Thank you for the opportunity to tell you a little bit about Aluminé River Lodge in the Junin de los Andes region of Patagonia, Argentina, not far from the mountain village of San Martin de los Andes.
Aluminé River Lodge sits on the banks of the Aluminé River, a rich and beautiful Patagonian mountain river that is the headwaters of the Rio Collon Cura. Located 7 kilometers downstream from the Pilolil Bridge (close to the small town of Pilolil), this secluded stretch of the Aluminé is very difficult to access. It is a classic riffle-run-pool river with classic willow-lined banks, fished both by floating in drift boats, catarafts and by wading. The river is filled with powerful rainbows and browns that can be fished for with dries, nymphs and streamers.
GPS Coordinates: (39°39’44.32″S) (70°55’49.29″W)
Aluminé River Lodge is the brainchild of Jorge Trucco, a living legend and one of the most respected names in Argentine fly fishing. Jorge has assembled a talented, seasoned crew of professional guides, lodge staff and chefs that are committed to offering a world-class experience.
Reservations & Rates
$930 per night, based on double occupancy (share room, boat and guide)
Single rates (private room, boat and guide) are available on request.
Accommodations, all meals, all drinks, local fishing transportation, ground transfers from San Martin de los Andes, professional guide, fishing license, quality loaner equipment, rods, reels and waders if desired, taxes, and Wi-Fi connection throughout the lodges as well as in the outdoor seating areas.
International & Domestic airfares, gratuities, laundry service, purchases at the “lodge shop”, phone calls, or ground transfers to and from Bariloche and/or San Martin de los Andes Airport, if applicable. If you should need a transfer to and from Bariloche and/or San Martin de los Andes to Aluminé River Lodge, the rate will be quoted to you, and payable on your invoice.
The Fly Shop® is not in the insurance business, but we recommend Travel Guard coverage as a service with a desire to see your best interests protected. It is impossible to know when an unfortunate situation (loss of luggage, fly rods, illness in the family, or an accident) may occur. However, such things can and do happen, and this insurance can provide a means of recourse against non-refundable financial losses.
• Travel Guard Insurance
Seasons at Aluminé River Lodge
Spring: November and December The fishing season officially opens in Argentine Patagonia on November 1st, although most Patagonia outfitters don’t open their doors until the first of December. Spring is a special time to visit Patagonia as the Andes Mountains still hold a large amount of snow and valleys are covered with spring flowers. Precipitation decreases throughout the month of December and average temperatures rise along with the length of day until the summer solstice on December 21st.
Since the water is higher this time of the year, the largest fish tend to be more aggressive and accessible. Fishing is generally spectacular but flexibility is a must as streamers, dry flies, and nymphs are all used depending on the river levels and daily weather conditions.
Large flies tied with rubber legs, long hackles, bunny fur, and foam (Chernobyl’s, Bichos, Mutant’s, Fat Alberts, etc.), are very effective this time of the year due to the aggressive nature of the fish and lack of pressure. You can leave your 5X at home but be sure to bring some 0X and even a sink tip to go down and dirty. Your guide will be as anxious as you are as they have been waiting for the season to begin. Normal tourism season begins after Christmas and the New Year, so this area is much more relaxed and the fish are very willing. Imagine a Christmas where it is light until 10:30 pm and you can sit on the deck enjoying a glass of Malbec instead of watching snowflakes. If you’re looking for a great place to spend the holidays, imagine long days, great fishing, energetic guides, and a very relaxed atmosphere with few people.
Summer: January through March Summer is the most popular month for fishing and tourism in Patagonia. The kids are on vacation and tourists abound. The weather is the best this time of the year with decreasing precipitation and the warmest temperatures. Some snow remains on the highest Andes peaks but almost all the spring flowers are already gone. The grass is getting long, and with warmer temperatures - you guessed it - hoppers and terrestrial insects are prolific and you will enjoy dry fly fishing almost exclusively. There are uncountable species of beetles, ants, hoppers, crickets, wasps, and other unidentified flying objects this time of the year and the trout are looking up for them. And particularly in the month of January, some of the trees that overhang the river are loaded with small green “gusano” inchworms, devouring the foliage…and on a windy day hundreds might blow off into the water. You can imagine the trouts’ reaction! A South American phenomenon: the hottest, brightest, and clearest days are the best dry fly and fishing days! Yes, it’s true, a bluebird-fisherman’s dream! You might have to drop down to 3X, 4X, and occasionally even 5X and use a dropper to attract fish in the crystal clear water. You will have lots of sight-fishing opportunities daily, and wet wading is possible a majority of the time.
