Jorge Graziosi has been guiding in Patagonia Argentina since 1968, first under the name Safaris Acuaticos and more recently as Arroyo Claro Lodge, which he opened 1999. In 2006, Jorge constructed the new Arroyo Claro Lodge, built on a nearby hillside with dramatic views of the beautiful Carrileufu River, 3-hours south of Bariloche. Lodge guests fish the Carrileufu, the Rivadavia, Arrayanes and Chubut rivers, as well as Arroyo Pescado, and the Palena and Futaleufu Rivers of Chile.
Arroyo Claro Lodge
Arroyo Claro Lodge is located ten miles south of the small village of Cholila, in the heart of this wonderful trout fishing country. The Carrileufu River is within walking distance of the lodge. The Rio Rivadavia and El Canal spring creek are a short drive. The Andes Mountains make the perfect backdrop to this idyllic setting. Your host at Arroyo Claro Lodge is Jorge Graziosi.
Jorge designs each fishing itinerary to suit the season, angler preference, and the size of each group. On extended stays, Jorge may dedicate a portion of each guest’s trip to fishing the Palena and Futaleufu Rivers in Chile, a three-hour drive south of Cholila, stopping to fish Arroyo Pescado on the way. Another option is a 3-night / 4-day float trip on the Chubut River, known to deliver non-stop dry fly action for Browns and Rainbows up to 4 pounds.
Jorge is an expert fly fisherman and an accomplished horseman and the lodge is furnished with his riding paraphernalia, including some exquisite saddles and bridles. He owns several horses that are available for guests’ enjoyment; you will see them grazing in front of the lodge. A small garden provides fresh flowers for the dining tables.
Arroyo Claro Lodge has a main lodge with four spacious double guest rooms on the first floor, each with a private, full bathroom and two smaller bedrooms with private baths on the second floor.
Arroyo Claro’s main lodge and cabin sit on top of a stone bluff, overlooking the Carrileufu Valley and facing the mountains. The view of the bend in the Carrileufu River under the mountain’s jagged peaks is breath taking.
The food is wonderful. Breakfast and dinners will be served at the lodge, preceded by a cocktail hour either on the patio or by the fireplace, depending on the weather. At least one of the dinners will be at the lodge’s parrilla, or barbeque.
Here guests enjoy “asado,” which is a traditional and very popular meal in Argentina, consisting of beef, lamb and sausage, all cooked together on a grill over hot coals. There will also be home baked bread, salad, dessert and plenty of vino tinto.
Part of the fun is relaxing and taking in the scenery while your hosts tend an oversized, smoking grill. Most other meals are taken in the dining room of the main lodge or on the stream. The lodge specializes in local produce and creative national dishes, paired with a selection from an extensive wine list.
Days, of course, are typically spent exploring the expansive trout waters in the surrounding country under the expert direction of Jorge and his team of guides.
The beautiful Carrileufu flows within sight of Arroyo Claro. The best way to access to the Carrileufu is by floating the river and getting out to wade fishy looking water. However, some stretches are best fished from the raft, casting to the riverbank. Half-day trips on the Carrileufu are easily arranged, which leaves time for other activities such as horseback riding, hiking and visiting the “Patagonia Express” railway and Estancia Leleque Museum. The driving time to and from the river is quite short, which is not the norm for many South American fishing lodges. The Rivadavia is a little further from the lodge; about twenty minutes by car. The Rio Chubut is also close by, where adventurous guests can enjoy a 3-day float trip.
Catch and release regulations imposed on the Carrileufu several years ago have greatly enhanced the size and population of trout in this river. Rainbows and browns up to 27 inches have been taken by Arroyo Claro guests on dry flies. These incredibly strong trout run and jump like steelhead and have been described by clients as “trout on steroids”. The Carrileufu is also one of the best rivers in Argentina for landlocked Atlantic salmon, particularly in November and March.
The Rio Rivadavia is one of the prettiest rivers in Argentina with good average sized trout that can be caught on dry flies, nymphs and streamers all in the same day. There is so much fishable water it generally takes two full days to cover the best five miles of this river. Not to be missed is the more technical spring creek tributary of the Rivadavia with rainbows and browns that can exceed five pounds.
Also nearby are the Rio Arrayanes, Menendez and the Canal Spring Creeks.
The 3-night / 4-day float trip on the Rio Chubut is spectacular. Why 4 days? That’s how long it takes to get to the next road. Much of the Chubut is so remote (most of the float is inside a 250,000 acre Estancia), its trout have never seen a fly and the catch results show it. You will loose count. Most guests fish exclusively with dry flies. The fish range from 12-22 inches, with a few larger fish to be had. The Chubut River is 30 – 50 yards wide, which is filled with fishy looking riffles, runs, deep pools.
