Rio Manso Lodge, Argentina

This Patagonia fly fishing trip offers unparalleled scenery and trout fishing opportunities.

Rio Manso Lodge, Argentina

Overview

This fishing lodge in Argentina boasts browns, rainbows, and brook trout in nearby waters. Unlike most of the Argentinean Patagonia Fly Fishing Lodges, which are located on vast Estancias surrounded by pampas, the Rio Manso Lodge is surrounded by forested National Park land.

Weather diversity and the scarcity of fishing pressure have produced excellent fishing at this Patagonia fly fishing lodge. It is common to catch fish in the 2-4 pound range daily and there is reasonable chance you will catch a 5-10 pound trout during a week of fishing. The lodge itself is very comfortable with outstanding views from each room. Enjoy international style meals livened with local dishes and superb Argentina wines. Relax around the massive stone fireplace after a full day's fishing, or tie up some special patterns at their fly-tying desk. Non-anglers have a wide variety of activities to choose from and families are welcome. Read our Patagonia fly fishing lodge reviews to learn more about the Rio Manso Lodge.

Best Time To Go

Although there is access to good fly fishing during the entire length of the season, most anglers prefer to plan their trips after the first half of December through March. This is generally the part of the season that provides the widest variety of fishing, allowing anglers to catch fish on nymphs, dries and streamers. In November and early December large fish can be caught fishing sinking lines with streamers but very little dry fly fishing is available. The weather is also cooler and less predictable. The dry fly fishing starts to pick up in mid-December and usually remains very good until late January. February is a transitional time and the warm weather can slow the fishing. Although good fishing can still be found in February knowledgeable anglers usually prefer to visit earlier in the season or wait until the fishing begins to improve again in early-mid March. April is when the larger brook trout become more readily available in the lakes but the cooler water does put a damper on the dry fly fishing as winter approaches.

The Weather

Summer air temperatures average around 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. February is the warmest and driest month with temperatures that may reach the mid to upper 80's during the day. Early and late season have a higher chance of rain and often see daytime temperatures in the mid-50's. The climate is very similar to Montana's Rocky Mountains.

Getting There

Bariloche, Argentina, is the closest airport and flights from Buenos Aires arrive several times a day. You can also reach the lodge through Esquel. Once you've collected your bags you will be met by a representative of Rio Manso Lodge who will transfer you to lodge. The drive from Bariloche is about 90 minutes, and is included in your package. The optional transfer from Esquel is approximately 3 hours, and is available at an additional cost.

Itinerary

Sample Fly Fishing Trip Itinerary

7 night, 6 day package

Every trip is different and customized to your interests. The following itinerary is a just an example of a fly fishing trip and is provided to give you a feeling for the variety of fishing available in the area. In most cases you leave the USA on an evening flight; arriving in Buenos Aires early the next morning. You can often connect to a flight to Bariloche the same day, avoiding an overnight in Buenos Aires or arrive a day or two early and spend some time in the city. “B.A.” is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in South America, has excellent hotels and restaurants, and a lively cultural scene.

The international and domestic airports are in separate locations and the transfer between them can take over an hour depending on traffic. If you plan to connect the same day we recommend giving yourself at least 4½ hours between flights, so you can make your connections. Orvis Travel will assist with airline information, private transfers between airports, and hotel arrangements in Buenos Aires if requested.

Day 1: Arrive at Rio Manso Lodge

Your trip begins at San Carlos de Bariloche airport, where a representative from Rio Manso will pick you up for the scenic 1 & ½ hour drive to the Lodge. Flights from Buenos Aires arrive at Bariloche several times a day and your transfer will be coordinated with your flight schedule. Part of the road to the lodge is closed to inbound traffic until 2:00 PM each day so we recommend trying to schedule your arrival in Bariloche after 12 noon so you can go straight to the lodge upon arrival. After settling in, you’ll have the chance to fish a stretch of river right in front of the lodge until about 9:00 PM. This section of river runs for about 2 miles from Lake Hess to the Cascada de los Alerces (waterfall). You will likely float the river using a raft, fishing along the way and stopping to fish the more productive runs, riffles and pools.

