The second of the de las Carreras family Lodges to open on Rio Grande after Kau Tapen, Villa Maria has offered small private groups exciting fishing on some of the most productive pools in the lower river since 1994.
A very different fishery to Kau Tapen or Toon Ken on the upper river, Villa Maria is a double handed fishermen’s dream, enjoying PRIVATE ACCESS ON BOTH BANKS and first crack of the whip at newly arrived sea trout. With friendly and dedicated house staff and guides, Villa Maria is very well suited to caring for small groups of friends or family groups.
Villa Maria lodge was designed to offer rods maximum comfort during their fishing trip, as well as easy accessibility to the pools.
It accommodates up to 6 guests in 3 twin rooms and 1 single bedroom.
*Villa Maria fishes for Sea-run brown trout.
*Sea-run brown trout on 15 km of the Rio Grande, averaging 10 lbs in size and running up to 30 lbs
*The lodge has private access to both banks of the Rio Grande.
*The rivers offers easy wading on fine gravel bottom.
*Fishing schedule: approx 9 hours of fishing. Lunch is taken at the river and its followed during the early season by a siesta in conveniently placed and comfortable trailers. The afternoon session starts later during the months of Dec and Jan to capitalise on the magical dusk fishing hours.
*Villa Maria is a strictly CATCH AND RELEASE fishery. Guides are equipped with nets ad will assist guests in weighing and releasing fish without damaging them.
Useful information for the avid angler!
- Located in the Province of Tierra del Fuego. The nearest town is Rio Grande.
- The lodge is located in a renovated farm house within the working estancia Jose Menendez. The main house is situated a short drive from the river.
- Anglers fly into the Buenos Aires International airport and take a 3 hour flight to Rio Grande.
- The transfer from the airport to the lodge by four wheel drive takes 20 minutes.
- Guests fly into Argentina via Buenos Aires and typically overnight there, having spent a day touring this wonderful city. Arrival day at Villa Maria is set to Saturdays, so the following morning guests depart Buenos Aires for the flight south.
- Commercial airlines fly from Buenos Aires to the airport of Rio Grande (3 hour flight), where you will be met by a lodge representative.
- The transfer from Rio Grande airport to the lodge by four wheel drive takes 20 minutes.
- On arrival at the lodge, guests are welcomed with cocktails and the entire Villa Maria staff.
- You will need a valid passport to travel to Argentina.
- No Visa is required for US or UK passengers, but other nationalities should check with their local consulate..
- No innoculations are required to enter Argentina.
- Rio Grande has a modern private clinic and Buenos Aires offers first class hospital care in case of an emergency
- The sun and wind are very strong in Tierra del Fuego. Total sunblock is HIGHLY recommended
- There are no problems with drinking water, and the lodge serves drinkable well water. Bottled water is always available.
- Mosquitoes and bugs are not a problem in Rio Grande
- If you have a health condition, please make sure to bring ALL the medication you will require for your stay.
- Please notify the lodge of any health conditions or concerns we should be aware of. You can do this with the questionnaire provided
- The lodge has a basic first aid supply , but do bring any item you think you might need. As with all destination travel, you should be covered by a general Health and Travel Insurance policy before you fly. As with all destination travel you should be covered with a general health and travel insurance policy before you fly.
- The Sea trout season runs from November to mid April.
- December and January are the warmest months, and traditionally the windiest. The sun can be strong during the day, but the wind chill factor makes the use of protective gear necessary all season
The summer climate of this southernmost region of South America is extremely changeable, and a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions should be expected. We recommend layering clothing, enabling you to add or subtract garments during the day. Pack Polar fleece jackets, thermal underwear, Polar neck, wool socks and a wool cap to be prepared for the extreme. Flannel or chamois cloth shirts and Polars are ideal for the stream, although you’ll no doubt change to something lighter while in the lodge. Also take a reliable windstopper/rain jacket. Gore Tex is excellent. Its waterproof yet breathes and so is comfortable on sunny, windy afternoons. Most first-time visitors are surprised at how dry this region is, more reminiscent of Wyoming than of Scotland. Attire in the lodge is casual. Neat but casual is also the dress style in Buenos Aires.
Laundry service is available at the lodge.
Although most of their lives are spent in the ocean, the sea run brown seem to retain more of the eccentricities of resident browns than, for instance, steelhead do of resident rainbows. Moody fish, they must be shown flies the way they want to see them at the precise time, that they’re ready to take.
