The success of the sea run brown trout fishery on the Rio Grande is a modern-day fly fisherman’s Cinderella story. In just a decade, through access control and the diligent promotion of catch and release fly fishing, both catch rates and average size have risen noticeably.
Large sheep farming estancias share this land with herds of wild llama-like guanacos, red foxes, and condors. 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."
Location: Estancia Despedida is located on the Argentina side of Tierra del Fuego, roughly 45 minutes from the city of Rio Grande.
Fishing Program: Like Atlantic salmon, steelhead, and brown trout, sea-run browns are most active early and late in the day. At Despedida the fishing hours are scheduled accordingly, providing the best angling opportunity. Most anglers prefer to return to the lodge midday for the day’s largest meal, siesta, and return to the water later in the afternoon for the evening session. The "split-shift" angling schedule is a hallmark of Despedida as well as other TDF Lodges and enables guests to get the most out of their fishing week.
Angling days begin in the morning and end shortly after dark. The beats are rotated enabling all guests equal opportunity to fish all of the lodge’s pools. Breakfast is served between 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM. Then, it's off to the river. Anglers usually return to the lodge at approximately 1:00 PM for a mid-day meal and rest, venturing back to the river and their evening beat at approximately 5:30 PM. Dinner is normally scheduled between 11:00 PM and 12:00 PM, with cocktails and appetizers served beforehand. It is not unusual to fly fish until 10:00 PM or later during the long December and January days. February, March, and April days and schedules are shorter. Don’t forget your head lamp!
Every two anglers are assigned a 4X4 vehicle and guide for their stay. All guides are bilingual, talented experts, and thoroughly familiar with all the intricacies of fly fishing the Rio Grande.
Accommodations and Meals: Estancia Despedida is a spacious classic log lodge offering panoramic views of the vast countryside. The lodge sits only minutes from the river and accommodates six anglers per week. The social common areas include a dining room, living room, and bar. If you are one of the fortunate anglers who land a 20 pound sea trout, you will get a framed photo of yourself on the “Wall of Fame” in the lodge.
All of three bedroom suites have private baths. The suites are complete with two double beds, nightstands, dressers and full closet offering plenty of room for your fishing and travel gear.
Meals at the lodge are excellent. Fine Italian and local dishes, and excellent steaks are served late, in the Argentine custom. They are accompanied by the best regional wines, and wonderful desserts. Breakfast is light, (usually fruits, cereals, coffee and juices). However, a traditional North American breakfast can be ordered.
Thursday: Depart home.
Friday: Arrive Buenos Aires and overnight.
Saturday: Fly from Buenos Aires to Rio Grande and transfer to the lodge.
Sunday-Friday: Six full days of guided fishing on the Rio Grande.
Saturday: Depart the lodge. Fly from Rio Grande to Buenos Aires.
Sunday: Arrive home.
2020 Rate: $6,795 per person for a 7 night/6 day package
Included: Accommodations and meals at lodge, transfers to/from Ushuaia airport and the lodge, guided fishing (two anglers per guide) and wine and beer.
Not Included: International and domestic airfare, gratuities, alcohol, fishing license, fishing equipment, and flies.
Species: Sea run brown trout
Season: January – April
Capacity: 6 anglers
Map: Rio Grande, Argentina
Time: The time in Argentina is four hours later than Pacific Standard Time (during U.S. winter).