Water levels continue to drop and water temperatures rise this time of the year. Every fishery is open and in perfect shape giving you the most options. This is prime time and finding an open spot can be difficult.
Fall: April Fall is the favorite of many anglers, and is a great time to visit Patagonia. Summer tourist traffic drops off completely and the outfitters have most of the fisheries to themselves. Temperatures decrease and precipitation rises this time of the year, which normally brings on the fall feeding frenzy of trout with cooling and rising rivers. Browns and brook trout are getting ready to spawn and many of the larger fish which swam back into the lake during the middle of summer, are migrating back to the river to feed or spawn. Fall colors in Patagonia are spectacular and if you are lucky enough to be able to come and enjoy the fall, you will probably become addicted to the beauty, the tranquility and the fishing.
Although the days are not as long as the spring and the summer, you still get plenty of time on the water; in fact, you might actually get more fishing as the guides are extra excited to fish this time of the year! You will enjoy the coziness of the lodge, the fall foods, and the fireside conversations with some of the most passionate fishermen in the world. You’ll be thrilled to wake up to foggy mornings, fall colors, and snow-capped peaks while getting ready for the ultimate fly fishing adventure.
Getting to Aluminé River Lodge
The Aluminé River Lodge is located 40 miles north of Junín de los Andes and 65 miles north from the mountain village of San Martín de los Andes in the southwest corner of Neuquén Province. The lodge is a one hour drive from the San Martin de los Andes Airport or a three (3) hour drive from the Bariloche International Airport.
Traveling to Argentina is relatively simple and painless. There are a wide choice of convenient, daily flights from Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami, and New York. Most flights are direct, departing the States in the afternoon or early evening and arriving early the next morning.
Almost all the international flights into Argentina arrive at the Ministro Pistarini Ezeiza (EZE) International Airport of Buenos Aires, 35 km from the Federal Capital. First you will clear Immigrations (Passport Control) then you will retrieve your luggage, and clear Customs.
Buenos Aires has two airports, an international and a domestic. You will arrive from your country of origin at Ezezia (EZE) and depart to Bariloche from the domestic airport, Aeroparque (AEP). It is necessary to transfer by ground from the international airport to the domestic airport for your flight to Patagonia. Our agents can set up your transfers. Depending on the time your international flight lands, you might be able to travel directly to Patagonia on the same day. Or you can opt to spend a night or two in Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America, and relax and enjoy the city.
Arrival Day: Flying to San Martin de los Andes (CPC), (or Bariloche, BRC, as a secondary choice) and transferring to Aluminé River Lodge
When you arrive at either the San Martin de los Andes or Bariloche Airports a representative of Aluminé River Lodge will meet your flight, assist you with luggage and provide auto transfer to the lodge where you’ll begin your trip. The drive from San Martin de los Andes to the lodge takes about an hour, and from Bariloche, approximately 3 hours.
When you arrive to the lodge, your luggage will be taken to your room and you will have a chance to get un-packed, settle in and organize your fishing gear. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served at approximately 7:00 p.m., and dinner at around 9:00 p.m.
During cocktail hour the lodge manager and/or head guide will provide a comprehensive orientation on the days ahead and answer any questions you might have.
Departure Day: Anglers will be transported to their departure airport – either Chapelco Airport outside of San Martin de los Andes (CPC), or the airport at Bariloche (BRC) - to connect back to Buenos Aires to begin their journey homeward. Flights bound for the United States usually depart Buenos Aires late in the evening for an easy and comfortable connection home.
