodge on the Rio Grande. Guests share more than 102 pools with Estancia Maria Behety Lodge and enjoy old world charm in the beautifully restored, historic mansion.
Sea-run browns on the Rio Grande average 10 – 14 lbs, and experienced fly rodders usually hook about a half dozen per day. Trophy fish in excess of 20 pounds are not uncommon and about one in 50 is a monster pushing 30 pounds!
Resident brown and rainbow trout fishing in the tributaries and the Rio Grande headwaters is excellent.
The big sea-run brown trout start to return to the pools of the Rio Grande in significant numbers around Thanksgiving.
Less than a month later the river is loaded with fish and it is estimated that by the first day of each New Year, nearly 80% of the escapement has reached their annual family reunion. That translates into more than a thousand monster trout per river mile. The fish initially herd up in the best lower river pools, though hundreds more of the silver sea trout continue to pour into the Rio Grande on every high tide, twice a day until sometime in May. The most sought after dates are February and March.
While mid-season offers the most pleasant weather, the best weeks ever recorded have been the last weeks of the season. Early season fish are very aggressive, full of fight, and acrobatic. They move readily to dries, and three of the largest sea trout ever recorded were caught and released in January.
Day 1) The program begins with the reception at the Rio Grande airport and transfer to the Villa where you are received by the Lodge manager. After settling in, the fishermen are invited with a welcome cocktail and the plan for the week.
Day 2 to day 6) After breakfast the fishermen are transferred in 4 x 4 trucks to the corresponding pools. At noon he has lunch in the Villa and after a while of relaxation, in the afternoon, he goes out again to fish in another pool until the magical last hour. Almost at night you return to the Villa for a comforting hot water bath and dinner.
On the 8th, transfer to the airport.
La Villa has to be considered one of the most luxurious fly fishing lodges in the Americas, accommodating 6 anglers per week in single occupancy rooms.
Amenities include a 9,000 bottle wine cellar, private rooms, Jacuzzi tubs and a very talented team of guides and exquisite dining. During non-angling times between double daily fishing secessions, guest will gather in one of two living areas where fishing tales are told, cocktails enjoyed and the next fishing sortie is anticipated with the warmth and comfort of a crackling fire burning in the fireplace.
Other amenities at La Villa include radiant floor heat, 24 hour internet service, wader/equipment room, designated fly tying areas and gift and tackle shop.
In addition to the Villa, the ranch offers the Maria Behety Lodge, which has excellent facilities and can accommodate up to 12 fishermen in its 8 rooms. From the Lodge there is access to the pools that it shares with the fishermen of the Villa and others further upstream.
Single-handed rod #8 Wt or #9 Wt , 91/2 or 10 foot. Two handed rods are increasingly popular and allow anglers to cast a comfortable line with less effort, particularly on windy days.13 to 15 feet for a 9-11 Weight line.
With a strong, smooth drag is a must. Reels (and spare spools) should have capacity for the fly line and 100 yards of 20 pound backing.
Weight forward fly lines are generally used on the Rio Grande. Floating lines are typically most useful in low water conditions and during early morning and evening hours. Also a sinking shooting taper is very important. The Teeny T-200 and T-300 lines have proven to be excellent. For double hand rods a Skagit or Scandi lines (+@500 grains) are higly recommended.
Sea trout aren't particularly leader shy. For floating lines it's good to have knotless tapered leaders from 9 to 12 feet with 0X tippets.
Basic working fly list:
Collie Dog tube flies (31/2 -41/2" long, both aluminum and copper bodies, with hard plastic tubing and #4 wide-gape hooks).
Bunny leech, Zonker, Woolly Bugger (black/olive), articulated string leech types, with electric blue flash, on #2-4 hooks.
Peacock (now a staple on Rio Grande, tied on #2-4 hooks)
Girdle or Yuk Bug rubber legs (#4-12)
Bitch Creek nymphs (orange and black for preference, #4-12)
Bead head nymphs (Prince, Hare's Ear, etc. #10-14)
Traditional Atlantic Salmon Flies
Bombers or other waking dry flies (natural deer hair, black& green on #4-8 hooks), for use drifted or with a Portland hitch
Include 11/2 2 inch tube flies if you have them, as tubes can be very effective on the Rio Grande.