Day 2: Fly Fishing on Beat #3

After breakfast at around 7:30 AM you will leave the lodge and fish Beat #3 of the Manso River. The drive to the river takes only 10 minutes. Your guide will use a raft for transportation only as today all fishing will be done while wading. The river in this stretch winds through a lush forest and has a healthy population of browns and rainbows. At midday your guide will find a nice sandy beach to enjoy the lunch that the lodge’s chef has packed for you. You will continue to fish the runs, pools, riffles and pocket water in the afternoon as you make your way to Lake Hess and “The Channels” right in front of the lodge where you will finish the day. Dinner will be served around 9:00 PM.

Day 3: Fly Fishing on Lago Fonck

After breakfast at around 8:00 AM you will leave the lodge for Lago (Lake) Fonck, about 3 miles away. With a large population of rainbows, browns and brookies ranging from 18-22 inches, the lake is a perfect place to explore with a variety of techniques including dry fly fishing, nymphing or using streamers. At lunch time your guide will set up on a beach on the western side of the lake, only a couple miles from the Chilean border. You will fish until dark once again before returning to the lodge where the chef will have a nice fire burning in the fireplace and some hors d’oeuvres and wine to enjoy while he puts the finishing touches on dinner.

Day 4: Fly Fishing on Beat #5

Today breakfast will be served a little later so you can catch up on your rest. You and your guide will leave the lodge around 9:00 AM headed for Beat #5. This remote beat includes some spectacular scenery and is only a 15 minute drive from the lodge. The fishing here is technical and consists of nymphing, streamer and dry fly fishing in deep pools and fast moving riffles. This particular stretch of river is very remote and at the end of the float the guides will pack up the equipment on horses for the hour long walk or horseback ride to the lodge, where dinner will be waiting.

Day 5: Fly Fishing on Beat #2

You and your guide will leave the lodge by 8:00 AM this morning for the 15 minute drive upstream. This stretch is only about 3 miles long and has waterfalls at the top and bottom of the beat creating a natural barrier to fish migration. This is a good stretch to wade fish for fish that see little pressure. You will eat lunch on the river again today and be picked up by a driver at dusk.

Day 6: Fly Fishing on Beat #1

This beat is the furthest beat from the lodge, but still only about a 20 minute drive upstream. Here the Manso River flows gently as it leaves Mascardi Lake and passes through small Moscos Lake. Today you will float in a MacKenzie style drift boat while trying to catch the large browns that are cruising looking for baitfish and large nymphys near the bottom of the river. Streamer fishing is usually the most productive technique in this section of river. As the day progresses the water will speed up and you will fish runs, riffles and pocket water. The incredible green color of the Rio Manso contrasts with the forest that is recovering from a natural forest fire that burned the area years ago. You will have lunch on the river again and at dusk you will finish the day at Tobogan Rapid. Dinner will be served around 9:00 PM.

Day 7: Float the Quieto River

You will start fishing around 9:30 AM this morning. The Quieto River drains Lake Fonck and flows into Hess Lake right in front of the lodge. The river can only be floated early in the season because of is small size. It meanders through some very thick forest so access is very limited and the fishing can provide some of the best fishing in the area. This fishing is best done with a 3-4 weight rod since the short casts demanded can be challenging with a heavier rod. You will eat lunch in the field again today, ending the float at “The Channels” in time to catch what is often referred to by the guides as "the last hour hatch".

Day 8: Depart Rio Manso

If there is time, you may be able to get in a little fishing before leaving the lodge. Since there are several flights each day from Bariloche to Buenos Aires your transfer will be coordinated with your flight schedule or extension to another lodge in the area. The road leaving the lodge is closed to outbound traffic after 2:00 PM each day so if you book a flight late in the day you may have to be transferred to the airport several hours before your flight departs. Make sure to give yourself at least 4½ hours for your connections in Buenos Aires.

