Estancia Río Pelke: All you need to know.
Tres Amigos “Signature Trout Program”
“This boutique, family-style fly fishing program takes anglers on a truly authentic journey combining the best brook and brown trout fishing in southern Patagonia. Guests stay at a traditional family-run Argentine estancia dating back to the 1930’s as well as a unique wilderness eco-camp. Limited to four rods per week, this intimate program gives anglers the opportunity to fish four completely private and well-rested spring creeks which hold all sizes of brook trout including some in the four- to six-pound class. This quaint, homestay style venue and eco-camp experience is a treasure within the vast open Patagonian landscape. Estanica Río Pelke offers rewarding homespun cultural experiences coupled with some of the finest spring creek fishing south of the equator.”
Who is best suited to this destination? Anglers and guests seeking a rewarding homespun cultural experiences coupled with some of the finest spring creek fishing in southern Patagonia.
Where is the lodge? Estanica Río Pelke is located along Route 40 in southern Argentina, between the towns of El Calafate and Rio Gallegos. It only takes 1h and 15 minutes drive from any of these towns.
How do I get there? Guests fly to Rio Gallegos or El Calafate, Argentina and are transferred to the estancia 1hr 15min by vehicle.
When should I go? Mid-December through end of March.
How will I fish? Typically, anglers’ fish two per guide. The fishing grounds are accessed by 4×4 trucks and anglers walk-and-wade the fishing beats.
Is there wade fishing? All fishing is done while wading. Wading is very easy and rarely do anglers need to step into the water. In fact, anglers can fish most of the route without waders. Most of the fishing is done by walking along the dry, grassy edges of the creeks and can be done with a decent pair of durable hiking shoes/boots. We still recommend bringing waders as there are times when they are needed.
Where will I fish? 5 completely private spring creeks/rivers within the estancias’ holdings.
How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds? The daily commute to the fishing grounds from the estancias ranges from 5-60 minutes and the transfers range from 1.5-2 hours.
What type(s) of fish will I catch? Brown trout and brook trout.
How many fish will I catch? Anglers can expect to catch 10 or more fish per day.
Will I see other anglers? No. Limited to just 4 anglers per week on completely private water, there is no chance of seeing other anglers.
What are the guides like? Brothers Juan Manuel and Tomas Biott were brought up fly fishing the creeks along the route and have an intimate knowledge of these systems like no other. Juan and Tomas are both warm-hearted, genuine, kind, attentive, and extremely knowledgeable individuals that are a pleasure to get to know and spend time with on and off the water. Both are great instructors and guides and are willing to share their knowledge about fishing and local Patagonian culture and history. Both speak excellent English.
What are the physical demands? None. There is not much walking required, and the wading is very easy.
Are there any special skills required? It can be windy at times, so it is a good idea to practice casting in the wind with accuracy.
Does the lodge provide equipment? The lodge does not provide equipment. But in case is needed can be rented at the lodge as well as buy flies.
What is your favorite setup for the trip? Any medium-fast action rod in the 3- to 5-weight class will do. If you only took one rod, take a 4-weight. Fiberglass and Tenkara rod aficionados are highly welcomed!
What are the top flies? Surface patterns such as foam terrestrials/attractors and naturals such as elk hair caddis, Goddard caddis, humpies, Chernobyl ants, beetle, and hopper patterns in size 8 to 12. Small mouse patterns are fun to have on hand. Subsurface flies like scuds, caddis pupa, hares’ ear, copper john’s, black stone flies, and woolly worms in size 8 to 14. Add some streamers such as size 8 to 10 weighted and unweighted woolly buggers and zonkers in black and olive to round things out.
What are the options if water conditions become challenging? Being that the systems are spring creeks, they cannot blow out. Wind is the most challenging variable here.
What is a typical day like? During the stay, guests fish different private spring creeks and move through three Argentine estancias. Guests typically depart the estancia after breakfast, drive between one and two hours to the next estancia, get settled, have a short fishing session on a nearby river, then break for lunch. Guests fish again in the afternoon, and have dinner around 9:30 PM. On non-changeover days, guests fish after breakfast, take a midday break for lunch and siesta, and then return to the water and fish through the afternoon and early evening. Dinners are typically late, around 9:30pm.
What is the general vibe, atmosphere, and style of the lodge? Estanica Río Pelke is an intimate, inclusive, and family-driven program where guests are received as members of the extended family. The overall vibe is casual and inviting. Despite some modern upgrades, the estancia has remained true to its authentic Patagonian character and guests should expect to go with the flow and quite possibly make some small concessions in the same way you would when visiting a distant family relative.
Is there an on-site owner, manager, or other point-person at the lodge? Tres Amigos Outfitters along with Biott family own and operate Estancia Río Pelke program and are always on-site and available to guests. Juan Manuel serves as the primary host and manager but each family member chips in wherever needed to assure each guest is well cared for.
Where do we eat, and what are the meals like? Meals at the estancia are thoughtfully prepared using traditional Argentinean recipes and showcase locally sourced produce, and farm-raised lamb and beef complemented by hand-selected Salentein wines.
What is the alcohol policy? Beer and wine are included in your package and guests may bring their own hard alcohol.
Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like? The accommodations are basic, clean, comfortable, and consistent with 3-star rated hotels. The estancias date back to the late 1800’s and have been remodeled and/or retrofitted with modern amenities such as indoor bathrooms, running water, and electricity. Additionally, guests stay at the Estancia Pali Aike Eco-Camp, which consists of geodesic dome tents complete with bathroom, heating systems, a shower, and power for charging electronic devices. The Eco-Camp stay is on the last night of the week program, which allows guests to experience a more wilderness setting for the closure of their Patagonian experience.
Is there internet and/or cell service? There is good internet connection 24hs. There is no cell service available.
Are there other activities? For non fishermen guests there is the chance of daily activities with some locals guides. Visiting Glacier Perito Moreno and surroundings, Monte Leon National Park and some others touristic highlights are easy to do during your stay. These excursions are done by hiring an external guide to our program and rates are fixed according to the guest plan.
Distances to main touristic attractions:
- Glaciers National Park: 2,5 hour drive.
- Torres del Paine National Park: 3 hour drive.
- Monte Leon National Park: 3 hour drive.
Are there any other expenses? International and domestic airfare, hotels, meals, transfers in Buenos Aires/ Rio Gallegos, alcohol, fishing equipment, staff and guide gratuities
Do I need a visa? No. Argentina no longer requires a reciprocity fee or visa. Guests must have a valid passport that expires no less than six months prior to the trip date.
Are there any health concerns, dangers, or annoyances? None. We recommend that guests always consult with the US Department of State and the Center for Disease Control websites for general travel information and guidelines.
*We count with two major hospitals one in El Calafate and one in Río Gallegos.