Aug 10th, 2017
Estancia Despedida – Rio Grande, Argentina
Despedida lodge is a family run sea trout lodge with an intimate atmosphere which permeates every aspect of the place. Danny and Helen Lajous have been hosting fishermen on the Rio Grande for nearly two decades. With a very high return rate, guests at Despedida have come to appreciate the incredibly warm and genuine hospitality that comes from the Lajous Family and their dedicated team of fly fishing professionals. The most distant pools on the ranch are only minutes from the lodge, minimizing drive times and maximizing time spent on the water.
For hardcore anglers who appreciate long hours on the water, short drive times, and a great value, Despedida delivers! Limited to six anglers, this operation and its team of seasoned guides have a proven record of producing impressive catches from the waters that the locals refer to as the “heart of the river.”
Expert interview with Fly Water Travel’s Patagonia destination manager, Kyle Kolodziejski
1. Fish some of the most consistent and productive pools on the Rio Grande.
2. Limited to just six rods per week.
3. Short drive times provide quick and easy access to the fishing beats.
4. Spend long hours on the water.
5. Unpretentious home-style hospitality in a casual setting.
Where is the lodge?
The lodge is located on the Argentina side of Tierra del Fuego, roughly 45 minutes from the city of Rio Grande.
How do I get there?
Guests arrive in Buenos Aires on Friday and overnight. On Saturday you take a mid-afternoon flight from Buenos Aires to Rio Grande. A representative of the lodge will meet you at the airport and transfer you 45 minutes to the lodge.
When should I go?
The season is January through mid-April.
Where do they fish?
Despedida fishes roughly 3.5 miles of the river that is broken down into six distinctive beats. Their water is referred to as the “heart of the river” and has some of the most consistent and productive pools in the entire Rio Grande.
Who is best suited to this destination?
Despedida is a great bet for sea trout anglers of all skill levels who appreciate long hours on the water, short drive times, value and homestyle hospitality in a casual setting.
What are the accommodations and meals like?
The spacious log home style lodge accommodates six anglers per week in three double occupancy rooms with private baths and has a main common area including a comfortable living room, dining room and bar. There’s also an enclosed and heated entry for guests to store and dry waders, boots, and jackets. Meals are thoughtfully prepared and accompanied by regional Argentine wines.
Describe the atmosphere and style of the lodge?
This is a true fisherman’s lodge with a casual and unpretentious style.
Is there an onsite manager, owner or point person at the lodge?
Lodge owner Danny LaJous splits his time between the lodge and town with no set schedule. While he sometimes joins guests for dinner, most of the hosting is handled by a member of the guide team who will be available to guests during the cocktail and dinner hours.
Is there internet or cell service?
There is no internet or cell phone service available at the lodge.
How do they fish?
They fish two anglers per guide on a split day schedule where guests fish two 4-5 hour sessions punctuated by an extended mid-day break for lunch and a siesta. The beat rotation schedule is set up where guests rotate beats each session, allowing every angler to fish each beat twice, having one morning session and one afternoon session, throughout the week. Anglers are advised to bring single hand rods for low water conditions and two handed rods for high water and windy conditions. Swinging, stripping and twitching relatively small nymphs on intermediate lines is a very popular technique. There are also times when larger streamers and or dry flies are very effective. The lodge also has some secretive down and dirty sink tip techniques that can be very productive.
What fish will I catch?
Sea run brown trout in the 5-25 pound class and the occasional resident brown trout in the 1-4 pound class.
How many fish will I catch?
Catch rates vary greatly by day, week and by angler. The lodge keeps good records of catch rates and across the years anglers have averaged 2-3 fish per person per day.
Will we see other anglers?
Guests typical see anglers from other lodges fishing adjoining beats of water and while traveling to and from the river during beat rotations. Although guests see other anglers they will never be competing with them to reach a pool and will always fish rested water.
Is there wade fishing?
The Rio Grande is 100% wade fishing.
How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds?
One of the highlights of Despedida are the extremely short drive times. The farthest pools away from the lodge can be accessed in minutes.
Do the guides speak English?
All of the guides speak good English.
What are the guides like?
They have an eclectic mix of experienced guides who are thoroughly familiar with all the intricacies of fishing the Rio Grande.
What is the cost?
Please see the Rates and Details section of our Estancia Despedida web page for the current rates: https://www.flywatertravel.com/destination/Estancia_Despedida
Does the lodge provide equipment?
No. Be prepared with all of your own gear.
What is your favorite rod(s) for the trip?
A single hand 9-10′ 7-8 weight and a light 11-13′ 7-8 weight spey rod with a Scandi style head will cover most of the water and conditions, most of the time. It’s also a good idea to have a heavier two handed rod in the 7 to 8 weight class for Skagit and sink tip work during high water conditions or to load heavier Scandi heads for punching long casts on windy days.
Are there other activities?
What are the physical demands?
With short walks from the truck to the river and easy wading there are no physical demands worth noting.
Are there special skills required?
Although the guides do a great job selecting pools and fishing positions to try and avoid casting into the wind, it is beneficial for anglers to be prepared to proficiently cast in the wind.
Dangers and annoyances?
None that come to mind.
Are there any health concerns?
Fish some of the most productive pools on the Rio Grande.
Despedida guides are pros familiar with all the intricacies of fishing the Rio Grande.
Enjoy unpretentious home-style hospitality in a casual setting.
Spend long hours on the water chasing the largest sea trout in the world .
Short drive times provide quick and easy access to the fishing beats.