LA VILLA DE MARIA BEHETY
LA VILLA DE MARIA BEHETY
Estancia Villa Maria Behety Lodge is the most luxurious lodge on Tierra del Fuego’s Rio Grande river. The lodge is one of two fishing lodges on the 275,000 acre Estancia Maria Behety ranch, and not to be confused with the other property that is called Estancia Maria Behety Lodge.
Note that the difference in the name is the word “Villa” which denotes the fact that it was once the original mansion that was home to the Menendez family that founded the vast sheep and cattle ranch at the end of the 19th century.
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. The original mansion (Villa) burned to the ground in the early 1970s but was painstakingly rebuilt to its former glory.
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.
The Rio Grande River that borders thirty miles of the southern boundary of the property, is world famous for its run of huge Brown Trout, that are perhaps some of the largest in the world.
At a Glance
Target Fish: Sea run Brown Trout
Location: Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
Seasons: December through March
Lodge Capacity: 12 guests
Nearest Airport: Rio Grande
Electricity: 220 volts. It is recommended that you purchase a converter prior to your arrival
Documents Needed: Passport (no visa needed for travelers from USA and most western European countries. Also, the reciprocity fee is no longer required.
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.
In 1935, 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 and ranches along the Rio Grande practice a strict Catch and Release policy which is also a major factor in the maintenance of their successful annual return to their spawning areas of the Rio Grande.
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 speak fluent English and 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:
mid January to Mid March
We at Wild On The Fly are very “nit-picky” when we select destinations for our clients and the La Villa Behety Lodge more than meets our standards. Not only is the fishing for some of the largest Brown Trout incredible but the luxuriousness of the accommodations is beyond compare. The maximum combined occupancy of all the Rio Grande lodges (three lodges operated by other outfitters are located on the other side of the river) 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.
Wi-Fi & internet
Recreation room with pool table and TV
4000 bottle wine cellar
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 = $7,900
March 16th - April 6, 2019 = $6,320
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).