Destination : Chime Lodge – Argentina

Quick Facts

Species: Wild Rainbow trout, Brown trout, Brook trout and landlocked Salmon
Season: Nov – May
Capacity:  10 Guests

2013 Rates:
7 nights / 6 1/2 days**          *$3,995
Spring/Fall***                        *$3,495

*Double Occupancy
**Jan 1st to April 15th
***Nov 1st to Jan 1st – Apr 15th - May 31stTwo anglers per guide


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Helpful Hints 

Location: Chime Lodge is conveniently located on the banks of the upper Chimehuin River and not more than 45 minutes away from miles and miles of trout rich waters including the Malleo, Collon Cura and Alumine Rivers plus the large trout- producing Tromen, Epulafquen, Huechulafquen, Curruhe and Verde Lakes. 

Airport: Fly to Buenos Aires (Airport Code EZE) and then take a domestic flight to Chapelco Airport in San Martin de los Andes (Airport Code CPC) located 28 miles from the Lodge.

Local Time:  UTC/GMT -03

Currency:  The currency in Argentina is the Peso (ARS). It’s recommend that you take as much U.S. currency with you as you are comfortable carrying ($1000 USD) in pesos.

You will have access to ATMs in Argentina that dispense pesos and you’ll be able to charge things to your credit card when shopping or eating at a restaurant.  Travelers Checks are not recommended, as they are not widely accepted.

Communications: In Buenos Aires you can make long distance calls from your hotel or from phone booths on the street.  Most U.S. cell phones will work in the Junin de los Andes area depending on your service plan.  Chime Lodge will have regular phone availability for international calls at an extra cost.

You’ll have free internet access at your hotel in Buenos Aires. There is also free satellite internet access at Chime Lodge but it may be slow compared to US standards. You’re welcome to use the computer at the lodge to send and receive emails or you can connect yours through their Wi-Fi system.

Language:  Argentina is a Spanish speaking country, but you need not worry if you don’t speak the language. Most of the people you come into contact with will speak some English.

Documents Required:  Passport

Power:  Argentina uses 220 volts instead of 110 volts as in the U.S. If you plan to use a small appliance like an electric razor, you will need to purchase a converter before leaving home to convert the electricity from 220 to 110 voltages

Water: Although water is treated in the hotels and restaurants, it is probably better not to drink the tap water.

 Laundry: Laundry service is available at an extra cost

Destination Overview

Chime Lodge (pronounced Chee-may) was beautifully constructed in 2008 and is ideally located overlooking the scenic Chimehuin River, their home water. Chime Lodge has excellent access to the greatest diversity of trout water in Northern Patagonia, within 45 minutes of the lodge, including the Malleo, Collon Cura and Alumine rivers plus the large trout-producing Tromen, Epulafquen, Curruhe Huechulafquen, and Verde Lakes. Joe Brooks and Mel Krieger put these Patagonian waters on the fly fishing map, which makes Chime Lodge’s location, possibly it’s greatest attribute. Each river or lake has its own character. Brown, rainbow, brook trout and landlocked salmon thrive in these waters and readily take flies, whether you’re a novice or seasoned angler, your guides can help you catch the trout of a lifetime. To top off your day you will be welcomed home by the family-style atmosphere of the lodge and treated to excellent cooking, washed down with Argentina’s renowned wines.

Accommodations and Lodging

Chime Lodge operates out of a 390 m2 building newly constructed in 2008 which is situated directly on the banks of the upper Chimehuin River and boasts such amenities as air conditioning, 24-hour power, broadband wireless Internet, Internet phone, emergency satellite phone. It also runs green, powered by two turbine windmills with a back up gas generator and has a fly tying desk.  The beautifully appointed lodge can accommodate 10 guests in five large bedrooms, each with a private full bathroom with hot water shower. The lodge also features two common living rooms, a reading/internet room, open kitchen and a large dining room with a common table. The large outdoor decks overlook the river and surrounding mountains. Chime Lodge is one of the finer smaller lodges and believe that all of our clients will find the setting and accommodations very pleasing.

