Patagonia Sea Run Trout

1. Why visit and fly fish Argentina

Argentina is the 8th largest country in the world and covers over 1 million square miles. Despite its size, Argentina is only inhabited by 40 million people.  Half of the population lives within ten of the largest metropolitan areas.  The other half of the population is spread throughout rural areas and in some parts of the country, population density is among the lowest in the world.  This affords visitors the opportunity to entertain in modern cities' such as Buenos Aires, yet escape to...

  • Oceans of open land in Patagonia...equivalent to the America West +100 years ago
  • Explore the longest mountain range in the world,  the Andes at 4,400 miles.
  • Visit the highest mountain in the western hemisphere, Aconcagua 22,841ft
  • Stand on wind swept beaches and view Sea Lions, Penguins and Orcas.
  • Drive to the end of the earth and visit the land of fire, Tierra del Fuego.
  • Tour Antarctica, it's only +/- 400 nautical miles from Tierra del Fuego.
  • Watch monkeys and other exotic species while fishing in subtropical forest.
  • Feel the power and the spray of the longest waterfall in the word, Iguazu Falls.
  • Witness one of the few advancing glaciers in the world, Perito Moreno. 
  • Savor Argentinas famous cuisine (beef) and Malbec wines.
  • And of course, wet a line in the immense network of lakes and rivers filled with wild Salmon, Steelhead, Sea Run Brown Trout, Brown-Rainbow-Brook Trout and South America's very own apex predator, the Golden Dorado.

2. Definition of Guided DIY Fishing

Think 100% fishing programs without a lodge; without large groups of people, and without lodge pricing.

Disclosure: Don't be fooled -- all waters in Argentina are PUBLIC.  Legally, we guide you (walk-wade and float) on all waters, even waters that are falsely marketed as private lodge waters.

  • You only pay us for fishing.   
  • We focus on the best fishing times and waters. We leave very early because we want our clients to be the first on the water. This is critical in geographic areas that are dominated by the lodge industry (e.g., Junin de los Andes has seven lodges).
  • You fish hard, but when of the water, you are 100% on your own. 
  • You can stay anywhere in town, or we can put you in a private apartment, located within walking distance to town square -- easy access to grocery stores, restaurants, bars, banks, healthcare, and seasonal festivities. Apartments are comfortable and safe, and include kitchen, bathroom, hot water, wifi, and may sleep up to six anglers.  Price range $50-$150 USD per night. 
  • We offer food/beverage guiding services, but our clients prefer to buy and prepare their own food.  Our coolers are filled with ice -- bring your preferred food-beverage. 
  • No long shore lunches -- our clients want to fish!
  • We provide transportation to/from the airport, lodging, and rivers.

3. Your Argentina Team

There are hundred of organizations selling trips to Argentina.  In our opinion they are all the same -- the vast majority of them are booking agents, employees filling lodges for a high commission. We think we are different and we believe it is important for you to know who you are working with.  By working with FCFF:

- You work directly with the owner and managing partners.
- All of our trips are hosted by an owner or managing partner.

Team Members:

Head Rio Gallegos-Santa Cruz-Serrano Fishing Guide:  Hugo was born and raised in Argentina. He grew up in Rio Gallegos, and currently works for the fish and game department.  Hugo is old school, friendly and has an enormous-generous heart. His English is okay, but his knowledge of river is exceptional. We are extremely fortunate to have him on our team. You are in good hands!

Head Rio Santa Cruz Fishing Guide:  Miguel was born and raised in Argentina. He grew up on the banks of Rio Santa Cruz. Miguel's boat skills and river knowledge are second to none.  We are extremely fortunate to have him on our team.

Owner-Host-Program Coordinator:

Click About Mark

Mark has created a team of highly educated professionals with tons of fishing, hunting, and outdoor experience. We know Argentina/Chile, and you are in the very good hands!  

