Well this week I will start with the second part of the report. In this part I will divide
Patagonia in its provinces (5 provinces) and will make a brief description of each of
the best rivers and lakes of each province.
This week I will talk about Neuquen Province. It is in the northwestern Patagonia and is the
smallest province in Patagonia region.
Neuquen is characterized by its majestic landscapes.
It is really a paradise of lakes, mountains, fishing of trout and winter sports. The
cultivation of apples and pears and in smaller degree grapes and peaches is of great importance for its economy.
There are three important rivers in the province, which flow across it from the mountainous area of
the west to the east. In the north and as a limit with the province of Mendoza: the Colorado river.
In the centre: the Neuquén river. In the south and as a limit with the province of Río Negro: the
The following species of salmonids can be found in its lakes and rivers. They are of international sport interest:
Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss.)
Perch (Percichtys spp.)
Landlocked salmon (Salmo salar)
Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)
Brown trout (Salmo trutta)
As regards its natural resources, Neuquen is one of the largest size of the country, is
the most important among all the other reservations of oil. Besides, it has 55 % of the
reservations of natural gas in the whole country.
Neuquen is the greatest province generating hydroelectricity, through the 6 power stations that are
located on the Neuquén and Limay rivers, supplying the 35 % of the whole national production.
Neuquen has 4 national parks and 5 provincial natural reservations, more than 30 lakes and a
great mountainous cord (Los Andes range) where volcanoes and hills of great height are plentiful.
They are suitable for climbing and skiing (on snow). Two international centres of ski are
outstanding among them: Chapelco and Bay Hill.
The capital city of this province, Neuquén City, has an important airport just 1.5 hours
away from Buenos Aires and in the same airport you can rent a car and travel to your
Ok, now let´s talk about fishing.
This province has huge difference between the northern and central-south
region. So I think is really useful to divide the province in Northern and
Central- South region.
The northern section of Neuquén province, has the characteristic of a
very low fishing pressure. The low pressure is the result of a really
difficult access but if we can reach the stream we will find the same
scenery like others well known rivers many decades ago.
Many of these rivers born in the high mountain and don´t have lakes at
their heads. Almost all these rivers are away from the roads for normal
vehicles so a 4 WD truck is a must here to reach the best spots and sometimes
we will need the help of our old friends, the horses.
In this zone we can find the Trocoman River, Nahueve River, Alto Neuquen
River, Varvarco lagoons, Agrio River and Hualcupén River.
Trocomán River (approx. 50 miles long)
Pretty large river of medium dimensions. Has no lake at its head and is
the best river in the northern Neuquen region. The higher section of this
river is really close to the Andes, has a big slope and has no access, so
is not recommendable for fishing.
The middle and lower sections, with a lower slope, smooth runs (this allows
an easy wading), large and deeps pools, shore with vegetation, turn this
section into an excellent trout spot.
The scenery of this section, due to really few rains, is arid. The waters of the
river waters are a bit green. Trocomán River has a great population of fish,
almost all rainbows with an average weight of 1 to 3 pounds but if we do
every thing with extreme care, we can hook fish up to 6 pound trout. So this river
is an excellent place for the lovers of light gear (2-5 wt. are the best).
15 miles of the middle section are in the lands of Ranquil-Co ranch. This
ranch has a lodge and many facilities for fishermen.
This river, well known for its excellent rainbows of good size, has the
inconvenience that almost all the year it drags sediments from Domuyo
Volcano (15,420 ft). So if we find the waters clear, an excellent fishing
These lagoons have blue, gin clear waters. The access is only recommendable
with 4 WD trucks because the road in some parts are impossible for a
common car. Here the trout population of medium size (1- 3 lbs) is really
amazing, so this makes this place into an outstanding place for the novice angler.
The trouts of these lagoons are in a big competition for food so they take
a great variety of flies and we don´t need a polished technique to have a
great fishing day.
The central and southern region, in difference with the previous one, have an
easier accessibility to the rivers. This factor turns this region in the most visited
region in Patagonia by anglers. The roads are better, there are a lot of camping
places, the weather is more favorable and there are a lot of hotels in big cities as
in smaller towns like San Martín de los Andes, Junín de los Andes, Villa La
Angostura, Aluminé and Villa Traful. There are also plenty of lodges and huts.
