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  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    SE Pennsylvania
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    177

    Default Re: Patagonia/Rio Grande for trophy browns...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ard View Post
    I've worked at some lodges in Alaska where the fishing is good. The rate for a 6 night 5 day stay is around $7,000.00 less air fares and tips. I used to be able to offer bargain priced fishing packages in my part of the state but those days are over. Over because our fisheries are nearly done for.

    Right now I'm weighing the question of whether to take a long anticipated trip to Oregon which will no doubt cost me close to 3 thousand all included, air fares, rental vehicles, lodging and food.... or call it off then bite the bullet and pay 6 K for a spring steelhead trip in the western Alaska region.

    My advice? If you can swing first class take it. Furthermore, why not hire Estiban he's been around here a while and seems a good fellow
    It's just frustrating that there is a lack of adventure/DIY options in general. Four buddies and I floated a river in NW Alaska last year, we caught more dolly varden, chum salmon, grayling, and pink salmon than I could count. Knock out fishing from the first cast to the last cast. All in it was under $3,000. 90% of that was airfare. Flying from Pennsylvania to Anchorage. Then Anchorage to Kotzebue. Then bush plane from Kotz to a gravel bar on the river which was $1k round-trip. We had an outfit rent us tents, boats, stove, chairs, kitchen stuff, etc that was dropped at the bush pilot's hangar. That was maybe $175 or $200/head for the gear rental. We had the trip of a lifetime because four of us did it ourselves. No guides, no cooks, nothing. We setup camp 4 times in 6 days. Cooked our own food. Scared off our own grizzly bears. It was exhausting, but so satisfying and worth it. We are all in our early 40s. There will be a time (15+ years from now) where we would likely enjoy being pampered and served high end food/drink and have a relaxing fishing schedule. But that's not us now, nor are we able to really foot the bill for a $10k trip, what with 2-3 kids each now and other responsibilities. We are in it for adventure, solitude, and good fishing. We fish our asses off and when we are not fishing, we are setting up camp, cooking food, gathering firewood, etc. We are finding it extremely difficult to find trips like that. Maybe we just head back to NW Alaska and pick a different river and do the trip over again. Or a better option would be to head into backcountry and deal with all the wilderness and solitude but also smaller fish.

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  3. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
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    18,263
    Blog Entries
    141

    Default Re: Patagonia/Rio Grande for trophy browns...

    This will not help you find what you want down south but what you wrote brought it to mind.

    Alaska has a history and an infrastructure albeit limited that was and is centered on outfitting people from the lower 48. From the early explorers through the gold rush stampede to todays DIY minded outdoorsmen. Patagonia although popular in the lore of fishermen is far less developed and for those who live in that southern most bastion of civilization the fish guide and lodging business is for some the only business they have. I know of no oil or fantastic gold industry there only of unspoiled wilderness with tremendous fishing. I suspect that the lack of the DYI opportunities there are by design and meant to protect the income that can be made by hosting rather than renting out the means.

  4. #13
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    SE Pennsylvania
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    177

    Default Re: Patagonia/Rio Grande for trophy browns...

    That's a great point Ard. Kind of didn't think about the lack of infrastructure down there for sportsmen and such, where as Alaska was and has continued to be built on outfitting folks from the lower 48. I wonder if there is similar infrastructure in northern Canada, I would assume so. Would like to look at some trips up there as well. Great input Ard, good point of view I hadn't thought of.

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  6. #14

    Default Re: Patagonia/Rio Grande for trophy browns...

    I understand the cost is one thing, but I wouldn't let your preconceptions of the lodges influence your decision to go to southern Patagonia. Like yourself, I'm pretty hardcore and have done plenty of backcountry, float, ect trips DIY/solo. I have no problem fishing 15 hour days and have never hired a guide unless I was fishing somewhere where it is required or I simply needed you for your boat.

    That said, even if the type of trip you are looking for was available in southern Patagonia (it really isn't for the most part), it would be a horrible experience in my opinion, the wind being the biggest reason for that. Until you have been there you won't have an appreciation for it. It is constant. The week I was there it blew 40 constant with gusts higher. It isn't like wind in the states where even if it gusts 40 or 50, you get a reprieve in between gusts. There it is just constant and beats the **** out of you. After four or five hours in that, you will want to go back to a nice warm lodge. When you get there and there is a thick assed Latina waiting for you with a delicious Malbec, before an incredible meal (the food blows away lodges anywhere else), trust me, it is a routine you can get used to.

    Most of the lodges fish morning and evening with time for a siesta in the afternoon. You are allowed to fish the home pool on your own if you don't feel like taking a siesta. After the first day, not a single person fished during the break. A bunch of the guys staying there were hardcore anglers and they all took a few hour break during the day. Fishing all day in that wind and then going back to your tent and trying to start a fire would be awful. Quite frankly, if someone told me I could go down there for free and have full access to the rivers but I had to do it as a DIY I would politely decline.

    Like I said, the price is understandably high. But if you can swing it, it really is a special place and the fish are incredible. I had browns pushing 20lbs clear the water 7 or 8 times. The lodges and the routine is really part of the Patagonia experience, and not something I would write off.

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  8. #15

    Default Re: Patagonia/Rio Grande for trophy browns...

