In many ways Las Pampas Lodge offers the ultimate Argentine trout fishing experience. Their remote location, their diversity of waters, and there 100% Argentine staff makes this a complete package that is hard to improve upon. With a multitude of spring creeks, small freestone rivers, and trophy still waters as well as a mix of rainbow, brown and brook trout all within a small radius, anglers are presented with an array of options that would take weeks to fully sample. Their local Argentine staff is equally as appealing and excel at making their guests feel like part of their larger family. When combined with its unique location, distance from other lodges, and exclusive access to private waters Las Pampas Lodge is and remains a distinguished Fly Water favorite.
Location: The Lodge is located in the Chubut Providence of Central Patagonia within the heart of the Rio Pico area. It’s located approximately 150 miles south (a 2 ½ hour drive) of Esquel.
Fishing Program: One of the most unique elements of the Las Pampas fishing experience is that every pair of anglers is assigned a guide and assistant guide each day. At first this might seem overkill but once the truck pulls up to the first of many gates en route to the fishing grounds it becomes very apparent how much this subtle difference enhances the experience of every angler. Outside of being the official gate-opener and closer, the assistant guide is constantly busy in the background and takes care of the initial setup of client rods, prepares rafts, runs shuttles, and prepares lunch so the main guide can focus on the guests and creating the best possible experience on the water.
Their enthusiastic and passionate guides are the best in the area, and for good reason: they are real locals and they spend the entire 180-day season fishing the Rio Pico region. With that many days on the water these guys know where and when to find the best fishing. Typically anglers and guides leave the lodge in the morning in well-equipped 4x4 trucks and spend the majority of their drive time on rough, unimproved back roads that are interesting and adventuresome in their own right. This well-choreographed fishing program delivers a level of customer service and genuine adventure that puts Las Pampas in a class by itself.
The Fisheries: When it comes to available water types, fishing styles and trout species, Las Pampas Lodge may be unbeatable. With a multitude of spring creeks, small to medium size freestone rivers, and trophy still-waters as well as a mix of rainbow, brown, and brook trout all within a relatively small radius, anglers are presented with far more options than they could experience in a two or even three-week stay. This provides anglers the opportunity to sample multiple different types of water during their stay or concentrate solely on those they most prefer. Generally speaking, rainbow trout make up the quantity of one’s catch with brown trout providing the size. Highlights of some of the key systems follow.
Rivers: The Rio Pico begins as a small willow-lined spring creek and grows quickly as additional spring creeks and small freestone rivers add to its volume. These upper reaches are accessed exclusively by Las Pampas Lodge. As the river flows westward, the Pico breaks into four to five channels that flow swiftly through open pasturelands. Below the channels the Pico is joined by two small freestones, first by the Rio Pampas and further downstream by the Rio Nilson. The next ten miles of the Pico offer abundant and sometimes large rainbows and fewer but larger browns that can surpass the 27-inch mark. Although these sections of the river are public, they are very hard to access, requiring two things that Las Pampas has: permission from local landowners and keys to locked gates! All in all, the Pico offers more than 25 miles of water, endless wade fishing opportunities and five distinct floats before crossing into Chile on its way west through the Andes.
In addition to the much-touted Rio Pico, Las Pampas Lodge fishes two additional systems, the Rio Pampas and Rio Nilson. These can be best described as medium-sized freestone rivers where anglers typically see steady action sight casting to rainbows and browns in the 10 to 20-inch class. Both streams offer miles of fantastic walk and wade opportunities.
Spring Creeks: The Rio Pico watershed is home to nearly a dozen spring creeks, all of which ultimately feed into the Pico. Varying greatly in size, length, depth and current speed, each creek presents its own unique set of angling challenges. For lovers of small and at times technical waters, these often-overlooked gems have a great deal to offer. Most of these intimate spring creeks hold surprising numbers of good-sized rainbows and browns that are all too willing to rise to a well presented dry fly.
Stillwaters: Despite the wide array of river and stream fishing options, the Rio Pico area is best known to locals for a series of five highly productive lakes scattered throughout the region’s rugged hills. Though each lake has its own nuances, they all share similar shorelines dominated by rocky outcroppings and thick vegetation. Typically the Las Pampas guides will row their anglers just off the shorelines enabling their guests to both blind cast and sight cast large dry flies towards the banks. While many northern hemisphere anglers immediately dismiss the thought of lake fishing, we feel it remiss to visit this region without giving it a go. Not only do these lakes produce the region’s largest fish but they also can provide very exciting fishing complete with crushing top-water takes and memorable sight fishing opportunities.
Trophy Brook Trout Camp: In the early and late season some very specific waters in the Las Pampas lineup mature and offer visiting anglers a unique chance to target some of the world’s largest brook trout. During the majority of the season these monster brookies inhabit a number of key lakes where they are hard to catch, but during key periods they migrate up a number of key rivers including the Rio Corcovado and the Rio El Tigre where they become easier to target. These systems are hard to reach and the subject of the Patagonia clothing companies film Finding Fontinalis in which the guides at Las Pampas take Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard on an expedition in search of the elusive ten-pound brook trout. For anglers serious about big brook trout we recommend booking this special extension trip onto a standard lodge stay.
Accommodations and Meals: This beautiful European-style log and stone lodge features a main common area with guest lounge, dining room, and bar flanked, on each side, by two spacious double occupancy guest rooms with private baths. Each guest room opens onto a covered veranda overlooking the beautiful mountainous Patagonian landscape. The inviting main room has a central fireplace surrounded by a semi-circle of plush built-in lounge chairs where guests gather each evening for cocktails and "picadas" to share their daily adventures before dinner. The entire lodge is tastefully furnished and accented with local art and artifacts of the region.
The cuisine at Las Pampas Lodge is inspired and memorable. Their head Chef, a graduate of the Cordon Blue Institute, is passionate about the food he prepares and uses only the freshest local and organic ingredients.
The breakfast menu offers made-to-order eggs, fruits, as well as unique lodge specialties, coffee, tea, and juice. Lunch is served stream side by your guides and commonly includes homemade gourmet dishes, fried specialties, salads, beverages, and deserts. The tempting dinner menu is comprised of inspired choices that range from fresh lamb and vegetarians dishes, to thick cut steaks and chops, all of which are paired with the finest Argentine wines.
Thursday: Depart home.
Friday: Arrive Buenos Aires and overnight.
Saturday: Take a mid-day flight from Buenos Aires to Esquel. At the airport you will be met by a representative of Las Pampas Lodge, who will transfer you to the lodge (2 ½ hour drive).
Sunday-Friday: Six full days of guided fishing in the Rio Pico area.
Saturday: Depart the lodge after breakfast and transfer to the Esquel airport. Fly to Buenos Aires for an evening flight home.
Sunday: Arrive home.
$5,250 per person for a 7 night/6 day
$7,875 per person for a 10 night/9 day
$8,750 per person for an 11 night/10 day
Included: Accommodations and meals at the lodge, wine/beer/alcohol, transfers to/from Esquel Airport, guided fishing, fishing licenses, all terminal tackle (leaders, tippets, and flies) and fishing equipment (rods, reels, and lines, and waders and boots)
Not Included: International and domestic airfare, meals/transfers/hotels in Buenos Aires, and staff and guide gratuities
Species: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout
Season: November - May
Capacity: 8 Anglers
Map: Rio Pico, Argentina
Time: The time in Argentina is four hours later than Pacific Standard Time (during U.S. winter months).