Las Buitreras- Season Report 2020

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The 2020 season atLas Buitreras has come to an end. As most of you probably know we had to close the lodge mid March already due to the COVID-19 virus that has swept through nations and is currently holding the whole world hostage. As unfortunate as this may be, especially for all of you that were not able to make your trip, this was a decision taken by governments all over the world with all of our best interests in mind.  We are now hoping that the world gets back on its feet as soon as possible so that all of us will be able to enjoy the good things in life again. One of them being chasing big sea-run browns at Las Buitreras.

Moving on, here is a brief summary of this year’s shortened season and some of the highlights. It’s amazing how quick the season passed and it’s still hard to believe we have to wait another 8 months until we are back on the water in southern Patagonia, chasing silver bullets. Until then we’ll be confined to watching photos and daydreaming.

As any angler that has ever fished in southern Patagonia knows, predicting the weather is more or less impossible. You simply bring as much clothing as you can carry in your bag and take it as it comes. Although the month of January is no different, the chances of experiencing warm summer days, t-shirt fishing, and low water levels is always more likely during this month than say in March. This season however, January had plenty of rain in store for us and we were lucky to start the season off with great water levels that lasted all of January. The number of fish in the river was consistently high with new runs of fish pushing up regularly. The average size of the fish landed stayed above 10 lbs all through the month. Thanks to the favorable conditions, fish were biting during all hours of the day. Still, that last light and especially the famous “magic hour” seemed to be worth paying a little extra attention to. Fish in this river really gets pissed off by those Sunray’s and attack them with everything they got, resulting in violent takes and explosions of water. We had many instances of guests coming back to the lodge after landing a trophy fish on a sunray on their last cast of the day!

Since we spend a lot of time fishing this river with small, size 8-10 nymphs and similar flies, losing fish is not uncommon. This year however we lost quite a few fish due to hooks opening and even breaking. At some stage we worried it was our own supply of flies that had been tied on a badge of bad hooks but luckily that wasn’t the case.

With this in mind we can’t stress enough the importance of bringing flies that are tied on proper hooks. Flies tied with patagonian sea-run browns in mind. Regular trout flies are great for smaller resident browns but they don’t cut it for the sea-runs down here. Trust us when we say that you don’t want to be the person that travels across the globe, all the way down to southern Patagonia in search of that trophy fish and finally hooking up, only to lose it due to a weak hook. 

Both weather and river conditions remained consistent as we entered February with rather cold temperatures and good water levels. However, about a week or so into February summer finally decided to arrive with full force. All of a sudden we were leaving the fleece jackets in the lodge and smearing our faces with sun lotion before every session. Along with the warmer weather we also experienced a river that dropped quickly. With low and clear water it was finally time for the traditional summer tactics, using long leaders, even smaller flies, and an overall stealthy approach. Although these conditions can sometimes be a little tricky as they require anglers to cast and wade more carefully, fishing remained really good. The smaller flies accompanied by long leaders worked perfectly, at least in terms of hooking fish. Landing them was, and always is, another story however and the smaller hooks unfortunately meant an increased amount of lost fish. As thrilling as a violent take and the initial run can be, as heartbreaking, if not more, it is to see a proper 15 lbs fish go straight up in the air, land in an explosion of water, followed by a slack line.

And while we are on the topic of losing fish: one story that stands out from this season was when our German friend Peter hooked an absolute beast of a fish during an afternoon session in Zone 1. Fishing a size 10 Copper John in C-pool the water suddenly exploded! Seconds later Peters reel was missing a good 60 meters of backing and the fish was still running. When it hit the pool below, a pool called Shelf, the fish finally turned and started swimming upstream. The fight lasted somewhere between 15 to 20 minutes and saw the fish all the way into the bank several times, but still always half a meter out of reach of the net. Witnessing this spectacle was Peter’s fishing partner Willi and our guide Lawson. Everyone who’s ever been guided by Lawson know’s the difference between his reactions to an OK sized fish and a BIG fish. A fish below 10 lbs may if you’re lucky bring about a “good job buddy” once the fish has been landed. A 15 lbs plus fish on the other hand will have him on his toes during the whole fight, constantly repeating the words “ it’s a good fish this is! It’s a good one“! This time however Lawson’s face was pale white. Rumours has it he forgot to breath for a full minute after seeing the fish the first time but that’s yet to be confirmed. What we do know however is that at some stage around the 20 minute mark of the fight, after several rounds of Peter running back and forth between C-pool and Shelf, the fish was about to be landed, or so we thought, when right in front of the net the fly popped out and the fish was gone. What happened after that is again unclear but from what we heard Peter actually broke out laughing, super excited about the fight and the experience. Lawson on the other hand couldn’t speak for a good 10 minutes. Coming back to the lodge that evening he finally opened up saying he has never been so close to net a 30 lbs fish in this river. A heartbreaking loss indeed but it’s also super encouraging to know that those fish are out there and at any given moment it might be your fly that gets hit by a monster.

