Accommodations for the Trout Bum program are probably best described as "authentic", in true, local, Patagonia style. Unless there is a specific need for backcountry camping, we are usually set up at one of our local lodgings either in town or out on Lago Tres. Each has its own characteristics, advantage, and style, and we are happy to spend as much time as necessary helping each group choose the option that is best for them.
Brook trout, Brown trout, Rainbow trout
Rainbows, Brookies, and Browns swim these waters, and we pursue them with a wide variety of tackle and techniques. Anglers planning for the Rio Pico Trout Bum itinerary can express their preferences concerning fishing styles at the time of their booking, as well as at any point during the trip. And with such an incredible array of options in the immediate area, we can have you throwing dry flies with a three-weight, chucking six-inch streamers on a heavy sink tip, or even Small Stream fly fishing Patagonia Argentina Rio Pico Trout Bumspey casting pretty much any day of the week. Some spots are numbers games, usually with pretty much constant action from what in Patagonia amounts to smallish or medium-sized fish (which would be considered large in most of the world) while others are more f View more...or hunting bruisers (the ones from the pictures, which are the ones that most folks come down for). Our guides for the Trout Bum program are all locals who grew up on these drainages and know them like the backs of their hands; with this much water at our fingertips it just all boils down to the client’s personal preference. It is easy to do a different environment or style every single day even on a two-week tour. Plus, from the Andes to the Pampas, the landscape is so diverse that within a day's range we feel like we are in totally separate ecosystems and can experience a huge variety of different modalities of fishing.
One of the questions we get quite frequently when folks are looking at doing a Trout Bum trip has to do with what kind of tackle should be used, and what we can provide. Affordable Fly Fishing Patagonia Argentina Trout Bum Rio Pico Justin Witton signing up each angler receives our standard Pre-trip Information and Planning packet with detailed lists of everything they will need in the way of gear, clothing, and flies, as well as all sorts of other useful information on how to arrange the travel and what to expect in terms of details for the trip. We can usually provide rods whenever necessary, but waders and boots need to be brought down for sure, and while our guides do all carry fly boxes loaded with their local patterns (free for clients to use) it is always a good idea to bring what’s on the list as well if you can. Rod setups are a pretty personal choice for most anglers, but generally, we suggest nine-foot sticks ranging from six weights up to eights, with floating lines for the lighter rods and floaters plus 12’ to 24’ sink tips for the heavier ones. Nine-foot leaders are the norm, most of which will be 0x but some of which might go as light as 3x, and a few poly leaders in varying weights are never a bad idea. We rarely tie on anything lighter than 4x tippet but if you end up wanting to throw at some picky little 16” risers one day your guide will always have what you need.
Another thing that is nice about the Rio Pico region is that it has such a diverse mixture of wading conditions and water that we can float. When we first set up the Trout Bum program we assumed that most of our clientele would be made up of guides from the states who were used to working hard out on the water every day but needed a trip that they could afford. We pretty quickly realized though that this was not the only market which was going to respond. Even those first years we started to see quite a few folks from age groups and demographics that required less physically demanding days than what our guide groups were generally looking for; but with more water for us to choose from than anyone could fish even in a month, this turned out not to be a problem.
The program can be set up in a wide variety of styles ranging from being in the boat every day of the trip to mixing that up with easier wading, and to the more extreme hike-in and camp expeditions. And as such, we have now found we get groups made up of everything from college-aged guys who live and work in conditions much like our own to retired couples and groups of guys we used to guide at the five-star lodges who are just looking for a more authentic small-town Patagonia experience. Who knew? What we do know though is this – everybody goes home happy. To date, we’ve not had a single post-trip report come back as anything other than glowing, and we encourage anyone looking into the Trout Bum program to talk to some of our past clients for first-hand stories of what the experience was like.
