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What you need fly fishing the rio grande to know about
Sea trout fishing in Tierra del Fuego is one of the most sought after experiences in the sport!
THOUGH MOST of the Rio Grande is on the Chilean side of the Tierra del Fuego border, nearly 80% of the spawning of sea run trout occurs on the Argentina side of the island. In fact, most of that is in the first 38 miles above where the Rio Grande enters the Atlantic Ocean. Above that point, the pools of the river become increasingly shallow, with progressively more marginal spawning habitat, and fewer and fewer sea trout. Small resident brown trout thrive in the main river tributaries, and there is a very healthy population of rainbow trout in the Chilean headwaters.
Less than a decade ago, a team of the most renowned fishery biologists in the Americas was charged with the daunting task of determining exactly how many sea run brown trout are actually in the Rio Grande.
They returned with their results, along with a bill for nearly a quarter of a million dollars, five years later. The results were eye- opening and put to rest a lot of false assumptions beyond river population. At the same
Understand that Europeans approach the sport of fly fishing for sea run brown trout with the passion of religious zealots. They are, in fact, an angling cult who often spend their entire summers
In any event, the boys from across the pond showed up en masse when Estancia Maria Behety completed their two lodges and brought with them quivers of spey rods and sarcastic remarks about the inadequacy of single-handed rods and techniques for sea trout. Then they kicked our asses at what we thought was our own game on our own court.
Single-handed rods are now the exception, not the rule on the Rio Grande. There are still a few anal- compulsives who refuse to make the change, but spey rods have conquered the elements and made child’s play of the famous winds of Tierra del Fuego. They cover the broad pools of the river much more methodically and with less effort. The results are impressive and we won’t argue with success.
There’s an average of nearly a mile of private water for every single fisherman who could be accommodated in all the Rio Grande lodges.
time it reinforced much of what we already knew (or felt) was fact. Still, in the 17 years that The Fly Shop has been dedicated to angling on the Rio Grande, it has been a constant education.
At full escapement, it is estimated that there are more than 75,000 sea trout in only 102 pools on the Rio Grande. Do the math.
fly fishing fruitlessly for an occasional fish.
Then, perhaps with some Divine help, some Brit manages to land a four-pound sea trout. He’ll quickly knock it in the head, take it home, nail it to the side of his garage, call his friends and the newspaper, and begin the celebration. Think how ridiculously
Now, nearly 20 years
after our first visit, the
rods, reels, lines, flies, techniques, and terminal tackle have changed completely. For the most part, we can thank our British guests for the most dramatic switches in how we fish the Rio Grande in the 21st century.
happy these fanatics are when they get to the Argentine angling Mecca and catch something worthwhile.

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