These Montana transplants have made quite a name for themselves in Patagonia
They’ve applied Yankee fly fishing know-how to some of the smaller, way off-the-beaten-path creeks and lakes of the distant Rio Pico region of Argentina. Their equipment and work ethics are second to none, and these guys have built a reputation that is as large as their talent. Patagonia River Guides (PRG) Tres Valles has a dawn-to-dark work attitude and you’d better pack plenty stamina along with your fly fishing gear.
Trips with PRG Tres Valles can be built for as few as three and as many as 14 days of hard core fishing. They have has a spectacular choice of small streams and spring creeks to choose from, as well as a series of trophy trout lakes. There’s more than enough on their angling menu to keep you busy for a week in this untouched land.
Note: We met and fished with Rance and Travis 15 years ago at Trevelin Lodge when they were still cutting their teeth on Argentina trout fishing as guides. They were among the fly fishing pioneers that opened up the Rio Pico area to anglers. Rance and Travis run one of the most successful and widely acclaimed outfitting companies in all Patagonia. The secret to their success is simple, and similar to that of The Fly Shop’s. “Surround yourself with good people, take care of your help, pay attention to detail, and take care of clients as if they were guests in your home.” It works and you must book well in advance for the few openings that become available each season.
Reservations & Rates
From January 1-May 1, the cost of the week-long Patagonia River Guide Tres Valles package is $7,000.00 USD per person, which is based on two guests sharing a room, and a guide.
They have a reduced rate in early season - November 1-December 31 - of $6,300.
Included in your angling package at the Patagonia River Guides Tres Valles is accommodations; all meals; drinks including wine, beer, and liquor; local transportation; professional guides; 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 Tres Valles are the transfers between the Esquel airport and the lodge (typically $400, round trip, for the car and driver), 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 - Tres Valles
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 Tres Valles are: brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout. Trout populations and size in our area depends on the watershed. Most rivers have more rainbows than browns (something like 75% - 25%). Brook trout exist in several watersheds but rarely in large numbers. Trout range from 10 to 30 inches. The average size in most creeks is 14 - 20 inches. Anglers
fishing with PRG Tres Valles land fish over 20 inches on almost a daily basis and it is not uncommon for fish to exceed 25 inches in the lakes. Most fish here are caught on dry flies, though some of the lakes are also fished with nymphs and streamers. Some rivers are numbers fisheries while others support a smaller population of larger trout.
Summer (January 7th - March 15th):
Summer is the most popular month for fishing and tourism in Patagonia, and the time when PRG Tres Valles is at its best. 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 already seen a few Gypsy Kings, Fat Alberts, Chernobyls ants, hoppers, etc…..and they can be as suspicious as they are aggressive this time of the year. You might have to drop down to 3X or 4X, and occasionally even 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 for the "fish a different river/lake every day" philosophy that PRG Tres Valles follows throughout the season. This is prime time and getting a spot with the lodge 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 - April 15th):
Fall is the favorite of many anglers, and it is a great time to visit Patagonia. Summer tourist traffic drops off completely and PRG Trevelin once again has a vast wilderness to themselves. Temperatures decrease 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 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 very excited about being on the water this time of the year. PRG gets a second wind like no other and hits every last honey hole, secret spot, sure bet, and hog home before they have to put away their gear for winter. You will enjoy the private rooms and the coziness of the lodge, the fall foods, and the fireside conversations with some of the most passionate fishermen in the world. If you can get a spot, 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 Tres Valles offers!
Getting to Patagonia River Guides - Tres Valles
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 Esquel (EQS) 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, one hour to transfer between airports, and to arrive at the domestic airport at least one hour before your flight to Patagonia.).
Flying to Esquel and transferring to Tres Valles Lodge:
Esquel has several flights scheduled per week from Buenos Aires, normally departing on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The flight to Esquel departs Buenos Aires around 10:30 am and takes about two hours, and there is a $250-$400 ground transfer fee, round trip, between Esquel and Tres Valles Lodge (about a 2.5 hour drive). Flying to Bariloche is also possible on all days of the week and there are several flight options per day; however, there will be an additional charge of approximately $400 for the car, each way, for the six-hour transfer to Tres Valles Lodge.
When you arrive at the Esquel Airport, a representative of Patagonia River Guides (typically your guide for the trip) will meet your flight, assist you with luggage and provide transfer to Tres Valles Lodge, about a 2.5 hour drive. When you arrive at Tres Valles Lodge, your luggage will be taken to your room and you will have a chance to get unpacked, settle in, and organize your fishing gear. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served in the great room at approximately 7:00 p.m., and then dinner in the dining room at around 9:00 p.m. During cocktail hour the lodge managers will provide a comprehensive orientation on the week ahead and answer any questions you might have.
Lodging at Patagonia River Guides - Tres Valles
Up to eight guests per week can enjoy all the comforts of PRG Tres Valles exclusive, first-class fishing lodge. The lodge is in the remote Rio Pico Valley – considered the southern frontier of Argentine Patagonian mountain trout fishing. The lodge features four spacious and beautiful rooms - each with ensuite bathrooms - and a spectacular view overlooking a nearby mountain range (and a trophy trout lake that is just a stone’s throw away). The lodge also has a cocktail lounge and great room
gathering area, allowing guests to gather after fishing and share stories with friends while enjoying the open bar. The lodge features a large deck, where people often gather in the warm evenings for drinks and hors d'oeuvres. The lodge is completed by its beautiful dining room where you'll enjoy a healthy breakfast in the morning and gourmet food (some of the best in Patagonia), prepared by the talented chef in the evening. Tres Valles Lodge is a beautiful facility, and one of the few places from which anglers can quickly and conveniently access the fishing riches of this far southern area.
