Patagonia’s best fly fishing experience located in the heart of the Andes Mountains
RIO MANSO LODGE
Our fishing lodge boasts browns, rainbows, and brook trout in the surrounding river and lake waters. Surrounded by forested National Park land and the Andes Mountains, it is common at Rio Manso to catch fish in the 2 to 4-pound range daily and there is a reasonable chance you will catch a 5 to 10-pound trout during a week of fishing. The lodge itself is very comfortable with outstanding views of spectacular Mount Tronador from every room.
You’ll enjoy international style meals livened with local dishes and superb Argentina wines. Relax around the massive stone fireplace after a full day’s fishing, or enjoy a massage or sauna. Non-anglers have a wide variety of guided activities to choose from including hiking, horseback riding, rafting and birding.
November through April
We are located 1 ½ hours from the airport in Bariloche in Nahual Huapi National Park.
Rebuilt in 2004 and uniquely designed, every one of our 9 guest rooms at Rio Manso Lodge faces northwest with spectacular views of Lago Hess and the Andes Mountains. Just 15 miles away towers majestic Mount Tronador located on the border with Chile. If the weather is clear, the mountain looks close enough to touch. Each of our rooms is comfortably appointed with either King Size or two Full Size beds and private bath. Some are equipped with a Jacuzzi as well. Many guests sleep with their windows open to let in the crisp, cool mountain air. The lodge features a full wader room for tackle and waders, a fly tying area, a small, but well-stocked bar, and a spacious sitting area in front of our river stone fireplace. Many nights it is cool enough to enjoy the warmth and comfort of a roaring fire. We normally serve cocktails and hors d’oeuvres there each evening. Should you require assistance any time of day or night, our front desk staff is always available. The lodge has a sauna available to drive out the chill and loosen those stiff casting muscles.
Meals are served in the main dining room and are the fitting conclusion to a day on the water or exploring the wonders of Patagonia. Our professionally trained chef will concoct delightful cuisine that reflects an international flavor made with the freshest of ingredients.
Gone are the days when traveling to Argentina meant eating meat at every meal. You’re as likely to have pasta, fish or chicken as beef at our table. Vegetarian meals are available for our guests. We serve a wide variety of dishes that reflect both the cultural diversity of the area and the worldly influence of today’s culinary landscape. All our meals are served with complimentary Argentine wines. Should you have any special dietary needs, we are more than happy to develop a special menu for you.
However, we have not forgotten our roots and the local custom of the Argentine asado. One of the highlights of the week, this traditional Argentine grill features such items as beef, lamb and pork. An Argentine asado typically has a sequence of meats presented by the asador (the cook). First are the chorizos (sausages), morcillas (black pudding) chinchulines (chitterlings), mollejas (sweetbread) and other organs, often accompanied by provoleta, a grilled cheese dish. Then costillas or asado de tira (ribs) are served. Next comes vacío or matambre (flank steak), and possibly chicken and chivito (baby goat).
An asado also includes bread, a simple mixed salad of, for instance, lettuce, tomato and onions, or it could be accompanied with verdurajo (grilled vegetables), a mixture made of potatoes, corn, onion and eggplant cooked on the parrilla and seasoned with olive oil and salt. No matter what you try, it’s all part of the adventure at Rio Manso Lodge.
Fly fishing in Patagonia is a unique experience. Imagine casting to big, healthy trout in crystal clear water without seeing another person all day. There are miles of still and moving waters throughout Nahuel Huapi National Park with very little fishing pressure. Our waters offer a complete variety of different types of fishing, from big dry flies and weighted streamers to tiny emergers, nymphs and spinners. We fish both floating and sinking lines, dry and wet flies at different times of the season and throughout the day. When fishing the Manso River, much of your fishing will be with streamers and sinking lines. Hatches on much of the river are sporadic and the biggest fish are best drawn out with streamer patterns. There are several sections where nymphs are especially effective, and a tiny spring creek where sight casting to cruising fish can be a delightful change of pace.
The Channels of the river emptying Lago Hess are justly famous for their unique blend of big fish and technical fishing. The Channels’ smooth currents provide a great dry fly challenge for any angler. Similar in nature to a big spring creek, large fish often cruise this area or setup along the banks making this a required stop for any Rio Manso angler. Even though the fish can be selective, for many guests this is their favorite section. For good reason: some of the largest fish in the watershed live in this area.
One of the jewels at Rio Manso Lodge is Lago Fonck. This four mile long lake offers big rainbows, browns and brook trout. Depending on the time of year, we fish streamers and dry flies on the lake, often both during a typical day. Dragon flies, damsels, and caddis flies all hatch on the lake and the trout cruise the lakeshore weed beds in search of a meal. We fish the edges from one of our Carolina skiffs, working the structure where rainbow and brook trout lay, with the occasional brown as well. With the added bonus of spotting an Andean Condor circling overhead, and beautiful Mount Tronador in the distance, a day on Fonck is always special.
Brown, rainbow and brook trout
You should bring at least two fly rods: 5-7 wts for streamer fishing and windier conditions, and a 4-5 wt for evening dry fly fishing. We strongly recommend bringing a third 5 wt as a backup. There are a limited number of rods at the lodge in the event you break one.
Reels should be high quality, preferably disc-drag models loaded with a minimum of 80 / 100 yards of backing. The occasional 8-10 lb fish will test your gear to the limit! You may want a backup reel or extra spools for your reel. Having two rods rigged, one with floating line and one with sinking line will maximize your fishing time.
Floating and sinking lines cover the fishing at Rio Manso Lodge. Weight forward or double taper floating lines are fine for dry fly and small streamer fishing. We recommend that you bring a 30 ft 150-250 gram fast sink line for your reel. The fast sinking lines are especially effective in the lakes and the faster, deeper stretches of the river. Most of our lakes have abrupt drop offs along the edges and the sinking lines get the fly down to where the fish are. If you have not cast a fast sinking line before, we recommend you get a little practice in before you come. It’s not difficult to learn, but it will increase your fishing success and pleasure if you already have this technique down.
7 ½ to 9 foot 2x-5x leaders will suffice for most fishing. We like to use fluorocarbon for tippets for its added abrasion resistance and low light reflectivity. Bring some extra spools of tippet in the 2x – 6x range. Evening fishing in the channels near the lodge can become very technical at times.
Much of our fishing during the day is with streamers or large attractor pattern dry flies. We do carry a full assortment of productive patterns at the lodge.
Breathable waders are the best way to maximize your fishing experience. You can layer poly-pro or fleece underneath in cold conditions and turn them down during hot weather.
Sturdy shoes with good felt or rubber soles. While the footing is good, the Manso has many stretches of fast water with strong currents. Please be sure your waders and wading shoes are clean and dry before visiting to prevent the spread of invasive species like whirling disease, zebra mussels or didymo. We recommend the new rubber soled wading shoes and waders.