Dining

Chime Lodge offers a mix of Argentine and Italian cuisine, served family style, all poured with great Argentine wines. There is a different menu offered each day and feature famous Argentine meat, fresh trout, smoked salmon, caprese pasta, and other gourmet dinner specialties. Food and wine in Argentina are excellent. Meat is served at lunch and dinner with potatoes (“papas fritas” are French fries) and salads, which are very good. Try “ensalada mixta” for a green salad with tomatoes and onions. When ordering a steak look for “bife de chorizo” on the menu if you want a New York cut and “bife de lomo” if you want a filet. On most weeks, for your farewell dinner, the neighbor “El Gaucho Barria” will roast a whole lamb with a traditional Argentina Asado. Please inform us of any dietary restrictions in advance, before departure, so we can notify the lodge.

Beverages:

Wine is “vino de mesa” (table wine) or “vino fino” (served by the bottle). The waiter will ask which you prefer and then the kind: “vino tinto” (red) or “vino blanco,” (white). Argentine wine is from vineyards near Mendoza and is quite inexpensive and good. The best, known type of Argentine wine is the Malbec, which is a medium-bodied red. “Cerveza” is beer. Coffee is also very good in Argentina and is served espresso style in demitasse cups or with milk, “café con leche.” A “doble” means coffee in a big cup. Tea is also available. Coffee is often served with “medialunas,” which means croissants

Fishing Information

Northern Argentina’s Patagonia region is perhaps the greatest attribute of Chime Lodge’s location. The diversity of fishing found in this particular area of. Whether you are a novice angler looking to develop your fly fishing skills or an experienced angler seeking a well-balanced sample of the best that South America has to offer, you will find the guides and fisheries of Chime Lodge well-suited for your specific needs. The day starts a little later and ends later. You generally won’t begin fishing until 9:30 or 10 a.m. There is no need to rush to the rivers as you should have them pretty much to yourself, and the action frequently accelerates as the sun warms the cold water fisheries. You will fish until the early evening most days, usually 8 or more hours on the water.

The peak fishing season is January – March. During this timeframe, both browns and rainbows look up for large attractor dry flies, such as large Hopper patterns, Gypsy Kings, Chernobyl Ants, and big beetles. If you are an angler looking for trophy trout, then throwing large, weighted marabou streamers with sink-tip lines can provide exciting visual action for big fish. Most of the waters in this area are so clear that you can see the trout explode on your moving steamer.

We would recommend the fall months (April and May) for great streamer action for huge browns fishing in and around the Bocas (the river mouths) of very specific rivers. You may also want to take a day to fish the numerous and scenic lakes in the region. These lakes provide anglers with solid shots at sipping brown, brook and rainbow trout. When these quality trout are not always looking up for dry flies, the streamer action is very productive, especially for trophysized fish. You will typically fish a different body of water each day at Chime Lodge.

The Waters

Chime Lodge is located on the boundaries of Lanin National Park, that offers a majestic landscape throughout its almost 1.5 million acres and dominated by Lanin Volcano, a peak of 11,300’ adorned by snow and dry lava. This area has more than 20 trout rich lakes that feed a network of rivers that every year attracts the attention of fly fishermen from all around the globe. All of the rivers found throughout this area fish differently during Argentina’s changing seasons, as most of these rivers are attached to large lakes. That means that often-times you can find huge rainbow trout on the move in the spring, and trophy browns running in the fall. The peak dry fly fishing is usually found from mid-summer through early fall (mid-January through March).

The main river in the area is Alumine, which receives water from lots of tributaries like the Pulmari, Quillen, Ruca Choroi, Malleo, Pilo lil and Catan lil. It is at its confluence with the Catan Lil where the Alumine is renamed Collon Cura which also receives water from the Chimehuin, Quemquemtreu and Caleufu rivers until it drains into Piedra del Aguila Reservoir.

