Argentina and Chile are likely on the top of every angler’s dream destination list. With a diverse and varied geography, you’re able to fly fish for a wide variety of species. From the wild trout rivers and lakes to the warm water systems filled with pacu and golden dorado, it’s an anglers paradise.
When traveling down to Chile and Argentina, there’s so much to look forward to other than fishing. The delicious food, diverse cultures, and of course the beautiful scenery. I decided to start my venture in Argentina for some Golden Dorado fishing and then travel to Chile to target big wild brown trout on the fly. Being such vastly different regions, they both had such unique experiences to offer. Below you will find some of my highlights, travel tips, recommendations, and some of my favorite gear from my recent trip. We also highlight some of the outfits I am wearing from Stio in the photo captions.
Experience Buenos Aires, Argentina
When arriving in Argentina, don’t just pass through the city of Buenos Aires to your final destination. Take a day or two to explore what Buenos Aires has to offer. The city is often considered “The Paris of South America,” with the colonial architecture, rich cultural life, and fine dining. It’s easy to find yourself immersed in a vibrant city. I highly recommend exploring the La Recoleta Cemetery. Other things to do while visiting include seeing a live Tango show, the botanical gardens, and embracing the vibrant energy of the city streets.
Experience the Local Cuisine
Dorado Fly Fishing & Gear
Getting the chance to target Golden dorado has been a dream of mine. So when my friends at Don Joaquin River Lodge invited us out to experience their family-owned operation, I was thrilled for the opportunity to target such an incredible sought-after warm water species. Golden dorado are often compared to tarpon in the way they jump after being hooked, so watching a dorado soar through the air will easily get your heart racing. They can even reach up to 60 pounds in some locations. Aside from Dorado, you also get the chance to target other species like Pacu and Surubi.
The lodge is located in Esquina, Corrientes on the Corriente River. You will often be structure fishing with streamers and casting around fallen trees on the coasts and submerged stones. Depending on water clarity and location, you just might have a shot at casting poppers on the surface for eager dorado.
The ideal equipment for Golden Dorado fishing is 6-8 weight rods, with floating and sinking lines, varying between streamers and poppers depending on the location. For Dorado flies, I found having various dorado muddler patterns, poppers, surface rats… will work great. Be sure to have bite wire, as you’ll come across a Parana or two while fishing – not to mention the set of teeth the Dorado have. Targeting Golden Dorado was unlike any species I’ve fished for, the explosive takes, powerful fight and the flash of the golden beauty soaring through the air was enough to leave me wanting more after every catch.
After our experience in Argentina, we packed up and traveled to Chile. We drove through the Aysen Region of Chile, the landscape here was unlike anything I’ve seen. It’s like traveling back in time over hundreds of years and experiencing the untouched beauty of virgin land. We met up with our friends from Chile Trout at this next location.
Chile Trout Fishing and Gear
Chile is home to big and wild browns and rainbows that are eager to eat. No technical nymph rigs are needed here, just big streamers and dry flies. Our fly fishing guide Pancho took us to various locations during our stay. We were able to wade through freshwater rivers fed by the glaciers and float in pristine lakes along jagged mountains.
The weather in Chile is so cold and unpredictable due to diverse landscapes. This definately adds an element of adventure to the experience, and if you embrace the beauty of it. You’ll have memories to last a lifetime.
The gear needed for your adventure is pretty standard trout equipment, bring a 6-7 weight rod to use for nymphs, dry flies, and streamers. I personally recommend a 7 weight rod as it adds some extra power to cut through the high winds. Standard trout sizes of tippet, from 0-5x, but I tended to use 0x-1x as these fish are not tippet shy.
The region is better known for its beetles and ants, so any pattern that is big and foamy seemed to do the trick. A few of my go-to patterns were Wooly Buggers, (Olive and Black) (Size 2), Sex Dungeon Streamer Patterns (Olive and Black) (Size 2), and Hi-Viz Beetles (Size 12-16). I also used a variation of bead headed nymph patterns for dropper setups.
Recommended Apparel Packing List:
Because of the vastly different regions of Argentina and Chile, it’s important to be equipped with the appropriate gear. First and foremost, having functional clothing that can also be versatile in varying conditions is essential. Stio is a mountain apparel company based in Jackson, Wyoming. They offer a wide range of technical and lifestyle apparel that is designed for the epic and every day.
Women’s Divide Tee LS – The perfect sun-shirt for those really warm days. With the Drirelease fabric, its moisture-wicking and the FRESHGUARD technology neutralizes odor. This was my everyday shirt when fishing for golden dorado in Argentina.
Women’s Pindale Pant – I wore these practically every day on every adventure. An extremely comfortable and breathable pant that offers the flexibility to move around. From under my waders to exploring the woods, they provided a full range of motion so you can do absolutely anything in them.
Women’s Hometown Down Hooded Jacket – This jacket added a whole new level of warmth while remaining lightweight. With sustainably sourced 800 fill goose down, it kept me warm in the most brutal conditions.
Women’s Modis Trench – The ideal piece for exploring Chile. A light-weight yet fully seam-sealed for the ultimate waterproof protection. I wore this when we explored the waterfalls and backroads winding through the mountains.
Women’s Fleece Sweet Water Hoodie – The perfect layering combination that was perfect for both locations. The hoodie provided cozy comfort but technical features to protect me from the elements during the trip.
Basin XT Duffel 55L made the perfect carry-on for my trip. With an Ultra-tough Cordura fabric, it sheds weather and withstands wear which is crucial when you’re depending on it protecting your gear for long travel periods. From a weekend get-a-way to traveling across the world, the Basin XT Duffel has easily become my go-to bag for all my traveling.
The gear from Stio had us covered for each and every weather situation, the pieces are technical, moisture-wicking and breathable. Which is an absolute must for every fishing trip. Our time in Chile and Argentina was unlike anything I had imagined. The breath-taking scenery, hospitality, and world-class fishing is something I still dream about to this day.
Be sure to check out Stio’s full lineup of products here.