Everything You Need to Know About Fishing in Argentina

Stretching 3,650 km (2,268 mi) north to south, Argentina’s vast and extraordinary landscapes attract fishers from all over the world in pursuit of wild fish. The Patagonia region shared by Argentina and Chile is well-known to anglers, explorers, and outdoor enthusiasts in general, though other regions in Argentina also offer unique experiences worthy of being added to your fishing bucket list.

Fishing lodges are a popular option for passionate anglers looking for the total package, but there are day trip options as well for those looking to fish a day or two while traveling in Argentina. Guides are top-notch and committed to sharing and preserving the beauty of the sport and their environment.

- Luke Campbell, Fisher Guiding Co-Founder

(Above: A guided trip with Rio Manso Lodge)

Licenses and Regulations

License Requirements: Every region has its own regulations, so be sure to follow the instructions of your guide or, if you’re going alone, confirm what the most up-to-date regulations are in the region you’re traveling to. Licenses / permits to fish are required (typically around $30 USD for a single day, though licenses for longer periods are available). You can purchase your license at fishing and sports shops, local government municipalities, or at park centers. If booking a lodge package or other guided trip, many packages will include licenses or guides can often help by arranging the licenses for you.

Note also that many fly fishing guides practice catch and release for sustainable fishing.

Travel Requirements: Passports are required. If you’re a citizen of the U.S., U.K. Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, or other Western European nations, and your trip is less than 90 days, then a visa is not required.

Seasons

If you’re coming from the Northern Hemisphere, remember that the seasons occur during opposite times of year. November through May are Argentina’s warmer months and the best times to travel to Argentina.

Seasons typically break down as such but vary, of course, based on latitude:

  • Spring season: Early November - Mid January
  • Summer season: Late January - Mid March
  • Fall season: Late March - End of April or Early May

In Patagonia particularly, the climate is strongly influenced by Pacific winds blowing over the Andes. The northern part of Patagonia is semiarid, and the southern part is drier and colder. Packing and dressing in layers is essential to prepare for whatever conditions come on your trip.

More Reasons to Go

In addition to excellent fishing and outdoor opportunities, Argentina’s geography blesses it with a rich food and wine culture that is one of the best in the world. Proper fishing guides and lodges make sure that your trip is complete with memorable meals (like the one pictured with Andando Rios Fly Fishing) and asados (traditional barbecues). Argentina has the world’s second-highest consumption rate of beef, and it’s easy to understand why when you taste their beef. Since the country has a large area of fertile plains, most of its cattle feeds on grass, making it leaner, more nutritious, and more flavorful. The terrain and climate, especially on the western side near the Andes, also create one of the best locations for vineyards in the world. Enjoying delicious food and wine with your guides and fellow anglers makes sharing stories of the day’s fishing even better.

Other activities to enjoy in addition to fishing include horseback riding, birding, hiking, picnics and swimming.

Regional Information, Guides and Lodges

Mendoza

Just on the east side of the Andes, Mendoza is probably Argentina’s best-known wine region. Mendoza is also a good destination to consider if you’re interested in visiting both Argentina and Chile since Chile’s capital, Santiago, is about 5.5 hours away by car. Catch brown and rainbow trout on rivers and streams winding through the estancias (aka grasslands, plains, pampas) or fish mountain streams for wild brook trout and other species. When fishing around Mendoza, you may even have the chance to spot guanacos (in the camel family, similar to llamas), foxes, and pumas.

North Neuquen

In northern Patagonia, North Neuquen is growing in recognition as a fly fishing destination, with trout as the main target. Perca, pejerrey, and char are also common. In the past, getting to North Neuquen had been more difficult and caused it to be overlooked. However, new infrastructure has opened a gateway to an unrivaled number of rivers to fish on (over 14 different rivers are accessible from Patagonia Trashumante Fly Fishing’s operational base). We were fortunate to get an in-depth overview of fly fishing in North Neuquen from our guide partner Gerardo Santos Tsuji, owner and operator of Patagonia Trashumante Fly Fishing.

Central and Northern Patagonia

Perhaps the most sought-after fly fishing destination in the world, Central and Northern Patagonia feature an exceptional number of streams, rivers, and lakes that are prime spots to fish for trout and Atlantic salmon. Thus, there are many quality fishing outfitters and lodges. The streams and steppe rivers are a result of mallínes, fertile swamp-like soil created from the thawing of glaciers. These streams are easy to wade, great for beginners and light flies. Nahuel Huapi is a national park where many guide operations are based in or take their clients to. Popular waters include Río Limay, Río Manso, Río Negro, Lago Hess, Lago Fonck, Lago Los Moscos, Lago Los Cesares, and many more in between.

Corrientes

The province of Corrientes (and its namesake capital) is located in the northeast of Argentina, bordering Paraguay. The area is comprised of many wetlands, swamps, marshes and lagoons which create a different angling opportunity than what you’ll find in the Patagonia region. Many anglers come to catch the prized Golden Dorado. 

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Vittorio Botta, founder and manager of Golden Fly Fishing & Lodge, breaks down Argentina’s freshwater Grand Slam in this area which consists of catching Golden Dorado, Pirá Pytá and Pacú:

  1. Golden Dorado, The Tiger of the River: This is the most exciting freshwater species in South America. It has Tarpon-like tendencies and is known for its aggressive strikes, finger-burning runs, acrobatic fights, and overall beauty.
  2. Pirá Pytá, The River Salmon: With Bonefish-like speed, this freshwater fish is known for its line-ripping runs and fierce fighting. It is undoubtedly one of the most exquisite fishing experiences that our region offers and requires the your utmost focus and precision casting dry flies.
  3. Pacú, The Elusive Species: This treasured species is as difficult to find and catch as the saltwater Permit. Found only from December to April, it’s a highly coveted fish by serious anglers who seek to complete the Golden Fly Fishing Grand Slam.

Lago Strobel

In southern Patagonia, Lago Strobel is home to the largest rainbow trout (over 20 lbs!) in the world. The guide operation that has made the lake world-famous is Jurassic Lake Lodge. The waters of Lago Strobel and its main tributary, the Barrancoso River, are crystal clear in this remote setting. Lago Strobel also benefits from improved access via charter flights, cutting travel time down significantly from what used to require days of travel. The lodge explains that water conditions change every month throughout the season, demanding different approaches from the angler and presenting exciting challenges for the adventurous angler.

Buenos Aires

Visiting the capital? You can fish for Golden Dorados and other species in Buenos Aires’ backyard, within an hour of the city. The city sits near the delta where the Paraná River and the Uruguay River empty into Rio de la Plata and the Atlantic Ocean.

Since Argentina is one of the most popular destinations for fishing trips, we suggest planning your trip well in advance of when you’re traveling since spots at lodges and with guides get booked up. Here are some tips on messaging guides during the trip planning process.

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