Friday, July 3, 2015

DIY Fly Fishing Argentina: Rio Rividavia

At First Cast Fly Fishing, one of our goals is to provide information about global DIY fishing opportunities. Another goal of ours is to be your Patagonia host for our DIY guided walk-wade and float trip/camping programs.  We base our services out of Junin de los Andes, located in Northern Patagonia, Argentina.  Once in a while, we'll take clients ten hours south of Junin de los Andes, to a very special place called Los Alerces National Park.  Here, we fish one of Argentina's prettiest, and toughest rivers called, Rio Rivadavia.

I am not sure you could dream of a prettier river!

Rio Rivadavia Facts

  • Location:  Ten hours south of Junin de los Andes. Seven hours south of Bariloche. One hour from Esquel
  • How to Get There:  From Buenos Aires, you can fly to Esquel, Bariloche, or San Martin de los Andes.  From either of these towns, to access the park/river, your options are A) Bus.  B) Car. The closest town to the river and park is Esquel, Argentina.
  • Public Transportation:  From Esquel, there is a bus to/from park.  Getting to Esquel?  You can take a bus from San Martin de los Andes, Junin de los Andes, Bariloche and El Bolson.
  • Fishing Season:  December 01 till June 30th. 
  • Licensed Required: General fishing only, good for all of Patagonia, except TDF. 
  • Entrance Fee:  You must pay a fee to enter the park (pesos only). 
  • Floating: Yes.  You float on your own or hire a guide.
  • Public Access Points:  Best access points are at the either ends of the river.
  • Length: Less than 6 miles. 
  • Species:  Rainbow and Brown Trout .
  • Origin: Rivadavia Lake.
  • Termination: Verde (green) Lake. 
  • Walk-Wade Difficulty:  Your biggest concern is depth.  Because the water is crystal clear, water depths may be much higher than you think.  Explore = there are easy walk-wade areas, and there are dangerous/impossible areas. From the outlet of the lake, as you follow the path downstream, the path will become increasingly challenging.  It is possible to walk the entire length of the river, but be prepared to bush-whack through dense bamboo/rainforest.  Overall, if your up for a challenge, it's an excellent walk-wade river.
  • Where to Stay:  A) you can camp in or outside of the park... there are two camps grounds, located at the outlet of Rivadavia Lake.  B) in and just outside the park, lodging is available.  C)  you could easily drive back and forth to Esquel.
  • Fly Rods: Single hand 9ft-10ft 5wt/6wt. I have enjoyed using my 11ft 5wt switch rod.
  • Fly Lines:  Standard floating will work, but depending on your location/water flow/tactics, a variety of sink tips could be helpful.
  • Specific Flies:  Wooly Buggers can be very effective.  If you like to nymph fish, think small (#18-#22).  I have never had much luck with dry flies. Just before dark, there's a hatch that last no more than 10 minutes.  Be prepared and ready to go.... if you change your fly, the hatch (feeding) could be over. 

This river will test you! But, if you stick to a plan and do what you know best, in this case Wooly Bugger's, you will eventually find success.   

Why Fish Los Alerces Area
  • Water:  Within the area, there are other rivers, spring creeks and lakes... all fishable. Plus, if you want to visit Chile, it's a short ride.
  • Beauty:  One of the prettiest areas in all of Patagonia.
  • Access:  Easy access to wild forest, rivers and lakes.
  • Species:  Very wild Rainbow and Brown Trout.  Land Locked Salmon. 
  • Lodging:  One of the few parks that offers hotels/hosterias and camping.
  • Experience:  A handful of our clients fish Junin de los Andes for a week.  After a week, we take them on a journey where they are exposed to true Patagonian culture and travel adventure (you can't get this type of experience staying at a lodge).
  • Mellow:  Enjoy a very slow pace of life... it always feels good to be here!

How to Fish Rio Rivadavia

Option A:  Since 1999, we have fished and camped this area.   If you decide to work with us, our knowledge eliminates the guess work involved in true DIY trips.  Bottom line, we love this area and we would be happy to host-guide you. 

Option B:  If you feel like you can do your own DIY (Do it Yourself), go for it; we always support true, un-guided DIY adventures.   

Final Word

As I finish writing this post, I find it hard to believe that I have not written about this river.  Maybe, I have been too busy.  Or, subconsciously, maybe I have been protecting it from the crowds. Speaking of, in peak season, you can expect to see other fisherman.  Don't worry too much about the other fisherman, most of them do not know how to fish this river, and there are plenty of spots to keep you busy.  

Hope to see you in Patagonia.