San Huberto Lodge, Argentina

This Argentina fly fishing trip brings you to the heart of Patagonia's trout fishing paradise.

San Huberto Lodge, Argentina

Overview

San Huberto Lodge is set amongst the rivers that flow east from the volcanic peaks of the Andes. The classic Patagonian landscape of wide open plains set against a backdrop of high, forested peaks is the setting. From headwaters high in mountain lakes, these cold rivers cut through the pampas, creating ideal conditions for trout. Each river has a distinct personality, and few regions feature the subtle variety of fishing as the land north of Bariloche, the northwestern corner of the Patagonian region.

This is the land popularized by angling legends such as Joe Brooks and Ernest Schweibert, who wrote countless tales of Argentina's fishing wonders. Argentina offers something for every angler: from hatch matching on placid water, to float fishing on large open rivers. You're sure to enjoy this fly fishing trip to Argentina.

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 April. This is generally the part of the season that provides the widest variety of fishing, allowing anglers to catch trout on nymphs, dries and streamers. In November and early December large fish are most often caught by fishing sinking lines with streamers. Dry fly fishing can occasionally be found during this time as well. The weather is also cooler and less predictable in the early season. The weather becomes more consistent and 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, culminating with heavy blue wing olive hatches in April.

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. Since this region is in the lee of the Andes Mountains, it is subject to some wind. However, wind is usually lighter here, than it is further to the South. The climate is very similar to Montana's Rocky Mountains.

Getting There

Chapelco, near the town of San Martin de los Andes, is the closest airport and there are daily flights from Buenos Aires. Commercial air service is limited to one major airline, Aerolineas Argentinas. San Carlos de Bariloche is further from the lodge, but offers more flight options, so it is not uncommon for guests visiting the region to use the airport at Bariloche. Airport transfers from Chapelco to the lodge are included in all Orvis Travel packages and take about 50 minutes. If you prefer to fly into, our out of Bariloche, a transfer can be arranged, for an additional charge. The transfer from Bariloche takes about 2¾ hours. Either way, you will be picked up and taken straight to the lodge where you can begin fishing the same day, if time permits. If you are combining a stay at San Huberto with some time at another Orvis Travel destination then we will coordinate your ground transfers to get you from one lodge to the next in an efficient manner, minimizing lost fishing time.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary

4 night, 3 day package

Every trip is different and customized to your interests, weather conditions and time of season. The following itinerary is a just an example of a 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 Chapelco (San Martin de los Andes) or San Carlos de Bariloche the same day, avoiding an overnight in Buenos Aires. If you want to add some depth of experience to your vacation, you can 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. Orvis Travel can book a nice hotel, airport transfers, city tours and even a tango show for you to enjoy during your time in B.A.

The international and domestic airports are in different sections of Buenos Aires, 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 three hours between flights so you can make the connections. Orvis Travel can assist with airline information and private ground transfers in Buenos Aires.

Day 1 | Arrive at Estancia San Huberto

Your trip begins at Chapelco airport, where an Orvis Travel representative will pick you up for the scenic 50 minute drive to the Lodge. There is typically one flight a day from Buenos Aires to Chapelco and your transfer will be coordinated with your flight schedule. If you choose to fly into Bariloche instead, the drive to the lodge will take about 2¾ hours. After settling in at the lodge you’ll meet your guide and have an opportunity to fish for a while, before dinner is served later in the evening, typically around 9:30-10:00 pm.

Day 2 | Fly Fishing the Malleo River

Breakfast is served every morning between 7.30 and 9.30 am. This morning you will be fishing the private sections of the upper Malleo River, which is only accessible to guests staying at San Huberto. The beats you will fish are very close to the lodge so there is no need to wake up too early. After a relaxing breakfast you will meet your guide and depart for river. It should only be 5 to 15 minutes before you are on the water. The Malleo is a small river, perfect for wading. Because of its small size, and regulations forbidding boats, all fishing is done while wading. At around 1:30 pm it will be time for lunch, which can be taken back at the lodge, or on the side of the river if you prefer. Most guests prefer to take a long lunch break at the lodge, often enjoying a short siesta, before returning to the water. The evening session usually goes from about 5 pm until about 8:30 or 9:00. If you opt to stay on the water for lunch, and fish all afternoon, it is customary to stop a little earlier, around 7 or 8 pm. Once you get back to the lodge it is time to gather at the bar and share some stories. Dinner is served around 9:30.