Note: Larger streamers should be weighted and all should be tied on heavy hooks with good gapes. Treble & Double hooks are not allowed on the Rio Grande.
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Reception in Rio Grande airport and transfer in/out Lodge. 7 night accommodation, all meals and beverages, Open Bar, 6 days fishing with bilingual guide.
Rates do not include: International and local flights, personal health insurance, fishing equipment and flies, fishing license and gratuities.
Notes: * Rate in Maria Behety Lodge.
Estancia María Behety Lodge Fishing Report
(March 04 - 11, 2023)
By Genaro Molinolo–Head guide
We started the week on Sunday with the biggest rain of the season, 7 mm in 8 hours, which stopped the river from clearing up and dropping. We also experienced the lowest temperatures for this time of the season in 30 years, coldest ever for EMB with a big snow over the Andes. Mid way through the week got some electrical storms plus hail which is very rare for this area. Thursday & Friday river started to clear.
Definitely all theses weird conditions affect the fishing in some way putting the fish down, but all through the week we still caught fish.
Water color and visibility: colored, (30 inches)
Water temperature: 5º C to 8ºC
Air temperatures: -1º to 11ºC
Wind speed ranges from 15 to 80 km/h
Rain during the week: 14 mm
Water colored but very fishable. Most caught fish are ocean fresh. We highly recommend wearing clear glasses for eyes protection.
Most productive flies:
Due to the colored water, leeches, intruders, bushy tubes.
The Forecast weather doesn’t call for more heavy rains so hopefully we will be fishing with smaller flies soon.
Fly lines (tips, heads, lengths, densities, etc.):
We recommend you bring a Skagit head, multi density head (game changer, 3 D, FIST)
Set of tips from 3 ips sink rate up to T-20 MOW tips, type 3-6-8 etc.
Length and strength of tippet and leaders: 4 to 8 feet. 12 to 20 pounds.
TOTAL CATCHES OF THE WEEK 119
FISH OVER 15 POUNDS : 31
TOP ROD: MIKE B. (18)
BIGGEST FISH: BUD CH. (26 POUNDS)
WEEK´S FISH AVERAGE WEIGHT: 11.65 POUNDS
La Villa de Estancia María Behety Fishing Report
(March 04 - 11, 2023)
By Diego Motter - Head Guide
Another week just ended at La Villa, fishing was good, very similar to last week, river high and dirty all week, also we have really cold weather, and very strong winds.
Most of the fishing we did with sinking lines, Skagit and heavy tips (T17, t20), using big flies(intruders, tubes, leeches).
We used intruders in the lower and middle part off the river, and we used leeches in the upper part.
We used floating lines in the upper part of the river, with sunray shadows.
The upper part of the river improved its water levels, 65 fish were landed, 18 fish over 15 pounds, 3 over 20.
Big intruders were the best flies of the week.
Top rod of the week was Virginia Goodyear with 16 fish to the net, the biggest 21 pounds.
Seth Kopald landed the biggest fish with 23 pounds.
Water color and visibility: dirty .
Water temperature: 5c. to 12c .
Water level: the lower part is high, the upper part still low, but better.
Wind speed ranges through the week: strong winds blew from the northwest most of the time.
Air temperature ranges through the week : 1c to 16c.
Weather observations (sun, rain, fog, etc.): cold week.
Flies that are working the best: Different sizes of sunray shadows, small salmon flies, nymph (red tail, emb, prince, pheasant tail), green machine , for the last hour (intruders, leeches, sunray shadows).
Sinking lines were the best, using Skagit with heavy sink tips, with intruders, tubes, leeches.
We recommend having at least two rods, one with Scandi to use with poly-leaders, and the other a Skagit used with sink-tips. Also, a single handed rod to use in the upper part of the river.
Fly lines (tips, heads, lengths, densities): Skagit heads with different lengths of T-17, 14, 11, Scandi heads with poly-leaders (clear intermediate the best).
Length and strength of tippet and leaders: 7 to 12 feet, 15 to 20 pounds.
Most of the fish were in the lower And middle part of the river.
Fish Catch Statistics
Number of anglers for the week: 6
Total number of fish landed for the week: 65
Weight of the biggest fish landed for the week: 23 pounds
Number of fish landed over 15 pounds: 18
Number of fish landed over 20 pounds: 3
Average weight: 9.5 pouds
Other programs in Patagonia, Argentina
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