Host, owner and head guide Alex Knüll grew up in the San Martin area, and knows the streams and rivers in this northern Argentine Patagonia region like no one else. His equipment and work ethic is second to none. Patagonia River Guides (PRG) North has a dawn-to-dark work attitude and you’d better pack plenty of stamina along with your fly fishing gear.
Trips with PRG North can be built for as few as three and as many as 14 days of hard core fishing. PRG North has a spectacular choice of rivers and streams to choose from. They specialize in guiding on the most famous of the northern Patagonia streams, and there’s more than enough on their angling menu to keep you busy for the entire Patagonia summer.
Reservations & Rates
The cost of the week-long Patagonia River Guide North package is $6,300 - $7,000 USD per person (double occupancy), depending on the estancia stayed at. Ask about reduced early season rates (November & December).
Included in your angling package at the Patagonia River Guides North is accommodations; all meals; drinks including wine, beer, and liquor; local transportation; local airport shuttle; professional guide; fishing license; all flies, leaders, and tippet; Simms waders and boots; Winston fly rods; Hatch reels; and private water fees.
Not included in your angling package at Patagonia River Guides are gratuity for guides and staff; phone calls, laundry or personal shopping. It also doesn't include transfers, hotel or food in Buenos Aires, or ground transfers to and from Bariloche airport if applicable.
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 Patagonia River Guides North
Trout were planted in Patagonia around the turn of the 20th Century and have flourished in almost all lakes and streams that they entered. The primary species of trout in the waters accessed by Patagonia River Guides North are: brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout. Salmon (Coho salmon, Chinook salmon, Atlantic salmon) are escaping from fish hatcheries in Chile and making runs into some of the streams of Argentina, Patagonia. The effects of these fish in the ecosystem are not
known quite yet. Other species of fish in the rivers and lake include: trucha criolla or perca, perjerrey patagonico and puyen. The salmon and indigenous species of fish are not frequently caught; however, a few guests land some salmon and more than a few perca each season.
Trout populations and size in their area depends on the watershed. Most rivers have more rainbows than browns - brook trout exist in several watersheds but rarely in large numbers. Trout range from 10 to 30 inches. The average size in most streams is 16 - 20 inches. Anglers fishing with PRG North land fish over 20 inches on a daily basis and it is not uncommon for fish to exceed 23 inches. Most of the larger fish are caught on streamers but some of their largest fish have been caught on dry flies. Some rivers are numbers fisheries, while others support a smaller population of larger trout. PRG North does a lot more float fishing than wading, but both are certainly options.
Spring: December 1st - January 7th
The fishing season officially opens in Argentine Patagonia on November 1st. 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.
Area fisheries are full of water but almost every stream is fishable after December 1st due to the many river-lake systems in the area. 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 normally concocted with rubber legs, long hackles, bunny fur, foam - you name it (Chernobyls, Fat Alberts, Chubby Chernobyls, Mutant's, Gypsy Kings, etc.) - can be thrown and are very effective this time of the year due to the aggressive nature of the fish and the 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 start of the season as long as you have. Some smaller creeks are only fishable this time of the year, as they get very low later in the summer.
Normal tourism season begins after Christmas and the New Year so the PRG North 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 of your cabin watching fish rise (if you can stand it) while enjoying a glass of malbec wine instead of watching snowflakes and "The Sound of Music". PRG North normally offers a pre-season rate to attract clients during this time, not because it's a slow fishing time, but rather because the holiday season tends to keep most anglers at home. 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 7th - March 15th
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 for them. 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! All the above being said about fish looking to slam dry flies is true, but presentation is key on some streams as fish have seen more than a few Gypsy Kings, Fat Alberts, Chernobyls, ants, hoppers, etc…..and they are as suspicious as they are aggressive this time of the year. 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 more sight fishing opportunities daily and wet wading is more possible than at any other time of the year.
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 for the "fish a different river every day" philosophy that PRG North follows throughout the season. This is prime time and getting a spot with PRG North is not easy. Repeat customers reserve most spots year after year. If you can get a spot, you won't be disappointed!
Fall: March 15th - May 1st
Fall is the favorite of many anglers, and it is a great time to visit Patagonia. Summer tourist traffic drops off completely and PRG North once again has a vast wilderness to themselves. Temperature decreases and precipitation rises this time of the year, which normally brings on the fall feeding frenzy of area trout with cooling and rising rivers. Browns and brook trout are getting ready to spawn and many of those larger fish, which swam back into lakes 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. You will enjoy the coziness of the estancia/lodges, 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 that PRG North offers!
Getting to Patagonia River Guides North
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. Airlines that service Buenos Aires daily include American, United, Continental, Delta, LAN Aerolineas Argentinas, Air France, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, Lufthansa and Varig.
Flying Times to Buenos Aires from: Los Angeles: 13 hours, Dallas: 11 hours, Houston: 10 hours, Miami: 9 hours New York: 11 hours, Chicago: 11 hours.
