BELOW THE MAJESTIC GLACIER-CAPPED Andes, the world’s top sea trout rivers flow through the endless, windswept Patagonia prairie on their coiled ways to the Atlantic Ocean. For the last decade-plus, this magical, remote region of southern Argentina has been THE place for the traveling angler in search of exquisite anadromous fish to swing flies for sea-run brown trout, also known as sea trout. We at Salmon Junkies are extremely happy and proud to announce that we have just secured full exclusivity on one of these internationally renowned rivers: the incomparable Rio Gallegos. Together with the prominent landowner of the Carlota Estancia, beginning with the 2020 season — running January through mid-March — we will share this stunning fishery with a very limited number of rods at an introduction price.
The Estancia Carlota encompasses 100,000 acres (42,000 hectares) in the lower third of the famous Rio Gallegos watershed. Only one hour’s drive from Rio Gallegos Airport, Estancia Carlota is located between Estancia El Rincon and Estancia Bella Vista upstream and Estancia Las Buitreras downstream.
At Carlota we will have access to highly desirable water on Rio Gallegos. Our private double-bank section of the Gallegos is a short drive from the lodge, and this +20 km reach features a selection of classic holding pools for migrating sea trout. Resident brown trout are here, as well, but typically we are concentrating our efforts on the sea trout populating the river on their migration upstream. These fish are big! And, when hooked, angry at having their journey interrupted. Be prepared for rod bending action when encountering one of these hard fighting chromers!
We will run the program for only two rods weekly, which allows the pools on our part of the river to rest, minimizing stress on the fish, as well the angler. For the angler seeking big resident browns, we will also have access to Rio Chico. A tributary to the Gallegos, Rio Chico offers the opportunity to present dries to big, fat Argentinian brown trout.
With this new program, we believe we will be able to offer one of the finest fisheries in Argentine Patagonia at a very fair price.
Guest accommodations and our HQ will be at the stylish and beautiful Estancia Carlota, where we have secured full access to the owners’ private house on the Estancia. Recently renovated, the main house includes all the facilities needed for a comfortable and memorable week fishing.
A short walk through the lodge… Upon entering the main house, in typical Argentine Patagonia style, a wide hallway leads into the main house. From the hall, guests will access a spacious dining room, and adjacent to the dining area, a cozy socializing room with an open fireplace. From the socializing room guests will also have direct access to an inviting covered patio. Here, we guess, most of the true AND untrue stories from the river will be shared and savored together with a glass of fine Malbec during the evenings.
In addition to the social rooms, the main house includes four large, comfortable and private guest bedrooms — each features an en suite bath with shower and flushing toilet. All guest accommodations at Carlota are based on single occupancy.
Our big kitchen will be one of the anchor points in the program. And it will be from this kitchen delicious Argentine meals will be prepared for guests.
You will of course have access to Wi-Fi in the Estancia.
Without a doubt, we believe Estancia Carlota is unique — a comfortable wilderness palace surrounded by the breathtaking and endless south Argentine prairie, and situated perfectly to reveal the enchanting soul of Patagonia.
Carlota / Rio Gallegos Travel Itinerary
From the Northern Hemisphere, a basic itinerary for the trip would be as follows:
- Thursday — Depart home
- Friday — Arrive Buenos Aires int’l airport / transfer to hotel / overnight
Saturday — Transfer to domestic airport / depart Buenos Aires / arrive Rio Gallegos / transfer to Estancia Carlota (it may be possible for a few fishing hours after arrival)
- Sunday–Friday — Guided fishing and accommodations at Estancia Carlota
- Saturday — Depart Estancia Carlota / arrive Buenos Aires / transfer to int’l airport / depart Buenos Aires
- Sunday — Return to home destination
The Fishing Program
Sea trout Fishing in Argentina… Two rivers have evolved to become the standard-bearers for modern sea trout fishing, and arguably provide the most reliable fishing to be had for the traveling spey fisher. While sea trout, or sea-run browns, can still be found in the Northern Hemisphere — tributaries to the Baltic Sea come to mind — nowhere on the planet today can match the number and size of the specimens returning to these two rivers each austral summer. In Rio Gallegos you have a very real chance to connect with sea trout between 8 and 25 pounds on a daily — not weekly — basis. The major sea trout rivers of southern Argentina should be at the very top of your go-to list!
Fishing at Carlota is for fresh-run sea trout to 20-plus pounds. Sea trout make their way into the Gallegos system around the end of December and continue with strong runs through the end of April. Guests have complete access to fishing on both the Rio Gallegos and the Rio Chico during their stay. The Estancia Carlota’s private double-bank reach of the Rio Gallegos is a short drive by 4x4 vehicle from the estancia.
Tackle for Sea Trout
Rod, Reels and Lines
The most popular and widely used rods for sea trout on Rio Gallegos are light 12- to 13-foot Spey rods, or my own favorite 11- to 12-foot micro-Spey / switch rods around 7- or 8-weight and a 9- to 9 ½-foot 6- or 7-weight single-hander. We will strongly suggest that you leave your 15-footer at home as it will be too long in the considerable and famous Patagonia wind. Equipped with these rods an angler can cover most situations.
Whether you’re into a classic gear & pawl reel or a modern drag reel is a question of personal taste. Any good quality reel capable of carrying the associated line and 150 yards of backing should suffice. BUT please check your connections; the sea trout of Argentina are very hot!