Activities

Fly Fishing at Rio Manso Lodge

Rio Manso Lodge is the only fly fishing operation located within the Nahuel Huapi National Park. Although it is possible you will see other anglers, the remote location of the lodge and challenging access assures guests of Rio Manso a quality wilderness fishing experience with all of the comforts of a nice lodge very close by. The fishing is catch & release. Brown Trout, Rainbows, and Brook Trout were introduced to these waters in 1904 and have bred in the wild without further interference from man ever since. These ancestors established the self-sustaining wild populations found here today. You can expect an average of 15 strikes or more per day with shots at fish between 2 and 4 pounds. Occasionally a much larger fish will make an appearance. Whether or not you land one of these monsters is up to you.

There’s a 25 mile stretch of the Manso River within easy fishing distance of the lodge. Big and brawling in some areas, it is almost spring creek-like in character in others. The river is a good mix of sight fishing and prospecting by water-type. If you like stillwater fishing, you can also fish the nearby lakes using belly boats or from a skiff. Whatever your preference for water type, you will most likely find it here. The Patagonia fly fishing lodge has a strict catch & release policy.

Nature Activities at Rio Manso Lodge

Rio Manso Lodge caters mostly to fly fishers. However, non-fishing companions are most welcome and can enjoy a variety of other activities, such as floating in the surrounding rivers, birding, trekking or horseback excursions through the still virgin areas around the lodge. It is even possible for the lodge staff to set up day trips to Bariloche. Guided tours and activities are included in all non-angler packages and can be set up on short notice. We recommend discussing the options with your hosts upon arrival. If you are an avid birder let us know ahead of time and we may be able to set up an excursion with a local ornithologist.

Lodging

The Lodge

Located just 90-minutes south of Bariloche airport, Rio Manso Lodge sits on the shore of Lake Hess alongside the Rio Manso in the Andes Lake District of Northern Patagonia. Surrounded by an ecologically preserved wet forest, Rio Manso Lodge accommodates up to 8 flyfishers in comfortable cozy rooms with private bathrooms, Jacuzzi tubs, full size beds and international level comfort. All rooms have a spectacular view of Mount Tronador, Lake Hess and the Manso River. A welcoming fire will greet you after a full day of fishing, and the warm living room also contains a fully stocked fly-tying desk so you can tie up that "killer fly" for tomorrow's fishing. A wading room is conveniently located just inside the entrance and the comfortable dining room and bar will help you relax and enjoy every moment of your stay. Telephone and Internet access is available, as well as a small fly that serves as a good back up for those items you mysteriously forgot to bring. Rental gear is also available.

Your Hosts

The lodge’s hosts will welcome you upon your arrival at Río Manso Lodge. Both hosts share their passion for this place along with a wide knowledge of all the activities you can enjoy during your visit. The lodge staff is welcoming and will do everything they can to make sure you have an enjoyable visit. Whether visiting Rio Manso to fish or just to relax and enjoy the area, the lodge management and staff will make sure you don’t have to worry about anything during your stay.

Dining

The cuisine at the lodge is of the international variety, accented with typical local dishes and homemade delicacies, and enhanced by ingredients from their own vegetable garden. Rio Manso Lodge takes great pride in their assortment of Argentine wines and invites you to partake in their fine selection. Lunches are typically taken in the field although it is possible, and sometimes nice, to return to the lodge for lunch. Lunches typically consist of nice sandwiches, fruit and a nice snack or a more extravagant lunch prepared by your guide on the river. Meals and local beverages are included in your package.

Pricing & Dates

Pricing & Dates for Rio Manso Lodge

Season: beginning of November through the end of April.

Duration November 2014 - April 2015
4 nights/3 days $2780
5 nights/4 days $3475
6 nights/5 days $4170
7 nights/6 days
(Orvis Travel special)
$4375
Non-angler rates (per night) $445

Single angler supplement: $250 per night for a private guide.

*Single angler rates do not apply if you are willing to share the guide with another angler.

Orvis-exclusive departures:

Join Rio Manso Lodge Owner Roberto Pandolfi for an Orvis Travel exclusive "Owner's Week" April 4-11, 2015. Each angler will receive a free Helios 2 trout rod and a $200 Orvis Gift Card.

Contact Orvis Travel today at 800-547-4322 to reserve your spots on this special trip.

