ESTANCIA MARIA BEHETY
ESTANCIA MARIA BEHETY
Tierra del Fuego, at the edge of the Arctic and the most southern province of Argentina, is home to the world famous Rio Grande and its legendary giant sea run Brown trout. The Estancia Maria Behety Lodge is by all standards a “bucket list” destination.
What fisherman wouldn’t want to at least once in his or her life to catch what may be the world’s largest Brown Trout while enjoying what may be the most luxurious accommodations of any fishing destination in the world.
The 275,000 acre Estancia Maria Behety owns about 32 miles of river front along with two of the most luxurious fishing lodges in South America. The lodges are named Estancia Maria Behety Lodge and the other La Villa Maria Behety.
The estancia (ranch) was established by Juan Jose Menendez in 1894 on the banks of the Rio Grande and over the years it became one of the largest sheep and cattle ranches in South America.
Being that the Mendez family is primarily in the business of raising sheep for both wool and food, the operation of the two lodges and the fly fishing program is a personal passion and dedication to providing the best fishing, dining and lodging experience for its guests.
At a Glance
Location: Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
Fish: Sea run Brown Trout
Lodge Capacity: 16
Nearest Airport: Rio Grande
Electricity: 220 volts. Adaptors must be purchased prior to arrival. Plug adaptors are necessary too.
Documents Needed: Passport (no visa needed for travelers from USA and most western European countries. Also the reciprocity fee is no longer needed.
You might wonder how these Brown Trout, which is a western European species, got to such an isolated location near the bottom of the world. Story has it that in 1935, an individual named John Goodall stocked 60,000 Chilean salmo trutta eggs in 2 tributaries of the Rio Grande. Enough of the eggs survived to hatch into what became a large population of Brown Trout that spends part of the year in the highly fertile estuaries and open ocean.
Young Sea Run Brown Trout in the Rio Grande, will spend an average of 2 years in the river before their first migration to the sea where they’ll spend 6 months before returning to the river at an average weight of 6 lbs.
Brown Trout that have spawned 4 times in the Rio Grande weigh over 20 lbs and some fish have been known to complete the cycle 6 times. They experience less predation than other anadromous fish so the number of fish returning to the Rio Grande is greater than in other rivers.
The fly fishing lodges along the Rio Grande practice a strict Catch and Release policy which is also a major factor in the maintenance of the large recruitment rate of the fish that assures that large populations return to spawn each year.
Peak season for fly fishing in Tierra del Fuego is mid January to Mid March. Because the Estancia Maria Behety lodges are located at the lower end of the river, their section is the first to see fish in the early part of the season.
These bright fish that have just left their home in the ocean are in their peak condition and provide the ultimate fight for anglers fishing during this time. If you time your visit right you luck into a 20 fish day during this time of the year. Later in the season, around the end of March and early April, the water is lower and the fish are more concentrated making them easier to find.
The lodge’s guides are renowned for both their intimate knowledge of the Rio Grande and consistent success in bringing monster sea trout to the net. All guides are Argentines with most having grown up on the river.
Best Fly Fishing Seasons
Early season: brightest and freshest fish enter the river for their spawning run
Middle season: lots of fish spread out through the river
Late season: lower water concentrate the fish and make them easier to find
Estancia Maria Behety Lodge is located about nine miles from the ranch headquarters on a bluff overlooking the river. The lodge is modern and was built specifically for the fly fisherman and in an architectural style that is reminiscent of the turn of the century ranch buildings originally built on the property.
The expansive view of the pampas and river is breathtaking. When you step outside the lodge you will be blown away by a broad crystal clear view of desolate pampas that stretch to the horizon with the broad ribbon of the Rio Grande slowly flowing by.
Those who appreciate the delicate nuances of nature will be moved by the ever changing light as it changes the hues and textures of the broad pampas plain.
On Site Amenities and Activities include:
Free Wi-Fi & internet
Recreation room with pool table and TV
4000 bottle wine cellar
Free laundry service
Centrally located on the river, the lodge is within minutes of 100 of the river’s the best pools. The maximum combined occupancy of all the Rio Grande lodges (the estancia’s two lodges plus three located on property across the river operated by other outfitters) between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chilean border is about 50 anglers.
That's an average of nearly a mile of private water for every single fisherman. Rooms are large and hold two anglers. Each has a private bath and a separate area for storing gear. All employees of the lodge are Argentines and have been selected for their friendliness and enthusiasm for providing the lodge’s guests with the finest service.
The lodge has 8 bedroom suites, a large dining room and a large living room with fireplace and bar. The menu, as in its companion lodge, La Villa, is varied and is prepared with classic Argentine culinary techniques. The lodge has a weekly barbecue where grilled foods are prepared for guests. The lodge offers guests a choice of any of the 4000 bottles of wine cellared on site.
After traveling to Buenos Aires/Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) you must transfer to the Domestic Airport to catch a flight to either Ushuaia or Rio Grande which are close to the lodge.
We recommend that you arrive in Buenos Aires on a Friday and spend the night. By arriving in Buenos Aires on Friday the day before you reach the lodge, you will have time to acclimatize to the time zone and visit one of the most beautiful cities in the western hemisphere.
The next morning you can travel to the Domestic Airport by cab to catch your flight to Rio Grande where you will be met by a lodge representative and driven to the lodge.
7-night/6-day package (Saturday – Saturday)
Jan. 5th – March 16, 2019 = $6,900
March 16th - April 6, 2019 = $5,520
A limited number of single occupancy rooms are available each week at weekly flat rate of $500
Non-Angler - $3,850 per person
We provide: Accommodations and meals at the lodge, guided fishing, beverages and open bar, transfers between the Rio Grande airport and the lodge, wireless internet, fishing license, and laundry service.
You provide: Gratuities for guides and house staff, Airfares, fishing permits/ license ($250 - $300 paid direct to the lodge in cash $USD).