Estancia Maria Behety Lodge
Estancia Maria Behety Lodge
Hooking up with a big sea run brown is an emotional fishing experience that defies accurate description. Most fish grab a streamer or nymph on the swing and your first notion is you've hooked a snag. But there are damn few snags in the Rio Grande. It's about this time when the three-foot long snag starts violently shaking its head, and it's time to plant your feet and get ready for a fight.
After weighing and measuring the length and girth of nearly 6,000 sea trout for three years in a row, University of Montana biologists have developed a very accurate formula for estimating their weight, without the use of a Boga or other accurate scale. Weight(lbs)=64.16 x (fork length (m) x girth (m))1.4676. The problem with that formula is most of the elephant fish landed bottom out all but the largest of scales. However, using the proven UM formula, it's safe to say that around a dozen browns over thirty pounds have been caught by anglers on the Estancia Maria Behety each season for the past eight years. Each and every season!
These big brown trout are much like Pacific salmon and steelhead, in that they're most active in low light conditions. The scientists call them nega-phototropic, and as the sun gets higher, fish retreat to the deepest parts of the pools. Perhaps it's because they're used to the deeper sea, or they feel exposed to predators in bright sunlight, but it's a fact theyre more aggressive and much more likely to strike a fly in the early morning, late evening, or when it's overcast. In mid-day, when the sun is at its highest, theyre unlikely to respond to even the most perfectly presented fly. One of the reasons so many photos of the Rio Grande mega trout look like deer caught in the headlights is that most are caught early or late in the day.
Most anglers arrive shortly after first light and will see dozens of fish rolling on the surface of the pools in the blush of the dawn. Action is usually red hot for a couple of hours and then begins to taper off. The reverse is true at the end of the day, and its maddening to leave the river when the light has disappeared and the fish are still exploding all around.
The fishing schedule at all of our fine lodges on the Rio Grande is designed around the best fishing times. Really, the Argentines have mastered the art of squeezing two fishing days into one.
Fishermen start each morning with a light breakfast of fresh fruit, cereals, yogurt, toast and coffee, as well as a full American breakfast (if they have the room), followed by a full morning of fishing. Each two anglers share a guide and vehicle. Their beat usually consists of two to four pools, all for themselves. Fishermen typically return to the lodge by one p.m. where a delicious midday meal, perfectly complemented by local wines, is served, followed by a well-earned siesta. Anglers, well-fed and rested, fish the evening session right up to (and sometimes beyond) the brilliant Tierra del Fuego sunsets. Theyll then return to their respective lodges, in time to regale each other with tales of giant fish, then sit down to yet another meal that would put many five-star restaurants to shame. By this time you have been ridden hard and put away wet, only to rise the next morning and start it all over again. What a wonderful way to be treated...EAT, SLEEP, FISH, EAT, SLEEP, FISH, EAT, SLEEP...
Much is said about the winds of Tierra del Fuego and it is seldom that any of it is good. The truth is that the Rio Grande isnt super wide, casts are seldom seventy feet, and almost never directly into the wind. Competent casters have little difficulty adjusting to the almost constant gusts and even those that struggle agree quickly that the results are worth every effort. Tackle and techniques on the Rio Grande are not very complicated. Anglers choose from a broad range of lines, tips and terminal tackle according to the water conditions. Experienced steelhead and Atlantic Salmon fishermen immediately feel in their element. Quartering downstream with streamers or dead drifting nymphs are the most common methods used, and skated dry flies are terrific when the conditions are right.
The Rio Grande is one of the easiest streams to wade in the Americas. The river is seldom more than thigh deep, and can be easily crossed between pools. Theres no moss on a bottom made of nothing but perfect spawning habitat ranging in size from pea gravel to golf ball sized rocks. Leave your studded boots at home because there isn't a rock big enough on the Rio Grande to trip over.
The Estancia Maria Behety Lodge sits on a promontory overlooking the Rio Grande with panoramic views of vast pampas and the remnants of the Andean cordillera framing the background.
The lodge was constructed during the summer and winter of 1999 and its architectural style is typical of structures built in Patagonia in the early 1900s with the addition of all the modern convenience and amenities you would expect in a 21 century fly fishing lodge. There are 8 double occupancy rooms in the lodge that can accommodate a maximum of 16 guests, though we limit it to 12 anglers total. The extra rooms allow a handful of anglers to secure a private room for a nominal, additional cost. Each large guest room is attractively decorated and features two double beds with a shared nightstand, a full dresser, and ample closet space. A full bath with two vanity/sink areas and a walk-in glass shower complete each guest rooms. Each two guest rooms share a sizable common room which is a terrific space to store extra gear, get organized, tie some flies or sit and relax with a good book while anticipating the next fishing sortie.
The timber-framed great room features 20 foot plus high ceilings with banks of elevated windows allowing streaming sunlight to naturally illuminate the space and add warmth. A roaring fireplace anchors the main room and several sitting areas are the gathering spot to relive the fishing of the day and relax with wonderful appetizers and a cocktail. A full bar is well stocked with all the right libations including the finest Argentine wines and plenty of ice cold beer. Dinners are served in the main dining room just of the great room and for those that enjoy a good smoke, a special room at the front of the great room "The Bad Boys Room" is available. Additionally, there is a computer with internet service to check emails as well as a complete gift/tackle shop.