Chimehuin River

The fabled Chimehuin River is the most famous of all Patagonian rivers and home of endless stories of the monster trout that live in its productive waters. The Chimehuin is born on Lake Huechulafquen and flows for 40 trout rich kilometers until it meets Collon Cura River. The Chimehuin, also referred to as “the Cathedral of Patagonia Fly fishing” is the place where fly fishing in Patagonia begun. Made famous by Joe Brooks and other flyfishing Gods during the ‘60’s, the Chimehuin put Patagonia on the fly fishing maps of the world. The mythical mouth or “Boca” gather fishermen from all around the world to catch the gigantic trout that every year migrates from the lake to the river to spawn. The Chimehuin is very productive with all flyfishing techniques be it dry, nymph or streamer and every corner may give you the fish of a lifetime. You can float right from the lodge or drive and wade the many productive pools the Chimehuin has to offer.

Malleo River

About 20 km from Chime Lodge you’ll reach the mid reaches of the Malleo River. Regarded as one of the top three rivers in Patagonia, the Malleo is born on the very productive Lake Tromen on the northern foothills of Lanin Volcano.

Upper Malleo

The upper parts of this river are not easy to fish due to heavily dense vegetation and steep gradient but very rewarding. The upper part is home to lots of small trout and some large resident fish and migratory rainbow and brown trout. This is small pocket water on the heart of Parque Nacional Lanin.

Mid and lower Malleo

We will concentrate on the lower reaches until its confluence with the Alumine River; on the Mapuche Indian Reservation; where it is easily waded, has abundant hatches throughout the season and holds large numbers of nice sized resident rainbow and brown trout. It is a dry fly paradise! You can fish all day long in different pools and runs. Sight fishing for large trout is possible if your eyes are good and your casting better. It is also a river that will reward the streamer fishermen with large brown trout, especially during low light conditions.

Collon Cura River

The super productive Collon Cura River is born from the union of the Chimehuin and Catan Lil Rivers and flows for about 70 km until it reaches the Piedra del Aguila Reservoir. Besides the undisputed quality of the fishing, this is the place where it’s possible to see the unique wildlife from Patagonia. Just look up and you’ll see condors, eagles, ducks, falcons and raptors. Look to the banks and you may spot red deer, red and grey foxes, guanacos, rheas, otters and more. Due to the proximity to the reservoir, it’s a great river to spey cast large streamers in search of large migratory brown trout (landlocked version of Rio Grande’s sea run browns), especially early and late in the season. For the angler who’s done it all and wants to catch that extra fish there are Percas and Pejerrey Patagonico in abundance, especially during warm summer days.

Alumine River

The Alumine River is born in the homonymous lake and flows for 160 kms of trout infested waters until it meets the Catan Lil River and forms the Collon Cura. The most productive stretch is downstream from Pilo Lil all the way to Catan Lil. This is the place most guides call “the fish factory” were large concentration of trout feed on well-marked lanes or below the ever-present willows that cover its banks. It is not uncommon to hook 50+ fish on a day’s float, with impressive average size fish that will attack a well-placed dry fly. Even though you may fish dries and nymphs all day long for 18” fish, swinging a streamer deep into some pools may give you some trout measured in pounds, not inches. Hook in and hang on! This is also the place where you will hook and land our native fish called Perca. The stretch from Pilo Lil to its confluence with the Malleo is the place we choose for our multi-day float trip. The Limay River is an important river in the northwestern Argentine Patagonia (the region of Comahue). It is born at the eastern end of the Nahuel Huapi Lake and flows in a meandering path for about 380 km, collecting the waters of several tributaries, such as the Traful, the Pichileufú and the Collón Curá. It then meets the Neuquén River and together they become the Río Negro. The city of Neuquén lies at this confluence. The river serves as natural limit between the provinces of Río Negro and Neuquén. We float the Limay River below one of their dams in search of XL migratory brown trout.

