Species
Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Destination Type
Lodge
Fishing Style
Drift Boat, Dry Fly, Private Waters, Sightfishing, Spring Creek, Stillwater, Wading
Season
November - April
Fishing Days
6
Rate
$$$
Why We Go
  • Experience the only fishing lodge in one of the world's oldest national parks
  • Savor expansive views of Lago Hess and the towering Tronador Mountain from each bedroom
  • Enjoy a welcoming staff and elegant, comfortable accommodations
  • Fish for rainbow, brown, and brook trout on a variety of lightly pressured waters
  • Experience guided birding with an authority on local ornithology
Overview

Nestled in the midst of Nahuel Huapi National Park, Rio Manso Lodge and the surrounding waters, ecosystems, and bioregions are more reminiscent of Chile than the drier landscapes of Argentina. The National Park is lush, with rainforests and brilliant green rivers. Equally significant is that this region is easy to reach from the thriving hub of Bariloche, yet far enough away that its stunning fisheries feel secluded. With great hosts, comfortable accommodations, and family-style meals served near a handsome fireplace, this facility is the perfect base from which to enjoy a range of seldom-fished waters. There are multiple downriver floating options as well as great trophy lakes where anglers can sight cast dry flies to cruising fish.

Fishing Program

The waters available to guests at Rio Manso Lodge offer a variety of different types of fishing, from big dry flies and weighted streamers to small emergers, nymphs, and spinners. Anglers may fish both floating and sinking lines, dry and wet flies throughout the course of a day, depending on the season. Most of the fishing is done out of boats, either self-bailing inflatable rafts when on rivers or outboard-powered skiffs when on stillwaters. Guests fish in pairs with the guides, who are all professional and trained Argentines. To be able to guide within the nation park, they have each passed tests on whitewater rowing, entomology, and natural and park history.

The primary fishery is the Rio Manso. Much of the fishing here is done with streamers and sinking lines. Hatches on most of the river are sporadic, so the biggest fish are best drawn out with streamer patterns. There are several sections where nymphs are especially effective, and a spring creek where sight-casting to cruising fish can be a delightful change of pace. Another section of the river markedly different is the channels of Lago Hess. Justly famous for their unique blend of big fish and technical fishing, these channels of smooth currents provide challenging dry fly fishing for any angler. Even though the fish can be selective here, some guests find this is a favorite section.

Another special fishery for anglers staying Rio Manso Lodge is Lago Fonck. This four-mile-long lake offers shots at big rainbows, browns, and brook trout. Dragon flies, damsels, and caddis flies all hatch on the lake and the trout cruise the shoreline weed beds in search of a meal. Anglers fish the lake edges from Carolina skiffs, working the structure. With beautiful Mount Tronador in the distance, and the added bonus of spotting an Andean condor circling overhead, and a day on Fonck is always a special.

A fishing day at Rio Manso begins with breakfast at 7:30 or 8:00 AM. Guides are met around 9:00 and with the exception of a trip to the Pichi Leufu or a horse ride into Lago Los Cesares, none of the waters are more than 25 minutes from the lodge. Anglers fish until midday, then stop for a streamside lunch. Some guests opt for a post-lunch siesta, but many prefer to get back on the water as well. After fishing through the afternoon, guests normally get off the water by 8:00 PM or so, and return to the lodge to clean up, take a sauna, or perhaps even get a message. Dinner is usually served between 9:00 and 10:00 PM, although it’s not unheard of to eat much later if the fishing is good!

Accommodations

Rebuilt in 2004 and uniquely designed, every one of the nine guestrooms at Rio Manso Lodge face northwest, and have spectacular views of Lago Hess and the Andes Mountains. Just 15 miles away towers majestic Monte Tronador, which is located on the border with Chile. The guest rooms are appointed with a king-size or two full-size beds and private bath. Some are equipped with a jacuzzi as well. The lodge features a mud room for tackle and waders, a fly tying area, a small, but well-equipped bar, and a spacious sitting area in front of our river stone fireplace. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are normally served there each evening, and many nights it is cool enough to enjoy the warmth and comfort of a roaring fire. The lodge also has a sauna available to guests.

Meals are served in the main dining room. The professionally trained chef concocts delightful cuisine that reflects an international flavor made with the freshest of ingredients. Breakfasts include hot coffee, eggs, cereal, and fresh fruit. The riverside lunches can be either hot or cold, and might include such items as steaks, quiches, sandwiches, salads, cheese, and fresh bread. Dinners are a wide variety of dishes that reflect both the cultural diversity of the area and the worldly influence of today’s culinary landscape, and include pastas, fish, chicken, and beef. All the meals are served with complimentary Argentine wines. The kitchen is happy to develop a special menu for guests with specific dietary needs.

