Species
Brown Trout, Sea-Run Brown Trout
Destination Type
Lodge
Fishing Style
Private Water, Spey, Wading
Season
January - April
Fishing Days
6
Rate
$$$
Why We Go
  • Fish for large handsome sea-run brown trout on both sides of a vast beautiful section of the Rio Gallegos
  • Walk and wade 22 KM of the Rio Chico, a world-class private brown trout spring creek
  • Enjoy wonderful meals, accommodations, and service
  • Experience the abundant wildlife and birdlife of the greater Gallegos Valley
  • Have the option to switch between resident trout fishing and sea-trout fishing at will
Overview

Bella Sofia in combination with estancia Bella Vista is a beautiful wildlife-rich 617,000-acre complex on southern Argentina’s renowned Rio Gallegos. The Rio Gallegos is one Argentina’s premier sea-trout rivers and also a truly remarkable resident brown trout fishery. In addition to 50 premier sea-trout pools, Bella Sophia has private access to 22KM of the Rio Chico, a small meandering meadow spring creek packed with surface oriented brown trout in the 18-to 26-inch class. While many visiting anglers focus solely on the sea-trout, this is one of the best destinations anywhere to combine anadromous pursuits with superb resident trout fishing. To not spend a few sessions on the Chico, is a shame, as this unpressured trophy spring creek is one of the most prolific trout fisheries we have experienced. The lodge caters to six guests per week in a bright, clean, classy environment and has excellent accommodations, meals, Argentine wines, and skilled bilingual guides well versed in Spey and single-hand fishing.

Fishing Program

Guests will fish two anglers per guide and move about the estancia in 4 wheel-drive trucks with rods racks. All fishing will be walk and wade fishing with short walks to sea-trout pools and longer walking beats on the Rio Chico. Most sea-trout anglers will swing flies with Spey tackle. Floating lines and light intermediate tips are the most effective and flies are typically twitched or stripped during the swing. On the Rio Chico, trout anglers will walk sections of the meandering river, crossing occasionally and typically dead drift large terrestrial dry flies. The standard program runs on a split-day schedule with a long lunch break and siesta followed by an evening session in which guests will fish into darkness.

Accommodations

Bella Sophia is a historic, fully renovated, English-style estancia that takes six guests per week. In the past this operation was known as Bella Vista. The lodge has a very simple, clean, bright, classy vibe. The operation is deliberately and tightly run with quality service being a top priority and has a slightly more formal vibe than some lodges. With that said the lodge is very friendly and comfortable, and dress is always casual.

Itinerary

Day 1 (Friday): Depart home

Day 2 (Saturday): Arrive Buenos Aires in the morning. Take an optional but recommended transfer/tour to kill time before arriving to the Domestic Terminal. Fly to Rio Gallegos arriving after 4 PM, transfer 1 hour to lodge

Days 3 - 8 (Sunday - Friday): Six full days of guided fishing on the Rio Gallegos and/or Rio Chico

Day 9 (Saturday): Depart the lodge. Fly to Buenos Aires and connect with your return overnight flight to head home

Days 10 (Sunday): Arrive home

Rates & Details

2024 Rate: Per person based on single occupancy and shared guiding

7 night/6 day package: $7,580

Included: Meals and accommodations at the lodge, transfers to/from lodge and Rio Gallegos, fishing licenses, laundry, wine, beer, local spirits, and guided fishing

Not Included: International and domestic airfare, fishing tackle, flies, and equipment, and gratuities

Species: Sea run brown trout and resident brown trout

Season: January – April

Capacity: 6 anglers

Location: Bella Sofia Lodge is located in southern Argentina, 60 minutes upstream of the city of Rio Gallegos.

Time: The time in Argentina is four hours later than Pacific Standard Time (during U.S. winter).

Fly Water Q&A

Who is best suited to this destination?

Bella Sofia has a very broad spectrum of appeal. It is a great destination for anglers that want to focus exclusively on Spey and single hand fishing for large sea-trout, and it is also a great place for anglers that want to focus on large resident brown trout on the Gallegos and their private spring creek Rio Chico. It is one the finest destinations in the world for anglers who would like to combine resident and sea-trout fishing and for anyone who likes excellent meals, accommodations, service and abundant bird and wildlife.

Where is the lodge?

The lodge is located 100 KM upstream of the town of Rio Gallegos on the Rio Gallegos in southern Patagonia’s Santa Cruz province.

How do I get there?

Guests fly to Buenos Aires arriving Saturday morning. We recommended they take a guided tour of BA including a lunch stop with LOL Tours to burn some time and then get dropped at the domestic terminal to catch an early afternoon flight to Rio Gallegos. Guests are welcome to arrive Gallegos anytime after 4PM. You will be picked up by the lodge there and driven 1 hour to the lodge.

When should I go?

January through March is the prime time for sea-trout. For anglers targeting resident brown trout December is also a great month as are January, February, and March.

How will I fish?

Most sea-trout anglers will swing flies with Spey tackle. Floating lines and light intermediate tips are the most effective. All fishing will be done while wading and you will move from run to run by truck. Trout anglers will walk and wade fish. On the main river guests can swing flies or dead-drift dry flies. On the Rio Chico guests will walk sections of the meandering river, crossing occasionally and typically dead drift large terrestrial dry flies.

Is there wade fishing?

