Fly-Fish Argentina

Fly-fishing Rio Limay, Argentina     Photo: Photo by Mark Lance/Riverlight Images

You could pay an American outfitter five grand to helicopter you to a remote river in Patagonia, point out a fat wild brown trout, and hold your hand while you cast. Or you could throw a decent six-weight fly rod, boots, and some leaders (2x to 5x) in a pack, book a flight to Bariloche, Argentina (Delta and Continental fly through Buenos Aires), and do it yourself. The trout here are big—seven, eight, ten, twelve pounds—and the beauty of the place is the dizzying amount of options within a day's reach. For easy access, the big Rio Limay flows out of the eastern shore of 250-square-mile Lago Nahuel Huapi (day floats with Bariloche-based Outfitters Patagonia, $370; outfitterspatagonia.com; bring Woolly Buggers with rubber legs). Want to cast dry flies to rising 16-to-24-inch fish in the vicinity of exactly no one? Book a three-day, 40-mile float on the pristine Rio Caleufu ($1,050 with Outfitters Patagonia). If you'd rather wade-fish without a guide, drive two hours north to the Rio Malleo with a hatful of Parachute Adams and Pheasant-Tail Nymphs. Or drive two hours south of Bariloche and float remote Fonck Lake, where you'll catch as many 20-inch browns as you wish. (Just don't go the day after it rains—the road will resemble a milkshake.) If you don't have access to a boat, make for Espejo Chico Lake, walk around the shoreline, strip Woolly Buggers along the steep ledges, and wait for your rod to do a very big double take.

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