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Caterina River | Argentina | King Salmon

Tour code: ARG013
Category: Freshwater Fly Fishing, Single Angler Fishing

We have developed this Caterina River Salmon Fishing tour as either an extension to our Sea Trout fishing packages or as a dedicated King Salmon Fishing package. In this lonely place of the Andes, King Salmon have developed a healthy population, that continues to grow every year due to low fishing pressure and not having many predators.

Every year Chinook Salmon go up the Caterina River from the Atlantic Ocean, crossing the whole Santa Cruz river and then the Argentinian Lake (the biggest in the country) to arrive to these waters. This journey ensures that only the strongest fish arrive at this destination and over the years the strain of these fish have produced some of the toughest Kings / Chinook to be found anywhere in the world.

The Caterina River is 8km long and fed by glaciers and smaller creeks. It is surrounded by the most amazing scenery. In these glacial waters, the Kings are very aggressive. By arriving at their spawning grounds, the fish have become very territorial producing amazing takes followed by arm busting flights.

It’s not uncommon to land your fish a long way down the Caterina River from where you hooked it. The Caterina River has lots of areas and pools to fish, giving everyone plenty of room to fish and swing flies. So far we have experienced Kings caught up to 50lbs. However, as the fishing is still relativity new, no one knows what size these fish are growing up to.

Our Caterina River Salmon Fishing trips are available as either full weeks or half weeks, this makes them ideal to add on to any of our other Argentinian packages.

If you have any questions on the fishing trips we offer then contact us in the office, our experienced team will be happy to help you with any queries you have. Additionally, you can request a free brochure.

Estancia Cristina

Estancia Cristina Lodge is a wonderful old estancia that was founded in 1914 by English settlers. This charming lodge offers a warm, rustic atmosphere that gives you the feel of a true estancia. Here you cannot only enjoy the incredible surroundings of Patagonia, but also get an understanding of the history and culture of the area.

Stunning in its remoteness, Estancia Cristina has a natural lookout point to the Upsala Glacier, which is the largest in South America.

Warm and cozy, each room is brilliantly naturally lit through large picture windows, where stunning views will enchant you throughout the day. Warm woods run throughout each of the five lodges and 20 rooms, adding a delightfully rustic touch to the tranquil setting.

Sleep in plush beds each night, stretch out on comfortable lounges, soak in the beauty of Patagonia and enjoy everything that Estancia Cristina has to offer.

Board: Full board
Rooms: Twin rooms
Telephone: Main reception
Internet: Free WiFi
Laundry: For nominal charge
Power: 220 volt
Meals: In restaurant
Alcohol: Available to purchase
Equipment Hire: Rods & reels
Cards Accepted: Credit & debt cards
Cash Accepted: US Dollars
Buenos Aries Hotels

We use a variety of Hotels in Buenos Aries for your overnight stay, from hotels close to the airport to hotels in downtown Buenos Aries that allow you to see a bit more of Buenos Aries and even extend your stay.

All hotels that we use are a minimum of 3 stars and will at least include all the basic facilities listed below. If you wish, we can discuss, which hotel to use to suit your own personal requirements. Also, for overnight hotels, there is always the option to upgrade to single rooms.

Board: Bed & breakfast
Rooms: Single, double & twin available
Telephone: In room
Internet: Free in lobby
Laundry: For a nominal charge
Power: In rooms
Air Conditioning: Throughout hotel
Meals: Breakfast in restaurant
Alcohol: Available to purchase
Cards Accepted: Debit & credit cards
Cash Accepted: US Dollars
Species Information
King / Chinook Salmon
Season: January to March
Peak: February
Weight: 5LB to 70LB
Average Weight: 30LB
Suggested Itinerary

Although the fishing has set weeks, we have daily flights departing from the UK, therefore should you wish to either extend your stay with additional days at the beginning or end in Buenos Aires, the itinerary below can be tailored to suit. It is also possible to combine King Salmon Fishing with Golden Dorado, Steelhead and Sea Trout fishing. You can even combine all our Argentina fishing packages with any of our shooting packages to make the ultimate trip.

Note: We also offer half week fishing packages for Salmon Fishing Caterina River, please ask for more details.