Meals at Estancia Maria Behety revolved around the two per day fishing schedule. Usually anglers are up at 7:00 a.m. and fresh coffee and hot tea is available to shake the cobwebs out. In the dining room, a sideboard is topped with fresh fruit, hand-squeezed juices, yogurt, cereals, toast and pastries. For those that prefer a more traditional American breakfast, cook to order eggs, omelets, potatoes, bacon and ham are available from the kitchen. As is typical in South America the midday meal is grand, a full sit down meal with great wines, delicious desserts and good strong coffee. Dinners are served later than what most are accustomed to in order to accommodate the late evening fishing secession typical on the Rio Grande. Dinners are usually lighter than the midday meal and a perfect night-cap before starting all over again the next morning.
Round-trip auto transfers from Rio Grande to the lodge, daily guide service based on double occupancy, all meals, private, deluxe double occupancy accommodations, all alcoholic beverages (open bar) and fishing license.
There are a wide choice of convenient, daily flights from Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami, and New York. Most flights are direct departing the States in the afternoon or early evening and arriving early the next morning. Airlines that service Buenos Aires daily include American, United, Continental, Delta, LAN Aerolineas Argentinas, Air France, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, Lufthansa and Tam.
Almost all the international flights into Argentina arrive at the Ministro Pistarini (Ezeiza) International Airport of Buenos Aires, 35 Km from the Federal Capital. You are required to fill out a customary arrival form, which will be handed out to you on your flight down. First you will clear Immigrations (Passport Control) then you will retrieve your luggage, and clear Customs. The entire arrival process in Buenos Aires should take between 1 and 1 1/2 half hours.
Specific flight details for Estancia Maria Behety Lodge
Typically Friday: Arrive Buenos Aires, Argentina, transfer to hotel of your choice.
Arrive Ezeiza International Airport; clear Immigrations (Passport Control); retrieve luggage, and clear Customs. Auto transfer from the Ezeiza International Airport to your downtown Buenos Aires hotel. The rest of the day and evening is at your leisure to explore the old-world city center of Buenos Aires.
Travel Note: Remember, there are two airports in Buenos Aires, Domestic & International. The domestic airport is about 20 minutes from the downtown area, and the International is about 45 minutes. You will need at least two hours for auto transfer between the International Airport Ezeiza and the Domestic Airport Jorge Newbery. Domestic airport taxis are about $25-$30 from your downtown hotel.
Saturday: Arrival Rio Grande or Ushuaia, transfer to Estancia Maria Behety Lodge:
You have two options for traveling to Estancia Maria Behety Lodge; flying from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia and transferring by auto to the lodge (3 hour drive) or flying to Rio Grande and driving to the lodge a 45 minute ride. There are several daily flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia that make this routing extremely convenient, albeit the 3 hour drive, which traverses some spectacularly beautiful country. The advantages of the Rio Grande routing is the short drive from the airport to the lodge, however this is a once a day flight with a very early departure out of Buenos Aires. Either routing, we will coordinate meet and greet at the airport and auto transfer to the lodge.
After arriving at the lodge, you'll be shown to your private room, given a brief orientation and tour of the facilities, guides will be assigned, and you'll have a chance to organize your tackle for the fishing day planned to start the next morning. There is no fishing on the first day or evening.
The Fishing Week: Each of the angling days is spent fishing in both the morning and evening. The beats are rotated, and normally anglers will not have to repeat any pools during their stay. Fishermen return to the lodge in the heart of the ranch to enjoy a mid-day meal, and have the chance to relax for a few hours. The lodge is only a short distance from the river, no more than half an hour to the most distant beat on the huge ranch. At the conclusion of the angling day, fishermen return to the lodge for a hot shower, cocktails from the fully stocked bar, hors d'oeuvres, and a wonderful Argentine meal accented by fine Argentine wines and desserts that will add a marvelous finishing touch to each day.
Saturday Return Home: The Estancia Maria Behety will provide auto transfer to Ushuaia or Rio Grande to start your trip home or continue your travels in South America.
Immigration Requirements for entry Into Argentina:
A current passport is required with or without visa depending on your nationality. For all U.S. citizens, passports must be valid for a minimum of three months beyond the visitor's proposed date of departure. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days for tourism and business. All visitors must be in possession of a return passage to a country for which they have a right of entry.
Customs: Generally, foreign tourists (especially tourists carrying fly rods) are not bothered by customs officials upon entry. You are allowed to bring personal items such as clothing, footwear, toiletries, etc., as well as; any fishing equipment needed during your stay and personal medications. You are allowed to enter Argentina with 2 liters of alcoholic drinks, 400 cigarettes and 50 cigars. Expensive camera and video equipment should be declared and you will have to bring it out with you when you leave.
Inoculations and Health Concerns: There are no formal requirements, or recommendations for immunizations and very little risk of infectious disease in Argentina. The risk would be about equivalent to what it would be for a trip to Colorado. You should check with your personal physician if you are concerned. We recommend that anglers be up-to-date on their Tetanus, Hepatitis-A and Hepatitis-B vaccinations.
Political Situation: Argentina is a safe, pro-American country. Argentineans are overall a very friendly people & welcome foreign tourists. The hospitality of the country people in rural Argentina (where all the fishing takes place) is genuine and warm. Like in Chile the current president of Argentina is a woman, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
Contact us for further details if interested in booking this trip.
Seven (07) Night / Six (06) Day angling package (shared room, shared guide) $5,795 per angler
A 50% deposit is normally due within two weeks of deposit. Final payments are due 60 days prior to arrival. Deposits and final payments can be made with either a credit card (Master Card, Visa, American Express, Discover) check, or wire transfer.
Travel insurance can provide a means of recourse against non-refundable financial losses and warrants your careful review and consideration.