For many years Argentina's Limay River simply wasn’t talked about. Local guides selfishly kept it quiet. It was the place they went in the fall (April and May in Patagonia) to fish and unwind after a long season behind the oars. Where they went for a shot at the fish known as "El Uno", or "The One". The fish of dreams. Over the years, word of this fishery has gotten out, and today the Limay is no secret, but there are still very few anglers and guides who really understand how to target its largest migratory fish. Our very own, Justin Spence ("Justino") was among a small group of Argentine guides who devoted weeks every fall to cracking the code on the Limay. By thinking outside the box, bringing in new types of gear including modern fly lines and fly tying techniques, and truly studying the migratory habits of these amazing fish, they began to unravel a few patterns. "Lucky catches" slowly became more common over time. More than a decade of experimentation later, Justin and our team of guides in Argentina now feel that they truly understand what it takes to give visiting anglers a legitimate chance at hooking and landing a double-digit fish.
Long days and lots of long casts, sometimes in difficult conditions, are what it takes when looking for “El Uno”. But landing the fish of a lifetime is not just a matter of luck and time. Your chances greatly increase by investing your efforts intelligently, and by fishing the right methods and flies in the very specific areas of the river that these migratory giants congregate. If you have ever tried steelhead fishing and like its mental and physical challenges, you will love the pursuit of migratory trophies on the Limay!
Born at the outlet of the massive (Surface Area = 205 sq. miles; Max Depth = 1,522 ft), glacially carved Lago Nahuel Huapi at the base of the Andes, emerging crystal clear and powerful, and regularly flowing between 3,000 and 5,000 cfs in the Fall, The Upper Limay is one of the most scenic rivers in Argentina. The Limay's flows are confined between willow lined banks with classic riffles, beautiful runs, and clear pools as deep as 30 feet!Downstream, the river is captured by two consecutive and massive reservoirs developed for power generation, and takes on the flows of tributaries legendary in their own right among fly anglers - the Rio Traful, and Rio Collon Cura (which is formed by the Rios Chimehuin, Malleo, and Alumine). Below the second dam, the Middle Limay, as it is known, is simply massive - the main channel is typically around 500 feet wide, and with its many side channels and islands, the overall width is nearly a mile in places. The surrounding Patagonian Steppe is arid and vast - It's South America's Big Sky Country! Flows in the Fall (April-May) typically run between 5,000 and 10,000 cfs, with power generation pulses occasionally bumping flows as high as 20,000 cfs or more. Because of the dams influence, however, the river remains crystal clear and fishable even at those massive flows... if you know where to look for the fish.
The setting may be vast and spectacular, but what makes the Limay absolutely unique are the giant, migratory brown trout that live there. In most places, a 5, 6, or even 8 pound brown would be considered a true trophy. But on the Limay, thanks to a combination of interconnected lake, reservoir, and river habitats, and the presence of pejerrey baitfish and pancora crabs in huge numbers, a fish over 10 pounds is considered very large, with individuals pushing 15 pounds considered true trophies.
People often think photos they see of Limay browns have come from the Rio Grande in Tierra Del Fuego, which is home to some of the largest sea run brown trout in the world. But the fish of the Limay spend their entire lives in fresh water. We have been fishing, exploring, and guiding anglers on the Limay for over 15 years and we continue to be blown away by the massive brown trout that come out of the river.
YOUR HOME BASE ON THE HUNT FOR "EL UNO"
The Limay River Ranch provides over 30 miles of private access to one of the most diverse fisheries in all of Patagonia, the Midle Limay. This new lodge has built over twenty miles of private roads within the Estancia so its guests may fish how they desire – whether fishing hard all day with a long float or breaking up the day to have lunch back at the lodge followed by a siesta.
Space is extremely limted. Contact us today for available dates, and to start planning your hunt for "El Uno".
The Patagonia Nomads operation literally shares its roots with Big Sky Anglers. BSA co-owner Justin Spence is a co-founder of Patagonia Nomads, and has decades of experience guiding and crafting custom itineraries for anglers in Patagonia. "Justino", as he is known in the south, was one of a small handful of outfitters that pioneered the idea of building fully custom trip itineraries in Northern Patagonia. Justin, and the travel team at Big Sky Anglers are the North American booking agents for Patagonia Nomads, bringing years of experience, and an unmatched commitment to exceptional personalized experiences.