The Chubut is the longest of five small rivers that are born in the mountains a few miles south from the Bariloche airport: Two of the River’s go to the Pacific and three to the Atlantic. The Chubut flows for almost six hundred miles to reach the coast. First, flowing south for one hundred miles where the river takes a turn 90 degrees about ten miles south of El Maiten and heads east for the Atlantic. This is known as “Vuelta del Rio” (turn of the river) and where 65 miles Chubut float trip begins. The Chubut float takes anglers through a variety of fishing situations and Argentine landscapes. At the beginning of the float, the banks are lined
with tall willows, some reaching 40 to 50 feet tall that provide cover for the trout, protect the anglers in windy conditions, and keep the water cool. Then, the banks begin to open, cut banks begin to form, and there is great terrestrial and hopper fishing. The float ends on a winding section of the Chubut, framed by the Andes, with less willows, more cut banks, and fabulous riffles where some heavy brown trout take Chernobyls and big stone flies.
All of the camping equipment is provided (wall tents with two cots each, good sleeping, tables, camping chairs, electricity provided by a small generator, portable toilette, and shower facilities) and is set up each night by camp staff, who will float ahead of the anglers, set up camp and prepare dinner. The facilities are simple, however Jorge has perfected the scheduled and equipment, so anglers want for nothing, except for more time on the Chubut.
Client Views of the Chubut Float
“Three things can sum up an Arroyo Claro float down the Chubut River. Great fishing, knowledgeable guides and personalized service.
We experienced great dry fly fishing to feisty rainbow trout averaging 18″. Chernobyl patterns, Dave’s hoppers, caddis patterns brought fish to the surface all day long. Whenever there was a slight lull to the dry fly action, I would put on a few nymphs, especially a prince nymph, and the fish were right back on it. But the dry fly fishing was just too spectacular to think of fishing below the surface.
Jorge and his crew were extremely professional and organized. Campsites were set up well in advance every night. It was a pleasure to roll into camp every night and see dinner being prepared, tents placed along the river and the bar open. Meatloaf, steaks, grilled chicken, bacon and eggs, and freshly squeezed orange juice are some samples of the type of meals we ate. Jorge even brought some pies for dessert! I noticed that everyday Jorge or any of his crew would go out of their way to make sure we were comfortable. Expresso anyone?
The Chubut River trip is a treat for a lifetime. Great scenery, great fishing, experienced and knowledgable guides, tasty argentine food and wine but make sure you bring a jacket to keep you warm when the winds of Patagonia start to blow. The only reason I might hesitate from going again is that I do not think it could be any better than the last time.” – Bob M.
“When the guides take machetes out to chop through the willows, you know you aren’t going to be fishing ‘the same old, same old’. The first 1/2 of the trip is filled with bright, shiny, acrobatic rainbows, running 14-18 inches long, jumping, pulling and bouncing around the river with abundant energy.
Southern kingfishers, wild parakeets, cara caras, and Andean condors fly over and around the river, giving bird-oriented folks lots of bucket-list Audubon check-offs. Cool nights make for great sleeping, that and tasty bottles of Argentine Malbec wine and cold Aracauna, Anteres and Quilmes beers speed you off to trout-filled dreams on your cot in your own tent after a routine day of 20-40 wild fish to the net/angler.
Jorge’s team of guides and wranglers are skilled at preparing evening meal like rich bolognese sauces and pasta al dente, steaks, or a piquant chili with fresh baked bread, perfecto! You will not lack for breakfast options, which are served with matte tea served and shared with the guides, as is the custom, or fresh brewed coffee in your own mug. Lunches are often cuts of salami and ham, hard cheeses, fruits, bread for sandwiches, bottles of beer (or more Malbec). Desserts are pies and torts filled with the rich local berries.
The end of the Chubut float finds the river gradient slowing and more opportunities to tangle with big browns and you may linger at the deeper holes for a bit to see if you can coax a big boy to come out and play. There are also rainbows to keep your rod bent between the viscous, green stretches, but this is your chance to tangle with 25+ inch Argentine brownies, not mention their ho-hum “smaller” 16-18 inch brothers and sisters.
There is no fine china, no crystal wine goblets, no maitre d’s to tip, but you will be well-spoiled by the end of your float because the scenery is gorgeous, the fish cooperative and frisky (but well placed casts reap great rewards). The air is fresh, the water cool, the sky is big and the experience most special. This is a great trip to reconnect with friends, enjoy precious moments with family, or simply enjoy a few days under canvas in the Argentine pampas, chasing trout and enjoying life with folks who appreciate really love being out on a trout river with no other agenda than relaxing and savoring the simple pleasures of life well-lived. Did I mention they have lots of good Malbec?” – Rick B.
Chile Road Trip
The Chile Road Trip normally beings with a stop at Arroyo Pescado to break up the 3-hour drive. Aftera full day of fishing Arroyo Pescado, it’s a 90-minute drive to either the Rio Palina or the Futaleufu. Each itinerary is custom designed to meet each clients’ individual preferences. Guests stay at lodges in Chile selected by Jorge Graziosi. The pricing for the Chile Road Trip is the same as a standard stay at Arroyo Claro, except that liquor and wine are not included in Chile.
Arroyo Pescado is a small spring creek, typical of spring creeks throughout the western U.S., having a high density of trout and some very large trout. Arroyo Pescado is closed to fishing until January 1st each year, but has excellent fishing right from the opening bell and offers some outstanding hopper fishing.