Yes, this fishery is 100% wade fishing.

Where will I fish?

Estancia Bella Sofia and Estancia Bella Vista together own 617,000 acres with over 50 premier pools on the Rio Gallegos and 22 KM of meandering spring creek on the Rio Chico. The lodge has far more beats than an angler can fish in a week.

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds?

The drive time to the closest pool is two minutes and 70 minutes to the furthest pool.

What type(s) of fish will I catch?

Sea-run brown trout in the 4- to 25-pound class and resident brown trout in the 2-to 7-pound class.

How many fish will I catch?

Catch rates for sea-trout vary greatly by day, week and between anglers. They are very sensitive and often moody fish so each day and session can vary widely. With that said we hope anglers will land roughly one fish a day and have additional opportunities and we hope there will be sessions where the fish are really on and there are multiple opportunities and fish landed. Most sea-trout anglers will typically catch several nice browns each day while targeting the sea-trout. The resident trout fishing on the Rio Chico is truly as good as it gets and anglers should expect to land 10 to 25 significant trout each day.

Will I see other anglers?

No.

What are the guides like?

The guides are seasoned bilingual professionals that will enjoy and learn from.

What are the physical demands?

There are very few demands for seas trout anglers and most the wading is easy. When fishing the Rio Chico there is more walking required but the terrain is easy. Wind is always a factor and can preset its own challenges.

Are there any special skills required?

Sea-trout are fussy and sensitive, so delicate touch and go Spey casts and or casting without wading into pools can both be very advantageous. The ability to cast in the wind is also very helpful.

Does the lodge provide equipment?

The lodge has limited loaner gear and guests are encouraged to bring their own flies. The lodge does sell some flies and as well as leader material.

What is your favorite setup for the trip?

A 9- to 10-foot, single-handed 7- or 8-weight and a light, 11- to 13-foot 7- or 8-weight Spey rod with a Scandi style head will cover most of the water and conditions.

 What are the top flies?

The key flies for sea-trout include small nymphs with rubber legs on stout hooks, such as prince nymphs and girdle bugs, EMB’s, as well as small black leaches and larger black flies for the last light in the evening session. Sparse sunray shadow tubes, including small ones, are also increasing in popularity. Fro resident brown trout large foam terrestrials like fat Alberts and Morrish hoppers are great as are small black leaches and woolly buggers.

What are the options if water conditions become challenging?

If the main river were to become turbid with a sudden rise in water level, guests could fish the spring-fed Rio Chico. If the Rio Chico were to become too winding to land a fly withing its narrow banks you fish for resident trout or sea trout on the Gallegos.

What is a typical day like?

Sea-trout anglers typically fish a split day schedule eating breakfast at 7:00AM and heading out to the river shortly before 8AM. They return to the lodge around noon for a large lunch and siesta and then head back out between 4 and 5PM and fish until 10 or 11PM. There may also be a day or two when sea-trout anglers will visit the upstream-most beats and to reduced driving time, will spend a full day out without returning to the lodge mid-day. For tout anglers, or sessions set up to fish trout, or for those that don’t like early breakfast/late dinners, mealtimes can be flexible and set up as guests like.

What is the general vibe, atmosphere and style of the lodge?

The lodge has a very simple, clean, bright, classy vibe. Things are deliberate and tightly run with quality service being a top priority and as a result it has a slightly more formal vibe than some lodges. With that said the lodge is very comfortable, and dress is always casual.

Is there an on-site owner, manager or other point-person at the lodge?

Yes, Guy Soubra is the manager and always on site. He is partnered with Diego Casillo who manages the fishing program. Both have a great deal of experience in the fly fishing space and true professionals who are happy to help in any way possible.

Where do we eat, and what are the meals like?

Meals are served in the main dining area adjacent the bar and living room. They are very thoughtfully prepared and delicious. Breakfasts include eggs to order, and dinners are paired with fine Argentine wines.

What is the alcohol policy?

The lodge has a nice bar area with a limited selection of local spirits. All beer, wine and local spirits are included and guests are free to bring their favorite spirt with them or have the lodge purchase them for them and pay for those special orders on-site.

How is tipping handled?

While tips are always at the discretion of guests, a rough guideline is 10% of the package price.

Here we recommend a pooled tip for the house staff of $50-70 per day handed to the manager at the end of the week. For Guides we recommend the same amount per person per day but that can be handed directly to your guides at the end of the week. You will typically spend two days with each of the three guides. US dollars are preferred but credit cards can be accepted in a pinch.

Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like?

All five rooms are located within the main house. There are four single-occupancy rooms and one double-occupancy room. Four rooms are upstairs, and one are located downstairs. All have nice, attached bathrooms. The lodge takes six guests per week. The double occupancy room is available at a lower rate than the singles.

Is there internet and/or cell service?

The lodge has good Wi-Fi but no cell service.

Are there other activities?

No this is really a fishing only lodge.

Are there any other expenses?

No, just gift items from their shop, gratuities and any flies/tackle purchased on-site.

Do I need a visa?

No.

Are there any health concerns, dangers or annoyances?

There are no specific health concerns but always assume you will encounter significant wind.

We recommend that guests always consult with the U.S. Department of State and the Center For Disease Control websites for general travel information and guidelines.

Tell us about yourself and we'll reach out to plan the details of your trip