Edging the idyllic Chimehuin River, Northern Patagonia Lodge’s location in the heart of Northern Patagonia makes it a strategic hub for visiting anglers from around the world. In addition to floating and wade-fishing our namesake river, you’ll also find incomparable trout fishing on the nearby Collon Cura and Alumine rivers, as well as on trophy lakes such as Huechulafquen, Paimún, Tromen, and Curruhe.
Off the water, relax in style—enjoying ultimate service, excellent cuisine, and a full selection of Argentina’s renowned wines back at the lodge. Or take advantage of our two-night deluxe tent camp options for a true one-of-a-kind Patagonia experience.
Northern Patagonia Lodge was constructed in 2008 and is located on the upper Chimehuin River. The beautifully, appointed lodge can accommodate 10 guests in six large bedrooms, each with a private bathroom. Each bedroom sleeps two anglers comfortably in single beds. The lodge also features two common living rooms, a reading/internet room, an open kitchen, and a large dining area where our guests enjoy delicious meals. Laundry service is available.
The fishing season officially opens in Argentine Patagonia on November 1st; although, Northern Patagonia Lodge (NPL) normally don’t open their doors until the first of December. Spring is a special time to visit Patagonia as the Andes Mountains still hold a large amount of snow and valleys are covered with spring flowers. Precipitation decreases throughout the month of December and average temperatures rise along with the length of day until the summer solstice on December 21st.
Area fisheries are full of water but almost every stream is fishable after December 1st due to the many river-lake systems in our area. Since the water is higher this time of the year, the largest fish tend to be more aggressive and accessible. Fishing is generally spectacular but flexibility is a must as streamers, dry flies, and nymphs are all used depending on the river levels and daily weather conditions. Large flies normally concocted with rubber legs, long hackles, bunny fur, foam–you name it (chernoble’s, garbage, junk, bichos, mutant’s, big foam, etcetera.)—can be thrown and are very effective this time of the year due to the aggressive nature of the fish and the lack of pressure. You can leave your 5X at home but be sure to bring some 0X and even a sink tip to go down and dirty. Your guide will be as anxious as you are as they have been waiting for the season as long as you have.
Normal tourism season begins after Christmas and the New Year so our area is much more relaxed and the fish are very willing.
Summer is the most popular month for fishing and tourism in Patagonia. The kids are on vacation and tourists abound. The weather is the best this time of the year with decreasing precipitation and the warmest temperatures. Some snow remains on the highest Andes peaks but almost all the spring flowers are already gone. The grass is getting long, and with warmer temperatures–you guessed it—hoppers and terrestrial insects are prolific and you will enjoy dry fly fishing almost exclusively. There are uncountable species of beetles, ants, hoppers, crickets, wasps, and other unidentified flying objects this time of the year and the trout are looking for them. A South American phenomenon: the hottest, brightest, and clearest days are the best dry fly and fishing days! Yes, it’s true, a bluebird-fisherman’s dream! All the above being said about fish looking to slam dry flies is true, but presentation is key on some streams as fish have seen a few gypsy kings, fat alberts, chernobyl ants, hoppers, etc…..and they are as suspicious as they are aggressive this time of the year. You might have to drop down to 3X, 4X, and occasionally even 5X and use a dropper to attract fish in the crystal clear water. You will have lots of sight fishing opportunities daily and wet wading is possible for the majority of the time.
Water levels continue to drop and water temperatures rise this time of the year. Every fishery is open and in perfect shape. This is Prime Time and getting a spot with NPL is not easy. Repeat customers reserve most spots year after year. If you can get a spot, you won’t be disappointed!
Fall is the favorite of many anglers, and it is a great time to visit Patagonia. Summer tourist traffic drops off completely and NPL once again has a vast wilderness to themselves.