The Rio Grande isn’t a big river. Thus, it’s compatible with a wide range of techniques, critical since a large sea trout may demand that a fly be fed to it on the bottom one hour but rise to the Portland Hitch the next. Water levels can change from week to week and the water generally drops as the season progresses. Vary your presentation markedly in each pool fished until you find the right formula of fly, line, (see Lines) drift or swing, and retrieve. Pay close attention to the advice of your guide, whose primary aim is to recommend the methods that will help you hook and bring your fish to the net.
Generally, the Rio Grande’s sea trout seem to lie near cut banks during the middle of the day, though in low water they will also lie in the faster necks of pools. Naturally, they move up primarily during early morning, evening and nighttime hours. Generally, “tails in the morning and heads at night” is a good rule. Also look for fish distributed throughout pools on calm, overcast days. Therefore, try to begin each fly drift or swing as close to a cut bank as possible, whether the presentation is upstream and across, straight across, or downstream and across. On sunny days, one theory holds that sea trout will take best if they don’t have the sun in their eyes, although this theory, like others, is often affected by the number of fish in a particular pool and the number of “takers.”
The Daily Program
- Guests will leave the lodge around 9 o’clock after breakfast, fishing till around 1 o’clock.
- Following lunch and a siesta,(the hours of which will depend on the season) Guests return to the river between 5 and 6 o’clock and fish through till dusk. Fishing hours will change slightly depending on the time of year.
- Villa Maria has a team of experienced, professional international guides.
- They are all English speakers, and will be able to offer tips on how to best fish each pool, fly choice and presentation.
- They are there to make your fishing more productive and enjoyable.
- Guides will transport you to the river in comfortable 4WD vehicles
- All are equipped with rod racks, first aid equipment and VHF radios.
1. If you have questions, ask your guide. They know the river well and can usually give you the best recommendation on how to approach a particular fishing situation.
2. Fishing days are long, especially early in the season, and the climate can be difficult. Concentrate your fishing during periods when trout are taking, and don’t hesitate to rest at midday. If you find that you tire as the week progresses, talk with your guide about departing for the river a bit later; they will be happy to accommodate you.
3. As a rule, the more time your fly spends in the water, the more sea trout you’ll catch. You’ll want to minimize false casting in order to cover as much water as possible during each outing. One retrieve technique commonly employed is short strips, but since pools and fly types vary it’s best to consult your guide on how best to fish each new situation and which retrieve to employ. Point your rod tip to where your fly line enters the water, following the line around as it swings your fly while you retrieve it. Depending on the swiftness of the current you may want to mend your line upstream, occasionally even downstream, in order to present your fly most advantageously to the trout.
4. Check leaders regularly for wind knots, which halve the breaking strength of monofilament.
5. If you have a fish roll at the fly, follow or “bump” it in any way; there is a good chance that the trout will come back to the same or a different fly. Wait a moment for the fish to return to its lie, don’t move, and cast again to the same location. Try to repeat the same length cast and fly speed. Then, change speed and fly on the next several casts. If the trout does not show himself again after a few changes, mark his location and return to try him again after resting that portion of the pool.
6. In setting a hook it’s best simply to tighten and let the fish hook itself. Never jerk the line to set a hook.
7. Having hooked a large fish, don’t plant your feet and attempt to drag it upstream against the current. Once you have the trout under control, head for shore and move with your fish,staying either abreast or slightly downstream of it. Also remember to “bow” to jumping sea trout by lowering your rod tip as the fish leaves the water.
8. Play sea trout aggressively, much as you should Atlantic salmon or steelhead. Many anglers play large fish too gingerly, which causes more losses than bullying the fish.
9. If you hook a fish in low light, communicate with your guide immediately. Listen carefully to his instructions, particularly with regards to the most reliable spot to net your fish.
10. Handle all fish with care and release them unharmed. (All fishing on the Rio Grande is catch and release.) Try not to let your trophies thrash on the bank. For pictures, cradle the fish in wet hands, gripping the handle of the tail firmly.
- Travelers should always pack medication for such common complaints as diarrhea, upset stomach, motion sickness, headache and irregularity, along with prescriptions.
- Most visitors to Argentina don’t experience stomach problems associated, for instance, with Mexico, but it pays to have treatment available just in case.
- You’ll find food to be outstanding, and bottled water available everywhere in Argentina.
