Guided Hunting & Fishing Excursions | Wildside Adventures

There are more than a few misconceptions regarding how trout born in freshwater spend their lives, with many mistakenly believing freshwater trout never venture into the ocean. It is more-or-less common knowledge in the angling community that salmon are anadromous, meaning they are born in freshwater, spend their lives at sea, and then return to the place of their birth where they spawn. However, all species of freshwater trout venture out to sea, but not all members of any particular trout species become anadromous. Additionally, unlike salmon, sea-run trout do not die after spawning.

Where to Fish for Sea-Run Brown Trout in South America

Sea-run trout species, which include rainbow, brown, brook, and lake trout, are common in many areas of the world, including North and South America. While most other species of trout venture into the Atlantic and Pacific, sea-run browns are restricted exclusively to the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, no other species of trout reach the gargantuan size of sea-run brown trout, and nowhere else on earth do anadromous brown trout reach the leviathan size of those occupying the Argentinean waters of the Rio Grande River. This makes the Rio Grande one of Argentina’s most popular spots for guided fishing tours.

The Tierra del Fuego archipelago is often described as the end of the earth due to its remote location at the southernmost tip of South America. The Rio Grande River flows across part of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, originating in the Chilean Andes. The river snakes its way through the Patagonian wilderness and then across the Argentinean flats on its way to the Atlantic Ocean near the city of Rio Grande.

Brown trout are native to Germany, and the fish were introduced into other areas of the world as early as the 1800s. Browns were first stocked in two tributaries of the Rio Grande River in Argentina, the Candelaria and McLennan Rivers, when John Goodall had 60,000 brown-trout eggs shipped in from Puerto Montt in Chile in 1935. The transplanted population took off, brown trout are now the predominant species in the Rio Grande, and the river holds the largest population of sea-run brown trout anywhere in the world.

Spanish for “great river,” the sea-run brown trout of the Rio Grande are the main reason Argentina fishing tours have become so popular. Here the brown trout that complete at least four migration cycles often weigh over 20 pounds, with several in this weight class being caught each week. Additionally, records reaching over 40 pounds are also taken on the Argentinean side of the Rio Grande. Researchers have found that sea-run browns make up to seven trips to and from the sea and seem to face few natural threats. However, even with an estimated annual return reaching into the tens of thousands of fish, a catch-and-release policy is strictly adhered to on the Rio Grande to ensure the population remains high.

Estancia Despedida
Estancia Despedida Lodge is mere minutes away from some of the most productive fishing spots on the entire Rio Grande River and is one of the most popular guided fishing tours in Argentina. Referred to as the “heart of the river” by area residents, Estancia Despedida is set on a 3 1/2 mile section of the middle-to-lower part of the Rio Grande River and consistently produces browns that average 12 pounds with 20, and even a few 30, pounders not being uncommon. This part of the river has many choice pools and provides access to the highly productive Menendez River, an approximately 22-mile-long rarely-fished tributary of the Rio Grande. All the pools on the ranch can be reached in just minutes, which maximizes fishing time. Estancia Despedida’s high return guest rate speaks to the lodge’s value, professionalism, and hospitality.

Estancia Maria Behety
Perhaps one of the most well-known fishing destinations for Argentina fishing tours on the Rio Grande River is the Estancia Maria Behety Lodge which sits on a 158,000-acre ranch high on a bluff that overlooks the lower Rio Grande. The Estancia Maria Behety has private access to both riverbanks along a 32-mile stretch of river that holds more than 100 productive pools and shares river access with guests from their sister lodge, the La Villa de Estancia Maria Behety. World-class fishing, cuisine, and service, along with easy river access and experienced fishing guides, make the Estancia Maria Behety an excellent choice for both neophytes and expert anglers alike. Whereas the number of annual guests typically exceeds the lodge’s capacity, past guests are given the “right of first refusal” for booking spots for the following season.

La Villa de Maria Behety
The sister lodge to the Estancia Maria Behety, the La Villa de Maria Behety Lodge shares access to the same 32 miles of river as its sister. The La Villa de Maria Behety is a meticulously restored historic mansion designed specifically with anglers in mind. The old-world charm makes La Villa de Maria Behety the best lodge on the Rio Grande for non-fishing guests. The lodge has a limit of six guests per week to keep competition low while providing one of the first opportunities on the river to hook sea-run browns as the fish enter the Rio Grande on their return trip from the Atlantic. Anglers are paired with a guide and assigned a different morning and afternoon beat each day, giving all guests the same opportunities to fish different waters every day.

Villa Maria
Villa Maria is positioned on the lower Rio Grande River at the southernmost tip of South America near the town of Candelaria. This lodge is close enough to the ocean that guests can smell the salt air. This 12 1/2 mile lower section of the river comprises smooth gravel bars with deep runs and pools where catching big browns of 20-plus pounds is the norm, and the “fish of a lifetime” is pulled from these waters weekly. The Villa Maria also has a day lodge overlooking the Rio Grande, where guests can take a lunch break and a siesta before heading back out to fish until dark. The Villa Maria is a top contender for anglers researching Argentina fishing tours as it gives guests the first crack at fishing for the giant trout with experienced river guides while enjoying world-class accommodations.

Kau Tapen
Saving perhaps the best for last, the Kau Tapen lodge is proclaimed by many as one of the world’s top destinations for guided fishing tours in Argentina for anglers after gargantuan sea-run brown trout. Built in 1983 in the heart of the Rio-Grande watershed, the average size trout taken at the Kau Tapen weighs in at 16 pounds. Here the Rio Grande’s winding path has created undercut banks that result in some of the best-producing pools found anywhere along the river. With its shallow gravel bottom, easy-to-read pools, steady flows, and gentle riffles, anglers often remark this section of river is one of the easiest they have ever fished. Many 20-plus pound fish are taken here every week and this stretch of river owns the bragging rights for five world-record catches. The best fishing action along this section is found at first and last light, so be prepared to rise early and stay late for the best chance at a true trophy.

Booking Guiding Fishing Tours in Argentina
If you are ready to go on the trout-fishing excursion of a lifetime, Wildside Adventures Travel Service books Argentina fishing tours as well as luxury fishing tours to other parts of the world. Joe Rossi, owner and operator of Wildside Adventures, hosted the popular outdoor TV show “Joe’s Wildside Adventures” that aired on the Sportsman Channel, FOX, and ROOT Sports. If you need help booking a trip to Argentina’s Rio Grande River, email Joe at You can also visit Wildside Adventures online at or call 412-352-8703. Explore Joe’s YouTube channel at