4. Home Water: Rio Gallegos Sea Run Brown Trout

When most anglers think of SRBT, they think Tierra del Fuego and the Rio Grande. Why? This river is one of the best SRBT rivers in the world; however, it impossible to do a DIY trip on your own.  Upstream access is prohibited and strictly enforced; you can only fish the bridge, close to town.  The other issue on the Rio Grande is the cost to stay at a private lodge.  At the very minimum, for airfare and lodging, you'll need to budget 10K US Dollars for one week (and they do not allow you to book less than one week, e.g. 1-3 days)

Our guided DIY trips are designed to eliminate all the challenges associated with independent traveling and fishing. Our trips are 100% customizable and offer the best value for the consumer.  For example, on recent DIY trips to Patagonia, our clients spent between $1000 - $5000 USD for 7 days - 30 days trips.  That included all transportation, lodging, and food.  In fact, our clients fished the same waters, drank great wines, and ate great food -- just like the folks staying at a $5k per week, per person, lodge.  The value and life experience of our guided DIY walk-wade fishing programs are the best in the industry (and, you can fish with us for one day only, or as many days as you like).

Rio Gallegos River Facts
  • Length: +350 kilometers...this river is LONG, with tons and tons of water! 
  • Location: About 25 kilometers from downtown to the Rio Gallegos bridge. From the bridge, driving time could be another hour or more.  The road is paved, so it's an easy daily commute from the hotel.    
  • Fishing Season: Rio Gallegos, November 01 till April 30th. FYI, Rio Grande, the other SRBT option = November 01 till April 15th. 
  • Licensed Required: Gallegos = general fishing only, good for all of Patagonia, except TDF.  
  • Floating:  No. Walk-Wade Only.  
  • Gallegos Species: Resident and Sea Run Brown Trout.  Resident Brown Trout can reach +/- 10 kilos. SRBT can reach +15 kilos. 
  • When:  SRBT on the Gallegos enter the river in November.  Weather and tides are challenging in November and December.  Best months are January, February, and March.  April is considered off-season, and offers the angler a chance to have the river to him/herself (but water and weather can be COLD!).
  • Origin: Andes Mountains.
  • Termination: Atlantic Ocean.
  • Walk-Wade Difficulty: The Gallegos is fairly shallow river with a gravel floor. There are many places to cross the river, in shallow riffles.  However, there are some pools deep enough to prevent deep water wading (aside from your personally safety, you really don't want to spook this fish by wading too deep).
  • Fly Rods: Depending on the angler and weather (wind), single hand 9ft/8wt/9wt/10wt.  Two Handed 7wt/8wt/9wt.  
  • Fly Lines:  Single Hand: WF Floating.  Two Handed: Skagit suited to your rod's grain window, and various poly-leader tips.
  • Specific Flies:  The fly selection is not complicated, but we only share this information with our guest.

5. Home Waters: Santa Cruz Steelhead

Most anglers don't come to Patagonia targeting Steelhead.  Anglers are consumed with float trips targeting wild Brown and Rainbow Trout.  Other angles are driven to catch Sea Run Brown Trout. But what about Steelhead?  Is it possible to do a guided DIY trip for Steelhead? Without any hesitation, the answer is YES!  Welcome to the Santa Cruz river; the only known Atlantic Ocean Steelhead fishery in the world.

For the Santa Cruz, we offer guided walk-wade and motorboat fishing programs.  Why?  This river is enormous!

Santa Cruz River Facts
  • Location: Piedra Buena.  230 Kilometers north of Rio Gallegos.
  • Fishing Season: December 01 till June 30th. 
  • Licensed Required: General fishing only, good for all of Patagonia, except TDF.  
  • Walk-Wade: Yes.  We have numerous access points.
  • Floating: Yes.  The advantage of the boat = access more areas with less pressure.  
  • Length: 380 kilometers of some of the most wildest Patagonia land.
  • Width: At certain points the river is a half mile wide. 
  • Species: Rainbow Trout - Steelhead.
  • Origin: Lago Argentino. South America's third largest lake.
  • Termination: Atlantic Ocean.  
  • Walk-Wade Difficulty: This a free-stone/gravel river, with limited structure.  Current is steady and strong = up to your waist in slow water areas only!
  • H2O:  Fed by the southern ice field, the waters are glacial/silty. Water is cold, never rising above 50 degrees. 
  • Tidal:  Yes; though not dangerous, the river can rise up to 8ft.  
  • Fly Rods: You could fish with a single hand 8wt/9wt, but with the wind and currents, it's a lot of work! Two handed rods are preferred. 11ft/8wt switch rods will work, but they might not be able to handle the line weight, fly weight, and wind combination. 8wt over-head two handed rods, around 12/13ft, designed for heavy weighted tips, and chucking line far, work extremely well. Traditional 14ft Spey rods work extremely well.  
  • Fly Lines:  Depends on the location/water flow, but 9 meter full-sink T-11 through T-18 work well. Backing = amnesia or running line.  Tippet = 20lb mono.
  • Specific Flies:  The fly selection is not complicated, but we only share this information with our guest. 