Temperature decreases and precipitation rises this time of the year, which normally brings on the fall feeding frenzy of area trout with cooling and rising rivers. Browns and brook trout are getting ready to spawn and many of those larger fish, which swam back into the lake during the middle of summer, are migrating back to the river to feed or spawn. Fall colors in Patagonia are spectacular and if you are lucky enough to be able to come and enjoy the fall, you will probably become addicted to the beauty, the tranquility, and the fishing.
Although the days are not as long as the spring and the summer, you still get plenty of time on the water, in fact, you might actually get more fishing as the guides are excited this time of the year.
Chapelco Airport (CPC) in San Martin de los Andes is the closest airport serving Northern Patagonia Lodge. Aerolineas Argentinas (aerolineas.com.ar) runs regular commercial flights from Aeroparque Airport in Buenos Aires (AEP) to Chapelco (CPC) Airport and back. The drive from CPC to Northern Patagonia Lodge takes 45-minutes.
Buenos Aires to the city of Bariloche (Code BRC) in Patagonia is another option. But the airport is located farther south and requires a longer drive (about 2.5 hours) to and from Northern Patagonia Lodge. Please make sure that you notify us well in advance of your arrival time and flight so that we can arrange to meet you at Chapelco Airport or wherever you plan to land in Patagonia.
Northern Patagonia Lodge is conveniently located on the banks of the upper Chimehuin River in Argentina’s Northern Patagonia region, just a 35-minute’ ride from the San Martín de los Andes (CPC) airport. Its closest small villa is Junín de los Andes and is located just a 20-minute drive from the lodge.
Overlooking the Chimehuin River, Northern Patagonia Lodge boasts front-door access to the greatest diversity of trout water in northern Patagonia. Brown, rainbow, brook trout, and landlocked salmon all thrive here. You’ll wade, float, and fish untouched beats by horseback or vehicle access, depending on your daily preferences.
The picturesque Chimehuin River is a wade and raft-friendly river that flows for 25 miles until it meets the Collon Cura River—another Patagonia fly-fishing mainstay. Also nearby, you’ll find small, technical streams offering dry-fly, streamer, and nymphing opportunities depending on the season.
In addition to sprawling rivers and intimate small streams, this is also a land of lakes. Trophy still-waters include the Tromen, Huechulafquen, Epulafquen, Verde, and Curruhe—to name a few. Each has its own special nuances and all are known for sizable trout. In total, the area is home to more than 20 trout-rich lakes.
Guide services at Northern Patagonia Lodge (NPL) are provided by Patagonia River Guides (PRG). The PRG squad is the best in the area opening up exciting new possibilities for NPL guests. For instance, during a weeklong stay you can now participate in one of PRG’s renowned 2-night “Unplugged” camp trips. These multi-day wilderness floats allow you to fish unpressured waters that are not easily reached during a day-trip from the lodge. The camps are also deluxe by design. That means delicious Argentine meals, a comfortable night’s sleep under the stars, and dynamite fishing every morning.
This is a sample itinerary for the purpose of illustration only. These are the waters we typically ﬁsh from the lodge. We may vary your speciﬁc itinerary according to your ﬁshing preferences and prevailing weather, temperature, water levels, ﬁsh migration, and the opinions of our guides. We can also arrange trips to other great ﬁsheries from the lodge.
Is there a more beautiful or popular fish? Depicted on corporate logos, ball caps, and gas station signs, the rainbow trout is the ideal symbol combining beauty and sport. Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is favored by fly fishers because of its beautiful coloration—for which it’s named—and its fighting ability. Wild rainbow trout typically have olive-colored backs, tails peppered with dark spots, and silvery sides that look as if they’ve been painted pink and crimson. The rainbow trout is actually a member of the Pacific salmon family, and has been stocked on six continents. It can be found in freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes, also in saltwater bays and open ocean as steelhead (the sea-run form of the fish, which returns to freshwater to spawn). Trout prefer cold, oxygenated moderately moving creeks and streams with plenty of cover and pools, although they also do well in food-rich backcountry lakes and rivers.