The Rio Palena originates from Lago Vintter and flows through Argentina as the Rio Corcovado. Once the river enters Chile and until it empties in the Pacific, it’s known as the Rio Palena. The Palena fishes well with dries, nymphs and streamers for brown and rainbow trout. This river also has the most important run of Pacific King salmon in South America – The Kings spawning in the Palena not only add another species to target, but the browns and rainbows grow big and strong feeding on salmon eggs. The Palena flows through one of the most spectacular mountainous valleys in Chile, with snow-capped peaks hovering over every riffle and run.
The Futaleufu in Chile, or “Big River”; (for this is how Futaleufu translates from the Tehuelche tongue) begins on the Eastern side of the Andes in Argentina, where it’s called the “Rio Grande”. Once over the Chilean border, the Futaleufu creates the Yago Yelcho, which in turn becomes the Rio Yelcho that empties into the Pacific. This fast flowing freestone river has healthy populations of large brown trout and rainbow trout, as well as excellent insect hatches.
When To Visit Arroyo Claro
Weather and fishing conditions in Argentina are similar to those in the Western U.S. – Montana, Idaho and Wyoming – during the corresponding seasons, (Argentina’s seasons are opposite ours in North America), as described below.
The trout-fishing season opens on the second Saturday in November. During November & December, the rivers are at the highest levels of the season, but the flow is moderated by the fact that most rivers flow out of lakes. High water and spring temperatures cause the fish to feed aggressively, making this one of the most productive times of the year.
Bring your sinking lines, but expect good dry fly fishing on the Chubut, with the right conditions. December offers some super nymph fishing on the Rivadavia. Good landlocked salmon fishing on the Carrileufu. The period corresponds with the months of May and June in the western U.S. Expect springtime temperatures; with potentially cool to cold mornings and nights. Temp range: 32°-75°.
If you’d rather fish in shirtsleeves on bright, sunny days, you should focus on January and February when water levels stabilize. Good dry fly fishing and generally the most dependable weather of the season. The months of January and February, corresponding with July and August in the Western U.S., usually offer the best hopper fishing of the season. The well-known spring creek Arroyo Pescado opens January 1st. The Futaleufu River, because it is a tail water fishery, fishes well even during the hottest weather. The weather can range from hot and dry in the daytime to cool mornings and nights. Temperatures can range into the 80’s and during midsummer daylight can last until 10:30 at night. At high elevations the weather will be cooler and more subject to change. High winds are possible anytime. Cholila is apt to be warmer and less windy than other parts of Patagonia due to its lower elevation (1500 feet). Temperature range: 50°-90°.
During March and April (the season closes April 15th) the days begin to shorten, the trees turn bright colors, the salmon and big browns move from the lakes into the rivers to spawn and water temperatures begin to reactivate the trout. Good wet and dry fly fishing, particularly landlocked salmon on the Carrileufu. Water levels reach their lowest point, making sight fishing very productive. These months correspond to September and October in the Western U.S. Expect autumn temperatures and potentially cool to cold mornings and nights. Temperature range: 32°-75°.
- Horseback riding on the 5,000 acre ranch
- Visit to the los Alerces National Park – the lodge is 3 miles from the park’s north entrance.
- Big boat ride on Lago Menendez to the Glaciers (very scenic) of “Cerro Torecillas.”
- Hiking – just behind the lodge are many private trails.
- Butch Cassidy cabin (20 miles away)
- Patagonia history museum, “LeLeque Estancia”
- Ride to the Museum on the Patagonia Express.
- Visits to El Bolson artisans fair (about 1 hour away)
- Bird watching for Condors/Flamingos.
- Visits to the Welsh Tea House (about a 12 mile drive)
Our Services are Free!
Contact us for Seasonal Discounts, Special Offers or Promotional Pricing
2017 – 2018 Rates For Arroyo Claro Lodge Patagonia, Argentina
The 2017 – 2018 rates are: $650 (US) per person, per day, based on two people sharing a room and a guide; $850 (US) a day for a single fisherman; $400 (US) a day for non-fishing companion; $450 (US) per person/double and $600 (US) single for an arrival day; and $200 (US) per person/ double; $200 (US) single for a departure day. These rates are quoted in US dollars and are subject to change. Transfers in Buenos Aires, if required, are additional.
Example: 7 nights in the Cholila/Esquel area with 6 days fishing would cost $4,550 (US) per person, based on two people sharing a room and guide.
Included in the rate are: pick-up and return to Bariloche or Esquel airport, daily guided fishing by vehicle/foot and by inflatable rafts; accommodations, which in addition to Arroyo Claro Lodge can include hotels and country lodges (or tent camps for optional overnights on rivers); all meals with house wine, beer or soft drinks.
Not Included in the rate are: airfare to Bariloche or Esquel; departure taxes; laundry; fishing license; access fees to private waters (US$100 per person at Arroyo Pescado); Chubut Float (US$100 per person); tackle; flies; tips to guide or at hotels; bar expenses; hotels and transfers in Buenos Aires and possible meals or sightseeing during layover in Buenos Aires.