Lodging at Aluminé River Lodge
Aluminé River Lodge is a classic timber-framed lodge that can accommodate a maximum of ten guests, and is within a stone’s throw of the river. The lodge is often the start or end of a day’s float of the home river – no wasted time. Its immediate access to the famed “Canyon Beats” of the Aluminé River, as well as some spring creek tributaries give this operation a marked advantage in orchestrating its daily fishing program. The lodge’s location could not be more perfect, and its architecture melds perfectly with the rugged landscape of surrounding mountains, steep arroyos and the numerous cold water rivers, creeks and streams that feed
this high desert country with life. Every design detail, from the floor to ceiling panoramic windows, native stone fire place and hand hewn beams has been thoroughly though out with the ultimate comfort of guests in mind. World-class meals are painstakingly prepared by professional and talented Argentine chefs, and the wine cellar is well stocked with the finest varietals from the provinces of Mendoza, San Juan, La Rioja, Salta, Catamarca, and Río Negro.
World-class food, wines, & beverages are what to expect at Aluminé River Lodge. Breakfasts are hearty and consist of eggs cooked to your style, toast, jams, meats, cheese, fruits, juice, tea and coffee. Lunch is a culinary delight served streamside and includes a nice combination of local meats, cheeses, vegetables, wine, and dessert, making it an experience that you'll look forward to daily. Dinner is typically served around 9:00 pm - after cocktail hour - and is normally three courses, featuring not only Patagonia's famous beef and lamb, but also pork, chicken, rabbit, fish, pasta and vegetables. Malbec wine and other Argentine varietals are typically served with dinner, followed by a wonderful dessert and aperitifs.
Fishing at Aluminé River Lodge
Aluminé River Lodge has a straightforward, high-quality approach to its fishing program. Each guide has all of the finest equipment necessary to make your fly fishing experience ideal including: trucks, hard RO Skiffs or catarafts, flies, lines, leaders and tippet. For anyone needing them, the lodge will also provide rods and reels, and/or waders and wading shoes. Two anglers fish together with a professional guide to give every angler the finest experience possible.
Fishing programs start on your schedule, which is normally an 8:00 to 8:30 am departure after a hearty breakfast and a meeting with your guide. The lodge is centrally located and the various different floats we fish are normally within a 15 - 45 minute drive. Most days end around 6:00 to 7:00 pm, at which time you are driven (or floated) back to the lodge for a hot shower, cocktails, and a magnificent dinner complimented by a great bottle of Argentine wine served by the lodge hostess.
The Aluminé River starts in Lake Aluminé and flows through canyons and valleys that will remind you of the lower section of the Snake River below Wilson, Wyoming. Surrounded by prolific willow-lined banks and cedar trees, the Aluminé looks and fishes like a giant Malleo River. As it makes its way south, the Aluminé collects waters from two rivers, the Quillén and the Malleo. The Aluminé is known for its exciting dry-fly fishing under the thousands of overhanging willow trees. These willow-lined banks provide shelter and food for healthy populations of brown and rainbow trout. It’s a beautiful and scenic river where each bend provides a panoramic view of ancient canyon walls, distant mountains and the next fish-filled run.
During January and February the willow trees are infested with green inchworms - locally called ‘gusano worms’ - that fall from the trees into the river. The trout key on the worms and the fishing during this time is both challenging and exciting!
From the Aluminé River Lodge, anglers have access to four productive stretches of the Aluminé River, as well as its tributaries (Malleo, Quillén, Malalco, Pulmarí) and other off-the-beaten-path rivers such as the Litrán, Relén and Calfiquitra. The sheer variety of water to fish is unparalleled at Aluminé River Lodge, and daily drives to the days’ fishing are short and scenic. The toughest decision you have to make each day is where to go…
There is also an option of adding one day of fishing on the upper Quillén and the Malalco spring-creek, (tributary to the upper Quillén). This is a private water property and there is an additional charge of $150 / day / person, and is a decision that can be made on site. The lodge also has access to fishing private sections of the Chimehuin River.
The lodge can launch RO Skiffs 3 kilometers below the lodge (at Condor Rock) and float all the way down to an Indian Reservation called Mamá Margarita in one day (without having to camp out), where they take out. This is the most sought after stretch of river, and they can do it in a one day float; no other lodge or outfitter in the area can do this.
The lodge can also float downstream to the Condor Rock (this is a short float) or they can drive up near the Pilolil Bridge and float down to the Condor Rock (which makes for a longer float), or to the lodge which is 3 kilometers above the Condor Rock. These floats are from the Pilolil downstream, and are very productive floats.
The rest of the 4 – 5 beats the lodge floats are upstream from the lodge, from the Pilolil Bridge, and downstream from the confluence of the Aluminé and the Quillén.