Additional Experiences

Guided Hiking: There are a multitude of guided hikes available from the lodge that range from simple excursions into the woods and walks to a nearby waterfall, to more involved expeditions climbing the surrounding mountain peaks of the Andes. Day hikes near the lodge offer guests the chance to explore the temperate Patagonian forest and perhaps glimpse local fauna such as foxes, pudus (deer), or even the elusive puma.

Guided Birding: Birding walks and expeditions are usually led by Dr. Lorenzo Sympson, a noted authority on Andean condors, and founding member and head of the ornithological committee of SNAP (Sociedad Naturalista Andino Patagonica), a regional NGO dedicated to the conservation of Patagonia's unique ecosystems.

Horseback Riding: Riding at Rio Manso Lodge provides a rare glimpse into the surrounding pristine forest.

At the Lodge: Many of the guests are just as happy relaxing at the lodge, taking a sauna, reading by the fireplace, or just taking in the view. Massages and wine tastings are also available.

Itinerary

Thursday: Depart home

Friday: Arrive Buenos Aires and overnight

Saturday: Fly to Bariloche and onto the lodge (you may fish on arrival day)

Sunday-Friday: Full days of guided fishing

Saturday: Depart for Bariloche and onto Buenos Aires for an evening flight home

Rates & Details

2023-24 Rate: Per person based on double occupancy

7 night/6 day package: $5,950 

Included: Accommodations, meals and beverages including wine, beer and alcohol at the lodge, airport transfers to and from Bariloche, laundry, guided fishing, fishing license, and guided non-angling activities

Not Included: International and domestic airfare, transfers/meals/hotels in Buenos Aires, fishing equipment, flies, and gratuities

Species: Brown trout, Rainbow trout, Brook Trout

Season: November – April

Capacity: 12 Anglers

Fly Water Q&A

Who is best suited to this destination? Like all of Patagonia, this destination requires some extended travel and is best suited for guests who can comfortably travel for a day and a half on both sides of the trip to reach the lodge. Once you arrive, this elegant and comfortable lodge will provide an excellent Patagonian angling experience.

Where is the lodge? The lodge is in the heart of the historic Nahuel Huapi National Park, just under two hours from the outdoor hub of Bariloche, Argentina.

How do I get there? To reach Rio Manso Lodge, you will fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and then take a domestic flight south to a regional airport. Most international flights to Buenos Aires International Airport (EZE) arrive early in the morning. To get to the regional airport expect a relatively straightforward ground transfer in Buenos Aires to the Buenos Aires Domestic Airport (AEP), guests should allow four hours for this transfer. Most guests fly into Bariloche (BRC) and take a 1.5-hour private ground transfer into the national park, which is included in the rate. Alternatively, guests can fly into Esquel (ESQ), and have a 4.5-hour transfer to the lodge for additional cost.

When should I go? The fishing around Rio Manso Lodge is open from November through April, and we find it fishes best as an early season option in December and January. Towards the end of December, a dragonfly hatch in nearby lakes can produce great action.

How will I fish? Anglers fish primarily from boats using a variety of traditional Western US trout techniques to match the fishing situation, and efforts are focused on dry flies and streamers.

Is there wade fishing? Fishing is primarily done from the boat, but there is limited wade fishing and will vary depending on the time of year. They use 14-foot NRS self-bailing whitewater rafts for the rivers and for the lakes they use Carolina skiffs with outboard motors.

Where will I fish? Guests fish a variety of different beats during their stay, including nearby lakes and different stretches of the Manso River. Each morning after breakfast, guests arrive to the wader room to learn their assignment for the day’s beat, meet their guide, and venture out for the day’s adventure.

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds? Guests rotate beats throughout the week, with some being as close as a five-minute drive, while others are one hour drive one-way and well worth the trip.

What type(s) of fish will I catch? Target species are rainbow, brook, and brown trout from 12 – 20+ inches. By-catch includes the native Perca, a perch /small mouth bass-like species.

How many fish will I catch? Anglers will have opportunities for rainbow, brown, and brook trout and the ability to experience different fishing beats each day during the week. By rotating fishing locations, anglers will experience some days focused on quantity and other days focused on quality of the catch in river and lake settings. On average, guests can expect to catch 10 – 15 fish per day depending on conditions.

Will I see other anglers? Some stretches of the Rio Manso River and nearby lakes have public access points and campgrounds that can see increased traffic, particularly on holidays and weekends.

What are the guides like? The guides are experienced, passionate anglers from Argentina, and a few grew up within the boundaries of Nahuel Haupi National Park.  To operate in the national park, each guide must pass tests on entomology, whitewater rowing, park history and geology, which results in a high bar for guides.

What are the physical demands? There are no special physical demands.