DAY 1: (Friday)

Depart UK (alternative routes available)

DAY 2: (Saturday)

Arrive Buenos Aires International Airport

On arrival take a taxi to the domestic airport for your flight to Calafate (Taxi not included)

Depart Buenos Aires
Arrive El Calafate

On arrival at Calafate our staff and transport will be waiting to transfer you to the lodge.

Overnight Accommodation: Calafate Hotel B/B (Twin Rooms)

DAY 3: (Sunday)

Early in the morning you will all be picked up and transferred to Punta Bandera Port. From there you will board the ferry for the transfer to Estancia Cristina, which will be your home for the next few days.

During the 3.5 hour transfer you will cruise along the front wall of Upsala glacier allowing everyone to get up and close to the real glacier experience.

You will arrive at the Estancia around 11:30 AM and once everyone has checked in and settled, it’s time for lunch.

You will then depart around 1:30 PM for the first afternoon’s full Salmon Fishing Caterina River. (Approx 20 min drive to the river)

Fishing is based on 3 rods pr guide and you will fish until around 8:30 PM returning back to the Estancia for dinner around 9:00 PM.

Overnight Accommodation: Estancia Cristina F/B (Twin Rooms)

DAYS 4 to 8: (Monday to Friday)

Prepare for full days Salmon Fishing Caterina River. After breakfast you will depart to the river around 08:30 AM and fish until around 8:30 PM.

Lunch will be supplied and taken on the river bank around 1:00 PM, on returning back to the lodge dinner will be served around 9:00 PM.

Overnight Accommodation: Estancia Cristina F/B (Twin Rooms)

DAY 9: (Saturday)

Around 8:30 AM depart to the river for a full mornings Salmon Fishing Caterina River, lunch will be served on the river bank and you will aim to be back to the Estancia by 2:00 PM.

At 4:30 PM you will depart and transfer back to Calafate by ferry, this time it will be a direct cruise back taking approx. 2 hours.

On arrival at Port Bandera in Calafate you will be transferred back to your hotel.

Overnight Accommodation: Calafate Hotel B/B (Twin Rooms)

DAY 10: (Sunday)

In the morning transfer to Calafate Airport for your return flights back to Buenos Aires.

Depart El Calafate
Arrive Buenos Aires

On arrival at Buenos Aires take a taxi back to your Buenos Aires Hotel. (Taxi not included)

Overnight Accommodation: Buenos Aires Hotel (Twin Rooms) B/B

DAY 11: (Monday)

In the morning taxi back to the International Hotel. (Taxi not included)

Depart Buenos Aires

DAY 12: (Tuesday)

Arrive UK

Dates & Prices

Remember that Sportquest Holidays' services are completely FREE! When you book a trip with Sportquest Holidays, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge and flights independently. Plus what’s more if you book with Sportquest Holidays your holiday is protect by our ATOL and the Travel Package Regulations Act. To see more details CLICK HERE.

Start DateEnd DateDaysNightsFishingAnglerNon-AnglerAvailability
17/01/202028/01/202012116£7,738N/A  Book Now
24/01/202004/02/202012116£7,738N/A  Sold Out
31/01/202011/02/202012116£7,738N/A  Sold Out
07/02/202018/02/202012116£7,738N/A  Sold Out
14/02/202025/02/202012116£7,738N/A  Sold Out
21/02/202003/03/202012116£7,738N/A  Sold Out
28/02/202010/03/202012116£7,738N/A  Sold Out
06/03/202017/03/202012116£7,738N/A  Sold Out
15/01/202126/01/202112116£7,963N/A  Book Now
22/01/202102/02/202112116£7,963N/A  Book Now
29/01/202109/02/202112116£7,963N/A  Sold Out
05/02/202116/02/202112116£7,963N/A  Sold Out
Price Match Promise

We are so confident that our packaged prices are the best available and offer great value for money.

If, however, you find an identical holiday available with any other fully bonded Tour Operator at a lower price, we will match that price.

Price Notes

Prices are based on two adults sharing transfers, fishing and accommodation (unless otherwise stated) and are correct at the time of going to press. Subject to time of year or date and currency fluctuations, these prices may fluctuate slightly due to flight price increases or fuel surcharge.