By the end of February we finally had a new push of water, seeing the river rise to around level zero again. From here on we kept getting smaller pushes of water through to the end of the season keeping the water level rather consistent. Along with the small pushes of water we were also seeing new fish entering the system on a regular basis. Early March we had several runs of smaller fish in the 4-10 lbs size moving up the system, mixing it up with some of the big guys that had entered the river weeks or even months earlier. These big runs of fresh fish usually occur from March and onwards, during the so-called late season which runs from March to late April. This is usually a really good time for anyone chasing big numbers of fish. Unfortunately we were never allowed to capitalize on all the fish in the river this season as we had to close the lodge March 14.

The most successful flies during this season were nymphs in size 8 and 10. One fly in particular that stands out year after year is our all-time favorite Copper John. Anyone that carried a few different sizes and colours of this pattern in their box, topped off  withcouple leeches and sunray shadows for the magic hour were good to go.  During the few periods of high and colored water we were mainly fishing flies such as the Yellow Yummy, Green Lantern or bigger bead head woolly buggers and nymphs. Apart from one or two days here and there when we fished sink 2 tips after experiencing a quick rise of the water level, it was all floating and intermediate lines on the menu. Bring a floating belly with interchangeable tips such as the Rio Versitip Short or similar and you will always be able to fish this river no matter what it throws at you.

As always, we want to extend our sincere gratitude to all of the guests that came down and visited us this season. This season we were fortunate enough to have plenty of old friends visit us as well as making new acquaintances. We are truly lucky and beyond privileged to be able to share this place with so many amazing people from all over the world.

A special thank you to our staff and guides who keeps spoiling us both on and off the water, year after year. You are truly amazing and we can’t thank you enough for the quality of service you provide.

Looking ahead at the 2021 season in Patagonia we have lots of interesting news to look forward to. Among other things we will open two new programs. One is a new Add On program called Zone Zero that will be offered to our Las Buitreras guests exclusively. This program will accommodate maximum three anglers at a time and will be a chance to extend your trip to Las Buitreras by 4 days. You will find info about Zone Zero at the bottom of the Las Buitreras destination page. Glencross is a new brown trout program and will be offered as both a full week or half week program. You will find Glencross in the main destination menu on our website.

With that we want to thank all of you reading this and hope you stay safe and healthy.

Book Your Trip NOW!

Argentina in 2021? Consider this…

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What you should know and consider if you wish to fish Argentina this coming season.

Despite today’s global climate, we are grateful that some anglers are contacting us to plan a trip to Argentina for the 2020-2021 season.  That may sound crazy in our current world of uncertainty, but with many lodges and outfitters offering relaxed payment plans, guaranteed trip rollover credits, and optional “cancel for any reason” travel insurance/protection policies, booking your trip now could be more appealing than previously thought.

Many traveling anglers are still in the “wait and see” mindset, but for those wanting an Argentina fishing adventure to look forward to in 6-10 months from now, here are a few things to consider which should increase your enthusiasm and confidence.

(And hey, even if you don’t pull the trigger it’s a healthy exercise these days.)

PUTTING DOWN DEPOSITS FOR 2021

Many of our lodge partners fully understand travel uncertainties and have therefore released more flexible payment and cancellation policies with specific terms related to COVID-19.  Some of these policies include:

Liberal Payments/Liberal Due Dates – Many lodges have pushed back payment due dates to give clients more time to pay and shrunk the  It’s simple, book now and pay a small fraction, later. This allows you to hold on to your money longer.