The Caleufu River

When the Meliquina and Filo Hua Hum rivers merge they create the Caleufu River, which flows for 40 miles before draining on the Collon Cura River (now Alicura Reservoir). It is floatable from opening day until early January depending on snowmelt and rains. It is an excellent river for streamers (early season) to dry flies and nymphs. Ask your guide when the “minnow hatch” occurs for some epic fishing in the lower reaches.

Other streams and creeks

During certain times of the season we may choose to fish other streams. There are many tributaries (Quilquihue, Curruhue, and Quemquemtreu just to name a few) to the previously mentioned rivers that fish really well at one point or another. These smaller streams are an excellent choice for the wading angler who wants to fish light line rods (1 to 4 wt) for lots of hungry small to medium sized trout or landlocked salmon. Bamboo rod aficionados will find in these streams their wildest dreams. If small water is what you want these are the streams of your dreams.

The Lakes

“Lake fishing is a favorite past time among Argentine fly fishermen, why? Simply because its fun and challenging and most of all, you can catch a trophy trout every time, be it brown, rainbow or brook. Over the years we have asked our clients to fish Tromen, Huechulafquen, Epulafquen, Verde, Curruhe and other lakes around our area that are simply spectacular to the eye but also hold the underwater hidden creature we always dream we could catch.”

Fishing License:

Following your arrival at Chime Lodge we will assist you in obtaining a local fishing license, which costs $ 80 per week or $ 100 per season. Make sure you have your driver’s license or passport ready (mandatory) to purchase the license.

You’ll receive the “FISHING GEAR PACKING LIST” when you book your trip through Fishermen’s Spot.

Boats and equipment

For float trips, Chime Lodge utilizes rafts outfitted with full fishing frames and seats. These boats are designed specifically for fly fishing and are a pleasure to fish from. As far as transportation goes, the rivers and estancias are accessed with 4×4 vehicles, usually Toyota trucks. For the overnight floats, all of the tents, sleeping bags, and raised cots that are provided are brand new and in great shape. You can be assured that when camping with Chime, you will sleep in comfort with a dry tent! The lodge does have a limited supply of rods and reels for client use, although anglers are encouraged to bring their own equipment, including rods, reels, waders, boots, flies, and all terminal tackle.

Rates

• 7 nights and 6 days fishing (Jan 1st to April 15th)                         *$3,995
• Spring/Fall (Nov 1st to January 1st – April 15th May 31st)        *$3,495
• Additional day                                                                                                 $595
• Guide service only (floating or wading) per day                               $450
• Single occupancy supplement per person, per day                         $250
• Additional guide days, per person                                                          $595
Non-angling guest (7 nights and 6 days)                                                $2,200
• Wader and boot rental per day                                                                 $20
• Rod and reel rental per day                                                                       $20

*Double Occupancy
Two anglers per guide
Sunday – Sunday
Package lengths can be customized

Remember Fishermen’s Spot Travel services are always FREE to you!  You never pay more than what you would pay if you booked directly with the lodge.

What’s Included:

  • All Meals
  • Beverages (including Argentine Wines, open bar)
  • Guides (one per two anglers)
  • Ground Transportation to and from the Chapelco airport and the fishing areas

What’s Not Included:

  • Airfare to and from Buenos Aires
  • Domestic Air transfer between Buenos Aires and Chapelco Airport
  • Transfers to and from the alternative Bariloche airport (If arriving into Bariloche you will incur the cost of that transfer, approximately $160 one way for up to 3 anglers with luggage or a private bus for up to 8 anglers with luggage for $300.)
  • Fishing Licenses
  • Personal expenses like international telephone calls, laundry, flies and rental equipment
  • Gratuities for guides and staff

Gratuities:

It is recommended that you consider leaving a single tip at the end of your stay. The amount of any tip is for you to decide, of course, in your sole discretion. As a guideline, we suggest that you consider a gratuity of approximately 10% of the contract price for your trip. You are welcome to reward extraordinary service with a higher tip.

