Las Pampas Lodge
- Indulge in a wide range of incredible dry fly fishing opportunities
- Take advantage of a one-to-one guide ratio where each pair of anglers gets a guide and an assistant guide
- Enjoy a highly diverse, multi-species trout program that has something for everyone
- Stay with a welcoming and friendly Argentine staff who provide an authentic Patagonia experience
- Experience a remote and beautiful lodge location
Well past the end of the good road in Argentina’s Chubut province is an area simply referred to as Rio Pico. This is the home of Las Pampas Lodge and their multi-faceted, quintessentially Patagonian trout fishing program. When it comes to diverse water types, fishing styles, and trout species, Las Pampas Lodge may be unbeatable. With a multitude of spring creeks, small freestone rivers, and trophy stillwaters, anglers find an array of rainbow, brown, and brook trout fishing options that would take weeks to fully sample. If the lodge-based options aren’t enough, anglers can take advantage of a special satellite trophy brook trout camp (available during certain times of the season).
The local Argentine staff is dedicated to quality. They work to create a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere and truly enjoy making guests feel like part of their larger family. Its unique and remote location, welcoming atmosphere, and multispecies trout fishing program combine to make this a Patagonian classic that should be at the top of any angler’s list.
One of the most unique elements of the Las Pampas fishing experience is that every pair of anglers is assigned a guide and assistant guide each day. At first this might seem overkill but once the truck pulls up to the first of many gates en route to the fishing grounds, it becomes very apparent how much this subtle difference enhances the experience of every angler. Outside of being the official gate-opener and closer, the assistant guide is constantly busy in the background and takes care of the initial setup of client rods, prepares rafts, runs shuttles, and prepares lunch so the main guide can focus on creating the best possible experience on the water for guests.
When it comes to available water types, fishing styles, and trout species, Las Pampas Lodge may be unbeatable. With a multitude of spring creeks, small to medium size freestone rivers, and trophy still-waters as well as a mix of rainbow, brown, and brook trout all within a relatively small radius, anglers are presented with far more options than they could experience in a two or even three-week stay. This provides anglers the opportunity to sample multiple different types of water during their stay or concentrate solely on those they most prefer. Highlights of some of the key systems follow.
- Rivers: The Rio Pico begins as a small, willow-lined spring creek and grows quickly as additional spring creeks and small freestone rivers add to its volume. The upper reaches are accessed exclusively by Las Pampas Lodge. As the river flows westward, the Pico breaks into multiple channels that flow swiftly through open pasturelands. Below the channels, the Pico is joined by two small freestones, first by the Rio Pampas and further downstream by the Rio Nilson. The next ten miles of the Pico offer abundant and sometimes large rainbows and fewer-but-larger browns that can surpass the 27-inch mark. Although these sections of the river are public, they are very hard to access, requiring two things that Las Pampas has: permission from local landowners and keys to locked gates! All in all, the Pico offers more than 25 miles of water, endless wade fishing opportunities and five distinct floats before crossing into Chile on its way west through the Andes. In addition to the much-touted Rio Pico, Las Pampas Lodge fishes two additional systems, the Rio Pampas and Rio Nilson. These can be best described as medium-sized freestone rivers where anglers typically see steady action sight-casting to rainbows and browns in the 10- to 20-inch class. Both streams offer miles of fantastic walk-and-wade opportunities.
- Spring Creeks: The Rio Pico watershed is home to nearly a dozen spring creeks, all of which ultimately feed into the Pico. Varying greatly in size, length, depth, and current speed, each creek presents its own unique set of angling challenges. For lovers of small and at times technical waters, these often-overlooked gems have a great deal to offer. Most of these intimate spring creeks hold surprising numbers of good-sized rainbows and browns that are all too willing to rise to a well-presented dry fly.
- Stillwaters: Despite the wide array of river and stream fishing options, the Rio Pico area is best known to locals for a series of five highly-productive lakes scattered throughout the region’s rugged hills. Though each lake has its own nuances, they all share similar shorelines dominated by rocky outcroppings and thick vegetation. Typically, the Las Pampas guides row anglers just off the shorelines enabling their guests to both blind-cast and sight-cast large dry flies towards the banks. While many northern hemisphere anglers immediately dismiss the thought of lake fishing, we feel it remiss to visit this region without giving it a go. Not only do these lakes produce the region’s largest fish but they also can provide very exciting fishing complete with crushing top-water takes and memorable sight-fishing opportunities.
