Photos: Argentina’s Amazing Rio Pico Region

Written by: Brian McGeehan, Montana Angler Fly Fishing

One of many nice rainbows landed at Lago Tres on our first day in Rio Pico.
Photos by Brian McGeehan

When it comes to fly fishing, there is something about driving a little farther and working a little harder that always appeals to me. I guess I am always hoping that the grass is a little greener on the other side of the fence.  Perhaps this is why the Rio Pico region of Patagonia in Argentina has long intrigued me. This is the southernmost area of Argentine Patagonia where you can still encounter high-quality classic trout fishing. (Tierra del Fuego sea-run browns and Jurassic Lake rainbows are even farther south.) The Rio Pico region features a variety great trout waters that offer some wonderful classic fly-fishing opportunities.  It doesn’t hurt that the scenery is stunning.

The scenery in the Rio Pico Region is simply stunning.

The drive to Rio Pico takes about three hours from the Esquel airport. Most of the drive traverses a vast expanse of open pampas with the Andes visible in the distance. Near the end of the journey we head back towards the mountains. While the Andes near Rio Pico are not the highest mountains in this long chain that spans most of South America, they are extremely rugged and sublime.

The Rio Pico region is named for the river. The area is home to great small-stream fishing and some lakes with huge trout.

The road into the Estancia Tres Valles is simply stunning.  After cresting a large hill an amazing valley opens up below with rugged glacier covered mountains that wrap around a large lake.  Although many of the Argentine trout fishing regions are found in drier climates, the Rio Pico region resembles some of the Chilean regions we fish near Coyahaique with forested hillsides and no shortage of dramatic views.

We fished for six days, covering five great waters: Lago Tres, Rio Pico (one day wading, one day floating), Lago Dos, a spring creek, and Rio Nielson, We had a spectacular time and caught some gorgeous trout.

Click here for the full trip report and lots more photos.

Brian McGeehan is owner and outfitter of Montana Angler Fly Fishing, an Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Expedition in Bozeman, Montana.

Another Lago Tres beauty, caught from the edge of a weedy area.

My big fish of the week: a nice brown that we spotted in just inches of water in one of the Rio Pico’s spring-creek-like side channels.

Lago Dos holds some of the largest trout in the Rio Pico region.

Each trout we spotted on the spring creek required a careful and well planned approach.

Most of the fish we landed on the spring creek were in the 17- to 19-inch range, but we spotted bigger ones.

One of Randy’s many nice fish from the Rio Pico float.

Some of the bigger fishon Rio Nielson couldn’t resist the temptation of a mouse twitched across the surface.

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