Anglers at Villa Maria get first crack of the whip at newly arrived sea-trout. On Villa Maria’s pools, you’ll see seagulls whirl overhead and smell the estuary salt. Just above the tides, the fish arrive fresh, with fins clear and scales silver.
You’ll fish both banks. Big pools and double-handers are the norm. There are big fish here, 20 pounders jump and leap and tear up and down the huge pools, while “fish of a lifetime” are landed each week. The lodge itself reminds many of the world’s best salmon camps, warm, cozy, with cuisine and service at a very high level. Guides know the pools, the fish and the fishing; days are spent on the water, with classic “huts” for midday breaks.
- Space for only 6 anglers and private access to 20km of the best fly water on the lower Rio Grande, an exclusive haven for small groups of discerning anglers.
- Villa Maria is a spey anglers paradise–long flat pools means less casting and more fishing.
- The longest pools with Sea Run Trout fresh from the sea.
- The most pools per angler per day–Only two anglers and their guide per beat-and 3 to 7 pools per beat-different beats morning and evening.
- Extensive beats make it possible to find a pool where wind is a help–not a hindrance.
- Each week starts with an evening warm up session–most anglers will catch a trout or two the first night they arrive
In order to maximize your time on the river, there is a cabin on the river bank for lunch and siesta, a stunning setting in the wilds of Tierra del Fuego which allows angles to fish more and drive less.
- The best service and hospitality
- Over 80% of our anglers are repeat guests.
- A la carte menu, true five star accommodations
- Excellent equipment is also provided so that you can fish in style and comfort.
- The world’s best guides, local and international, to make sure we combine local knowledge with world class technique.
The lodge is situated in one of Patagonia’s biggest and oldest working estancias. It has four spacious, perfectly furnished bedrooms featuring a cozy dining and living area, as well as a bar, well stocked with local spirits that will welcome you after every fishing session.
The lodge has a tackle shop with a good selection of Sage rods, good quality reels, flies, lines, and clothing equipment especially selected to suit the needs of your trip.
In addition, guests have the full use of the lodge’s fly tying table and equipment. The lodge has 4 wading rooms.
A brand new cabin will be your home for lunch and a nice siesta before the afternoon session.
Our staff, composed of our host, chef, maids and professional guides will assist you during the week in all your needs.
The house will accommodate only 6 anglers per week and is available on a limited basis, due to high demand by repeat parties.
Villa Maria offers A la Carte Menu with wonderful cuisine based on local meats, fresh vegetable and delicious deserts.
A traditional Asado (BBQ) will be held once during your stay, and you can sample different cuts of meat and wonderful salads.
A full cooked breakfast is available, together with fresh fruit, yogurts, home baked breads and jams and a selection of cereals.
Villa Maria’s cellars feature a wonderful selection of fine wines from the Luigi Bosca Bodega, which will be served during lunch and dinner.
The first Brown Trout were stocked in Tierra del Fuego by John Goodall in 1935. Sixty-thousand ”salmo trutta” eggs survived the ardous journey from Puerto Montt, Chile, to be planted on the Candelaria and McLennan rivers. Both of these rivers are tributaries of the Rio Grande. After approximately 15 years, these fish began to find their way to the sea, possibly attracted by the rich nourishment of the near-by estuary.
These Sea-Run Brown Trout now complete the yearly migratory cycle of salmonids, spawning in freshwater during the summer months. “Salmo trutta” remain in the river for a period of time ranging from 1 to 4 years before their first migration to the sea, where they will feed and grow for about 6 months before returning to freshwater weighing approximately 6lbs. Researchers have found trout which had spawned more than 6 times! A trout which has completed 4 cycles of returning to freshwater can weigh over 20 lbs. The frequency with which they return to freshwater is also an indicator that these fish face very few threats. This indication also provides a very real example of the benefits of Catch and Release.
The lodge is located on the banks of the Rio Grande, in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina; Just a few miles above the tidal influence.
In the modern era, starting with the opening of Kau Tapen Lodge in the early ’80s, the Rio Grande has became the most productive sea-run trout fishery in the world. While trout numbers fluctuate with conditions at sea, tides, water levels, and a host of other natural factors–the fact is–we release 20 pound trout at Villa Maria each week of the season. A fish or two a day is the norm given average water conditions–but 6-8 fish days happen all the time!
The Rio Grande flows from West to East, from the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean, through 70 km of Argentine territory.
The landscape of Tierra del Fuego is reminiscent of Wyoming or the Scottish low country. It is a sparsely populated wilderness.
Large sheep farming estancias share this land with herds of wild llama-like guanacos, red foxes, and condors, and the area is vast and beautiful.
SpeciesThe salmon….that isn’t a salmon. Brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) are one of the most widely distributed non-native fish introduced to Patagonia. They were first stocked in Tierra del Fuego by John Goodall in 1935. Shipped from Puerto Montt in Chile, 60,000 ‘salmo trutta’ eggs survived the arduous journey to be planted on the Candelaria and McLennan rivers, both tributaries of the Rio Grande. These fish eventually found their way to the sea, attracted by the rich food supply located just off shore.
Today, sea-run brown trout complete a yearly migratory cycle just like atlantic salmon and other salmonids that also spawn in freshwater. Sea run browns remain in the river for a period of time which ranges between 1 and 4 years until their first migration to the sea, where they will feed and grow for about 6 months before their first return to freshwater, weighing approximately 6lbs. Researchers have found trout which have spawned as many as six or seven times. A trout that has completed 4 cycles of returning to freshwater can weigh over 20 lbs. The regularity with which these trout return to freshwater indicates that the fish face few threats. Regardless–catch and release fishing still rules the day.
Sea run trout are not geese, and they were not “supposed” to migrate really. The role of environmental factors versus genetics on the ‘decision’ of sea run trout to migrate is still unknown. While genetics likely play an underlying role in the development of migratory populations, studies of other fish species fail to differentiate genetically between resident and migratory individuals within a population, and in fact indicate that interbreeding often occurs between the migratory and resident individuals. In some rivers they migrate, in others they don’t. That is just the deal, but we are sure glad that the salmo trutta migrates on the Rio Grande and Rio Gallegos.