The lower Limay River is a tailwater, flowing out from the Pichi Picun Leufu dam and running approximately 60 miles before emptying into the enormous Chocon Reservoir. This is a very large river, with typical flows anywhere from 7,000 cfs to 16,000 cfs depending on electrical demand. The lower Limay is arguably the most dynamic river in the province, offering anglers a rich and varied river system supported by the crystaline, cool waters emmited by the dam.
The river boasts one of the best and hardest fighting rainbow trout populations of any in Patagonia, with incredible concentrations of fish averaging between 17-21 inches. These fish grow very fast, feeding throughout the year on aquatic insects and minnows.
In addition to the impressive rainbows, the lower Limay offers huge resident and migratory brown trout running between 20″ to well over 30″. Over the years we’ve had various clients land 30″+ fish with Mrs Wallace holding the CLE record at 32.5″. The fish can be found in the river throughout the season with the 2nd half of the season being the most productive.
We have been fishing the lower Limay for the last 2 decades and running trips on the river since 2004. This wealth of experience is critical to insuring success on river with such dynamic variables.
Anglers should be prepared to work hard and fish a variety of techniques dictated by river flows and weather- but the rewards are well worth it. CLE offers exclusive access to a 10 mile stretch via a 50,000 acre property plus 40 river miles accessed through various smaller properties. We operate on the paved side of the river (making for the fastest & smoothest adventure travel fishing trips to the river) and put up our clients at a brand new hotel in the nearby town. Overnight camps are also a possibility on the lower half of the river. The lower Limay has been a focus of our operation for a long time and we look forward to sharing this incredible river with you.
The Malleo is the most consistent quality river I’ve ever fished with water types to suit anyone’s tastes. 99% of the time you can fish this river with a dry and nymph dropper system and catch as many trout as your skills allow. The rainbow, browns and brook trout average between 14-20 inches with a decent number of fish in the 21-24 inch class, and a few lunkers caught every year. The Malleo is really not a huge-trout fishery but it does offer an unbelievable number of 16-19 inch fish keyed into the river’s wonderful caddis and mayfly hatches. The river contains a vast array of water types, from the upper meadow spring creek waters, to the rocky canyon fast water, down to the classic riffle, run, pool water near the lodge. The Malleo is just challenging enough to be fun to cast to the rainbows and browns rising under the willows, in the flats, and over the weed beds. The river is so filled with trout of all sizes as to guarantee lots of action, even for the neophyte.
Most moderately skilled anglers can wade out a bit and comfortably fish the far bank. The numerous willows and the allure they hold for the biggest trout can test the skills of the best anglers. This river is a must see and has brought many anglers back to Patagonia year after year.
The lower half of the Malleo is easily accessible from San Martin for day trips, with Dec/early January and April being the best timeframes for the public access water. On the upper half of the river we use two different estancias to accommodate including this amazing fishery in as many trips as possible. Best times for the spring fed upper reaches are from Dec through early Feb and from late March through April.
Camp staff with the gear boats travel down ahead of you to assemble camp and prepare gourmet dinners. For anglers looking to maximize their time on the water, access waters off the beaten path, and experience a unique fishing opportunity, these overnight camp trips are just the answer.
Caluefu – Starting from a series of mountain glacier lakes and running through an incredible canyon, this breathtaking river provides an unforgettable 3 day/ 2 night float. Dec through mid-January
Allumine – A 3 day/2 night float down a canyon with columner basalt cliffs, eddies and rocky runs. Best fished from Dec through early Feb and again from late March through April. We also offer a 2 day/ 1 night float.
Chimehuin – The lower Chimehuin can be floated for 2 days with 1 night camping. One of our most popular overnights and good throughout the season.
Lower Limay – Overnight camps are a good option for floating the lowest sections of the river to save on the transfer time back to town for those anglers that like to stay out on the water.
This is a classic big freestone river with brown trout large enough to deserve the shaded deep willow lined banks. It is similar to the Madison River with true pools and runs. In places the river braids into a maze of willow lined channels with the feel of small water and the ever present possibility of big fish. Average rainbows and browns range between 15-20 inches with good numbers of fish up to 24 inches and some well beyond. All methods of fishing can be effective- prospecting with streamers, nymphs, and large attractor dry flies, spot fishing, or matching the sometimes prolific hatches. The caddis kick off the hatches in early December, peaking later in the month and through early January. They typically run through January with scattered cahill mayflies with the hatches tailing off in early February.
During this same timeframe a large size 8 & 10 yellow drake hatches most evenings and can bring out some big browns. Afternoon terrestrial fishing is effective throughout the summer with the best time falling between late January through early March. With the cooler temps of the fall, the mayfly hatches start up again with mahoganies, a speckled winged grey, and BWOs keeping the fish tuned to the surface. Streamer fishing is effected on the larger fish throughout the season with the spring and fall the best timeframes for stripping for big browns. Every year a few fall browns in the 10 lbs range are landed.
The Collon Cura river stands in a class with the Big Horn and the Missouri as one of the most prolific fisheries in the world, except without all the people. Running through an expansive high desert valley, the river resembles the Snake River near Jackson Hole, but willow lined and interspersed with high sandstone cliffs. The Collon Cura’s mild gradient and broad gravel riffles makes for comfortable floating and wading. For those clients with physical restrictions the guides walk the boats to work the more productive runs.