- Trophy Brook Trout Camp: In the early and late season, some very specific waters in the Las Pampas lineup mature and offer visiting anglers a unique chance to target some of the world’s largest brook trout. During the majority of the season, these monster brookies inhabit a number of key lakes where they are hard to catch, but during key periods they migrate up a number of key rivers including the Rio Corcovado and the Rio El Tigre where they become easier to target. These systems are hard to reach and were the subject of the Patagonia clothing company’s film Finding Fontinalis, in which the guides at Las Pampas take Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard on an expedition in search of the elusive ten-pound brook trout. For anglers serious about big brook trout, we recommend booking this special extension trip onto a standard lodge stay.
This beautiful, European-style log-and-stone lodge features a main common area with guest lounge, dining room, and bar flanked by two spacious double-occupancy guest rooms with private baths. Each guest room opens onto a covered veranda overlooking the beautiful mountainous Patagonian landscape. The inviting main room has a central fireplace surrounded by a semi-circle of plush, built-in lounge chairs where guests gather each evening for cocktails and "picadas" to share their daily adventures before dinner. The entire lodge is tastefully furnished and accented with local art and artifacts of the region.
The cuisine at Las Pampas Lodge is inspired and memorable. Their head chef, a graduate of the Cordon Bleu Institute, is passionate about the food he prepares and uses only the freshest local and organic ingredients. The breakfast menu offers made-to-order eggs, fruits, as well as unique lodge specialties, coffee, tea, and juice. Lunch is served streamside by the guides and commonly includes homemade gourmet dishes, fried specialties, salads, beverages, and desserts. The tempting dinner menu is comprised of inspired choices that range from fresh lamb and vegetarian dishes, to thick-cut steaks and chops, all of which are paired with fine Argentine wines.
Thursday: Depart home.
Friday: Arrive Buenos Aires and overnight.
Saturday: Take a mid-day flight from Buenos Aires to Esquel. At the airport you will be met by a representative of Las Pampas Lodge, who will transfer you to the lodge (2 ½ hour drive).
Sunday-Friday: Six full days of guided fishing in the Rio Pico area.
Saturday: Depart the lodge after breakfast and transfer to the Esquel airport. Fly to Buenos Aires for an evening flight home.
Sunday: Arrive home.
Rates & Details
2024-25 Rates: Per person based on double occupancy
- 7 night/6 day package: $6,800
- 10 night/9 day package: $9,300
Included: Accommodations and meals at the lodge, wine/beer/alcohol, transfers to/from Esquel Airport, guided fishing, fishing licenses, all terminal tackle (leaders, tippets, and flies) and fishing equipment (rods, reels, and lines, and waders and boots)
Not Included: International and domestic airfare, meals/transfers/hotels in Buenos Aires, and staff and guide gratuities
Species: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout
Season: November - May
Capacity: 8 Anglers
Location: The Lodge is located in the Chubut Providence of Central Patagonia within the heart of the Rio Pico area. It’s located approximately 150 miles south (a 2 ½ hour drive) of Esquel.
Fly Water Q&A
Who is best suited to this destination? Anglers looking for the ultimate Patagonia trout fishing experience and are comfortable covering long distances by foot during the day.
Where is the lodge? The Lodge is in the Chubut Province of central Patagonia within the heart of the Rio Pico area. It is approximately 150 miles south (a 3-hour drive) of Esquel.
How do I get there? To get to Las Pampas you will need to fly to the international airport (EZE) in Buenos Aires, Argentina and then to Esquel. You are met in Esquel and transferred 3 hours to the lodge. Most international flights to Buenos Aries arrive early in the morning. The domestic flight to Esquel is from the domestic airport (AEP) and there is often only one flight per day so depending on the schedule it may be necessary to overnight in BA before heading on to Esquel and the lodge.
When should I go? Las Pampas Lodge is open November through April. For those looking to catch rainbows, browns, and brookies in the same week, December to January and March to April are great times to be there.
How will I fish? Overall, there is a strong emphasis on walk-and-stalk fishing with dry flies. However, when conditions dictate, the guides employ a variety of productive trout techniques.
