It’s hard to believe we have already wrapped up two seasons at Estancia Glencross, our latest addition to our programs in Southern Patagonia. Located at the upper section of Rio Gallegos right next to the Andes mountains and the Chilean border, this destination is something else. We not only have access to extensive sections of the Rio Gallegos but to large parts of the Rubens and Penitente tributaries which merge to form this river. Apart from the diverse and often incredible fishing, this Estancia with its surroundings is like something taken out of a fairytale.
The season at Glencross runs from February to late March, and since it’s only a 90-minute drive from Las Buitreras, it’s the perfect add-on program where guests can choose between a full or half week of fishing. Just like Las Buitreras and any river-based fishery, the fishing at Glencross is dependent on good water levels. Especially the Rio Gallegos sections where we tend to focus more on Sea Trout, even though there are some amazing Brown Trout pools here as well. This year we had good water for most of the season, with near-perfect levels the last couple of weeks. This allowed for some technical and fun lightweight single-hand fishing in the tributaries where we were chasing resident browns for the most part. As a bonus though there are always Sea Trout going up when the water levels are good and we had some fun fights on light tackle in these smaller rivers. As for the fishing in the Rio Gallegos section, we fished both single and double-handers depending on the wind and the pool and had some truly amazing fishing. The Brown Trout fishing is always great in these sections of Rio Gallegos, so it didn’t come as too much of a surprise when we had guests landing over 40 Brown Trout in 2.5 days fishing the weed lines, stones, and deep holes. The number of sea-runs landed during a few weeks, however, actually took us a bit off guard.
The season at Glencross started at the beginning of February and it was a start to remember. Jean-Luc, who had just finished his week at Las Buitreras and added 3 more days of fishing at Glencross, arrived at the perfect time, right when the mountains delivered a good push of water, giving our group some exceptional fishing throughout the week. Christer was part of the season start together with Annakarin and they had some of the best single-handed dry fly fishing they have experienced in a long time, catching loads of Brown Trout up to 5 lbs and a few Sea Trouts on dry flies, up to 7 lbs in the upper part of the Gallegos river. Blue skies, sunshine, a T-shirt, and a 5 or 6-weight single-handed rod with a big dry fly on it, is there a better feeling in the world?
The highlight of the week was however when Jean-Luc worked through one of our most productive Sea Trout pools a little further downriver and hooked into something very big. The fish stayed deep and Jean-Luc could feel some deep and angry headshakes. The fish went up and down the river several times making this fight very interesting. When they finally could net the fish it was all about high fives and big cheers. One of the first Sea Trout of the season was a clean 20 lbs fish with a stunning kype. This was only one of many Sea Trout Jean-Luc landed during his stay at Glencross. A perfect ending to an incredible trip for Jean-Luc! Well done!
The rest of February saw lower water levels with a few small pushes of water from the mountains, which always kept the fishing interesting. Dr. Michael Hanewinkel and Alex Schmid from Germany had decided to start their Argentina trip with half a week of fishing in Glencross followed by a week at Las Buitreras. Both had exceptional Brown Trout experiences during their stay where Michael landed a really nice 5 lbs Brown Trout on his single-hander in the Penitente as well as a number of Sea Trout in the Gallegos river. Alex focused most of his attention on the Brown Trout fishing and managed to land 35 fish in 2.5 days of fishing. As is often the case in these parts of the world, wind is a big factor in your fishing. This was particularly true in February and strong winds made it tricky to fish single-handers and dries at times. Luckily, and this is one of the great parts of this operation, we can always switch between spots during the day and find places that will work. If it’s too windy to fish the smaller tributaries, we simply drive down to the Gallegos River and target sea-run brown with the spey rods. There is always an option no matter the conditions. At the end of the day, you get to come home to a super cozy estancia where you will be greeted with an open fireplace, a glass of wine, and some amazing food.
We often get the question of how good the dry fly fishing really is at Glencross. The answer is that it can be phenomenal if the weather is on our side. If you want to focus on dry fly fishing we normally target early mornings when the wind tends to be lighter. Both tributaries offer some amazing spots to fish a dry fly with logjam structures, weed lines, and cut banks. It can be quite addictive fishing a big hopper or a mouse fly along some structure and out of nowhere a fish comes straight out of the water wanting to kill this fly with everything they have. We strongly recommend giving it a try during your visit. You will not regret it!