Included:

Accommodations in double room, guided fishing (2 anglers per guide), transfers to and from Bariloche airport, fishing on arrival and departure days if time allows, all meals, refreshments, local wines and spirits, Internet access, laundry, fishing permits, horseback riding, and boats. Non-angler packages include guide tours and activities, other than fishing.

Not included:

International and domestic flights, fishing equipment, gratuities, phone calls, optional transfers from Esquel (approximately $250 each way), and items of a personal nature.

Reviews

Overall: Show Rating Distribution 5.0 / 5 based on 3 reviews

5-star:
3
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3 of 3 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.

  • 5/5

    Outstanding! - 1/5/2010
    By: from NC

    The ENTIRE experience was enjoyable. Roberto(owner) and Sharon ( manager) have a FIRST CLASS lodge and staff. They will work tirelessly to make your trip a hassle-free and unforgettable outdoor experience. Once my wife (who did NOT travel with me) saw the photos of the Lodge and the Patagonian beauty, she was ready to go. In summary, the fishing is OUTSTANDING! The Lodge is OUTSTANDING! Patagonia is OUTSTANDING ! Jason and the Orvis Travel folks are OUTSTANDING ! What are you waiting for ?

  • 5/5

    Can't Wait to Go Back - 7/24/2009
    By: from Detroit, Michigan

    My wife and I visited Rio Manso over Christmas, 2008. This was our third trip to Patagonia, each time at a different location. While every trip was a "once in a lifetime" trip, our visit to Rio Manso set a new benchmark. The accommodations, the staff, and the cuisine were all exceptional. Owner Roberto, and manager Sharon made you feel like friends as well as guests. You expect good food at a lodge of this caliber, but chef Walter exceeded our expectations. But the point of a trip like this is the fishing - and here too we were we couldn't have asked for anything better. My wife and I have both fished for several years, and have caught some nice fish during that time - but when we both caught the largest brook, brown, and rainbow trout of our lives in a single day (browns were up to 26"), on dry flies no less, we knew we were in the right place!

  • 5/5

    World Class Experience - 5/6/2008
    By: from Cin., OH

    I have travelled fairly extensively throughout the world- mostly in the pursuit of fly fishing- and this trip was definitely among the best. To begin with, Patagonia is a fly anglers paradise. The region is replete with gin-clear rivers and alpine lakes. The lodge itself is particularly well situated, as I fished a different body of water every day for 5 days, and never spent more than 25 minutes en route to the destination. This diversity of local trout habitat, is part of what makes this trip such a rich fly fishing experience. So is the fishing at the Rio Manso amazing? Definitely. Was it an absolute thrill to catch “trophy” trout with everything from #4 zonker on 300 grain DC line to #16 mayfly on 5x tippet? Absolutely. However, what made this trip truly exceptional was the people at Rio Manso. Alejandro Martello and Sharon Greene are the current managers, and they are among the best you will encounter. They are gracious, extremely hospitable, and eager to get to know you. From the moment we (my wife and I were in Arg. for business) arrived at Rio Manso, they made us feel as though we were spending a much anticipated week with long time friends. A further testament to Alejandro and Sharon was my wife's experience at the lodge. Prior experience had taught her to bring plenty of reading material, as lodge life can get a little boring for non-anglers. Ironically, she quickly became so enthralled with the guided trekking and horseback riding trips, I don't think she got through so much as a chapter during the trip. Every detail that makes a destination truly exceptional, for both anglers and non-anglers, is provided for by Alejandro and Sharon; the cuisine is no exception. We found not only the quality, but diversity of cuisine to be of gourmet caliber. In particular, the chef's special dish is a "7-hour lamb" that practically warrants a return trip on its own. I could continue singing the praises of the Rio Manso indefinitely, however, the essence of a good review is to provide a concise summation of an experience. Accordingly, I would offer the following: there are many places to go for large numbers of “trophy” fish, but in my experience, there are few which offer the totality and depth of the experience which you will find at the Rio Manso.

Contact the expert at Orvis Travel:
Jeremy Kehrein
Rio Manso Lodge
800-547-4322
Mon-Fri, 9am - 5pm (ET)
Orvis International Travel

800-547-4322 | 802-362-8790
orvistravel@orvis.com

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