Intermediate lines are the common choice for both outfits will address most conditions, but it is a good idea to pack spare lines and sinking tips to cover different high or low water conditions.
Leader Material and Flies
We recommend high quality leader material between 10 and 20 pounds breaking strain.
Recommended flies include Girdle Bug, Yuk Bug, Bitch Creek, Wooly Bugger, Zonker, Sunray Shadow, as well as various bead-head nymphs and various leeches. You can buy flies on location at Estancia Carlota.
At Carlota we adhere to a strict catch-and-release policy. All fishing is fly only, with single or double barbless hooks, and we request extreme care in handling all fish.
Waders and Clothing
Waders and jackets are personal preference items, but we recommend those made from high quality breathable Gore-Tex, or a material with similar characteristics. Waders should be chest-high. Most wading at Carlota is fairly user-friendly, so boots can have either felt or rubber soles. Please ensure that all felt-soled boots are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to your trip to prevent the spread of invasive species such as Didymo and mud snails are not transported to Patagonia.
Regarding clothing, we favor a layering system. In this part of the world, the weather can be highly variable, so the ability to add or take off layers is advisable. Also, a lightweight quilted down (or synthetic) jacket, can be very useful on cool days later in the season. A buff and cap/hat are always a good idea — remember Patagonia can be a windy place on occasion!
Bring sunscreen for hot, sunny days, though we always have a good supply on hand for general use.
Sunglasses with polarized lenses are another key item. Don’t leave home without them! Also, for safety, always carry a pair of yellow or clear lens glasses for low light conditions.
Argentina is located in the southern hemisphere, with winter beginning in June and summer starting in December. November through April are usually mild months; the weather can vary from sunny in the mid 80s°F (25-30°C) to rainy with temperature averaging in the mid sixties. While temperatures are mild relative to their counterparts at similar latitudes in the northern hemisphere, a constant companion is the wind, which blows hard all year round.
Flights are not included in the package price, but please feel free to consult with us on tailoring the right flights for you, both international and internal. We have broad knowledge of the options available, having traveled most of the routes between Europe, North America and Argentina.
Medical Evacuation Insurance
Though there are few things to worry about health wise when traveling to Argentina, we do recommend medical evacuation insurance in case the unforeseen should occur, particularly with pre-existing health issues. No inoculations are necessary or required to enter the country.
No visa is required to enter Argentina.
Passport: must be valid for at least 6 months after the return date and have at least 2 consecutive blank pages (left and right)
Our power is produced by generator and rated at 220 volts. Guests may need a standard 2-pin (flat, angled) plug adaptor for appliances and chargers. For 110 volt electronics, a voltage converter may be needed if plugs/chargers do not convert the voltage. A variety of adaptors will be available at the estancia for guest use.
Most travelers do not experience stomach problems in Argentina and there are no nasties to speak of. No mosquitos either! No particular medications are required. Though, for peace of mind, the usuals like Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, Diacalm, etc., could be included in your kit.
The official currency here is the Argentine peso, though the US Dollar is widely accepted and highly prized. Guests will find a much better exchange rate changing money, particularly US dollars, into pesos on arrival in Argentina. There are plenty of places to exchange money and we can advise on this, so please ask.
The above is intended as quick outline of our exciting new program at Carlota. If you have any further questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact us for additional information. Please note that we will provide a detailed trip planner documents upon booking.
The Carlota Team
The Carlota program will be managed by Steffen Juhl. For over 25 years Steffen managed camps and fishing programs on now famous rivers such as the Umba, Kharlovka, Rynda, Yokanga, Varzuga and Ponoi. Outside of Russia, in a career spanning nearly three decades, Steffen has logged thousands of miles pursuing Atlantic salmon, steelhead, Chinook, Sea Trout and other desirable anadromous fish. Steffen believes firmly in interacting closely with a few carefully selected programs, and in building long-term friendships with guests. Following this philosophy, Steffen will be on site to manage and host the Carlota program during the entire season.
Fishing Guide and Chef
The experienced and hard working team at Estancia Carlota will ensure you feel at home in the Patagonia wilderness. One of the finest sea trout guides on the Rio Gallegos will join forces with Salmon Junkies for the Carlota program in 2020, and we look forward to featuring the services of a highly skilled and experienced chef. Expect more information in due time regarding our staff.
The Carlota Package
Salmon Junkies Carlota program offers a perfect opportunity for two fishing buddies to have the angling experience of a lifetime. For 2020 the price will be 3900 USD for 7-night / 6-day single occupancy package at Estancia Carlota plus meet and greet at Rio Gallegos airport and transfer to the estancia. Included are all meals, including beer and wine at the lodge, and daily guided fishing.
Not included in the price are international and domestic airfare, hotel and meals en route and in Buenos Aires, and gratuities for guides and camp staff. In short, the financial hurdle is significantly lower than most other equivalent packages available.
WE AT SALMON JUNKIES feel sure this incredible sea trout fishery will meet the highest expectations any angler could have. We guarantee that a week sea trout fishing in Argentina will enchant your soul and forever remain in your heart. Our aim is to provide a remarkable and unforgettable fishing experience — perhaps the fishing trip of a lifetime.
I hope you have found this information useful. If not or if you should have more detailed questions, please check salmonjunkies.com or contact me directly.