Future Trip Credits – Although most lodges are not offering refunds for trips cancelled due to travel restrictions you will receive a 100% credit toward a future trip (within 12-24 months of original trip dates).

Contact us to learn the specific conditions of the lodge you are interested in.

The lodges implementing the above policy are trying to protect your deposits, yet they cannot cover every single possible scenario.  That is why comprehensive travel insurance should be a part of your trip planning.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Many of you have regrettably learned that your travel insurance policy did not protect you against Covid-19 related cancelations unless your policy included a Cancel for Any Reason rider.  This policy with optional upgrade will cost you about 9% more, but now, it has greater value.

Why?  Because while we are grateful for the lodge’s leniency, unforeseen developments could cause you to lose your deposit if you did not have a comprehensive travel insurance policy.

We sell Global Rescue and recommend their Signature Plus policy that includes the Cancel for Any Reason upgrade. One perk with Global Rescue is you can move your trip dates to the following year and maintain your coverage.   There are several other travel insurance providers you can work with but be sure you purchase a policy that includes “cancel for any reason’ and you read the fine print.

We are always here to help. Reach out to us for any reason.
434-249-1783

And stay safe!

 

Covid-19; Now and The Foreseeable Future  

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By now, the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic has sunk in with most people across the globe and we all are navigating how to handle this new reality.  We’d like to share our thoughts on how we are seeing and handling it today and what we aim to do in the future.  With this fast evolving situation we understand that what we think and predict today may become obsolete in short time.

TODAY IN ARGENTINA
Tourism in Argentina has completely stopped and all lodges have shut their doors for the remainder of the fishing season. The Covid-19 outbreak has created an extraordinary challenge for each lodge/outfitter. Each lodge/outfitter will devise with their own plan regarding existing trips that had to be cancelled. Every lodge wants to honor payments but some are in positions where they have to make careful calculations regarding how to honor those payments while ensuring their doors will be open next year.

For our clients who paid in full and were not able to travel or had to cut their trip short, please know that we are in touch with each lodge/outfitter involved with your trip. Together we will provide a solution that respects your payments, loyalty and safely first and secondly ensures the vitality of the operator.  If your trip was interrupted or cancelled, we have either already contacting your directly or will be soon and ask for your patience as we communicate with our partners.  In the meantime, contact your airline or ticketing agent to understand your options for refunds or changes.  Most carriers are waiving cancellation and change fees.

TODAY AT HOME
On a personal note, I’d like to remind everyone that the severity and duration of this pandemic depends greatly on the actions taken by you, me, and every individual human being.  Even today, people are still flying domestically for vacations, eating out, shopping for non essentials and gathering with friends.  While it’s still a free country, we all know the more everyone stays home the less problematic this will be. I commend the governmental officials who have shut down bars, restaurants and movie theaters in their areas and hope others will do the same while making efforts to soften the economic impact on those businesses and their employees.

If one absolutely must go out, educate yourself on the necessary precautions.  If you can avoid going out, then just stay in for the next 14 days  and use this time to connect with family, call old friends, tie some flies or start a new project.  It’s a small price to pay to help prevent spreading the virus to those at high risk. One careless act today could end up infecting an a high risk loved one tomorrow, maybe even yours.

For now, please encourage your friends and family, especially those 16-35 years old, to stay home and stay informed via www.cdc.gov.

LOOKING AHEAD
On a brighter note, we and our associates feel confident tourism will be alive and well for the upcoming 2020-2021 fishing season in Argentina.  We also think the next few weeks may be the best time to book your trip because of increased opportunities and less financial risk. 
We predict less competition for prime dates that normally get filled during the high booking months of April–May. Also, airlines are encouraging new reservations by offering low fares and waiving change fees on new reservations made between now and March 31, 2020. In addition, those that do book now can further protect their deposits with a comprehensive travel insurance policy.

OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU
Even in these uncertain times, have confidence in our ability and commitment to put your priorities first. We encourage you to contact us with upcoming travel plans and know that our goal is to always offer you extra flexibility and understanding with respect to worldwide travel developments.