As the name suggests, this lodge is owned and managed by our man Vasco, a local character that fits the word “character” to a T. Of Basque descent (as the name suggests), Vasco was born and raised in Rio Pico and has been one of the town’s most famous jokesters and beloved personalities since he began working with fishermen over twenty years ago.
Location: Downtown (if you can call it that) Rio Pico, centrally located such that our guides can go in any of the four cardinal directions each morning which maximizes fishing and minimizes drive time, plus keeps you close the stores that sell wine, beer, and liquor.
Sleeping arrangements: Two adjoining lodge setups with two bedrooms each set up as triples three double beds, any of which can be turned in View more...to matrimonial suites by making kings size beds out of two double beds.
Bathrooms: Each lodge space has one bathroom with shower, toilet, and sink.
Common areas: Each lodge space has its kitchen, dining area, and living room with sofas, lounge chairs, and TV. There is also a balcony, common space, and “quincho” where the asados are cooked.
Cost: Included in standard rate – no upcharge.
*Vasco's is one of our most popular lodges due to its location and versatility. This means it is important to make reservations in advance!
Cabanas El Madrugon:
El Madrugon is our man Paulino’s place (English translation is ”Dawn Riser”). Paulino is truly a living legend throughout Patagonia at large. Having picked up a fly rod before most anglers in Argentina had even heard of one, he has by now quite likely forgotten more about the sport than the rest of us will ever know.
Most of Paulino’s life has been dedicated to the exploration of Patagonian trout waters, and to teaching the members of a newly emerging sport-culture the rules, responsibilities, and details of the game. From tying flies and assisting guests to put together some of the best Asados in all Argentina, Paulino’s contribution to the Trout Bum program is an attraction all its own.
On Paulino’s property up on the edge of town, the Madrugon is a complex of cabins that have been built over the years around Paulino’s house/fly shop. (Paulino probably sells more of his all-barbless fly patterns from here than every other fly shop in Patagonia combined, and he doesn’t have so much as a sign outside to advertise their availability).
The main cabin features a large dining room, kitchen, and fireplace area around which to tell the day’s fishing stories downstairs, as well as two full bathrooms with showers, and a sleeping loft with bunks for up to twelve guests at a time. The walls of this main building are adorned with mounts of enormous rainbows, brookies, and king salmon that Paulino did himself more than forty years ago before he became a strictly catch and release fisherman. (He won’t even take a fish out of the water these days for a picture, unhooking even thirty-plus inches while they’re still beneath the surface and watching them swim away while the rest of us croon for a glimpse).
While definitely our least luxurious set up (one of the toilets actually has to be flushed by reaching into the wall and lifting the release valve) it does have an authenticity that is hard to resist, and hanging out with Paulino over the fire while the lamb is roasting provides a great opportunity to learn about the history of the area and its fishing.
Location: Northside of Rio Pico, a ten-minute walk from downtown. Centrally located such that our guides can go in any of the four cardinal directions each morning which maximizes fishing and minimizes drive time, plus keeps you close the stores that sell wine, beer, and liquor.
Sleeping arrangements: Loft set up with eight or so single beds and one double, or double bedrooms with bunk beds in the newer cabin next door.
Bathrooms: Two full bathrooms with showers, toilets, and sinks in the main lodge and one bathroom with shower, Paulino Arias Rio Pico Trout Bum Programtoilet and sink in the newer cabin next door.
Common areas: Both cabins have living/dining rooms with TV and kitchens. There is also a “quincho” outback amongst the cherry trees where the lamb asados are done over the fire, with chairs and tables for drinking and socializing after the day’s fishing.
Cost: Included in standard rate – no upcharge.
*Paulino's El Madrugon is one of our two most commonly used lodging set up due to its location and versatility and well, Paulino's presence as an attraction all its own. This means that it is important for reservations to be made as far in advance of trip dates as possible!
