Located in the Province of Tierra del Fuego. The nearest town is
Rio Grande.The lodge is located in a renovated farm house within
the working Jose Menendez Estancia. The main house is situated a
short drive from the river. Anglers fly into Buenos Aires international
airport and take a 3 hour flight to Rio Grande. The transfer from
the airport to the lodge by four wheel drive takes 20 minutes.
The success at Villa Maria illustrates where nimble thinking can
take you. The lodge rests on the grounds of the Jose Menendez Estancia,
where the water and the sea trout are fresh. Here you will be able
to see the gulls and smell the salt. Typically big rods and big
pools are used for fishing in the river. A 20-pound trout has plenty
of room to run and fishing hours are allocated when the fishing
is best. The origins of our lodge can be traced back to the pioneering
days of Patagonian History.
The "Estancia" (ranch) on which the lodge is located, was carved
out of the wilderness in the last decades of the nineteenth century
by an ancestor of the family that still owns it: José Menendez -
a man who, having started out in life as a penniless Spanish immigrant
to Argentina at the age of thirteen, came to be known, by the time
he was fifty, as the "king of Patagonia". His "reign" had no political
connotations. The term was coined by the local population as a tribute
to the impact of his presence in the region, the scope of his interests
and initiatives, and the sheer quality of his tireless entrepreneurial
spirit. There is one aspect of his many achievements which is of
particular interest to us for a very special reason. The manager
of José Menendez's estancias, where Villa Maria is located was an
Englishman: John Goodall. He was a remarkable man in many ways,
and had all the qualities required for a position of responsibility
in a pioneering enterprise which was far more demanding than mere
farming. But there was another aspect of Goodall's life to which
we owe a debt of gratitude. He was a passionate angler, with a preference
for trout, who worked (and lived) in an area of the planet where
trout did not exist. Encouraged by Menendez, Goodall took the only
logical step: he sailed to England and returned with an adequate
supply of trout eggs. We like to think that by introducing the "catch
and release" philosophy to Patagonia in 1984, and by continuing
to promote it, Menendez's great-grandsons, Jorge and Fernando de
Las Carreras, are preserving the work of a man who, perhaps, died
without being aware of the dimension of his legacy to anglers who
come to Villa Maria from all over the world every year.
The lower Rio Grande is larger than the waters 40 to 50 miles upstream
and anglers encounter nickel-bright sea-run browns in these pools.
Access is strictly controlled by the ranch, so beats are assigned
to our guests and the river is monitored to ensure that there is
adequate water. The Lower Rio Grande will appeal particularly to
the confident casters, and those anglers familiar with the two-handed
rod. Like the water farther upriver, the lower Rio Grande is shallow
and easy to wade, although it is deeper in places. Fishing schedule:
approx 9 hours of fishing. Lunch is taken at the river and is followed
and its followed during the early season by a siesta in conveniently
placed and comfortable trailers. The afternoon session starts later
during the months of Dec. and Jan. to capitalize on the magical
dusk fishing hours.
Mid December - End of April
Villa Maria Lodge is situated in one of Patagonia's biggest and
oldest working estancias. It has four spacious, perfectly furnished
bedrooms with 4 bedrooms, featuring a cozy dining and living area,
as well as a bar, well stocked with local spirits. Our chef takes
charge each evening, offering a selection of local and international
cuisine accompanied by the best Argentine wines. A brand new cabin
will be your home for lunch and a nice siesta before the afternoon
session. Our staff, composed of our host, chef, maids and professional
guides will assist you during the week in all your needs.
The house will accommodate only 6 anglers per week and is available
on a limited basis, due to high demand by repeat parties. The staff
working in the lodge consists of the managers (hostess and head
guide), a chef and his helper, professional fishing guides, and
housekeepers. All of them, from their own job, will guarantee unforgettable
vacations, putting all their knowledge and experience at your disposal,
to meet your expectations and even surpass them.
PACKAGE / PRICING
Starting from U$S 4550.- Package / Per person
6 1/2 fishing days / 7 nights
Minimum 2 anglers
Included: Ground transfer, Rio Grande airport / ranch round
trip; 7-night accommodation in an exclusive ranch with all meals
and beverages (liquors, wine & beer); 6 1/2 fishing days with qualify
guide. Not included: Airfare; fishing license, fishing equipment
and flies, clothes, personal insurance and gratuities.
HOW TO GET THERE
Villa Maria Lodge is reached from Rio Grande city. There are daily
flights from Buenos Aires to Rio Grande airport where a member of
the staff will be waiting to drive you to the lodge. Domestic flights
can be arranged.
EQUIPMENT & GEAR
Wading All of our fishing is in rivers and streams, wading
from the coast. One pair of fly weight chest waders and one pair
of neoprene chest waders is recommended. The new waders "non-condensation"
is the best for walking. The comfort of your wading shoes is very
Rods Bring 2-3 rods. A good combination is:
8/9 weight spey rod.
-- 9-91/2; 7/8 weight single handed rod.
Lines We suggest:
--Floating lines for each rod.
--Sink tip lines 7-9. (like Scientific Angler Ultra 2 wet tip IV
10 or Tenny Nymph Tip)
--Shooting head sink tip line 7-9 weight (Teeny T200 or T300 or
shooting line sink V).
--Optional: Intermediate sinking line. Baking 75-100 yards is sufficient.
Leaders From 4 to 12 feet long. Tippet material is extremely
important in Argentina. The trout are very strong and powerful.
Your tippet material should be sheer resistant as well as have the
maximum breaking strength in small daymeters.
Flies Bring plenty of flies. You can lose 6-10 flies a day
on snags, in trees, by breaking off fish or on stones. Streamers:
Wooky Bugger, black and olive (from size # 4 to 10); Rabbits, cinnamon
and black (size #2 to 8); Matukas, green and olive (size #8 to 12);
Blonde, white (size #2 to 6); Cone Head Marabou Muddler, brown and
white (size #2 to 8). Nymphs: Prince (size # 10 to 14); Hare´s
Ear, natural and black (size #10 to 16); Soft Hackle, cinnamon and
black (size # 8 to 14); Kauffman´s Stone black (size # 6 to 10);
Montana (size # 8 to 14). Dry Flies: Adams (size # 10 to
16), Elk Hair Cádiz, natural and black (from sizes # 10 to16); Red
Humpy (sizes # 10 to 14), Blak Gnat (size # 12 to16), Goddard Cáddis,
natural (size # 10 to 14) and Irresistible (size # 12 to 16).