In this region we can find the most known rivers like Aluminé, Chimehuín, Limay,
Quilquihue, Traful, Pulmarí, Collon Cura, Malleo, Caleufu, Curruhé, Bonito and
lakes like Tromen, Nahuel Huapi, Alumine, Paimun, Huechulafquen, etc.
As you can see in this region there are a lot of excellent rivers, so the description
of each of them will be really long for this article, so I will start with Aluminé River
in this article and next week will add other rivers.
This is born in Aluminé lake and after a long run, it joins to Chimehuín river to
form the Collon Cura river. The Aluminé is a big-sized stream, that receive the
contribution of a big number of rivers with great sportive value like, Pulmarí river,
Ruca Choroi, Quillen and Malleo.
Its large length and the different environments that it runs through, make impossible
to talk about this river like only one, so to study it better, I have to divide it in three
sections. Upper Aluminé, Middle Aluminé and Lower Aluminé.
Upper Aluminé: (20 KM. Aprox)This is from the lake Aluminé to where it joints with Pulmarí river. The Aluminé´s
mouth, has a funnel shape with many aquatic vegetation and its width is about 90 ft. It is
common to see big sized fish, mostly rainbows from the lake but the fishermen that live
there say that this is not a good fishing spot, because you can catch really few fish and
have to fight against the strong wind predominant in the zone. 1.5 mile downstream from
the mouth, the river gets in a cannon and its characteristics change completely. The shore
vegetation is poor so the steppe scenery is dominant here with some huge araucarias.
Here the river has few aquatic vegetation and little rainbows inhabit it. The average size
of them is between 0.6 to 1.3 pounds, but there are some possibility to catch fish to 2.2 pounds.
Middle Aluminé: (35 km. Aprox.)
This is from the Aluminé joining with the Pulmarí to its joining with the Quillén.
Here the flow is bigger than the upper Aluminé and the river slope is lower, so the
river is very different. There are more pools and the stones in its bottom are smaller.
Here the river is easier to wade and the possibility of a floating fishing trip on a
raft in a 2 day trip is a very exciting option. The shore vegetation, mostly willows,
increases and the willows give shelter and cover to aquatic insects and trouts.
The color of the river is a light milky green. The fish are very numerous and their
size is between .6 to 3 pounds but the possibility to catch a brown of more than
4 lbs are really high.
Lower Alumine: (95 km. Aprox.)
Is from Quillen river to Aluminé´s joining with Chimehuin River. Here, the water from a lot
of creeks make the Aluminé a big river, The pools are larger and with more depth and the
water is a bit darker. Here a fisherman can catch up to 30 to 40 trouts (rainbows and browns)
between 3 to 5 pounds and the possibility to catch a brown up to 8 pounds is really high.
Even being a wide river, you can use a great selection of gear and techniques.
The ideal gear is a fast action #5 or #6 rod, 8´5´´ to 9´ long. The best lines for this
river are a WF-F for nymphing and dry flies and a type III or IV Shooting taper
or a 130 or 200 grains Teeny line to fish streamers in the deeper pools where bigger
fish are hidden. At the end of the season and with the waters low, is possible to use
a 2 or 3 weight rods. The best flies are:
Gear and flies for the Aluminé
Nymphs: #8- #12 Montana Stone, Bitch Creek and Black Stone.
Streamers: #4- #8 Woolly buggers and marabou muddlers.
You can add many other patterns (specially dries) but please don´t forget to carry
those flies if you want to have a great fishing day.~
Alejandro Martello, Buenos Aires, Argentina
For more on fishing South America visit Ale's
More South American Fly Fishing:
Peacock Bass in Brazil (Brasil)
Dorados in Argentina
Argentine Patagonia - Introduction
Argentine Patagonia - Part 2
Argentine Patagonia - Part 3
Argentine Patagonia - Part 4
Argentine Patagonia - Part 5
Argentine Patagonia - Part 6
A True Chilean Adventure
Futaleufu, Chile, Part 1
Futaleufu, Chile, Part 2