Unicoi Outfitters

Fly Fishing Professionals

Helen, Georgia

River Descriptions and Sample Itinerary

San Martin de los Andes Area - Rivers Description

The Northern Patagonia region and especially around the towns of Junín and San Martin de los Andes has the largest variety of trout fisheries from Argentina. You can fish more than 15 rivers and 20 lakes in a two hours range of driving distance, being all of them great places for fishing. It gets even better if you think about the small amount of fishing pressure all these rivers get.

So better start planning you next fishing trip down to Argentina. We will take note of your fishing preferences and experience to tailor made an itinerary to make of this a life time experience.

We can arrange all kind of lodging, multiples days float trip with camping on islands, daily float trip, wade smaller streams and many other options.

Malleo River

Being well known internationally because of its dry fly fishing is such a unique river that presents great variety of waters. The stream starts from Tromen Lake, being a freestone natural river, next to the base of the Lanin Volcano. After flowing for about 32 miles reach the junction with the Alumine River. Over all this length the river runs through meadows, canyons, and great willow galleries. I would say all the river present "the best" hatches during most of the season.

A main road goes most the trajectory along the river with some pretty easy access to many areas and some other that requires good walks. This medium size river is fish only wading. Even the easy access the large length of the river makes the fishermen spread out and you will find only few people around.

Being more descriptive of the feature of this stream we can divide it in the upper and lower section. While on the first one has a faster flows, bigger boulders and unique willows galleries this makes the river a bit more challenging to be fish, with a lot of hide and great structure for the trout habitat. The lower section runs among a Mapuche Community (local Indian Reservation) and the landscape becomes in a unique canyon with wear rocky formations. The river flows a bit slower and most of the time is cover with willows trees but only over one of the bank at the time, what make it easier to reach and create gentler wading.

Chimehuin River

The icon of the fly fishing in North Patagonia, Chimehuin River has the perfect features for trout fishing. You could spend the all season and wouldn't have enough time to discover all its pools, runs, willows galleries and many more great hides for these trout.

This river starts in the Huechulafquen Lake on the foot of the Lanin Volcano and runs for about 30 miles until the junction with the Collon Cura River.

At half of the flows on the right hand bank is placed the town of Junín de los Andes. The most productive section of the stream goes downstream from here. The river starts to float slower with fewer gradients and create spectacular conditions for dry fly fishing. Do to the perfect size it present the stream can be wade or float which giving us even more opportunities to enjoy it.

Probably one of the largest trout populations on the region gives the stream the popularity it has. Even that most of the lower section (the most productive as we said) it has only access through private Ranches making it quite secluded and limited fishing pressure. So we can assure a great success in everyone of our journeys here.

Collon Cura

This stream is the major river of the system, all of the rivers describe before are tributaries of this one. This become to the Collon Cura in a large size river that's ideal to be float. As many normally say "big river, big fish" and that is true in this case. This river holds some pretty good size brown trout that can be taken any moment.

The fishing opportunities of this river during the season go from streamers to dry flies(early season); from dries to minnows (at mid/late summer) and from minnows back to dries (at fall). These features give as such a great chance to try the most different technique along the season.

When I mention the minnows is another chapter on this river. By late January a big migration of minnows is done from the Reservoir downstream and the trout present important attention to this. Most of the trout becomes meat eaters during this period and focus a lot of their eating efforts on busting minnows on the surface in runs and riffles.

This river give us different chances for daily float trips as well as multiple days floats with camping on island and more of 20 miles of great water to be fish.


This river is one on the longest river in Northern Patagonia, with the peculiarity than most of its 80 miles of length is great water for trout fishing and can be floated. You can imagine the countless opportunities of fishing venues we have on this stream. The Alumine is a freestone natural river that starts on the Lake with same name (Alumine Lake) and flow all its length until the junction with the Catan-Lil River where from there downstream becomes the Collon Cura River.

Many sections of this stream have very difficult or limited access creating very little fishing pressure and few people around. We combine daily floats and multiple days float trip camping on island to take the best advantage out of this great stream.

No other word, during the "inch worm" hatch, than spectacular can be use to describe the fishing at this time on the Alumine. A lot of big size fish becomes easier to catch and most of the time is sight fishing conditions. If you hit the right time for this you will be tired of hooking big trout.


