The Santa Cruz River

The mighty Rio Santa Cruz is home to the only steelhead runs on the whole Atlantic coast. From February to May chrome bright steelhead between 8 and 25lbs enter the river from the ocean in huge numbers. This majestic waterway rises in the huge glacier fed Lagos Argentinos in the Andes and then carves its way for over 360kms through the sere brown Patagonian plains to the Atlantic Ocean. The milky blue appearance and latent power of the river create a striking impression resulting in a steelhead fly fishery like no other.

The incredible glacial blue Santa Cruz cuts a path through the austere yet beautiful terrain


Santa Cruz Steelhead

Pioneers in the 1900’s introduced rainbow trout originating from California’s McCloud River. Forgotten and virtually untouched by the hand of man these fish were allowed to flourish and now represent probably the single largest untapped steelhead resource in the world. Steelhead on the Santa Cruz hit the fly hard and as befits their powerful environment often run out huge lengths of line in acrobatic fashion. Steelhead have often been credited as being one, if not the, hardest fighting migratory fish and the specimens in Santa Cruz are no exception.


The Fishing

Anglers will use powerful zodiac boots to navigate the river with mile after mile of unfished water at your disposal. Although the Santa Cruz river is a powerful and initially intimidating river it is not a pre-requisite in most areas to cast an especially long line as the fish will lie wherever there is a reasonable break from the main flow of the river, along seams and natural lies. Some locals even have a preference for single-handed rods over doubles. Sinking lines are used as standard with typical large profile Steelhead flies being the most effective in the milky glacial water. There are 4 different beats with 30 named pools and you will rotate amongst these depending on the conditions.

A chrome Santa Cruz Steelhead

San Ramon Fishing Cabin – nicely sheltered with river views as standard!


Accommodation - Esatncia Los Plateados

A purpose built fishing cabin/lodge, part of the very impressive Los Plateados Estancia has been constructed alongside what has proved to be the most productive part of the river.  The building is straightforward and comfortable sleeping four anglers in two double rooms.  Simple but pracctical lodging, a nice sheltered veranda looking onto the river, good Argentinean food with steaks, lamb assados and house wine and beer on tap make it a great base to fish this exciting river.


A Typical Week

Guests fly into Rio Gallegos on the early am flight on Sunday and from there will be collected and driven to the lodging at San Ramon estancia arriving around midday. Following lunch and a briefing you will have a full afternoon’s fishing. Monday to Thursday, a typical day covers the daylight hours from 8.30 am until 7 pm with a cooked river-bank lunch being prepared each day. On Friday you will have a morning and afternoon fishing session, being driven back to the airport at Rio Gallegos that afternoon.

Estancia Los Plateados Fishing Cabin – nicely sheltered with river views as standard!


Tres Amigos - The Guides

Pioneered by Claudio Martin, one of the longest standing guides on the Rio Gallegos river, Claudio has put together a team of guides that speak good English and are as enthusiastic about the river as the fish. The guides are all ardent fly-anglers and casting instructors and will happily help you improve your casting as much as the fishing itself. As standard you can expect a professional service, dedication and good company


Typical Full Week Itinerary

Day 1-Friday

Fly into Calafate from Buenos Aires
Overnight hotel in Calafate

Day 2-Saturday

Collected from Hotel
Drive to Los Plateados Lodge-4 Hrs
Brief, lunch, afternoon fishing

Day 3-7-Su-Fri

6 Full Days Fishing

Day 8-Saturday

Early AM Depart Los Plateados
Overnight Calafate or fly to Buenos Aires

Return Flights from Buenos Aires-Calafate not included


Availability and Pricing


The season runs from March to May


- Full week $4,990 USD (2-3 rods/beat/guide)
- Half week $2,990 USD (2-3 rods/beat/guide)

Full Week Package Includes:

- 7 nights full board accommodation
- 6 days fishing
- All transportation on arrival at Rio Gallegos/Calafate
- All meals and locally house wines and beers
- Fishing license


Price does not include gratuities or overnight accommodation in Calafate or Rio Gallegos should it be required. Lodge capacity is 5 (4+1 group leader).

Best Times to Go

The season runs from February to May with the best fishing being towards the end of the season, March and April are the best months as the temperature cools and the amount of melt-water from the glacier reduces.


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