Almost all the international flights into Argentina arrive at the Ministro Pistarini (Ezeiza) International Airport of Buenos Aires, 35 Km from the Federal Capital. You are required to fill out a customary arrival form, which will be handed out to you on your flight down. First you will clear Immigrations (Passport Control) then you will retrieve your luggage, and clear Customs. The entire arrival process in Buenos Aires should take between 1 and 1 ½ half hours.
Arrival Buenos Aires
Getting to Patagonia is not difficult. It is actually very simple: take an overnight flight to Buenos Aires from one of several major cities in the U.S, get a good night's rest and awake in Argentina. If you have so pre-arranged, you will be met by our professional agents at the airport and transferred to your hotel or to the domestic airport for immediate departure to Patagonia.
Our agents in Buenos Aires will re-confirm flights, make dinner reservations, share a cocktail, and take you on a city tour if you wish.
Buenos Aires has two airports, an international and a domestic. You will arrive from your country of origin at Ezezia (EZE) and depart to San Martin de Los Andes (Chapelco Airport) 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 (if you want to travel directly to Patagonia, you should plan at least on one hour to clear immigrations and customs, two hours to transfer between airports, and to arrive at the domestic airport at least one hour before your flight to Patagonia.).
Flying to San Martin de Los Andes and transferring to your estancia/lodge:
San Martin de Los Andes (Chapelco Airport) has several flights scheduled per week. If for some reason there is not a flight to San Martin on the day you need it, flying to Bariloche is also possible on all days of the week and there are several options per day; however, there will be an additional charge of $400 for the car, round trip, for the four-hour transfer to Esquel.
When you arrive at the San Martin Airport, Alex Knull, or a representative of Patagonia River Guides North will meet your flight, assist you with luggage and provide transfer to the estancia/lodge of your choice. The auto transfer from Chapelco Airport to the lodge will take from twenty minutes to an hour, depending on where you're heading.
When you arrive at your 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 in the lodge at approximately 7:00 p.m., and finally dinner in the dining room at around 9:00 p.m. During cocktail hour Alex or your guide will provide a comprehensive orientation on the week ahead and answer any questions you might have.
Lodging at Patagonia River Guides North
Depending on the estancia chosen, between ten and fourteen guests can normally enjoy all the comforts of PRG North's exclusive first class fishing lodges. They are all a short drive to some of the best rivers in the region, and in some cases the lodge will actually have private access to a stream right on their estancia. The lodges feature spacious and comfortable rooms, each with ensuite bathrooms. The lodges normally include a cocktail lounge and great room gathering area, allowing guests to gather
after fishing and share stories with friends while enjoying some pre-dinner libations.
World-class Food, Wines, & Beverages:
PRG North will provide all food and beverages during your stay. Breakfast is hearty and normally consists of eggs your style, toast, jams, meats, fruits, yogurt, juice, tea and coffee. Lunch is a culinary delight and is normally served streaside. Lunch includs a nice combination of area meats, cheeses, vegetables, wine, and dessert making this an experience that you'll be looking forward to daily. Dinner is typically served around 9:00 pm after cocktail hour, which gives guests a chance to tell other about their day (and those who choose to fish later, a few more minutes to get back to the lodge and ready for dinner). Dinner is typically three courses and features not only Patagonia's famous beef and lamb, but also pork, chicken, rabbit, fish, pasta and vegetables. Malbec wine is typically served with dinner as this is the best variety that Argentina produces and one of the hardest to find in other countries. The lodges often provide a nice selection of top malbecs for you to sample.
Fishing at Patagonia River Guides North
Patagonia River Guides North has a straightforward "blue-collar" approach to its fishing program. Each guide has all of the finest equipment necessary to make your fly fishing experience ideal including: trucks, boats, waders, wading boots, rods, reels, flies, lines, leaders and tippet. Two anglers fish together with a professional guide (and often an assistant guide) to give every angler the finest experience possible.
A typical day of fishing with Patagonia River Guides North: 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 will be located close to the river we fish, normally within a thirty minute drive. Most days end around 6:00 to 7:00 pm, at which time you are driven back to the lodge for a hot shower, cocktails, and a magnificent dinner complimented by a great bottle of Argentine wine served by one of the chefs.
You will typically do a lot of float fishing at Patagonia River Guides North, though there are lodges located on prime wade fishing streams, or with a combination of both. Your options depend on your desires and what is fishing best. Fishing techniques include dry fly, dry-droppers, and streamers. Patagonia River Guides North try to fish dries at all times when the conditions are right and the fish are feeding, though it is sometimes necessary to go under the surface.
The San Martin region resembles fishing in the American West in many ways. The rivers in this area are as varied as the countryside and there are many creeks, lakes, and rivers, all of which contain excellent numbers of trout. Many of the rivers are large and carry a substantial volume of water year-round; a few are small and intimate and require a stealthy approach. About 75% of the rivers PRG North fishes are floated, while the others are waded.