This is probably one of the most beautiful streams in Northern Patagonia. Starting from the junction of the Meliquina and Filo Hua-Hum Rivers, runs for about 30 miles to flows in a Reservoir. The river start with features of a mountain stream running though a unique Rocky canyon with spectacular formation of rocks. All this gives a dream frame to the trips done here.

Most of our trips are done by floating the river, while this is a medium size river and the level of water drops dramatically each season, the river can be regularly floated not longer than middle January. Again this is a multiples days float trip that assure us fish water with very low fishing pressure and very few people around.

Once the river can't be floated anymore, due to its level of water, and by late January the lower part of the stream starts to experience a minnow migration from the reservoir where it flow on it. This creates another unique fishery over the last miles of the stream, now done by wading. Big fish from the Reservoir chase the minnows inside the river and bust them on the surface of every riffle.


This tributary of the upper Alumine is a great stream for dry fly fishing. It starts from the Quillen Lake in the Lanin National Park and this freestone natural river runs for about 16 miles until reach the junction with the Alumine river. While the first miles the river runs slow with meanders through a beautiful valley; on the lower section the river speed up presenting bigger boulder and creating features of a pocket water. This last section has great condition for large brown trout and a very productive river in general. The fishing on this stream is only done by wading the many unique spots of this stream.

Esquel Area Description


The fishing diversity that the Esquel, Alerces National Park and Rio Pico areas offer is the main reason why anglers decide to come and fish this area. There are spring creeks, private waters, small and big rivers, still waters and lakes in a spectacular setting. You can fish with dry flies, wet flies, streamers or nymphs to catch wild rainbows, browns and brookies.

Depending on your preferences we organize different programs to fish various waters that would be of interest to you. We can combine many options.

Due to the geography of this area we divide the weeks of fishing in two different areas Esquel and Rio Pico. If you are looking to fish both areas a minimum of 10 days it will be required for the trip.

Esquel area Fisheries: Rivadavia River, Futaleufu River, Willymanco Lagoon, Laguna Larga Rio Pico area Fisheries: Nilson River, Pico River, Las Pampas River, Corcovado River and Lakes 1,2,3,4 and 5

Limay River Description

Why no to say the most enigmatic fishery of all Patagonia. The major river of Northern Patagonia is the natural drain of the Nahuel Huapi Lake and runs for over 200 miles until the junction with the Neuquen River where the Rio Negro starts and flow all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. The original flow was interrupted by 5 dams creating some large reservoirs on its way.

As a natural freestone river the Limay runs from the Nahuel Huapi Lake for over 30 miles to the first Reservoir.

After the first Reservoir there are another two Reservoirs placed consecutively without giving room to the river shows. After all of this starts the Middle Limay. Right down bellow from Pichi Picun Leufu Dam and now as a tail waters the Limay river keep flowing knowing on this section as "Middle Limay".

This unique stretch of river flows for over 50 miles until reach the 4th reservoir/dam system; this is called Ezequiel Ramos Mejia Lake and is the largest of the reservoir over the Limay River system. The two closest very small population are Piedra del Aguile, places near the Pichi Picun Dam where the river starts. And the town of Picun Leufu which is place few mile form the outlet of the middle Limay into the large reservoir.

The Middle Limay

This is one of the most remarkable pieces of water on Argentina trout fishing. Present unique features and the most strong healthy and good size quality population of trout around this region of the world.

Being this section of the Limay a tailwater assure a perfect stable water temperature conditions. This creates a very prolific and productive environment for insect's populations. Not only assuring the food for trout also gives a lot of food source for several species of minnows that it becomes in the most important source of food for these trout. This last feature is what gives Limay river trout such a great conditions and allow these fish to reach exceptional sizes.

The accessibility of the river is fluid and easy over the first 15 miles of this stretch, becoming more secluded from there down. This last section is where we focus our trips. The limited access gives this piece of river a very peaceful environment and over the term of an entire week you will probably see no more than another couple of fishermen.

Out trips to Limay are based on adventure float trip of six days and five night of camping on different islands while we cover over 40 miles of unique waters. We have a well trained crew that set up a deluxe camp for every night. You will find details as warms water for washing yourself every morning, hot shower every other night, Dinning tent, sleeping tents with cots, mattress, pillows and great sleeping bags that will keep you warm in any conditions. You should add to all of this a great outdoor cook menu that will greatly surprise you every night.

