World's End Lodge, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
Jake Crawford October 09, 2023
World’s End Lodge, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
Along the southeast coast of Tierra del Fuego in Argentina is the mysterious Rio Irigoyen. With its dramatic and surreal landscape, wild bulls, horses, and foxes roaming the riverbanks and opportunities for sea-run brown trout fresh from the Atlantic Ocean, World’s End Lodge is one of the most unique and rewarding programs I have experienced.
Where did you go and how did you get there?
World’s End Lodge is situated alongside the Rio Irigoyen in the far southeast corner of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. This remote area is referred to as “el fin del mundo’‘and translates to
“the end of the world”. Despite its remote location and distance, it is relatively easy to get to. Guests will take readily available commercial flights from Buenos Aires to and from Ushuaia, and ground transfer about four hours to the lodge.
On my trip, I was visiting with some of our lodge partners on the Rio Grande to the north, and was picked up by the lodge manager, Nahuel Stauch, and driven south on a scenic three-hour drive to the lodge. World’s End Lodge is great as a standalone trip, and for anglers already heading to the Rio Grande, this program is an easy option for anyone interested in an extended sea-run brown trout trip in Tierra del Fuego.
Where did you fish?
World’s End Lodge fishes the Rio Irigoyen and is the exclusive fishing operation on the river. Our primary target was sea-run brown trout and we fished from the Irigoyen River’s mouth into the Atlantic Ocean to the upper pools about 10 miles upstream.
Each tide brought in fresh sea trout that you would see roll and jockey for position in the different pools. Our sea trout fishing was concentrated from the lowermost pools of the river where you could hear and smell the ocean, all the way upstream several miles to different beats and pools that feature bends, deep holes under high banks, and pockets next to complex woody structures that provide ideal holding water for fish.
At high tide, we also fished at the river mouth for robalo (sea-bass) where hundreds of fish congregated as they prepared to ride the tides into the lowest reaches of the river. Robalo are incredibly strong and offered another unique experience to complement the sea-trout focused fishing trip.
How was fishing?
I found the fishing on the Rio Irigoyen to be challenging, yet fun, captivating, and rewarding. It is not a river for numbers, and I averaged an opportunity at a fish per session, similar to modern steelhead expectations. Some sessions I had multiple opportunities and fish to hand, while other days with full sun the fishing was more difficult. Even when you are casting over fish you know are there, they can still be temperamental. I landed fish that ranged from 6 - 12 lbs., with several other guests in my week encountering fish in the high teens.
World’s End Lodge offers a true fishing-focused program, and the schedule was adjusted daily according to the best conditions to take advantage of the tides, sunlight, and concentrate our efforts when sea trout are most active. We averaged 8 hours of fishing a day with a split session schedule that focused on fishing in the early hours of the morning, having a wonderful chef-prepared lunch back at the lodge, and returning to the river to fish late into the evening. Like much of Patagonia, dinners were usually light and served late.
The guides were incredibly knowledgeable, hardworking, and true “sea trout hunters” that were able to offer many tips and tricks to help me grow as a sea trout angler.
How did you fish?
Most of this program is target casting and small water precision swinging into log jams, pools, and other structures. Fishing is very much a team effort, and the guides would help set me up in the pool based on getting the right cast and swing into the most productive spots. The fishing is quite active, and you move between pools frequently. It is better to make a few very good casts over a pool and then move on to cover water, rather than making repeated casts over the same pool.
In the “sea pool”, the closest beat to the ocean, I could see active pods of fishing coming in and would target specific groups of fish. Fish were already well spread out through the system and every now and then they would surface and show themselves to let you know they were there and give you the confidence to keep going.
In the daytime, I fished small lightly-weighted and medium-weighted nymph and leech patterns. During other low light times of the day, we would alternate between wet flies and surface patterns, such as large and small sparsely tied Sun Ray Shadows that were stripped fast across the surface. Some of the most memorable takes happened in low light conditions with a micro Sun Ray Shadow stripped fast, and it was incredible to watch the fish chase the fly with a wake tearing across the pool.
The robalo preferred medium-sized red wooly buggers and stonefly nymphs and it was possible to land a half dozen or more between 4 - 15 lbs. in the mid-day session. The robalo are strong and they pulled hard and were unrelenting, they were not willing nor easy to come in and be landed.
All fishing is done while wading and it is very easy to get around. The guides take anglers in 4x4 trucks, or when appropriate smaller side-by-sides to access the different beats. Most of the time you are standing on the bank out of the water to not disturb the pools or wading very shallow into the water up to your boots or knees at the most.
Where did you stay?
World’s End Lodge is perfectly situated on a scenic high bank overlooking the Rio Irigoyen. The lodge is on an estancia surrounded by native Lengua forests with many bends and gravel bars with fallen trees that are strewn across the banks.
There is a main dining area with a fantastic view of the Atlantic Ocean at a distance and the river below where you would see wild stallions and bulls, giant woodpeckers, and a skulk of foxes playing and hunting alongside the lodge and river.
Just a short walk from the dining area is the main guest lodging where each of the week’s four guests have their own private room and bathroom. Of special mention are the two professional chefs who created wonderfully artistic and delicious gourmet Argentine cuisine, each day I experienced some of the best meals I have ever had.
What equipment did you use and how did it perform?
My rod of choice was a 9’6” 7-weight Sage R8 Core single hand rod with a Sage Arbor XL 6/7/8 reel with a RIO Grande floating line. The river rewards good casting and I liked the Rio Grand, which I found had a nice taper for a gentle presentation that would not spook the pool and had enough of a shooting taper to deliver the larger flies at distance.
I fished 9 - 12-ft RIO Fluorocarbon tapered leaders in 20lb test for the nymphs and streamers, and the same set up in RIO Powerflex monofilament for the surface flies.
The gear worked great, and this is a perfect destination to fish a single hand 7-weight for sea-run brown trout. Lighter switch rods and Spey rods can be useful in some pools, but more often single hand rods are the preferred tool due to the need to target cast and minimize the disturbance on the water.
World's End Lodge, Argentina
Experience the most remote, wild, and scenic trophy sea-trout river in Argentina