Estancia Maria Behety La Villa
Few angling destinations on earth compare with the sea-run fishing on the Rio Grande. Most fly fishermen rate the trophy sea-run brown trout on this river the ultimate angling experience. On any other river in the world, the average brown on the Rio Grande would be considered the fish of lifetime. The best of the season begins in January and extends through early April.
La Villa, at the entrance to the 275,000-acre Estancia Maria Behety, was once regarded as among the most beautiful ranch mansions in all of South America. After painstaking restoration by local craftsmen and the addition of every modern convenience, the once magnificent home is now available to anglers that are seeking the finest sea-trout fishing experience of its kind.. La Villa can accommodate a maximum of six anglers each week of the short Tierra del Fuego summer. Anglers at La Villa will rotate through the premier pools of the Rio Grande (33 river miles), all inside the massive borders of the estancia. Anglers will enjoy luxurious private (single occupancy) accommodations, excellent meals, the finest Argentine vintages, and one of the best fly fishing experiences in the world.
Tierra del Fuego is more than 1,800 miles south of Buenos Aires. Getting there from the states requires at least one overnight en-route. It's a bit more trouble than Alaska, but is definitely worth the extra effort. Sea-run browns on the Rio Grande average just under 9 pounds, and experienced fly rodders usually hook about a half dozen per day. Trophy fish in excess of 20 pounds are not uncommon and about one in 50 is a monster, pushing or exceeding 30 pounds! This is arguably the finest fishing of its kind on the planet!
Fishing at Maria Behety Lodge
The greatest asset to Maria Behety guests are the 100 prime pools on 32 private miles of the lower Rio Grande. This means anglers and their guides can move to where the fish are, be it down in the estuary or in the upper reaches of their property. Guests at Estancia Maria Behety can also fish both sides of the Rio Grande. No other Tierra del Fuego fishing lodge has this much access to the Rio Grande.
Private access to the estuary makes fishing in December that much better. During the winter, these fish remain relatively close to the estuary so it’s common to start seeing good numbers enter into the river mouth in early December. Very few anglers venture to the Rio Grande during this time, but the powerful, bright chromers are there. In late December and early January the fishing can be phenomenal and the entire 32 miles of river is shared by the very few who take advantage of this early season fishing.
Catch rates obviously vary with weather, skill levels and return numbers, but it’s safe to say the average angler catches somewhere around 5 fish per day, averaging 12-13 pounds.
Once you arrive at the Rio Grande Airport, you’ve only 15 minutes before you arrive at Estancia Maria Behety Lodge and are welcomed into their deluxe fishing lodge. The lodge was built about 12 years ago, and has 8 rooms with a capacity of 16 people; however the number of anglers is restricted to only 12. Estancia Maria Behety Lodge offers extra rooms for guests wishing to room alone. All bedrooms have two comfortable double beds and private bathrooms with deluxe showers.
Kau Tapen is the first luxury lodge on the Rio Grande and was built in 1983. It sets a standard of elegance by which other lodges are measured. Every convenience one could imagine is at your fingertips. The lodge accommodates up to 12 guests in 8 twin bedrooms and 1 double bed room.
Kau Tapen lodge was designed to offer rods maximum comfort during their fishing trip, as well as easy accessibility to the pools.
It accommodates up to 12 guests in 8 twin rooms and 1 double bedroom. It also boasts two well-placed and convenient heated wader rooms for wet gear, a wonderfully relaxing cedar Sauna, a Finnish steam bath, massage room and shower lounge for pure relaxation on terry cloth lounges out of the mainstream of activity. A great spot for some wonderful Argentina Malbec after a hot soak.
Not enough can be said for the outstanding staff service, gourmet offerings at every meal, fine wines, and fluffy down comforters that make any siesta especially welcome.
And the fishing for Sea Run Trout can simply not be matched anywhere on Earth. The trout range from 8-30 pounds and can take you into your backing on a long run as well as any fish in the world.
Villa Maria Lodge sits on the lower Rio Grande in the Tierra del Fuego region of Argentina.