The Fishing

The trout of this river are dividing in two different groups, the resident and the migratory trout. Both groups have rainbows and browns.

The first group covers the all length of the river being the base of trout population of the river. This resident browns and rainbows have a good average size (rainbows 19 inches and browns 22 inches).

The second group, the migratory ones, gets in the river from middle of the summer due to the minnow activity, this is the best time of the year, for this trout to get easy and great food. You will see this large trout busting minnows on the surfaces in unique situations for typical trout fishing.

The migratory browns are the ones that made famous the middle Limay due to their great trophy size and combative behavior. However the migratory rainbows up to or even more exciting than the browns. Due to this rainbows migrate only for over the last 20 miles of these stream makes team not as well known and popular.

The size of this migratory fish goes in an average range between 26 and 30 inches, with trophies caught in a range between 36 and 40 inches.

The fishing techniques regularly used are divided in two, the floating action and the sinking streamers. The first is the one you will take more fish and will be more spectacular and in contact with the fish. The second ones is the technique we more commonly use for tempting the large fish and consist in swimming the flies through the hot spots, and is not like regular streamers fishing done form boats where you cast to the banks and strip giving action to the flies.

Sample Itinerary

Saturday: flying directly from Buenos Aires you will arrive to our local Airport. We will pick you up and will transfer you to the Lodge. You will enjoy an arrival city tour in San Martin de los Andes and then you will have time for shopping. Then you will enjoy an argentine wine tasting previous to a welcome dinner.

Sunday, Monday & Tuesday: we will start an adventure of floating the Caleufu River for over 25 miles and three days. After breakfast we will leave to the river, and then we will enjoy a full day of fishing looking for rainbows and brown with hopper and big attractor dry flies. By evening time and right with the last drop of light we will reach the camp. Here our well trained crew will have arrive way earlier on the day and set up a unique camp site for us. The dinner it will be ready and waiting for us. We will enjoy a unique Argentine asado (this is our traditional barbecue made with different cuts of beef and lamb, sausages and serve with a variety of salads, all of this will be accompany for argentine wines. Early in the next morning we will have hot coffee waiting for you when wake up. After a good country breakfast we will be ready to start with our fishing day. Again we will enjoy a full day of fishing once more we will arrive to camp with the last light of the day and ready to enjoy another typical argentine meal. This time we will enjoy chicken on the disco (the disco is a heavy iron wok where we will cook the chicken with onions and peppers all in unique white wine sauce. Next morning again we will leave to complete our float after a rich abundant breakfast. Another full day of catching rainbows and brown from Caleufu river and then will reach our take out. We will drive back to San Martin where dinner, hot shower and comfortable bed will de waiting for you.

Wednesday: Today we will leave San Martin after breakfast to fish one of the most famous dry fly fishing stream of the region, the Malleo river. We will wade the stream in different sections and enjoy of catching rainbows and browns, many times on sight fishing conditions, under willows trees branches. At evening time and maybe after the evening hatch we will come back to San Martin de los Andes for dinner.

Thursday & Friday: This morning we will get ready to anther adventure float, this time on the Chimehuin River. Chimehuin is a "must to fish" when you visit Northern Patagonia. You will enjoy a complete day of float and by evening time you will enjoy the great mayfly's hatches typical from this river. After this exciting last action of the day we will arrive to camp almost dark where the guys form camp crew will be waiting for us with a entire lamb cook on the argentine way, on the iron cross against the fire, of course we will accompany this with our wines. Next morning and after a good breakfast we will start floating the Chimehuin River, by afternoon we will reach the junction of the Collon Cura River having today the chance to fish and float two different rivers. Later on the afternoon we will reach the take out to then drive back to San Martin. Tonight you will enjoy a good bye dinner. Saturday: after breakfast we will drive you to the Airport to catch you depart flight.

Back to Destination Fishing.

Contact Unicoi Outfitters:

P.O. Box 419
7280 S. Main Street
Helen, Georgia 30545
(706) 878-3083
or by email.

Unicoi Outfitters is a permittee of the Chattahoochee-Oconee, Sumter, and Nantahala National Forests. See contact page for more information.