This crisis is not our first, since we started operating in Argentina in 1999, our business has survived civil unrest, drastic currency devaluations, volcanic eruptions, 9/11 and previous virus outbreaks. Throughout all these past events, we put your well-being and interests first and you have our promise that we always will.

Stay healthy, stay positive, stay safe and stay at home and stay in touch.

Justiniano F Campa
Fly Fishing Patagonia, owner.
jcampa@flyfishingpatagonia.com
434-249-1783

Argentina Travel Restrictions- Alert!

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To US citizens traveling to Argentina, beware that you may or may not be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival in Buenos Aires. As of now, Fly Fishing Patagonia is advising travelers who are within a few hours of boarding flights to Argentina to consider staying at home.

News is developing by the minute. As of 1:30pm EST, the Argentine government has not made an official announcement. However, yesterday they announced together with Peru and Columbia “a two-week isolation period for people arriving from China, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, South Korea and the United States”. This was cited in the France24 new website.

We have not seen an official announcement yet from the Argentine government.

This morning, Americans and others coming from the mentioned countries are being checked by medical professionals upon arrival.  Those with no symptoms are free to carry on their journey. Those with symptoms are detained. No one really knows yet if tomorrow and the next day will be more of the same OR if all travelers from these countries will be detained or quarantined for an undetermined time.

It is our opinion it is a bit far fetched that the Argentine government is going to quarantine thousands of people in hotels for 2 weeks, so the most likely scenario is that asymptomatic travelers will be allowed to continue their vacation OR be required to fly home immediately. And if you have symptoms or test positive for the virus you may be quarantined or required to fly home. No one knows yet.   At this point, it’s a personal decision to fly or not.

We are in close contact with partnering outfitters and lodges and they too are trying to make decisions with little information. Together with Nervous Waters and other partners, we agree that those who are traveling in the next 48 hours should probably take the decision to remain at home. Those who are flying in 3 or more days should have more concrete information.  The question of credits or refunds has risen but is not being addressed at this time.  I can assure you that we and our partners have each client’s best interest in mind.

We ask for a couple of days to sort through these developments to determine how to advise our clients and move forward. If there is an official announcement by the Argentina government we will post it and we will contact travelers directly.

Thank you for your patience,
Justiniano F Campa
Fly Fishing Patagonia

 

This link takes you to the March 11th announcement on the US Embassy Buenos Aires Website.  Or you can read the article below.

Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Buenos Aires, Argentina (March 11, 2020)

Event:  The government of Argentina announced upcoming enhanced screening and quarantine measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. Visit the website of the Argentine Ministry of Health (in Spanish) for additional information on these new measures.

Public statements by Argentine government officials noted a 14-day self-isolation quarantine for anyone, regardless of nationality, arriving in Argentina who has visited a country with sustained transmission, including the United States, all European countries, China, Japan, South Korea, and Iran.  Health screening measures are in place at the Buenos Aires International Airport and the Argentine authorities may quarantine individual travelers, including passengers transiting the International Airport, if the Argentine authorities determine the traveler to be a health risk.  Failure to comply with the quarantine measure may be a criminal offense.  A presidential decree with more details on self-isolation and travel restrictions is pending.  Please refer to the Argentine Ministry of Health website (in Spanish) for further details.

Actions to Take:

 Assistance:

 

9 Rewards for Booking Early (One being a free rod)

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In our last newsletter we discussed a few exciting last minute trip ideas that offered great fishing during the less traveled months of March & April.  Last minute trips are for anglers who can’t book early, don’t have a long list of requirements or just have a wild hair to tame.  However, unless you are lucky, a last minute trip to one of our destinations during the high travel months of December -February may require you to compromise on dates, location, trip length, # of travelers, etc.

Unfortunately, planning a trip with us 6 months out is still considered late.  In fact, unless you aim to travel during our shoulder seasons you are n minute.  For the best booking and trip experience, start planning 12 or more months in advance, especially if you require specific parameters and wish to travel between December and February.