Are there any special skills required? Experience casting into the wind can be beneficial to increase opportunities.

Does the lodge provide equipment? The lodge has rods, reels, waders and boots available for rent.

What is your favorite setup for the trip? A fast action 9-foot 6-weight rod with a floating line and a reel with a quality drag will be the workhorse of the trip, but anglers can also fish a 5-weight for smaller dries and a 7-weight for streamers if desired. Ideally, anglers will be prepared with two set ups: one rod with a floating line and a second rod with a full sinking line.

What are the top flies? Large attractor dry flies are the most productive and any large pattern such as a Chubby Chernobyl, Parachute Madam X, Fat Albert, or Stimulator will produce fish. A Rio Manso favorite is the Psycho Ant, which allows you to cast into the weed beds and slowly retrieve your fly over the submerged plants without catching in the woody material. Streamers in olive, black or brown that feature rubber legs are go-to flies for the subsurface lake fishing.

What are the options if water conditions become challenging? Wind in Patagonia is a constant and should be expected as a normal experience for your trip. The guides will work to select the best fishing conditions from a variety of options each day. November, December, and early January are their spring months and are typical of higher water, which could limit certain fishing beats. Although, there are a variety of beats to choose from to ensure that you find fishable water.

What is a typical day like? Each morning guests gather for breakfast at 8 AM and then head to the wader room to learn their day’s beat assignment. After getting in your waders and boots, you will meet your guide in front of the lodge and be transported by vehicle between five minutes and one hour to the fishing grounds. On the water, the guides will prepare a streamside lunch, with an option for a riverside siesta, and you will typically get off the water between 7 – 8PM. When you return to the lodge, you will be greeted with your beverage or cocktail of choice as you remove waders, clean up, shower, or if you elect - get a massage. There will be beverages and hors d’oeuvres before dinner, and dinner is usually served between 9 or 10PM.

What is the general vibe, atmosphere, and style of the lodge? The lodge has a welcoming and service-oriented staff providing a relaxed atmosphere that contributes to a great overall lodge experience. There is space to be social and gather by the bar or fireplace with fellow guests or take a stroll in the scenic national park if you wish to remain more independent before dinner.

Is there an on-site owner, manager, or other point-person at the lodge? Yes, there is an onsite manager who lives on property.

Where do we eat, and what are the meals like? Guests eat breakfast and dinner at a large group dining area on the main floor. During the fishing day, guides prepare a streamside lunch consisting of a variety of grilled meals along with an assortment of cheeses, dried meats, and fresh vegetables.

Meals are prepared by a chef on-site and feature a variety of authentic Argentine cuisines paired with local wines and desserts. Breakfasts tend to be more simple offerings with made-to-order omelets, eggs, and sides of sausage or bacon, with serve yourself coffee, tea, yogurt, fruit, and cheeses. Dinners are more elaborate and feature a variety of dishes that will include a mix of beef, pasta, chicken, or fish that reflect the culture and influence of the area. Vegetarian meals are also available and special dietary requests can be accommodated upon request.

Rio Manso Lodge features once during each week a traditional Argentina asado, which includes a variety of grilled meats (beer, lamb, and pork) slow cooked over an open flame accompanied by an assortment of cheeses, bread, and vegetables.

What is the alcohol policy? Each day after fishing, guests are greeted at the front door with their beverage of choice as they de-wader and unwind from a long day on the water. All beer, wine, and a selection of liquor is always available and is included in the package price.

Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like? Guests stay in the exclusive fishing lodge deep in the Nahuel Huapi National Park at the foothills of the Andes Mountains. The lodge, rebuilt in 2004, provides each guest with a spectacular view of Lago Hess and Monte Tronador, a towering 3,554-meter (11,660 feet) mountain with seven glaciers and snow-capped peaks that are the source of the Manso River.  

Rio Manso Lodge can support 15 guests (12 anglers), with double occupancy rooms. Rooms are appointed with either King size or two full size beds and a private bath. There is a sauna, laundry services are included, and spa services available at additional charges. 

Is there internet and/or cell service? Wireless internet is available in a small public area on the main floor of the lodge, however due to its remote location there is no cell service.

Are there other activities? They offer other activities but not on the property. These include horseback riding, birding, and hiking to waterfalls ranging from easy to difficult. The lodge also has spa-services onsite that can be scheduled during the stay for additional cost.

Are there any other expenses? No

Do I need a visa? No, Argentina no longer requires a reciprocity fee (visa) for United States citizens.

Are there any health concerns, dangers, or annoyances? Argentine Patagonia is a relatively easy and safe place to travel. However, one thing to point out is the remoteness and distance of the lodge to the nearest hospital, over an hour away. If something were to go wrong, it is a long way from trained medical help and therefore we recommend a Global Rescue plan for this destination. 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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