Rainbow size generally relates to the size of the water they can be found in, as well as the available forage base. Smaller creeks are usually home to smaller fish, while bigger rainbows inhabit bigger watersheds. Generally speaking, a three-year-old rainbow trout in a general trout stream grows to 12 inches but can exceed 20 inches if food is abundant and water temperatures are stable throughout the year.
Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) and Sea Trout (S. truttamorpha trutta) are both fish of the same species. They can be distinguished by the fact that that resident, non-migrating browns live in freshwater river systems such as Chile’s Futaleufú, while the sea trout of Tierra del Fuego show anadromous tendencies, migrating to the ocean and returning to freshwater as massive steelhead-size specimens to spawn.
Brown trout are native to Europe and Asia, but the natural distribution of the migratory forms may be, in fact, circumpolar. Sea-run brown trout are not considered endangered in any location. But in some cases, individual stocks are under various degrees of stress because of habitat degradation and artificial propagation leading to introgression.
Brown trout like cold (60-65 degrees F, or 15-18 degrees C), well-oxygenated waters, especially large streams in mountainous areas. The in-stream cover is important, and they are more likely to be found where there are submerged rocks, undercut banks, and overhanging vegetation.
Browns in freshwater have the ability to grow to 9+ pounds. Although in most small rivers, mature brown might average 2 to 3 pounds. The sea-run variations of Argentina are another story, and consistently push the 20-30+ pound range—a challenge for fly fishers seeking the biggest, baddest browns on the planet.
Brown trout are active both by day and by night and are predatory feeders. While in freshwater, diet typically includes streambed invertebrates, small fish, frogs, wayward mice, and insects flying near the water’s surface. A brown’s penchant for insect larvae, pupae, nymphs, and adult insects is what makes this trout a fly-fishing favorite.
Unplugged camps are deluxe and include a high level of service and surprising amenities. Guests enjoy spacious eight-man tents outfitted with two comfortable beds, one for each angler in double occupancy. This is not your ordinary camping set up as beds are furnished with fine cotton linen, warm comforters, and down pillows, allowing guests to spend a wonderful and cozy night under the stars. Camps are fully catered and come with a professional chef to prepare both regional and gourmet meals – cooked over the riverside fire!
Their state-of-the-art pressurized water system offers an endless supply of hot water for the private, enclosed shower. In addition, all camps come with two private bathroom facilities and a unique 12-volt lighting system for the tents, common areas, and trails making it easy to navigate the camp at any time in the night. The camp includes a fully stocked bar with ice, mixers, delicious wines, and snacks to enjoy in nature or in the spacious walled tent for dining indoors if necessary. The amenities for the anglers include fresh towels, bathrobes, soap, shampoo, and headlamps. Guests choosing our Unplugged Program do not need to pack anything extra or special for the trip.
Each morning, guests enjoy a healthy breakfast consisting of fresh fruits, cereals, and eggs made to order before grabbing their rods and making their first casts right from camp. The Camp staff and assistants pack up and reassemble the camp in a new location approximately ten to twelve miles downstream. Exceptional fishing is the norm with anglers commonly landing browns and rainbows over twenty inches. Everything is made ready for our anglers’ arrival at dusk including hot showers, a crackling fire, an impressive table of appetizers, and a full bar. Dinner is nothing short of amazing often followed by memorable stories and drinks around the fire.
Use 9-foot 5- and 6-weight rods, reels with good disc drag, and pack a selection of floating lines and sink-tip setups (200-grain integrated tips work great). Back-up rods are always recommended.
Reels should have a minimum of 100 yards of 20lbs backing and adjustable drag.
Weight-forward floating fly lines are the norm on the rivers we fish at Northern Patagonia. Whatever you fish in Montana or the Rockies will also work great on our waters. We like WF lines by RIO, Airflo, and SA. Also bring an integrated sinking line or two for streamers fishing. These lines should have anywhere from 10 to 20 feet of 200- to 300-grain sinking tips. For still-waters, think full-sinking and clear intermediate lines for streamers in deeper water. And always include a floater for dries.
