Fishing In Patagonia

By Michael Williams

Argentina was high on my travel list but I never seemed to have a reason to make the long trip south. Then a break. My friend was organizing a week of fly fishing in San Martín de los Andes. That’s all I needed, I was in. 

The fishing in Patagonia is legendary. It’s the convergence of a stunning landscape, the beautiful Argentinian culture and some truly incredible water. Add in some of the best guides in the world and you have yourself a memorable trip. I was fully captivated by the mountains, the gauchos and the stunning rivers which seem to flow in every direction. We fished the big waters of the Collision Cura, the Malleo, Rio Chimehuín and the Aluminé. When you arrive you can’t even pronounce these places, but by the end of the week these rivers are old friends. 

This summer in Argentina was unseasonably warm. It was hotter than I probably wanted, which led to some serious decisions about what to wear. Not surprisingly, I went for my favorite material — wool. Specifically the Pinebury short sleeve merino tee. I knew it would be breathable, if I sweat it wouldn’t smell and it would be ok if it got wet. Those shirts were a workhorse for the trip which left me space to think about casting and enjoying our time in Patagonia. 

Our week of fishing was organized through the outfit Fish Patagonia, an exceptional group based right there in San Martín de los Andes. Everyone involved with our trip from Fish Patagonia was really wonderful. All of the tangible things you really care about on a trip like that were executed perfectly. Everything else which might be considered secondary was also done on a very high level — making the entire experience about as good as I can imagine it could be. I’m forever changed and that’s exactly the point of travel — to expand our field of view. 

We spent each day on different place in a varying format. Some days we would float a big river and another would find us wading on smaller but more technical water. Surprisingly, the highlight ended up being an alpine lake with crystal-clear water and huge trout. There was one interaction with a brown that will be forever held in my permanent memory. As we drove home that day I found myself thinking that if I never catch another fish, it’s okay. I’ll always have that moment with a beautiful brown trout in Patagonia. 

After each day of serious fishing punctuated by long drives down dirt roads was finished off with an incredible dinner of Argentinian beef with copious Malbec. Perhaps the wood fired hot tub would be deployed to soak our old bones. This might seem like a lot, but trust me it was the perfect amount of everything. This is why you want to make the long trip to South America.

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