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Irigoyen River

Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

Fishing Sea Run Browns in Tierra del Fuego: Rio Irigoyen

Tierra del Fuego, ArgentinaIn recent years the idea of fishing for sea run browns at the tip of the continent of South Amercia  has invoked images of windswept treeless land, casting as far as one is able, and envisioning oneself being buffeted  by 50 mile an hour winds while brandishing a 14 foot spey rod. Well those images are rightfully so on occasion when fishing the famous Rio Grande in Argentina, and you can catch the fish of a lifetime there for sure. But now there is an alternative fishing experience for the big sea run browns in Tierra del Fuego -- the Rio Irigoyen. This new fishing operation offering the angler an opportunity to fish for these searuns is Far End Rivers, and they do a great job on this special river in such a remote and special place on this southern province of Argentina.

Humungus sea run brown from the Rio IrigoyenThe Irigoyen is unique in that it is a small river on the East coast of the island of Tierra del Fuego and it that empties right into the sea where the big anadromous browns come in fresh from the salt. The river flows through a valley bordered by ancient lenga forests (beech). It is on the leeward side of the mountains thus being more sheltered from the roaring southern winds that cross this part of the continent. The mountains provide a scenic backdrop and the ocean and extending coastline is just a kilometer from the lodge.The Patagonian landscape is rugged and beautiful in its wildness. Remote it is, as Irigoyen and its lodge are 150 miles from the Ushuaia, the closest city, and the city that boasts to be the most southern in the world. At 53 south, the Irigoyen is truly in the outermost part of the world and that in itself makes it special.

The Fishing

Giant sea run brown from the Rio IrigoyenBeing small in width and depth, the Rio Irigoyen does not require long casting with swinging the fly techniques, but rather technical presentations for the big sea runs. The river bottom holds large log structures washed from the forests above during spring run off. These fallen logs afford the fish good holding places on their journey up the river to spawn. They provide great structure, and also great challenge as hooked fish will seek them out. For these reasons the river is best fished with single handed 7-8 weight rods in order to present flies easily and precisely, and to also land these big powerful fish by avoiding the obstacles in the water. The fishing on the Irigoyen is more like trout fishing with opportunities to nymph, streamer fish and even dry fly, but with the chance to hook a fish anywhere from 3 pounds to 26 lbs. (the lodge record). It is best to have a steelhead mind set to fish the Rio Irigoyen because like most anadromous fish these sea run can be moody by being on the bite one day and possibly off the next, and you do need to work for them like steelhead fishing, but  the rewards are good on the Irigoyen. Much of the mood of these fish depends on the weather conditions but in a week stay you go through a few of those considering in that part of the world you can experience the four seasons any day! The fishing is done by all wading, using ARGO 6x6 ATV between the various beats. There is approximately 20 miles of private water access. Another fish to be caught in early season from about  December into February is the robalo, a saltwater fish that comes in with the high tides. They vary in size and can get up to 18 pounds and they fight hard and are good fun to catch. The fishing for robalo also allows the angler great visitas of the rugged Patagonia coastline.

In addition to this great fishing, Far End Rivers has some of the best guides working with them. They know the river intimately and have experience guiding for anadramous fish in Iceland, and also on the Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego. They are young, energetic and excellent coaches. The lodge accommodates only 6 anglers a week and the atmosphere is warm and pleasant. Lodging is in a cabin with rooms off of a communal living space with a  wood burning stove, each with double beds and private bathrooms. The rooms are modest and super comfortable, and the food is top notch. They offer typical Argentine dishes and other creations that will be a pleasure to the palate after a day on the river and their wine list matches their great cuisine. Their professionally trained chef and small talented  staff is at your service every day.

Patty Reilly & guide with a large Rio Irigoyen searun brownThere is not another sea run brown trout fishery that offers such challenging & fun fishing for hooking into the big guys as this little lovely river.  It makes for a novel trip to have a comfortable base in the middle of such untouched raw beauty and unpopulated expanses of land, with all the comfortable amenities, all the while having opportunities to catch sea run brown trout. . A trip to fish to the Rio Irigoyen in Tierra de Fuego is an adventure, and makes for a very memorable fishing experience.

2010 Season Options- with new rivers to fish along with the Irigoyen!

The lodge has been open two seasons and this upcoming 2010 Far End Rivers is offering two new options besides the standard week including helicopter fly out to two new rivers south of the Rio Irigoyen.

Season Options

The Standard Pack is a week with 2 anglers to one guide, including lodging, meals, beverages and roundtrip transfer from Ushuaia Airport to the lodge. Capacity is 6 anglers. The stay is 7 nights and 6 days fishing the Irigoyen.

Cost per angler is $4,500

The Exclusive Pack will offer one guide to one angler for the week. This  program will allow anglers to have the undivided attention of a guide to assist them, and to also offer coaching on the technical aspects of fishing the Irigoyen.

The special aspect of the program is that lodge will have capacity for 4 anglers only that week and those anglers have the entire river to themsleves.

The stay is 7 nights and 6 days fishing the Irigoyen.

Cost per angler $6,750

There are particular weeks in the season offered for each of the packs. Please call 307-734-2448 for the 2010 calendar/schedule.

How to get there: The Rio Irigoyen and the Far End Rivers Lodge is located a 3 hour drive form the city of Ushuaia. The ride is very scenic and the last 60 miles is on a good dirt road. There are several flights a day from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, a three hour flight. If you are arriving from the States it is best to overnight in Buenos Aires and enjoy the city and then fly onto Ushuaia for the start of your trip.

Note: The founder of Far End Rivers is Marcelo Perez, the man responsible  for opening up La Zona on the Rio Uruguay  where the record  freshwater dorado are caught. His next project is a new fishery in Bolivia for freshwater dorado and other unusual hard fighting fish to be caught on the fly.


Patty Reilly's
Guided Connections
PO Box 694
Wilson, WY 83014

Phone: 307-734-2448


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