Fly-fishing in Sierra

Sierra de la Ventana is a synonym for fly-fishing. Even after 100 long years, the descendents of the first trout that inhabitted this country live there.

The True Story
Over 100 years ago, the rivers and creeks of the tourist shire called Sierra de la Ventana were chosen by the Englishmen to plant the first trout brought into the country.
The arrival of the railway system to Bahía Blanca, in addition to the development provided to this prosperous, populated and productive region by English investments, was the perfect excuse for the British Southern Railway Company to join the local businessmen in the construction of a giant tourist hotel. Something unconceivable in those days, even for the European aristocracy itself.
Thus, a station called “Sauce Grande” (Big Willow) was inaugurated on the railway line to Bahía Blanca in 1903, at the very spot where today lies Sierra de la Ventana. It would be used for passengers, the first tourists in the country, to get down from a small train and stay at the majestic hotel. This happened officially for the first time in November 11, 1911.
The pioneers devoted to the construction works imported hundreds of exotic species brought from far away spots which they rapidly incorporated into the local flora and fauna. Deer and trout were the most outstanding passengers in these journeys. Hunting and fishing were the favourite activities among the high officers.
These first rainbow trout fingerlings managed to adapt quickly to the new environments and began to develop in an almost natural and wild way, multiplying across the rivers and creeks crossing and splashing the entire Ventania system.

  • Trout all year round

    Trout all year round

  • The trout are there

    The trout are there

  • Beautiful Sauce Grande

    Beautiful Sauce Grande

  • A beautiful rainbow

    A beautiful rainbow

Made in England
Only the perch, the only Argentinian fish dwelling in the area, could share with the future trout these cosy nooks that would become part of a natural resource.
The Sauce Grande and Sauce Chico Rivers, the San Bernardo and the Belisario Creeks, the Negro and the Napostá Grande Creek, along with the De las Piedras Creek and other streams and even small threads of water stand out.
When the Gran Hotel was inaugurated, many of these trout were already adults and in reproductory age and some of the distinguished passengers would begin to tempt them with the first fly-casting equipments.
Expert Francisco Pascacio Moreno, tireless explorer of the Argentinian territories, learnt that the “Englishmen's trout”, as the first rainbow trout to arrive in the country from the United States used to be called, had adapted to the new environments and were even developing in the wild.
The news soon encouraged the Argentinian government to import trout from the United States and Europe. Thus, the first rainbow and brown trout fingerlings arrived in the Argentinian water courses.

Yesterday and Today, Always Sierra
Over a century has passed and the legendary trout are still there. And “Sierra”, as the ones who know this place refer to it, is still there too.
During my short stay in the core of the shire, I did not hesitate to call my friend Juan José Navarro, the only fly-fishing guide in the area who has been trying to understand and transmit the behavior of these difficult but not impossible trout for years.
The invitation, almost at the end of the Patagonian season, was more than tempting for any angler:
“The season is over in the South. Here, you can find trout all year round. Catch and release is mandatory and the fall paints everything in ocher, even the trout. Oh, I almost forgot! Real beasts weighing almost 2 kilos are coming out. The girls have grown up” Juan José laughed.
We agreed to meet the following day. We would tour the less visited fields in the area, where the famous Sauce Grande River keeps real treasures.

Beautiful Sauce Grande
We just needed to come close to realize it was there. The Sauce Grande is a unique river, with colors and stones of its own and scarce centimeters of water or pools reaching several meters deep, inside the frame provided by the mountain range.
Walking about it sends us on a trip to the plentiful Chimehuín, the frank Malleo, the green Manso, the labyrinthic Collón Cura.
We tried for hours but it was no use. “This is normal” our guide kept repeating. “Here, nothing happens like in the other environments. But one should not feel desperate. The trout are there and they are large. They are no longer the small fish everyone would talk about. You'll see. Anytime now, a large one is going to bite”.
And so it was that, in a nice pool, under the shade of an autumnal tree, the best bite of the day took place. Juan Jose stopped the nymph and a beautiful rainbow weighing a little more than one and a half kilos approached the fly and, incredibly naturally, got it into its mouth.
The thin leader had to be manipulated correctly to avoid contact with any object in and outside the river, which would represent a sure cut.
Fortunately, the trout was moved near the net by Juan's hand, who withdrew the fly from its mouth and released it back into the water, after the prior movement and massage necessary to manage its prompt recovery.
At that moment, I had taken enough photographs to evidence that “the girls have grown up” and that it is possible to fish them. The trout are there. Difficult and whimsical, as they have always been.

Autor Pablo Etchevers Fotografo Pablo Etchevers

Contact of the excursion or tour

Fly Cast Ventana

Prof. Juan José Navarro (8168) Sierra de la Ventana, Buenos Aires

Cel: +54 291-5070319


Activities and tours in Sierra de la Ventana

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