6. How to Fish with FCFF

General Info
  • How:  For both rivers, we have guided DIY programs. Please inquire for more details.
  • Where: Southern Patagonia, based out of the town of Rio Gallegos. There are daily flights from Buenos Aires, direct to Rio Gallegos. If you're on a tight budget, you could also take an over-night bus from Buenos Aires (+30 hours). There are no flights to Piedra Buena. You must fly from Buenos Aires, direct to Rio Gallegos.
  • When: Fishing season for Rio Gallegos begins November and ends April 30th.  Fishing season for Rio Santa Cruz begins December 01 and ends June 30th.
  • Flights: Our services do not include the costs of airfare.
  • Lodging: We stay at an affordable, private apartment or hotel.  
  • WhoTrips available for one to four anglers.   
  • Cost: Each DIY trip is 100% customized to meet your personal needs.  Please contact FCFF for more details.

Frequent DIY Question & Answer

Q:  During the fishing season, what is the best month/week to target SRBT? 

A:  The fishing season starts early November and ends April 30th.  The SRBT come into the river in November. The locals hit it hard during November and December.  If your schedule permits, and you don't mind funky weather and mixing it up with the locals, December can produce some great fish. But, the majority of anglers show up when the weather turns in their favor; January through March. During January through the end of March, water temps and flow are best for catching fish.  April is an option, but expect very cold water and a chance to have the river to yourself.

Q:  During the fishing season, what is the best month/week to target Steelhead? 

A:  Fish come into the river at the end of February.  Best/Biggest fish between mid April and the end of May. 

Q:  Can I combine a SRBT and Steelhead trip? 

A:  Yes; however, best times don't necessarily match.  From Rio Gallegos, it's only two hours to Piedra Buena (look at the map, posted above).

Q:  I am a beginner/intermediate angler.  What will the fishing be like for me; will I be catching lots of big fish? 

A:  Truth be told, the majority of the time, it could be very challenging for you.  You might be a beginner, advance beginner, intermediate angler back home, but this is Patagonia.  Each day we are fishing in steady 15-20 mph winds, with gust up to 40-60 mph.  Prior to booking your flights and spending thousands of $'s, I advise all potential clients to have an open/honest conversation with me.  In other words, we need to discuss your skill level and determine if a trip will be worth your time and investment. 

Q:  I am a beginner/intermediate, can you teach me?

A:  There is a major difference between guiding and teaching. Our programs are set up for guiding proficient anglers.  My suggestions; 1) talk to me before investing thousands of $'s.  2) take lessons, practice at home and get as much experience on the water (and still be prepared to be humbled).

Q:  Are there blood suck mosquitoes and life threaten insects/animals?
A:  Surprisingly, Patagonia has almost no mosquitoes or poisonous insect/animals.  Your biggest worry should be sun and wind protection and hydration.   

Q:  Can you send me more detailed information about your services.

A:  Yes.  One we receive a deposit, you will receive an in depth welcome brochure.  99.9% of all Q&A and pre-trip planning, will be in this document.

7.  Fee's, Payment,and Welcome Brochure 

- Please request pricing 
- USA Payment: Venmo/Zelle, Paypal, Cash, Personal Check
- International Payment: Paypal, E-Transfer
- Welcome Brochure: Sent via email, post deposit