Glacier King is a unique Argentinean experience. An opportunity to fish in the exquisitely beautiful Los Glaciares National Park, pitted against the King Salmon, the biggest and strongest of all the Salmonid species, and the only known run of Atlantic King Salmon. Surrounded by breath-taking scenery anglers are accommodated in one of the finest lodges in the region. Everything about this trip, from the power of the fish, to the overwhelming topography of the region, is spectacular.
The 8-mile-long Rio Caterina drains from a high plateau lagoon called Lago Anita into Argentina’s largest freshwater lake, Lago Argentino. From the end of December through mid-April, huge numbers of King Salmon run up-river. Carrying a glacial blue/green tinge, the river is a mesmerising hue when the sun shines and equally seductive from a fisherman’s perspective when not. The river is deep and powerful in stretches, perfect conditions for King Salmon but at the same time, not so deep as to be inaccessible to fly anglers, all the time allowing for a great swing.
The river offers everything from deep glacial pools to shallow fast running streams, where you can sight cast into the clear shallow water. It is a manageable size with nice, accessible runs and pools. The wading is fairly straightforward and you do not require to wade deep. In many locations the river is narrow, not more than 20 meters wide, although there are also wider deeper sections. The Kings can be found in the deeper pools as well as in more shallow sections where they are often visible to anglers, allowing for some exciting sight fishing. This is especially true during the latter part of the season, where huge fish can be seen fighting for territory. Surrounded by historic ice formations, eroded rocky cliffs, and native woods, this is a truly spectacular location.
Fishing for Kings is not like fishing for other anadromous fish. Kings are of a size and power that is unmatched. Forget the argument of ‘pound for pound the hardest fighting fish’. That line has been used so many times with so many species the terminology is Jurassic! Fishing for Kings is a chance to catch fish on a fly of 30-45lbs, a weight considered normal! 60-70lb fish are typically present in the river all the time. In 2018 the biggest King landed and measured was estimated at being in the region of 90lbs with another fish of 88lbs landed over the same week. Nature does not hand out dividends of this nature without expecting a level of perseverance from the angler, but if you put the time in, you should find yourself engaged in a battle that you could only imagine or and all going well, holding a fish in your hands of a size that is beyond anything you might dream of!
Double handed rods using intermediate lines with sink tips, rigged with big Intruder style patterns are the most successful techniques.
The Estancia Cristina is part of the Best of Patagonia (BOP) program and represents one of the finest and yet most authentic lodging experiences in the region. This lodge offers luxury accommodation embedded within Patagonia’s Glacier National Park. The rooms have a warm and rustic feel, characteristic of the estancia’s history and the lodge’s simple decor serves to complement its imposing natural surroundings. The cuisine is exquisite, crafted from traditional recipes with locally sourced products and coupled with some of the finest wines from across Argentina. Vegetarian options are available. Spacious rooms provide guests with spectacular views. All rooms come equipped with a private bathroom. This estancia also offers a number of non-fishing and adventure tourism activities including off-road excursions, hiking, and horseback riding.
The run of King Salmon in the Caterina usually peaks from February to mid-March, when the sheer number and size of fish can be quite spectacular. Numbers of fish in the Caterina will peak towards the latter part of the season. Although chrome fish are not expected, as to reach the Caterina the Kings will already have run the length of the Santa Cruz river and Lago Argentino, most of the fish caught are in good condition and extremely powerful. As the fish enter the freshwater system their colour will change, although they only really start to adopt their bright red hue in conjunction with an increase in hormones as they prepare to spawn. During this period anglers often spot fish moving through or standing in deep runs.
The fishing season at Glacier king runs over the Southern Patagonian summer months of February and March. The climate is primarily dry and the areas extremes of cold and heat are moderated by the influence of Lago Argentino (Argentina’s biggest lake). In summer the weather is dry, sunny, cool and windy; the average temperature is around 20 degrees Celsius (68°Fahrenheit), but it can reach up to 30 degrees Celsius during sunny days (86°Fahrenheit) and drop all the way down to 5 ºC (41°F) during the night. Winds are usually moderate but at its extremes reach gusts of over 120 kilometres per hour. Rainfall is evenly spread out over the year. In brief however, be prepared for a bit of everything!
Guests should fly to Buenos Aires and from there take a flight from the domestic airport to El Calafate. They should overnight at El Calafate prior to being collected the following day and travelling by road (1 hr) and then by Ferry (3 hrs) to Estancia Christina.
Fly from Buenos Aires to El Calafate
Collected from your hotel and driven to the ferry terminal, approx. a 1-hour drive. The ferry journey to the Estancia is approx. 3 hours and passes the famous Upsala Glacier, a very popular tourist attraction in itself.
Five full days fishing. Guests can spend the full day fishing or return to the Estancia for lunch should they wish to do so.
Return journey via ferry and road transfer to El Calafate, overnight in a hotel in Calafate
Return flight to Buenos Aires
mid Jan-mid March
-$5,950 USD / angler
-$4,490 USD non-fisher
Number of anglers
Max 7 (6+ Gp leader)
1 guide shared between 3 anglers
-Return transfers from El Calafate to Estancia Christina
-All meals and wines at Estancia Cristina
-International & domestic flights
-Hotels & meals in El Calafate
-Rental Tackle -50USD per day
-Tips 10% of package price
11King Salmon Videos
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