Day 3 | Fly Fishing the Collon Cura

You will have a little earlier start today and after breakfast your guide will drive you to the Collon Cura. This river is best accessed by drift boat, so today you and your guide will plan a full day float, taking lunch with you. The river offers a variety of opportunities, often changing throughout the day. Depending on the weather and time of year, you may start the morning fishing streamers tight to the bank. As water temperatures warm in the early afternoon your guide may suggest switching over to hopper patterns. A leisurely lunch will be enjoyed on the banks of the river, with a nice glass of Argentine wine to wash it down. After a short rest in the shade it is time to fish again. Perhaps this afternoon will see a good caddis hatch, which should bring aggressive takes by hungry trout. You will have a long day on the river, getting back to the lodge around 7 or 8 pm. You’ll have enough time to freshen up a little before sharing stories of your day with other guests in the bar. Dinner will be served around 9:30.

Day 4 | Fly Fishing on Tromen Lake

This morning you can have a relaxing breakfast while you chat with your guide about the day ahead of you. Today you will be fishing a small lake about 40 minutes drive from the lodge. If you are there in December or early January you can expect to see big fish erupting from the water after dragonflies. This is stillwater fishing at its finest, and a real surprise for anyone that thinks they don’t like lake fishing. Your guide will position the boat in the best cruising lanes, and give you some pointers on setting the hook on these fish. It can be a real challenge to remain calm as you watch a 4 pound rainbow trout race from the depths to take your size 2 fly. In the early afternoon you will stop for a nice picnic lunch on the bank, possibly followed by a short siesta in the shade of a native pehuén pine tree. In the afternoon you will try some new spots, perhaps prospecting the edge of the reeds that line the bank near the lake’s inlet. After a long day on the lake your guide will drive you back to the lodge in time to clean up and enjoy happy hour in the bar. Dinner will be served around 9:30.

Day 5 | Departure or transfer to another lodge with some fishing in the morning

Depending on your itinerary, there may be a chance to fish a few pools on the Malleo this morning. Midday your guide will bring you back to the lodge so you can check out and get ready for your transfer to the the airport, or even another lodge. It is easy to combine a stay at San Huberto Lodge with another Orvis Travel destination in the area.

Activities

The Trout Fishing

Rivers in Argentina vary from slow moving spring creeks to rapid rushing freestone streams. The typical river in Argentina averages 30 to 200 feet in width. Despite the size of the larger rivers, they stay relatively clear throughout the season, with stable flows.

These rivers contain good populations of wild brown and rainbow trout. There is no supplemental stocking of hatchery fish in the rivers around San Huberto, and 15 to 19 inch trout are common. There are reasonable numbers of 19 to 24 inch trout, while some grow even bigger. As a rule, the brown trout are usually larger than the rainbows. The majority of the fishing is done by wading in water that is less than thigh-deep. Although the currents can be fast, wading does not usually present a problem. On the larger rivers, drift boats transport the anglers downstream to prime wading areas while the spring creeks can often be fished from the bank.

The fishing season starts in November and runs through late April. January through mid April offers the easiest wading and is the ideal time to sample both spring creeks and freestone rivers.

Guests at San Huberto often split their fishing days between a variety of rivers, streams and lakes. Anglers staying at San Huberto have access to the best private water on the upper Malleo River. Other options within an hour’s drive include Collon Cura, Huaca Mamuil Creek, Tromen Lake, and the Alumine River.

Days are long and usually consist of a morning session which lasts until early afternoon, followed by a break before going back out from late afternoon until late evening. When fishing rivers other than the Malleo, full day trips are more customary, and anglers will take lunch in the field. Read our San Huberto Lodge reviews to learn more about fly fishing in Argentina.

Fly Fishing on the Malleo River

The Malleo is a spectacular river averaging 40-100´ wide. It supports rainbow and brown trout averaging 12-19 inches, with an opportunity for larger fish. Despite its size, the Malleo has the character of a spring creek; its currents are slow and the fishing is sometimes very technical, requiring small flies and tippets. This is certainly a stream where anglers need to “match the hatch” to be successful.

The Malleo is a difficult stream to access, and the most often requested. Fortunately, San Huberto Lodge guests have access to the most renowned 20-mile section of the river, running across the Olsen family’s Estancia. It is arguably one of the finest streams in the world, and as a result, it is a favorite of many anglers that return annually to fish its waters. Although guests at San Huberto don’t typically fish the Malleo every day during their stay, we always recommend at least a few days on this wonderful river.

