Fly Fishing - Pesca con Mosca
The sport freshwater fishing season in Argentina is open from November 1st through May 31st but there are rivers and lakes that are open for shorter periods of time between these two dates.
Fishing licenses can be purchased from fishing tackle shops and select municipal information centers (ie. in Junín de los Andes). They are nothing more than flimsy pieces of paper, it may be a worthy investment to find a shop or an information center that will laminate your license for you.
A full season fishing license for foreigners costs $1080 ARS (using the Dólar Blue exchange rate from January 2015, that is ~$80 USD). A week long fishing license for foreigners costs $810 ARS (~$60 USD).
There are additional permits required to fish in rivers/lakes that hold sea-run brown trout in Tierra del Fuego, as well as for other preferential locations (eg. the Boca of Río Chimeuin at Lago Huechulafquen).
The Argentina fishing regulations can be found here (some of it is in English). Be sure to check what regulations are in place for the bodies of water you are interested in fishing. Catch and release is mandatory on some fisheries.
It is illegal to fish at night in Argentina. You can fish 1 hour before sunrise and 2 hours after sunset.
Where exactly to fish
Focusing on trout fishing, for the fisherman who lacks the time to explore, the ideal regions to check out are Neuquén Province (Junín de los Andes) and Río Negro region (San Carlos de Bariloche).
Without a vehicle, fishing self-guided in Tierra del Fuego is very complicated. Not only is the access blocked to much of the waterways by private estancias, but there are not many locations where you are “allowed” to camp. Not to say that it is impossible, but you would need to spend at least 2-3 weeks down there to figure it out and work hard at it. Without a vehicle of your own, do not expect a successful self-guided fishing venture down there.
I would recommend Los Alerces National Park but camping is not allowed there due to an outbreak of Hantavirus from mice in the park (at least it was in 2014, this may be different now).
A great book with information on fly fishing in Argentina is Fly-Fishing in Patagonia: A Trout Bum's Guide to Argentina by Barrett Mattison and Evan Jones.
So much for catching a big one at the famous Boca del Chimehuín!
If you have the means to do so and the experience to operate one, you should consider bringing a lightweight packraft or float tube with you to fish in Argentina. There is a lot of great water that can be fished but requires a boat of some sort to get you there. Be sure you have prior experience with watercraft before making an attempt at this.
The bigger cities and towns will have a tackle shop or two, but do not always expect to find the fishing supplies you need. Plan on arriving well stocked ahead of time.
All of the rivers, lakes and streams in Argentina are considered to be public property. If you can access a river or lake from a public access point (eg. a bridge), you may walk within 10 meters of the high water mark if you pass through private property.
Pancora, a small freshwater crustacean, are a food staple for trout when available
Below is an assortment of flies that will provide results while fishing for trout down in Argentina.
- Adams/Adams Irresistable #12-18
- Mayfly #12-18
- Elk Hair Caddis #12-18
- Chernobyl #6-10
- Stimulator #10-16
- Royal Wulff #10-16
You can use the following nymph patterns with or without BH. If you had to take BH vs no BH, take the patterns with BH.
- Prince #12-18/
- Pheasant Tail #12-18
- Hares Ear #12-18
- Copper John #12-18
- Stonefly #8-16
- Caddis #12-18
- Wooly Bugger (black/olive/crystal) #4-10
- Muddler Minnow #4-10
- Pancora #4-8