When you book 12 months out for any month of the season, you‘ll be rewarded with:

  1. Your Preferred Travel Dates
  2. Your Friends/Family Joining You
  3. Availability at the best Lodges/Outfitters
  4. Lower Airfare
  5. Accommodated Special Request
  6. Stress Free Planning and No Compromises
  7. Paying Slowly Over Time
  8. Time to thoroughly prepare and Practice with Your New Rod!
  9. A Brand New TFO Premium Fly Rod !

Whether you book last minute or 2 years in advance we have the knowledge and network to put you in a great spot with prime fishing.  But when possible, reward yourself with the benefits of booking early. And get a free rod on us to boot!

(One free rod will be mailed to anglers who book a 7 night trip between Jan 1 – Apr 31, 2021. Surcharge applied to some models)

Call us and start planning now!
434-249-1783

WHAT 2021 TRIPS SHOULD BE BOOKED NOW!


San Huberto & Tipiliuke Lodge Combo
Trout fishing northern Patagonia

Fly fishing two of Argentina’s iconic dry fly rivers, the Malleo and Chimehuín. These private and prolific waters run crystal clear through the awe inspiring Patagonia Steppe.  By day, target big trout on foot or float with expert guides and by night indulge in the renowned hospitality and refined cuisine that these two estancias are known for. These two properties and fisheries complement each other perfectly.

Length: 8 nights/7 days fishing (4 nights at each lodge)
Good Time:  Dec-Feb
When to book:  Now!
Estimated Rate:  $8650/ angler
TFO rod to request for this trip6wt, 9ft  BVK

 

Expedition/ Lodge Combo 

Sleep under the southern cross for a few nights and then pamper yourself at a cozy lodge – and of course fish blue ribbon streams by day. This is our most popular trout fishing trip in Patagonia because it mixes a little bit of adventure with luxury. On the Wilderness Fishig Expedition portion we will fish the Chimehuín, Caleufu or Collon Cura Rivers – whichever is fishing the best when you get there. At the end of each day on the float, you’ll arrive into a deluxe camp already set up.  Wine and appetizers waiting.  To finish out the week, you’ll fish a variety of rivers close by the lodge

Length: 10 nights/9 days fishing
Good Time:  Dec-Feb
When to book:  Now!
Estimated Rate:  $6500/ angler
TFO rod to request for this trip6wt, 9ft  BVK

 

3 Rivers Trout Fishing Expedition
Trout fishing northern Patagonia
 (100% Dry Flies!)

This is a popular trip featuring three Big Brown Trout rivers, the Chime, Collon and lower Limay.  December through early February on these waters is a good time to put away the streamer box and pull out those ugly foam bugs with all the legs.  From a nice hotel in San Martin, we’ll fish the Chimehuín for a day, then spend 2 nights/2.5 days glamping on the Collon Cura River. The trip ends by targeting the 5-10lb migrating Brown Trout on the Lower Limay. There  spend 3 nights at an inn with private chef and fish 3.5 days on northern Patagonia’s #1 trophy trout river.

Length: 7 nights/6 days fishing
Good Time:  Dec-Feb
When to book:  Now!
Estimated Rate:  $4995/ angler (dbl occ)
TFO rod to request for this trip6 wt, 11ft  Axiom II Switch  or 6wt, 9ft  Axiom II-X

 

Jurassic Lake Lodge
Trophy Trout fishing in southern Patagonia
(Peak weeks for next year are almost gone!)

With Rainbows the size of your leg, it’s no surprise that peak season weeks at Jurassic Lake Lodge have to be booked far, far, far in advance.  Late October through mid-December is the time to be there.  It’s when the Barrancoso River has its best flows and is full of big 5-15 lb Rainbows.  It’s when anyone who’s in the “know” wants to go.  See the few remaining prime dates for 2021 below.

Length: 7 nights/6 days fishing
Good Time:  Early Nov-late Dec
When to book:  Now!  Peak 2021 dates are almost gone!
Rate:  $6990/ angler
TFO rod to request for this trip 6wt, 9ft  or  7wt, 10ft  BVK

Fly Fishing Patagonia has space for 3 anglers this 2020 season.  They are the last rods available in Nov-Dec 2020.   Join us at Jurassic Nov 13-21, 2020!