Estancia Maria Behety
Estancia Maria Behety
The Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego is home to the finest sea-run brown trout fishing in the world, and there is no better venue on the river than Estancia Maria Behety. From the intimate and outstanding accommodations, the five-star cuisine and fine Argentinian wines, the location minutes from more than 100 of the most productive runs on the entire river, and the top quality guides and program designed entirely around the most productive fishing times, EMB is undoubtedly one of the top fly fishing destinations in the world. The proof is that most spots at EMB are booked year after year by the same clients, and there can be a lengthy wait list for openings.
The Estancia itself is a 275,000 acre ranch with over thirty miles of frontage on the best stretch of the Rio Grande to target these sea-run monsters. EMB has two lodges, one with a maximum capacity of twelve anglers and the other only six. The latter, La Villa Maria Behety, is regarded as one of the most beautiful ranch mansions in South America. The fishing is very similar to steelheading, with two-handed spey rods for swinging flies quickly becoming the tackle of choice. Anglers fish the morning period, return for a lavish lunch and a siesta during the afternoon, then head back out to fish late into the evening. While not on the water, guests are pampered with every luxury imaginable. And because the size of the Rio Grande sea-run browns averages in the teens – with one out of fifty pushing thirty pounds – anglers are sure to return home with fish stories they will tell for a lifetime.
Fishing for sea-run brown trout is very similar to fishing for steelhead in many ways. Like steelhead, which are anadromous (sea-run) rainbow trout, the brown trout of Tierra del Fuego actually return to the ocean each season to feed and grow. They return to their natal waters on the Rio Grande River to spawn each year, and offer an incredible opportunity for anglers to catch some of the largest and liveliest brown trout on earth! Sea-run browns on the Rio Grande average 10 – 14 lbs, and experienced fly rodders usually hook about a half dozen per day. Trophy fish in excess of 20 pounds are not uncommon, and about one in 50 is a monster pushing 30 pounds or more.
The character of the water on the Rio Grande is for the most part wide and slow moving as it meanders down from its headwaters in Chile. It is perfect habitat for swinging flies with heavy single-handed or spey rods to fish laid up in pools waiting to push upstream. Quartering downstream with streamers or dead drifting nymphs are the most common methods used, and skated dry flies are terrific when the conditions are right.
Guests have the option of booking trips to one of two lodges on the massive Maria Behety property. This includes the main lodge building, as well as the more intimate and opulent La Villa.
The Estancia Maria Behety Lodge sits on a promontory overlooking the Rio Grande with panoramic views of vast pampas and the remnants of the Andean cordillera framing the background. There are 8 double occupancy rooms in the lodge that can accommodate a maximum of 16 guests, though EMB limits it to 12 anglers total during a typical week.
Guests at La Villa enjoy a meticulously built and finished single level lodge that is comfortable, warm, inviting, and efficient, designed exclusively with anglers in mind. All the rooms at La Villa are private, single occupancy rooms, elegantly decorated featuring a spacious private bathroom with a glass walk-in shower, Jacuzzi tub, and large vanity and sink area. All meals at both lodges are served in a formal dining room; creations of talented Argentine chefs use fresh ingredients from the greenhouse and meat raised and processed on the estancia. A fully stocked 9,000 bottle wine cellar featuring some of the finest Argentine varietals and full open bar add to the experience.
Guests fly direct to Buenos Aires, Argentina from Dallas/Ft. Worth, Miami, or New York on an overnight flight arriving the following morning. Fishermen then gather their luggage, clear customs, and are met by a driver who transfers the group approximately one hour to the Domestic Airport for the flight to either Ushuaia or Rio Grande aboard Aerolineas Argentina or Lan Airlines. Upon arrival in Ushuaia or Rio Grande, the group is then met at the baggage claim by a Maria Behety staff member and driven to the Estancia.
WHEN TO GO / SEASONALITY
The big sea-run brown trout start to return to the pools of the Rio Grande in significant numbers around Thanksgiving. Less than a month later, the river is loaded with fish and it is estimated that by the first day of each New Year, nearly 80% of the escapement has reached their annual family reunion. That translates into more than a thousand monster trout per river mile.
The fish initially herd up in the best lower river pools, though hundreds more of the silver sea trout continue to pour into the Rio Grande on every high tide, twice a day until sometime in May. The most sought after dates are late January, February, and March, the middle and most pleasant part of the short, near-Antarctic summer. Because the most productive weeks of the season shift every year and can’t be consistently targeted on the calendar, the best time to be on the Rio Grande is unpredictable. But the fishing is typically good every week the lodge is open!
La Villa de Maria Behety is the most deluxe fly fishing lodge in all of Argentina. Guests enjoy the old world charm of the beautifully restored Menendez family mansion, and no lodge in Tierra del Fuego is more appropriate for non-anglers. Amenities beyond near-exclusive access to the superb fishing include a 7,000-bottle wine cellar, private rooms, Jacuzzi tubs, and a marvelous kitchen.
Fly fishing is the predominant activity at both lodges. Non-anglers are welcome to join fishing guests to the main lodge; however, there are very limited non-angling activities available other than hiking, relaxing at the lodge, and observing wildlife. The warm hospitality on the ranch and gorgeous landscape is a very calming place to enjoy a book and relax while angling companions are on the river.
Estancia Maria Behety Lodge
(based on shared room / shared guide)
7 Night Lodging / 6 Day Fishing Package: $6,000 - $8,600 (depending on the week)
Single room option (very limited) – $500 per angler
La Villa Maria Behety
(based on private room / shared guide)
7 Night Lodging / 6 Day Fishing Package: $7,000 - $9,500 (depending on the week)
- Guided fishing
- All beverages including Argentine wines and cocktails (Open Bar)
- Ground transportation to/from Ushuaia or Rio Grande Airports
- Fishing Licenses
What's Not Included
- Airfare to Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Meals, Lodging and other expenses in Buenos Aires
- Airfare to Ushuaia or Rio Grande, Argentina from Buenos Aires with Aerolineas or Lan
- Guide and Staff Gratuities
- Airport Departure Taxes
- Overweight baggage expenses
- Items of personal nature such as telephone calls
- Laundry service
Terms & Conditions
Tailwaters Travel must adhere to the cancellation policies of the guides, outfitters and lodges which it represents. Estancia Maria Behety’s policy follows: A fifty percent deposit is due at the time of booking to confirm all reservations. Full payments are required at 90 days from departure. Deposits and all payments are nonrefundable unless replacement clients are found. Finding a replacement for a South American trip on short notice can be very difficult and, at times, impossible. Receipt of deposit and/or final payment is acknowledgement that registrant has read and accepts the cancellation, refund and responsibility clauses.
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