Is there wade fishing? Yes, there are plenty of wade fishing options. In a typical week, anglers spend 60 to 70 percent of the time wading and the remainder of the time fishing out of rafts on the rivers and lakes.
Where will I fish? Las Pampas has nearly two dozen fishing accesses that cover a large variety of water types including lakes, small- and medium-sized freestone rivers, and spring creeks. This access provides anglers with opportunities to sample multiple different types of water or concentrate solely on those they most prefer.
How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds? Guests access the fishing grounds in 4×4 trucks with travel times ranging from 15- to 60-minutes.
What type(s) of fish will I catch? Rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. This is one of the few destinations where anglers can get a Patagonia Trout Slam in the same week.
How many fish will I catch? Las Pampas has high catch rate rivers and creeks (where anglers can catch 20+ fish a day) as well as rivers, lakes, and lagunas that produce trophy trout in lower numbers.
Will I see other anglers? It is rare to see other anglers outside of those staying at the lodge.
What are the guides like? The guides are enthusiastic, passionate, hard-working, and skilled professionals who know the Rio Pico fisheries like the back of their hands. Many of them grew up fishing the area waters. They are all very friendly, helpful, and willing to do what is necessary to provide clients with a great lodge experience. All the guides speak good conversational and fishing English.
What are the physical demands? It can be windy at times, so it is good to have experience casting in the wind. Wading is generally easy. Anglers should be prepared to do a reasonable amount of walking each day.
Are there any special skills required? Being comfortable casting into the wind is beneficial but not essential.
Does the lodge provide equipment? The lodge has a good size stock of waders, boots, rods, and reels for guests to borrow. Also, one of the special things about this program is that the guides furnish all terminal tackle including leaders, tippets, and flies.
What is your favorite setup for the trip? Any high-quality fast action 6-weight will do the trick for most of their waters. Most anglers travel with a variety of rods in the 4- to 7-weight range.
What are the top flies? Caddis, mayflies, and foam attractor patterns with rubber legs are the go-to dries, red and silver copper johns are staples for nymphing, and assorted dark-colored weighted wooly bugger patterns with rubber legs for streamer fishing.
What are the options if water conditions become challenging? Wind is a constant and should be expected, but due to the diversity of waters available it is highly unlikely that a river will blow out and be unfishable.
What is a typical day like? After breakfast around 8AM, guests depart for the days’ fishing. Lunch is served streamside by the guides, and then you fish through the afternoon and return to the lodge for a late dinner in typical Argentine fashion.
What is the general vibe, atmosphere, and style of the lodge? One of our favorite qualities of Las Pampas Lodge is the casual, friendly, fun, and inclusive vibe. The staff and guides welcome each guest with open arms and treat them as if they were part of the family.
Is there an on-site owner, manager, or other point-person at the lodge? The co-owner and lodge manager, Agustin “Oggy” Fox, is always on-site to host guests. He is a fun-loving, energetic character who actively engages with guests and livens up conversations during cocktail hour and dinner each evening.
Where do we eat, and what are the meals like? Meals at the lodge are comprised of locally inspired and international choices that range from fresh, thick-cut steaks to tasty vegetarian dishes, all of which are paired with select Argentine wines.
What is the alcohol policy? Beer, wine, and spirits are included in the package.
Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like? The main lodge is a European-style log and stone structure which features a main common area with guest lounge, dining room, bar, and four spacious double-occupancy guest rooms with private baths. The guest rooms are spacious, clean, and tastefully decorated. Each guest room has two twin beds, nightstand, table, chairs, private bath and opens onto a covered veranda overlooking the mountainous landscape. Two of the four rooms are also equipped with fireplaces.
Is there internet and/or cell service? The lodge has a slow-but-reliable Wi-Fi internet connection. There is no cell phone service, but the lodge has a satellite phone for emergencies.
Are there other activities? They do not have a focused program for additional experiences, but they can provide some great hiking and horseback riding options.
Are there any other expenses? No.
Do I need a visa? No.
Are there any health concerns, dangers, or annoyances? In the early season, November through December, there can be some horse flies around. From our experience, standard bug repellent and DEET does not work well, so it is advised to wear long sleeved shirts and a Buff to protect yourself.
Las Pampas is remote and the distance to the nearest hospital is 3 hours away. For this reason, we recommend a Global Rescue medical evacuation insurance. 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.