    My opinion of these dudes is another topic, but MW guys went up to New Zealand last year I think and did all DIY...



    Giant sea-run browns is pretty much the top of my list right now too. No wife and kids, but don't have the funds to swing it at this point

  9. #16

    Default Re: Patagonia/Rio Grande for trophy browns...

    Quote Originally Posted by cwb124 View Post
    That's a great point Ard. Kind of didn't think about the lack of infrastructure down there for sportsmen and such, where as Alaska was and has continued to be built on outfitting folks from the lower 48. I wonder if there is similar infrastructure in northern Canada, I would assume so. Would like to look at some trips up there as well. Great input Ard, good point of view I hadn't thought of.
    Any updates? Have you looked into Argentina any more? Buddy was mentioning Tierra Del Fuego the other day and I haven't found anything less that 7 grand. Seems like its 7-10 however you look at it

  10. #17
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    SE Pennsylvania
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    177

    Default Re: Patagonia/Rio Grande for trophy browns...

    Quote Originally Posted by rustneversleeps View Post
    Any updates? Have you looked into Argentina any more? Buddy was mentioning Tierra Del Fuego the other day and I haven't found anything less that 7 grand. Seems like its 7-10 however you look at it
    We haven't really looked much further into it as of yet because we know it's a $7k-$8k minimum trip that we likely can't swing at the moment. We are considering another Alaska DIY float trip, or maybe an ID/MT/WY wilderness hike fishing trip. Even if we get a bush plane involved it is worlds more affordable than South America. Even toying with an Ontario or Quebec, CA fly in lodge trip and throwing flies for massive pike. We can do that all in for well under $2k a piece.

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  12. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Isle of Lewis, UK.
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    678

    Default Re: Patagonia/Rio Grande for trophy browns...

    Hi, cwb124. I spent 11 months on a rtw trip a decade ago. In the hope it's some help, here's my experiences in Chilean Patagonia and TDF.
    Photos can be found here (scroll to bottom of p.1 for Chile & TDF).

    I flew in to Santiego from Easter Island in late Jan. '10 and immediately took another flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chilean Patagonia. The airport bus dropped me at the ferry terminal and a few hours later I was heading to Porvenir, TDF, one of the 'main towns'. In fact, I found no infrastructure for fishermen. No guides, no permits, no car hire! I headed back to Punta Arenas and got lucky - my b&b owner was a fisher! With his help I got my permit and he took me to Lago Parilliar (fontenalis) and Rio Penitente (browns). He then helped me hire a jeep and I set off back to TDF.

    On the ferry I met a party of fly fishers off to one of the grand estansias. I was told that the guides there would make life hard for me on the river and bully me off, despite my having the legal paperwork. It's their turf.
    But, if I drove with them to a saw mill in the centre of the island I could buy enough fuel to take me to the end of the road, literally, and back to Porvenir. The new road was being built by the military to connect with Ushuaia but had got as far as Lago Fagnano, a 17 mile long lake to the south. The head of the party had canoed it in the '90s. His friend got broken by 60lb+ kings several times ....
    I did as he suggested and took myself off into the Darwin Mountains through pouring rain, camping where the road ran out and bridges awaited building. The following day I walked a few miles to the river, rod in hand. I was vastly under-gunned, carrying only a 9 ft #6 with a floating line and the river was in spate! Still, one of the most memorable days of my life, if fishless. If you and your pals are prepared to rough it there's a wealth of fishing down there as yet untouched by the commercial world - at least, there was ten years ago.

    Another option might be Torres del Paines, again Chilean Patagonia but to the n.w of Punta Arenas. One of the most stunning landscapes I've ever witnessed plus king salmon and good trout. There are lodges which might suit you. The focus of the park is walking and the scenery but the fishing could be remarkable if a guide and boat were to be found.
    Again, pics on the link above.

    Happy planning!

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  14. #19

    Default Re: Patagonia/Rio Grande for trophy browns...

    An abstract idea to research, and I have never been there, is the Faulken/Malvinas Islands in the South Atlantic. Small, rugged and remote they do have the same Sea Run browns as Tierra del Viento. Maybe you could find a sheep farmer with a cabin to rent you right on a river. I doubt they get much angling tourism there.

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  16. #20

    Default Re: Patagonia/Rio Grande for trophy browns...

    Quote Originally Posted by cwb124 View Post
    We haven't really looked much further into it as of yet because we know it's a $7k-$8k minimum trip that we likely can't swing at the moment. We are considering another Alaska DIY float trip, or maybe an ID/MT/WY wilderness hike fishing trip. Even if we get a bush plane involved it is worlds more affordable than South America. Even toying with an Ontario or Quebec, CA fly in lodge trip and throwing flies for massive pike. We can do that all in for well under $2k a piece.
    Looked into Iceland? We got giant sea run browns that are actually native(opposed to introduced fish in patagonia), only 5hour flight from the east coast and you will find both high end lodges as well as the more rustic lodges. Its all private waters but outfitters here happily sell you licenses and let you DIY.

    Full disclosure I run an outfitter in Iceland so apolagize if this comes of as solicitating which I know is against forum rules, just thought Id suggest it since brown trout fishing here seems to tick many of your boxes. Prices vary hugely but you can definatly get a weeks fishing for a lot less then 8K.

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