All information necessary to obtain your license (no additional cost) will be taken from your pre trip questionnaire. Please make sure you send it back filled in.
Insects are not a problem in Tierra del Fuego. Be sure to bring and use sun block (15-30), even on cloudy days, and also lip cream, depending on your sensitivity. (The sun is very strong!) Camera and film, and a small carrying bag, (tackle bag or backpack) for odds and ends. Most of the fishing on the Rio Grande is near the vehicle. Items such as extra jackets, vests and tackle can be left in the vehicle each day between fishing periods. Small pliers are handy for debarbing hooks and releasing fish. Don’t forget angler’s clippers, and dry fly floatant, also line dressing, a small flashlight for evening fishing, a hook sharpener, and Polartec or neoprene (fingerless) fishing gloves.
Note: Rods and reels ride assembled on top of the vehicle to and from the river and between beats each day, often in dusty conditions. To protect your valuable reels, bring neoprene or some type of close-fitting reel cover that can be easily removed.
The guide and staff at Villa Maria work hard to provide you with the best experience during your trip. Gratuities are discretionary, and show your appreciation with the standard of the services provided. They are much appreciated by all. A typical weekly gratuity for guides and staff per person per week ranges from $350 to $500. The tip pool will be divided by managers amongst ALL the staff at Kau Tapen.
Up to October 2003 the Argentine peso value is 2.95 with the U.S. dollar (1 U$S= 2.95 $ peso). The dollar is widely accepted, and you can change dollars for pesos at your hotel or any bank. When paid in dollars, most merchants give change in pesos, a good way to get small bills for cabs, tips to porters, etc., although dollars may be used as well.
It is difficult to exchange traveler’s checks of any kind outside of Buenos Aires. American Express, Visa, and MasterCard are widely accepted.
The lodge accepts payment in cash, personal cheques and credit card (visa, Masters, Amex).
For further information please contact Ásta Ólafsdóttir via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org call direct at Lax-á office + 354 5576360
Villa Maria lodge
- Villa Maria lodge was designed to offer rods maximum comfort during their fishing trip, as well as easy accessibility to the pools.
- It accommodates up to 6 guests in 3 twin rooms and 1 single bedroom.
- A large living room area opens up to vista’s of the Menendez Valley and Rio Grande valley.
- A large roaring fire and well stocked bar will welcome you after every fishing session.
- The lodge has a tackle shop with a good selection of Sage rods, good quality reels, flies, lines, and clothing equipment, especially selected to suit the needs of your trip.
- In addition, guests have the full use of the lodge’s fly tying table and equipment.
- The lodge has 4 wading rooms.
Facilities and service
- Capacity: 4 rods.
- Rooms: 3 en suite bedrooms ( 3 doubles ).
- Dining room, sitting room, bar, wading room, fly-tying table and facilities.
- Telephone and internet access.
- Gourmet dining, with Argentina’s famed beef and fine wines, traditional Asados (BBQs) and delicious desserts
- Maid and laundry service.
- Fly shop fully equipped with flies, rods, reels, lines, and suitable clothing and Argentine crafts.
- First class Professional international and Argentine guides. All our guides are able to give casting tuition with single and double handed rods (Spey casting).
- Comfortable double cabin 4-wheel trucks fitted with rod racks and radios.
- Unparalleled bird watching and rich wildlife ( flamingos, foxes, llama-like guanacos).
- 220 volts, 50 cycles, generator powered.
- A standard converter and European adapter for two pronged plug should work fine throughout Argentina.
- The lodge has reliable electric power and back-up battery lighting.
- For eye protection, sunglasses should be worn while fishing the Rio Grande. Polaroids and a fishing hat with a brim that will protect your eyes and ears make an ideal combination. Also for safety, sea trout anglers should pack yellow or clear protective glasses. Yellow brightens the dusk sky. Anglers who wear prescription glasses should pack prescription polaroids and back ups.
- Guides are well-prepared to handle emergency medical situations, but you can take a few Band-Aids for cuts, scrapes and blisters. Many anglers like to tape their stripping finger with electrical tape which will avoid nasty cuts.
- Villa Maria lodge has a telephone and internet services for guest use.
- You will find all the relevant contact details in your final itinerary, a copy of which you can leave with a family member in case of emergency
- Your pre-trip questionnaire should indicate a contact in case of emergency, which is forwarded to the managers of Villa Maria lodge