Guests will leave the lodge around 9 AM after breakfast each day, fly fishing until around 1 PM. Following lunch at the streamside mini-lodge, anglers will enjoy a traditional siesta (the hours of which will depend on the season) with guests returning to the river between 4 and 6 PM to fly fish until dark. Please be sure to bring your headlamp!
The first brown trout were stocked in Tierra del Fuego by John Goodall in 1935. Shipped from Puerto Montt in Chile, 60,000 “Salmo Trutta” eggs survived the arduous journey, to be planted on the Candelaria and McLennan Rivers, both tributaries of the Rio Grande. These fish eventually found their way to the sea, possibly attracted by the rich nourishment of the estuary. These sea-run brown trout now complete the yearly migratory cycle of salmonids, spawning during the summer months in freshwater.
Salmo Trutta remain in the river for a period of time which ranges between 1 and 4 years until their first migration to the sea, where they will feed and grow for about 6 months before their first return to freshwater, weighing approximately 6 lbs. Researchers have found trout which had spawned more than 6 times. A trout which as completed 4 cycles of returning to freshwater can weigh over 20 lbs. The frequency with which they return to freshwater is also an indicator that the fish face very few threats. Whilst also providing a very real example of the benefits of Catch and Release. Guided are equipped with nets and will assist guests in weighing and releasing fish without damaging them.
Fly fish Aurelia Lodge’s exclusive, privately accessed water on the internationally acclaimed Rio Grande and Rio Menendez Rivers. Both of these rivers are catch-and-release fly fishing-only rivers.
The Rio Grande is undoubtedly the finest sea-run brown fishery in the world. Custom built in 2005, Aurelia Lodge is the only lodge on the Rio Grande with fishing privileges on both sides of the river. The lodge is open for peak fishing months—February to mid-April.
Estancia Aurelia together with the adjacent Estancia Rosita, both of which are owned by the same owner, cover 36,000 acres of sheep farming land. They are the only operators licensed by the Tierra del Fuego Government to fish this stretch of the Río Grande.
The properties include six miles on the Río Grande plus 15 miles of river on its principal tributary, the Río Menendez.
Aurelia Lodge´s sections of these rivers present a diversity of pools, runs, and challenges that will please every fly angler. Every year many fish in the 6 to 28-pound range are landed in these areas. Under normal conditions, average daily catches per rod are between three to four fish in the nine to 15-pound weight range plus some trophy fish weighing up to 30 pounds.
Capita Mini Lodge is in the Ibera wetlands reserve. The Ibera extends over 13.000 square kilometres and has a great variety of animals such as caymans, and capybaras and over 300 species of birds. Of the 100 or so species of fish, 8 take flies and the most important of these is the Dorado (salminus-maxillosus), the Golden salmon or river tiger as it is also called. This is a real warrior fish, intelligent and combative that, when hooked, jumps many times out of the water trying to free itself of the hook. It can weigh up to 20 kilos.
Capita Mini Lodge is on the Corrientes river. This river collects 90% of the water from the Ibera reserve.We fish here from the 1st of October to the 15th of April and you can expect about 20 strikes a day of which around 10 fish will be landed.All the fishing is catch and release and either fly casting or spinning. We provide a guide and a boat per two fishermen. Some areas can be fished from the Banks of the islands.
The beautiful and powerful dorado has long been one of the most admired gamefish in South America. This extraordinary migratory hunter combines the speed and agility of a king salmon with the ferocity and predatory instincts of a tiger shark. Twenty pound specimens of these steel-jawed hunters are not uncommon, and the IGFA record is 51 pounds. Once hooked, the dorado is a great leaper and a prodigious fighter. This featured trip will pursue big, hungry breeder dorado as they begin the downstream run of their spawning migration out of the Ibera Marsh. The Ibera and the Corrientes River that drains it offer some of the most productive dorado fishing on the planet. The region's rivers, creeks and crystal clear black water areas provide the perfect feeding ground for post-spawn dorado. This wonderful setting and the sporting dorado, will create a trip that even the most seasoned angler will never forget.
Photos from Capita Mini