Sea-Run Brown Trout
Destination Type
Fishing Style
Private Waters, Spey, Wading
January - April
Fishing Days
Why We Go
  • Fish many of the most consistent and productive pools on the Rio Grande
  • Be one of only six weekly anglers
  • Take advantage of short drive times with quick and easy access to the fishing beats
  • Spend long hours on the water
  • Enjoy homestyle hospitality in a casual setting

The success of the sea-run brown trout fishery on the Rio Grande is a modern-day fly angler’s Cinderella story. In just two decades, through access control and the diligent promotion of catch and release fly fishing, both catch rates and average size have risen noticeably, making the Rio Grande one of the most consistent and rewarding anadromous fisheries in the world. In truth it is one of the only rivers in the world that seems to be getting better over time and it is a river where anglers stand a very good chance of encountering fish in the 20-pound class on the swing.

Estancia Despedida is in many ways the lower river’s most discrete operation. Taking only six guests per week, most of whom repeat each year, it is a modest understated gem that delivers the longest hours on the water and the highest catch rates on the river. While they fish fewer pools than other lodges, the pools they fish are arguably the system’s most productive and each angler gets the chance to fish each beat twice, once in a morning session and once in an evening session. The most distant pools on the ranch are only minutes from the lodge, minimizing drive times and maximizing time spent on the water.

For hardcore anglers who appreciate split-day schedules, long hours on the water, short drive times, and a welcoming home-style atmosphere, Despedida and its team of seasoned guides will show you the best of what the locals refer to as the “heart of the river."

Fishing Program

Like Atlantic salmon, steelhead, and brown trout, sea-run browns are most active early and late in the day. At Despedida the fishing hours are scheduled accordingly, providing the best angling opportunity. Most anglers prefer to return to the lodge midday for the day’s largest meal, a siesta, and then return to the water later in the afternoon for the evening session. The "split-shift" angling schedule is a hallmark of Despedida as well as other Tierra del Fuego lodges and enables guests to get the most out of their fishing week.

Angling days begin in the morning and end shortly after dark. The beats are rotated enabling all guests equal opportunity to fish all of the lodge’s pools. Breakfast is served between 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM. Then, it's off to the river. Anglers usually return to the lodge at approximately 1:00 PM for a mid-day meal and rest, venturing back to the river and their evening beat at approximately 5:30 PM. Dinner is normally scheduled between 11:00 PM and 12:00 PM, with cocktails and appetizers served beforehand. It is not unusual to fly fish until 10:00 PM or later during the long December and January days. February, March, and April days and schedules are shorter. Don’t forget your head lamp! Every two anglers are assigned a 4X4 vehicle and guide for their stay. All guides are bilingual, talented experts, and thoroughly familiar with all the intricacies of fly fishing the Rio Grande.


Estancia Despedida is a spacious, classic log lodge offering panoramic views of the vast countryside. The lodge sits only minutes from the river and accommodates six anglers per week. The social common areas include a dining room, living room, and bar. If you are one of the fortunate anglers who land a 20-pound sea trout, you will get a framed photo of yourself on the “Wall of Fame” in the lodge. There are three guest suites, each with a private bath. The suites are complete with two double beds, nightstands, dressers, and full closet offering plenty of room for fishing and travel gear.

Meals at the lodge are excellent. Fine Italian and local dishes, and excellent steaks are served late, in the Argentine custom. They are accompanied by the best regional wines, and wonderful desserts. Breakfast is light – usually fruits, cereals, coffee, and juices – however, a traditional American breakfast can be ordered.


Thursday: Depart home.

Friday: Arrive Buenos Aires and overnight.

Saturday: Fly from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia and transfer to the lodge.

Sunday - Friday: Six full days of guided fishing on the Rio Grande.

Saturday: Depart the lodge. Fly from Rio Grande to Buenos Aires.

Sunday: Arrive home.

Rates & Details

2025 Rate: Per person based on double occupancy

7 night/6 day package: $8,400

Included: Accommodations, meals and beverages including beer and wine at the lodge, meet and greet at the Rio Grande airport, transfers between Rio Grande and the lodge, guided fishing.

Not Included: Airfare, hotel in Buenos Aires, transfers to/from Ushuaia, staff & guide gratuities, hard alcohol, tackle, equipment, and fishing license.

Species: Sea-run brown trout

Season: January – April

Capacity: 6 anglers

Fly Water Q&A

Who is best suited to this destination? Estancia Despedida is a great bet for sea trout anglers of all skill levels who appreciate long hours on the water, short drive times, value, and homestyle hospitality in a casual setting.

Where is the lodge? The lodge is located on the Argentina side of Tierra del Fuego, roughly 45 minutes from the city of Rio Grande.