World-class Food, Wines, & Beverages:
PRG Tres Valles Lodge will provide all food and beverages during your stay. Breakfast is hearty and consists of eggs your style, toast, jams, meats, fruits, juice, tea and coffee. Lunch is a culinary delight and is normally served streamside. Lunch includes 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 the cocktail hour - which gives guests a chance to tell others about their day, and those who choose to fish a bit 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. They provide a nice selection of top malbecs for you to sample.
Fishing at Patagonia River Guides - Tres Valles
Patagonia River Guides 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, rods, reels, flies, lines, leaders and tippet. Two anglers fish together with a professional guide (and sometimes an assistant guide) to give every angler the finest angling experience possible.
A typical day of fishing with Patagonia River Guides Tres Valles: 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 creeks and lakes they fish are normally less than an hour drive – some are on the ranch property and only minutes away. 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 in the great room, and then a magnificent dinner complimented by a great bottle of Argentine wine.
Rio Pico Area:
The Rio Pico Area is located about three hours south of Esquel and offers anglers the chance to explore a region that hasn't changed much in the last century or two. This is an area which gives you the chance to catch large fish and to enjoy Patagonia without any outside influence from modern technology or tourism. Patagonia River Guides clients stay at Estancia Tres Valles while fishing in the Rio Pico area, a stunningly beautiful lodge in the middle of nowhere. No corner has been cut at this lodge, with beautiful guest rooms overlooking the mountain-ringed ranch valley, superb food and wines, amazing gathering rooms, and some mouth-watering on-property spring creeks with plenty of heavy-shouldered browns and rainbows. You will be shocked at how upscale this place is, considering its remote locale. The fishing out of this lodge is a combination of smaller spring creeks and rivers - all with both numbers and size of fish - and a series of higher-elevation lakes that can produce huge browns and rainbows, sometimes even on huge dry flies.
The Rio Pico:
The Rio Pico is a willow-lined stream that is entirely spring fed in its upper reaches and fed by the Rio Nielson and Rio Las Pampas in its lower reaches. Access is challenging but rewarding and normally requires some hiking and walking. There are both rainbows and browns in the Pico and you'll have the possibility of catching large fish in a small river. Walking the bank is the only way to fish this river until it picks up tributaries toward the Chilean border and has enough water to float.
The Rio Nielson:
The Nielson is a delightful river filled with mid-sized rainbows and some larger browns. It is a great place to fish dry flies to eager fish while trekking through vast local estancias. This is a perfect size freestone stream that offers miles of riffles and pools to walk and spot fish.
The Rio Las Pampas:
Named after the frontier town of Las Pampas, this river is very similar to the Nielson and offers great wade fishing in a super remote setting. Walking the bank and spotting fish seems to net the bigger trout while blind casting will keep you and your dry fly occupied for hours with all sizes of fish.
Rio Tres Valles:
A tiny, grassy-banked meadow stream that winds for miles through the ranch property, this creek is special, a hopper-fishing addicts dream come true. Plenty of browns and rainbows in the 14-18-inch range, and the occasional surprise fish over twenty.
Lago Uno, Dos, Tres, Quatro, and Cinco (Lakes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5):
Their names are not a joke or secret code to hide their location. These high desert lakes are stuffed with large rainbows and browns and one of the main reasons to come and experience the Rio Pico program. They offer the angler some legitimate shots at fish up to ten pounds. Fish can be taken on dry flies, streamers and nymphs depending on time of year and conditions. If you are not currently a still water enthusiast, you will be after a couple spectacular days on these lakes. It's definitely worth the time and effort and very exciting to fish for these huge specimens, some of which you will see before you cast to them.
Tres Valles Lake:
A short walk from the deck of the lodge, this beautiful lake contains brown and rainbows up to and even exceeding ten pounds, as well as some enormous brook trout, many of which can be sight-cast to when conditions are right. Many anglers will spend one of their days here.
What Makes This Destination Special and Unique?
• Arguably one of the best and most capable outfitters in Argentina, and perhaps all of Patagonia. Owned and operated by two multi-generational Montana fly fishing guides who bring a level of service and professionalism to their operation seldom seen in this part of the world. Everyone at the lodge is English-speaking, and goes out of their way to make sure your trip is memorable.
• Super deluxe lodging, gourmet food, open bar and world-class wine cellar. There are no annoying extras charged to guests at the lodge. This all-inclusive package features luxurious double occupancy rooms for each guest, delicious and beautifully-presented meals, and bar drinks/wine that are included in the lodge rate. You will be spoiled rotten here!
• Amazing array of trout fisheries, including some amazing ones right on this huge private ranch. Guests have a daily choice of waters, from stalking tiny creeks, to mid-size streams, to lakes loaded with trophy browns and rainbows (several of these stillwaters offer dry fly fishing for trophy trout). Tres Valles Lodge is especially well-suited for those who like to fish smaller streams for impressive-sized browns and rainbows, or fish from a boat in a series of lakes for true trophies. You will have lots of water all to yourself each day.
• All fishing tackle and equipment is provided, including rods, reels, waders, boots, flies, etc. For those that prefer not to bring all their own fishing gear, this is top-quality gear, too – Simms waders and shoes, Winston rods and Hatch reels, and the best lines, leaders and flies. This saves a lot of space and weight in your luggage!
• An experienced, well-trained and seasoned Argentine guide and lodge staff. If there is anything you need, just ask, and someone will help you! The guides are phenomenal, and will teach anglers’ skills that can be used anywhere, and are just enjoyable to spend the fishing days with.