All forms of fly fishing can be effective on the Collon Cura. Large dry flies such as Chernobyl Ants, Madam X’s, and rubber legged hoppers can be extremely effective fished off the banks and twitched through the riffles and runs. On the calmer mornings rising trout can be found
in the tailouts, eddies, and soft water feeding on mayfly spinners and we often carry an extra rod set up to target these fish. Usually there is a good evening caddis hatch and an elk hair or goddard caddis skittered across the surface produces explosive strikes. The most productive form of fishing the Collon Cura is with streamers which are effective throughout the season. The Olive Sex Dungeon is a favorite, as well as the Boogieman, but other smaller patterns such as Barely Legals and Peanut Envy’s are also very effective.
Filo Hua Hum
High up in the wooded Andes mountains and nearly surrounded by Lanin National Park is estancia Tres Lagos (Three Lakes Ranch). As the name implies, the ranch offers visiting anglers Lagos Faulkner, Nuevo, and Filo Hua Hum, plus the small freestone river running between the lakes- the Filo Hua Hum river. The well appointed lodge and cabins accommodate a maximum of 6 anglers and overlook the Filo Hua Hum lake. The Fernandez-Besteched family are extremely hospitable and the comfortable atmosphere makes everyone feel right at home. The family has owned & operated a couple of restaurants in San Martin over the generations. Needless to say the dining at estancias Tres Lagos is excellent and the asados set the standards for all of Patagonia.
The ranch offers over 8 miles of private access to the Filo Hua Hum river, which is the primary focus of anglers staying at Tres Lagos. The river offers beginning anglers excellent action for rainbows and browns in the 10-14 inch class range with the ever-present chance of hooking a real monster. Experienced anglers can enjoy spot fishing and throwing mice patterns to trout in between 20-27 inches.
A short river between two lakes, the Filo fishes well seasonally as migrant fish augment the resident population, but Dec/early Feb and late March/April are the prime times. The river does not produce a lot of fish but offers the opportunity to chase big fish in small water and in an incredible setting. The various springs that feed the upper end of the Filo Hau Hum lake attract good concentrations of trout in the
16-21 inch class and calm mornings will find these fish cruising and rising along the reeds. Casting adult damsels, dragonflies, and parachute Adams with nymph droppers is very productive from one of Chocolate Lab Expedition’s RO Drift boats.
With quality fishing for some truly big browns, excellent food, and lodging, this ranch and river offer a special experience for many of our clients. Your fly fishing destination in Argentina awaits!
CLE Patagonia, Arg.
Sample Itinerary: 7 days on Ground Fishing
Arrive into Chapelco Airport (20 min drive), San Martin de los Andes or Bariloche Airport (2.5 hr drive)
CLE transfer awaiting to take you to Estancia Tipiliuke on the Chimehuin River.
Settle in, open bar, and dinner.
Breakfast at the lodge
Day floating the Chimehuin River with riverside picnic
Return to the lodge, open bar, dinner, and night at Est Tipiliuke
Breakfast at Est Tipiliuke
Pack up and leave your bags in the entry (shuttle drivers will return and pick them up)
Float the lower Chimehuin for the day with riverside picnic
Take out on private lease at confluence with the Collon Cura river
Transfer 20 min to Estancia Collon Cura
Open bar, dinner, and night at lodge
Day 4 & 5
Breakfast at the lodge
Day floating the Collon Cura river with riverside picnic
Return to the lodge that evening, open bar, dinner, and night at Est Collon Cura
Breakfast at Est Collon Cura
Transfer 1.5 hrs to the Limay River
Float the Limay with riverside picnic for the day
Return to the town of Piedra del Aguila (Eagle Rock), dinner & night at hotel
Continental breakfast at the hotel
Float the Limay for the day with riverside picnic
Take out around 5pm and transfer 2.5 hrs to La Village hotel in San Martin de los Andes
Dinner on your own at local hotel
Breakfast at hotel
Transfer arrives for 20 min transfer to Chapelco Airport
Cost per person- $5,970
Ron & Vanessa Sorensen
Chocolate Lab Expeditions
San Martin de los Andes
011-54-2944-78-7730 (Dialed from US)
Montana Outfitter #5252
Ron & Vanessa’s guides are the best in the entire region. These guys are hands-down the finest, most knowledgeable, experienced guides in the region. I can tell you that EVERYONE that we send down to fish with CLE comes home blown away by their professionalism, their experience, their work ethic, and their ability to put their customers on fish.
Owner- Yellowdog Flyfishing Adventures
You have the best track record for “return” clients out of the 180 destination line up by far. We really appreciate what you guys are doing and delivering
John Hudgens S. America Program Head 2008-2017
Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures
Ron Sorensen with Chocolate Lab Expeditions is the outfitter in Argentina and I have known Ron for many years. Ron is the consummate professional and someone I look up to and aspire to emulate. I have worked for him and had him work for me and he is a great guy and guide. He has been guiding for almost 30 years and has never lost his passion for guiding clients from all walks of life and I believe is one of the finest individuals I know. He builds custom trips for his clients based on their wants, needs and budget.
The thing that impressed me the most about Ron’s operation is the network he has developed over twenty years of guiding Patagonia and the private access he has. Logistics are one of the toughest things to negotiate down there with limited public access and Ron has it all dialed. His guide staff is excellent as well. They are all well versed in English and there are not any communication problems.
Dane Huzarski (outfitter)
Montana Trout Wranglers
Thank you both for putting together a great trip for my group. Everyone had a great time and mentioned numerous times that they would love a return trip. Your team of guides, transfer drivers and chefs was fantastic. The logistical planning that goes into making a great trip in Argentina looks near impossible and you show that it not only can be done, but done exceptionally well! The down side to that is that it makes me realize how pathetically easy we have it here in Montana!
Jason Fluery (lodge and outfitter owner)