How do I get there? Guests arrive in Buenos Aires on a Friday and overnight. On Saturday, take a mid-afternoon flight from Buenos Aires to Rio Grande. A representative of the lodge meets guests at the airport for a 45-minutes transfer to the lodge.

When should I go? The season is January through mid-April.

How will I fish? Anglers fish two per guide on a split day schedule. Two 4- to 5-hour sessions are punctuated by an extended mid-day break for lunch and a siesta. The beat rotation schedule is set up such that guests rotate beats each session, allowing every angler to fish each beat twice, having one morning session and one afternoon session, throughout the week. Anglers are advised to bring single hand rods for low water conditions and two-handed rods for high water and windy conditions. Swinging, stripping, and twitching relatively small nymphs on intermediate lines is a very popular technique. There are also times when larger streamers or dry flies are very effective. The lodge also has some secretive, down-and-dirty sink tip techniques that can be very productive.

Is there wade fishing? The Rio Grande is 100% wade fishing.

Where will I fish? Despedida fishes roughly 3.5 miles of the river that is broken down into six distinctive beats. Their water is referred to as the “heart of the river,” and has some of the most consistent and productive pools in the entire Rio Grande.

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds? One of the highlights of Despedida is the extremely short drive times. The farthest pools away from the lodge can be accessed in minutes.

What type(s) of fish will I catch? Sea run brown trout in the 5- to 25-pound class and the occasional resident brown trout up to four pounds.

How many fish will I catch? Catch rates vary greatly by day, week, and by angler.  The lodge keeps good records of catch rates and across the years, anglers have averaged two to three fish per person per day.

Will I see other anglers? Guests typically see anglers from other lodges while fishing adjoining beats of water and while traveling to and from the river during beat rotations. Although guests see other anglers, they will never be competing with them to reach a pool and will always have rested water.

What are the guides like? Estancia Despedida has an eclectic mix of experienced guides who are thoroughly familiar with all the intricacies of fishing the Rio Grande. All the guides speak good English.

What are the physical demands? With short walks from the truck to the river and easy wading, there are no physical demands worth noting.

Are there any special skills required? Although the guides do a great job selecting pools and fishing positions to try and avoid casting into the wind, it is beneficial for anglers to be prepared to cast proficiently in the wind with both singlew hand rods as well as Spey rods. Sinking tips are common as well.

Does the lodge provide equipment? No. Be prepared with all your own gear.

What is your favorite setup for the trip? A 9- or 10- foot, single hand 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. It’s also a good idea to have a heavier two-handed rod in the 7- to 8-weight class for Skagit and sink tip work during high water conditions or to load heavier Scandi heads for punching long casts on windy days.

What are the top flies? Small nymphs with rubber legs on stout hooks, such as prince nymphs and girdle bugs, and larger black flies for the last light in the evening session.

What are the options if water conditions become challenging? Wind is a constant and should be expected. This is a fishing focused lodge and the guides put you on promising pools that fish well under a wide range of conditions. If unbearable for guests only option is head back to the lodge and wait it out.

What is a typical day like? Fishing days are split sessions. Typical day starts early with breakfast at 7:00AM, then depart for a 5- to 15-minute transfer to the morning's pools. Around mid-day guests return to the lodge for lunch and siesta. The evening session begins about 5:00PM and fishing continues into dark. Dinner can be after midnight.

What is the general vibe, atmosphere, and style of the lodge? This is a true fly fishing lodge with a casual and unpretentious style.

Is there an on-site owner, manager, or other point-person at the lodge? Lodge owner Danny LaJous splits his time between the lodge and town with no set schedule. While he sometimes joins guests for dinner, most of the hosting is handled by a member of the guide team who is available to guests during the cocktail and dinner hours.

Where do we eat, and what are the meals like? Meals are thoughtfully prepared and accompanied by regional Argentine wines.

What is the alcohol policy? Beer and wine is included, and spirits are available at additional expense.

Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like? The spacious, log home-style lodge accommodates six anglers per week in three double-occupancy rooms with private baths. There is a main common area including a comfortable living room, dining room and bar, and an enclosed and heated entry for guests to store and dry waders, boots, and jackets.

Is there internet and/or cell service? There is no internet or cell phone service available at the lodge.

Are there other activities? No.

Are there any other expenses?Fishing licenses, any special transfer fees and gratuities

Do I need a visa? No. Argentina no longer requires a reciprocity fee or visa. Guests must have a valid passport that expires no less than six months prior to the trip date.

Are there any health concerns, dangers, or annoyances? None that come to mind. We recommend that guests always consult with the US Department of State and the Center for Disease Control websites for general travel information and guidelines.

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