Fly Fishing on the Collon Cura River

About a 45 minute drive from Estancia San Huberto, the Collon Cura is a classic large river, averaging 100-150´ in width and offers tremendous fishing. One of the features that makes Collon Cura an excellent trout stream is its gentle gradient and loose stone bottom, providing a variety of water ranging from classic stillwater to long riffles. Anglers will cover the water from drift boats with ample opportunities to wade.

The Collon Cura’s rainbow and brown trout average 15-20 inches, with the opportunity for much larger fish. Like the Malleo, you can expect good water quality, good insect hatches and challenging trout fishing. Some of the largest trout in Argentina come to net each April on this river.

Guides

San Huberto’s English-speaking Argentine guides are highly qualified professionals, all of them with vast experience and proficiency. They will transport you to the fishing each day, help you locate the best opportunities and offer friendly companionship on the river. They are devoted to catch and release fishing and have helped make Argentina a leader in stream conservation. Many veterans of international angling consider the fishing guides in this region to be among the world’s best.

Lodging

The Fly Fishing Lodge

Located on the banks of the Malleo River, this Argentina fly fishing lodge offers a perfect combination of simplicity and sophistication, enchanting with its relaxed atmosphere. The friendly and devoted staff is dedicated to a long standing tradition of hospitality, set by the lodge’s owners over many years of catering to international anglers. The lodge is managed by the Olsen family, who will oversee every detail of your stay, ensuring your comfort and wellbeing.

Carmen Olsen, among her other responsibilities, is the heart & soul of the kitchen. She has developed a fabulous menu, based on organic products from the estancia’s grounds, including famous argentine meat. Most of the vegetables come from Carmen’s own garden, nestled next to the lodge. The typical menu is reminiscent of Central European cuisine, and includes regional specialties such as goulash with spaezle, menier trout, tenderloin on wild mushroom sauce, needle sorrentinos, bife de chorizo, fresh green leaf salads, and much more.

All single and double rooms have en suite bath, and a view of the rose gardens. The lodge also features Wi-Fi satellite Internet access, as well as a business suite available for those who need to stay in touch, but prefer not to bring their laptops.

Guests are welcomed at the bar each evening with homemade specialties and delicacies to accompany your favorite drink, or just a good Argentine wine. This is the birthplace of some of the most unbelievable stories, and the perfect setting to visit with your hosts and the other guests.

If your trip to San Huberto includes a Sunday evening, you will experience a special treat. Every week on Sunday evening the staff prepares a traditional Asado dinner with Patagonian lamb and beef served in the estancia’s quincho, or barbecue house. Returning guests often make a point of scheduling their entire vacation so they will be at Estancia San Huberto on Sunday night. It is the perfect way to start or end a stay in Patagonia, but it’s still pretty good if it falls in the middle of your trip too.

Although most guests of San Huberto spend the majority of their time on the water, there are a few other activities available to round out the Patagonian experience. For those who wish to make a short break from their fishing, it is possible to arrange guided horseback excursions, exposing guests to the gaucho lifestyle. Other activities are also available upon request, such as birding, shopping tours or sightseeing in the nearby National Park. The lodge also has a small gift shop featuring a nice selection of items from local artisans and artists.

Pricing & Dates

Pricing & Dates for San Huberto Lodge

Season: Beginning of November through the end of April.
Rates effective through April, 2014:

Duration Early Season Peak Season
  Nov. 10 - Dec. 10, 2013 Dec. 11, 2013 - April 30, 2014
4 nights/3 days $2460 $2720
5 nights/4 days $3075 $3400
6 nights/5 days $3690 $4080
7 nights/6 days $4305 $4760

Single angler supplement: $100 per night for a private room.

All rates are per person, based on double occupancy room and guide.

Included:

Accommodations in a double room, guided fishing (2 anglers per guide), group transfers to and from Chapelco airport on arrival and departure days, fishing on arrival and departure days if time allows, all meals, refreshments, local wines and spirits, and Internet access.

Not included:

International and domestic flights, transfers from Bariloche if required (approximately $500-$800 round trip, per vehicle, depending on number of guests), fishing equipment, fishing licenses, gratuities, phone calls, and items of a personal nature.

Reviews

    Contact the expert at Orvis Travel:
    Jeremy Kehrein
    San Huberto 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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