Here’s a typical breakdown of the tip:

$ 30 – 50 per angler per day to your guide (given to your guide at the end of your stay)
$ 20 – 40 per angler per day to the Lodge staff (given to the lodge manager at the end of your stay to distribute to all the staff.

How to get there

Chime Lodge is conveniently located on the banks of the upper Chimehuin River and very close to all the best fishing rivers in Patagonia. To get there you must fly to Buenos Aires (EZE) and then take a domestic flight to Chapelco Airport in San Martin de los Andes (CPC) located at 28 miles from Chime Lodge or Bariloche Airport (Airport Code BRC) located at 140 miles from Chime Lodge. Please note that your airport transfers to and from the lodge from Chapelco are included in your stay.

Non-Angling Activities

At Chime Lodge we offer a lot of activities for the non-fishing guests.

These include:

Golf: a 35-minute drive separates Chime Lodge from one of the prettiest golf courses in Argentina. Chapelco Golf is a Jack Nicklaus signature 18 hole golf course open to all the guests from Chime Lodge.

Hiking/Horseback riding: Enjoy a day hiking the trails of Lanin Volcano or Lanin National Park.

Biking: Mountain bike rentals available at San Martin de los Andes.

Rafting: Enjoy a day floating scenic Chimehuin River for a day or just a few hours.

Bird watching: Patagonia has always been a bird watcher’s favorite. You can watch the birds from the high desert plains like Nandu (wild ostrich), Aguila Mora (grizzly eagle), Maca tobiano, Condors, etc. to the rain forest near Chile like pink flamingoes, black neck swan, torrent duck, Austral parakeet, etc.

Day floats: we organize white water rafting and mellow float trips for the non fishing client. We can also combine both a sight seeing/gourmet lunch/fly fishing float for couples.

Fiesta del puestero: every year, around February 10th the town of Junin hosts La fiesta del Puestero or Rancher Festival. During 4 days there are numerous activities including music festival, horse riding gauchos and flea market.

7 lakes tour: This is a one day tour from Junin de los Andes to Bariloche and back through the towns of San Martin, Villa la Angostura, Villa Traful and back. You’ll see why this is called the lakes region.

Chile Crossing: Day tour to Pucon, Chile across Tromen pass through the Araucaria (monkey puzzle tree) forest and the Allipen River valley. Giant Chinook Salmon fishing available on the Allipen River.

Parque Nacional Lanin: Spend a day touring Parque Nacional Lanin.

Bariloche overnight trip: leaving Chime Lodge early morning through the 7 lakes road arriving at Bariloche around 2 pm. Overnight stay at Hotel Cacique Inacayal on Nahuel Huapi lake shore. You can Golf or visit the spa at Llao llao resorts.

The small town of Junin de los Andes is very close to the lodge. It is worth a walk through the town and main square. You will quickly get the feel that you are in a historic fly fishing town, due to the trout shaped street signs, numerous fly shops and the famous Rosaria where numerous famous anglers have stayed. Often you will go into town one night for dinner.

Lahuen Co thermal spa: Spend a day pampering yourself, in the heart of the Andes Mountains at the thermal Spa of Lahuen Co. The drive itself is one of the most scenic in all Argentina. Fishing in the nearby lagoon is awesome.

Other Information

Tackle Shop and Fly-Tying Bench

The Lodge maintains a limited tackle shop with a selection of fishing accessories, Chime Lodge apparel, sun block and miscellaneous items. In addition, we have a fly-tying bench for your use. Given the limitless abundance of fishing equipment available in North America, anglers generally should plan to bring their own tackle and flies. The town of Junin de los Andes also has a few small tackle shops.