March started with okay water levels even though it was a bit lower than one would wish for. Even so, the Sea Trout fishing was on fire and our guests produced some great numbers in Gallegos, with a few sea-runs being landed in the tributaries on 5-weight rods as well. One of the most productive flies in the Gallegos was the good ol Sunray and we often used it from morning to evening.
Willy, who was with us for the first time landed several nice Sea Trout in the Gallegos as well as some nice Browns in the tributaries on dries. His favorite pool was Suzannas where he landed a bunch of sea runs on his to-go fly, a small orange vitamin B nymph
In the evenings it’s time to relax and enjoy the beautiful Estancia. The living room features a traditional old fireplace where you enjoy a glass of Malbec while exchanging fishing stories from the days fishing, until your chef rings the dinner bell, just like they have done since the estancia was built many generations ago. The food is traditional and plentiful, and you really have to watch yourself come dessert time. In the mornings it’s hard to beat grabbing a coffee and sitting outside, listening to the birds, and enjoying the absolute serenity of being in the middle of nowhere.
Later in the season, we saw hundreds of Ibis birds in the trees, as well as parrots and many other species. All using Estancia Glencross as their temporary shelter. The whole area is teeming with wildlife. Every time we come to Glencross we can’t believe a place like this still exists. Most clients take the chance to get an Estancia tour and learn about life at Glencross, how they processed the wool back in time and how they do it nowadays, that they grow some of the biggest and prettiest sheep in whole Argentina, and how the community works with a working school, butchery, etc.
The fishing remained great all the way until the end of March. The Spors family enjoyed a lovely stay, booking the whole lodge for half a week all for themselves. They quickly decided to have dinner around the fire to have a cozy end of fishing each day, that’s one of the reasons people come here, You have privacy in one of the most beautiful surroundings Patagonia can offer. Fishing was a mix of Brown Trout and Sea Trout for them, a great few days for the family to end their trip in Argentina. The youngest, Luke, managed to land some great Brown Trout in Rubens and Penitente as well as two nice Sea Trouts in the Gallegos. Sara lost a nice 11 lbs sea-run fish in the Rubens tributary after a nice fight and Meta unfortunately couldn’t convince another bigger Sea Trout to come into the net while fishing the Penitente. The Brown Trout fishing however made up for these losses. John and Andrea from the US and Italy, took a trip to Glencross before their week at Las Buitreras and just arrived when we received a lot of water from the Andes, allowing them to fish from Day 2 on with the river coming up more than 50 cm. However, everyone knows what comes after high water, as this moves fish into new spots and usually brings more fish from the lower parts, getting fish active and very aggressive when seeing a fly. John was able to land a beautiful 10 lbs Sea Trout in the Penitente, a great encounter in a small stream with a small rod, as well as a 4 lbs Brown Trout the day after.
The last week of March was probably THE week of the 2023 season. With great water levels and mostly lighter winds we could pick and choose what to focus on every session. Michael and Fred from Germany and Sweden started their first day with light tackle fishing in the Penitente before moving on to the Gallegos for some spey fishing for bigger Sea Trout. In the span of a few hours, they managed to land no less than 6 Sea Trout and lost several in an epic session. Our pool Susanna, named after our friend Susanna who visited us in the first season, was firing on all cylinders and delivering fish after fish. The following day both Fred and Michael were totally beat and decided to only fish for a couple hours. This still resulted in one landed and two lost. The perfect warm-up before their week at Las Buitreras.
With conditions like these, there was no stopping Rick and Felix from visiting Glencross and trying as many pools as possible in just a day and a half. After spending an hour in one of the tributaries chasing Brown Trout with various surface flies they moved down to the Gallegos pools. The fishing they had was absolutely insane and it seemed like you could do no wrong. Every pool was stacked with fish and luckily the fish were eager to take flies. Switching between single hand and spey fishing they landed 10 Sea Trout, the biggest a chrome-colored 16-pounder, and lost several nice fish that were too smart. In terms of flies, it didn’t seem to matter whether you fished a nymph, Char bugger, Sunray, or a Yellow Yummy. The fish hit them all.
To all of you who took a chance and visited us at this magical place, thank you! We have learned a lot about this fishery over the last two seasons and still have so much more to explore. We can’t wait to be back and hope all of you feel the same.
Our fly fishing specialist Peter Collingsworth has been over to Estancia Glencross, fishing the banks of the famous Rio Gallegos many times, so if there’s anything you would like to know about the fishing or if you have any questions you’d like to ask him, you can contact him on 01603 407596 or email at email@example.com he would be delighted to speak to you.