Friday, April 18, 2014

DIY Fly Fishing Patagonia Argentina: Rio Santa Cruz, Steelhead, Part 2

Big-Bad and full of Steelhead!

Our mission at First Cast Fly Fishing is to provide no B.S. Do-it-Yourself (DIY) information and to also host trips for DIY anglers.  That being said, and as you probably know, there are thousands of DIY places to fish in Patagonia. We strongly encourage you to do your own DIY trip, but if you don't speak the language and your time is limited, then maybe working with us is a good idea.  Regardless of your decision, let's talk about one of my favorite species: Steelhead.

If you missed part 1 of this three part series, please click the following link:  we

Most anglers don't come to Patagonia targeting Steelhead.  Anglers are consumed with float trips targeting wild Brown/Rainbow Trout.  Other angles are driven to catch Sea Run Brown Trout.  But what about Steelhead?  Is it possible to DIY walk-wade for Steelhead, in Argentina?  Without any hesitation, the answer is YES-YES-YES!

Great fish, but they get bigger-stronger-faster!

How to DIY Rio Santa Cruz and Piedra Buena

One of the key features of this fishery and DIY opportunity, is the surprisingly pleasant town of Piedra Buena. I have been traveling South America since 1999, and I must say, Piedra Buena is one of the nicest towns I have visited.  Well established tourist towns like San Martin de los Andes and Junin de los Andes, would be wise to follow PB's lead.  Seriously, this town has a movie theater and a raceway! Bottom line, this place is clean, civilized and there is an obvious effort to make this an oasis in what would otherwise be flat barren desert.

Population approximately 5,000 people.  Founded in 1859.
Guanacos and Santa
Throughout the town, there are dozens of sculptures. 

Lodging in Piedra Buena

If you work with First Cast Fly Fishing, we don't make money off your lodging.  We give you a choice of DIY lodging options and you sleep where your budget and personal comforts allow you. However, we do visit and review each lodging option offered.  In the end, we pick the best DIY hotels; those that are safe-clean-quiet and close to grocery stores, restaurants, public transportation.

Walking distance to everything, and only 1/2 block away from the grocery store, the Hosteria El Alamo is the place to stay for those looking for convenience and value.  Cost $400 pesos for (2).  The owner also owns the hotel Alamo, further up the street, closer to the main highway (noisy-far away from everything)

Camping Paid vs. Camping Free

It's a bit cramped, and might be a bit noisy with larger groups, but it's your only option for in-town camping.  Hot showers, WiFi, and more.   Tent cost $50 pesos.
Camping Vial...Quincho = a place to cook, entertain, and eat.  This quincho is impressive!
Camping Vial...Dormis = a room with beds, nothing more.  Don't have a tent or want to find shelter from the wind, this will be your cheapest option in PB. Cost is about $75 pesos/per person, 4 beds per room.
Camping Vial...water front views!
Your other option for paid camping is the municipal camp ground located on Isla Pavon.  This is located across the bridge, about 35 minute walk to town.  Tent camping fee's are more than camping Vial.  FYI, you can't fish on the island.  They also have cabanas for rent and a hosteria; both modelty priced. 
If you are self-sufficient, on a tight budget, you have a few good options just outside of town.  Just before the bridge, heading south, take a right and head upstream to the town Chacra or the old blown out bridge area (see above).  You can grab a hot shower at YPF for 10 pesos.  

DIY or Hire a Guide

At First Cast Fly Fishing, within our hearts we are true DIY anglers.  We encourage every one to experience a DIY angling vacation; however, from our experience, there are times that doing it alone, is simply not worth the hassle. Bottom line, in far away places such as Piedra Buena, it's best to hire a local guide to help you achieve the ultimate goal = catching a Steelhead.  So, if you have doubts about flying across the globe, attempting to speak a foreign language, and figuring out the secrets of a river that is 380 kilometers long, you may want to read about our DIY Rio Santa Cruz guided programs, in Part 3.

Thanks for reading Part 1 and 2. To read part 3, please follow

Saludos y Abrazos Amigos,