Friday, April 18, 2014

DIY Fly Fishing Patagonia Argentina: Rio Santa Cruz, Steelhead, Part 3

Thanks for reading part 1 and 2 of our three part series, DIY fishing the Rio Santa Cruz for Steelhead. If you missed part 1 and 2, here are the links:

Part 1:
Part 2:

We love to walk-wade, but in some parts of the world, to increase your success rate, hiring a guide is a good option.

DIY vs. Hiring a Guide on the Rio Santa Cruz

We ended part 2, on purpose, with a highly loaded question:

  • Are you prepared to travel half way across the globe, attempt to speak another language, arrange transportation and lodging, walk-wade a 380 kilometer river, find the best spots to catch a Steelhead, and perform a successful DIY trip...without hiring a guide?  
  • If you have two weeks or less, and if you answered yes, in my humblest opinion, you are pathologically insane!  

If you have read my bio, you know that I am a veteran DIY adventure traveler and fisherman (Alaska, British Columbia, New Zealand, and more). You also know that I 100% encourage you to do your own DIY adventures.  But sometimes, especially in far away places, when time is limited and English is not spoken, a full-on DIY trip does not make sense. Here's a personal account of a personal DIY experience, without the assistance of a guide:

Rio Grande- Tierra del Fuego (TDF):  In 1999, I spent one year hiking and fishing from Ushuaia, TDF to Columbia.  In that time, I hired a guide only once to take me into the Amazon for 2 weeks; not for the purposes of fish guiding.  Early in my trip, I DIY fished the Rio Grande for a few days. Looking back, I deeply regret not hiring a guide on the Rio Grande. Truth be told, I had the money to stay at the finest lodge, but my DIY values would not allow was 100% DIY or bust.  Well, I caught a few small fish; nothing worth mentioning or posting a's somewhat embarrassing to admit this, but as they say, "live and learn."  

I share this experience with you because I do not want you to make the same mistake.  In your entire life, you may have only one chance to catch an 'Atlantic' Steelhead.  So my advice is to create a plan that balances your personal DIY needs, yet maximizes your chance to catch one, or two, or three Steelheads! 

Here are my suggestions:

  1. Hire a local guide via First Cast Fly Fishing.  We have several partner guides who were born and raised in Piedra Buena...they know everything about non-fishing things in PB.  They know the river like the back of their hands and they have access (via motorboat) to places far away from the public access spots.  If you are on a budget and would only like to hire a guide for a 1-3 days, and then fish on your own = no problem.  
  2. If you have little or no desire to camp, I would recommend staying in town, at one of the hotels suggested in part 2 of this series.  The hotels may not look like much, but the rooms are clean, quiet, safe, hot showers and extremely affordable. I hand picked these hotels because they are conveniently located to resources that DIY anglers need: Grocery Store, Restaurants, Banks. Regarding camping, if the weather kicks-up (wind-rain), trying to cook your dinner, or sleeping in gail force winds, after 10 hours of fishing, might not be the best idea (you need to rest your body each night). 
  3. If you would like to camp, either free or paid, you can still work with us.  Bottom line, we are flexible and our program is 100% designed to meet your needs.

When to Fish Rio Santa Cruz?

The Steelhead festival celebrates the arrival of the fish, at the end of February.  Fishing during the festival enables you to be part of a unique cultural experience.  The public access/walk-wade areas will be crowded, but with our guide/boat, you can easily fish areas with little pressure.   
We boat up river, we walk-wade primo chrome spots: lock-load and get ready for the silver bullet train!
It would be nice to say that we catch a handful full of these per day.  If we catch one per day, we are doing GREAT...that's how it is fishing for Steelhead.
April-May-June = COLD and WINDY!  I am very fortunate to have the time to fish Patagonia waters.  I am also very fortunate to have the time to research all the other things to make our DIY trips very successful.

Final Word

The fishing season starts early December 01 and ends June 30th.  The Steelhead come into the river at the end of February.  Local says the best chance to catch a HUGE Steelhead is in May.  April-May-June are very cold and windy, but I have caught large fish in March and April.  If you add it up, let's face the facts...the window to fish Rio Santa Cruz really does not jive well with the North America lifestyle/holidays. Most importantly, when the fishing is HOT in Rio Santa Cruz (March, April, May), most anglers, in North America, are preparing for their opening day of fishing season (way to sell it Mark...your FIRED!).  All that being said, fishing the Rio Santa Cruz is an amazing experience, and if you are in the area, you should consider giving it it try.

Our goal with any blog post or information posted on our pages/tabs = no BS keep it real and 100% dedicated to creating a DIY program that meets your personal needs.  That being said, I hope you enjoyed reading our three part series. 

Looking forward to working with you next season and please feel free to contact me with questions.

Saludos y Abrazos Amigos


PS.  In March, if you are fishing the Rio Gallegos with us, you may want to combine a quick trip to the Rio Santa Cruz.  Sea Run Brown Trout + Steelhead = Amazing Anadromous Fishing Experience! Read more at the follow link: coming soon