Back Country Camping:
Sometimes we get folks who are looking to head out into the backcountry and camp, accessing even more isolated waters than the ones we can drive to in a Hilux. And so the backpacks get loaded, the truck gets left at the end of the road, and in we walk to the spots that don’t get talked about after we come back out. These walks are not for everyone. Generally speaking, when we do backcountry trips the campsite is set up somewhere around ten miles from the truck, and the rivers we are fishing and the country we are walking requires strong legs and steady resolve. Clients planning to do a backcountry trip as part of their Trout Bum program should plan to bring their backpacks and sleeping bags/pads, as well as any other personal items they usually like to have with them while camping. Our team will supply tents, cooking equipment, and everything else that is needed. It is also very important that if a backcountry excursion is to be part of the Trout Bum itinerary that this is discussed with us at the time of the trip’s booking since our in-country preparations for that option are quite different than they are for a group staying at one of the lodges.
Location: Variable, and generally not something we’d prefer to have talked about or posted online after the trip.
Sleeping arrangements: Tents, generally double occupancy.
Bathrooms: The woods.
Common areas: The campfire.
Cost: $400 upcharge - It may seem odd that we should have to charge more for backcountry camping, but the truth is that the logistics are just far more complex and demanding. Generally, this requires an “auxiliary” (assistant guide) to accompany each guide/client pair, and that expense plus the maintenance of gear is greater than the expense of lodging.
Transfer Service In/Out
4x4 Trucks Toyota Hilux
Boat Rafts and Driftboats
Rio Pico and surrounding waters, Chubut, Argentina
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Trout Bum? What is this? What it is not is a 5-star dining/drinking lodge with six hours a fishing per day. What it is a journey to a remote area of Patagonia with the focus on fly fishing.
It's a long night flight to arrive in Buenos Aires (BA) in the early morning and best to spend a night and day enjoying the city and its culture and dining. You can enjoy a 5-star dinner at a 2-star price. Justin and his team make the logistics easy! Flying to Esquel the next day is easy and the regional jets with 2x2 seating and good snack on board make for an enjoyable flight. A 2.5 hour drive to Rio Pico delivers you to a remote area of Patagonia where the Trout Bum focus is on fishing and not luxury.
Accommodations are just fine If you like a comfortable bed, shared room, shared bath room and a hot shower. Meals are hardy and the local grocery store has a surprisingly good selection of Malbec and even some hard liquor. One a week there is the classic Patagonia "Asada" BBQ that is very special.
Unlike the 5-star lodge, Trout Bum allows you to fish 10 or more hours per day! Less if you chose. Trout Bum offers you a choice of river, streams, lakes to fish. You can customize based upon you desires. Trout Bum offers you the choice of dry fly fishing, streamer or nymph fishing. Trout Bum offers you the chance to catch and release a lot of fish or the chance to catch and release a trophy or two. Trout Bum offers the opportunity to target Rainbow, Brook, and Brown Trout.
The locals are friendly and the guides are not only professional but become your friends along the journey. "Gee" and "Rocky" were awesome.
How about me? This was my second trip to Patagonia and the third is scheduled for February/March 2020. Probably enough to make the recommendation. I like to wade the rivers and streams and in a tiny stream I caught and released brook trout ranging from "dinks" to the 28" "One Eyed" monster that took a stonefly nymph. The big fish was blind in one eye and gave me several attempts to place the fly in the feeding lane. That is my career best for a Brookie. Some of the streams have an abundance of rainbows of 12-22" and such days can add to your numbers.
I really wanted to catch a trophy brown and had to wait to my next to last day and finally the hard work paid off. Three nice browns, 4-7# and another personal best. You better be prepared to pull the browns from the "hole" or you will soon be wrapped about a log or boulder and wondering what happened.
Summing it up, if you are looking for an incredible experience, Trout Bum may be your perfect trip. Good casting is a plus as breezy and sometimes very windy conditions can be the norm. My 6-weight 10' Sage XP served me well on the rivers and streams and an 8-weight was best in the lakes.