We recommend a typical Western trout fly selection for local rivers: hoppers, Chernobyl ants, stimulators, humpies and Wulffs in #8-12; bead-head nymphs in #14-20, tan and olive caddis patterns in #12 – 16; mayfly parachutes, emergers, and cripples in #14-20; and a selection of streamers (conehead buggers, matukas, muddler minnows, and bunny leeches). We also have some local favorites, including green inchworms and pancora crab patterns available for purchase. We have a fly-tying bench for your use and we have all the flies you might need at our shop at the lodge.
Our kitchens come to life through the use of fresh and regionally representative meats and products. By combining these elements, we create delicious flavors and varied textures that harbor hidden stories and share dining traditions with each plate. We have curated a top-notch team of experienced Argentine and international chefs, trained in both classic and avant-garde culinary techniques at each of our lodges.
Each meal is prepared with an artisan’s touch and influenced by the earthiness of the surrounding landscape. Sustainability is at the heart of our cuisine and a true connection to nature runs through every dish. To top it off, our guests enjoy each meal in our beautifully designed lodge dining rooms and outdoor lunch experiences. Chefs prepare every dish from scratch to be served at a minute’s notice. Freshness is paramount and perfecting the flavor is our key to success.
All our beef comes from Aberdeen Angus and Hereford steers. It is grass-fed cattle from our Pampas. We carefully select our suppliers, which guarantees the high quality, flavor, and tenderness of our meat. You will enjoy meat cooked on the fire and in several different ways in our lodges and in the field.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day in our lodges. Choices stretch from local free-range Eggs Benedict to organic and healthy breakfast options. We change our menu daily to keep things fresh. Later in the day, our superb lunch and dinner menus are paired with some of Argentina’s—and the world’s—best wines; Bodega Catena Zapata.
In addition to our focus on fresh food with organic origins, we also celebrate our Argentine heritage with a wine partnership that brings truly world-class vintages to our lodges. Our wide selection of finest wines, the best Argentine Malbec from the Mendoza region, and a large variety of other grape selections, are served by a knowledgeable team. We feel that the food we present and the wines we serve should mirror the sporting opportunities we offer—and be the finest available.
Northern Patagonia Lodge’s kitchen is a culinary delight. If you take a peek into our kitchens you will find delicacies like smoked cheeses, unique local sausages called “chacinados y embutidos”, local fed lamb, venison, rabbit, and, of course, our unforgettable Black Angus Beef sourced fresh from the surrounding pampas.
Our streamside lunches are carefully designed by our chef and executed by expert guides and their team. Our menus have been meticulously constructed around the local tradition of cooking over the open flame. Grass-fed lamb, beef, and local seafood are always on the menu, matched with farm-fresh vegetables and fruit. Regional flavors can be found in every dish, from hand-picked berries grown in our lodge gardens, to pine mushrooms picked fresh in the verdant forests that surround our lodge.
Our classic preparations are perfected over the fire and include delicacies like the Spanish-influenced Curanto—an esteemed stew of earthly ingredients and heavenly flavors that give our kitchen a tasty local identity where every meal is truly something special.
Season 2021-2022: December 2021 – April 2022
WILDERNESS UNPLUGGED (Camping and Float Trip: Aluminé, Chimehuin or Limay Rivers)
Add on: 2 nights and 3 days – $ 2,550 per person based on shared occupancy.
Substitute: Camping for a few nights at the lodge: 2 night/3 days – additional $750 supplement.
Our research and experience tell us that over 65% of anglers are also actively interested in bird hunting and big game hunting. If you are a part of that majority and are interested in adding variety to your sporting life, look no further than David Denies Bird Hunting and Red Stag Patagonia. All three brands are owned and operated by the same company, The Kautapen Group, and each operation is dedicated to making your outdoor experience fun, memorable, and productive.