Holidays or flights booked with Sportquest Holidays Limited are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority by our ATOL bond (Number 6371). ATOL protects you from losing your money or being stranded abroad. It does this by carrying out financial checks on the firms it licenses and requiring a guarantee, called a bond.

Price Supplements


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What's Included & Excluded
  • All international flights
  • Internal flight Buenos Aires to El Calafate
  • Transfers to and from Lodge
  • All accommodation as per itinerary
  • All meals at Lodge
  • All soft drinks at Lodge
  • 6 days fishing
  • Fishing license
  • Personal holiday insurance
  • Meals at Buenos Aires Hotels or bar expenses
  • Transfers in Buenos Aires
  • Alcohol
  • Tips for guides and all camp staff
  • Fishing tackle
  • Waders & Boots

3 day fishing packages available

Flight upgrades

Additional nights in Buenos Aires

Single rooms in Buenos Aires

Tackle hire $250 per week paid direct to Lodge

Dorado Fishing add on

Sea Trout Fishing add on

Steelhead Fishing add on

Dove shooting add on

Tour Notes


A machine-readable passport with at least 6 months before expiry, no visa for UK citizens required.

Medical Requirements

No vaccinations currently required.

Please Note

All details of visa and medical requirements are correct at time of press however please check these requirements for changes.

Departure tax

There is no additional airport departure tax when leaving Argentina.

Flight Route & Flight Time

UK – Buenos Aires (approx 14hrs) Buenos Aires – Calafate (approx 1.5 hours).

Baggage Allowance

Your actual allowance is based on both which airline you are flying with and also what class of seat you are travelling in. Normally in economy it is 1 checked bag, Premium Economy / Business 2 checked bags, First 3 checked bags. In addition to your checked bags you are also allowed 1 cabin bag and either 1-laptop bag or ladies handbag. The actual size and weight limit for bags is dependent on the airline. We therefore recommend that once your flights are booked you check on the airlines website for the up to date allowances.

If your itinerary includes private light aircraft or helicopter flights, we will advise you on your baggage and weight allowance.

Transfer Time

Calafate – Estancia Cristina (approx 4 to 5 hours)

Questions & Answers

Where is the lodge?

The lodge is located in the foothills of the Andes; the closest town is Calafate and from here it is a 3.5-hour boat transfer.

Where do they fish?

Caterina River Salmon Fishing is based on 8KM on both banks, the fishing is mainly conducted in the top two thirds of the river as lower down a small glacier tributary joins the Caterina River and changes the water milky. Fishing is also conducted at the source of the river where it flows out of the top lake. There is also a small bay aptly named Mammoth Bay, where normally during a week’s stay each customer will visit once.


How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds?

As this area is a national park there are strict rules on how far inside the park we can take vehicles. From the lodge, it takes about 15 mins by truck the furthest point and then the rest of the way is on foot. The closest fishing then is another 15 min walk, the top of the river would take 45 minutes. If you wished to walk up to Mammoth bay you will be looking at a 90 min walk.

What fish will I catch?

You will catch King Salmon, also known as Chinook. We do catch the odd small fish but normally you will be looking at fish at around the 30to 40lb  for a small fish and 50lb  as an average size. Each year we also catch over 70lb fish.

How many fish will I catch?

The number of fish you catch is dependent on weather, water conditions and which week you are fishing. We fish for just 8 weeks a year. At the beginning, the fish tend to be silverfish but you get less of them as the week’s progress. The river does get more stuffed with fish but the fish are then a mixture of silver and coloured fish. You do not go to Caterina for fish numbers you go there to fish for big fish, which are not easy to hook and due to their size also difficult to land.

How do they fish?

Each week we have 6 rods and 2 guides therefore the party is split into two groups. There is a choice when fishing. You can depart in the morning and return around lunchtime, have a fully cooked meal and siesta then return to the river for an evening session. Alternatively, you can depart to the river after breakfast with your guides and packed lunches to stay out fishing until it’s time to return back for your evening meal. Each night you will chat with your guides and discuss and plan the next day’s fishing.

Caterina River is not a big river so it’s not necessary for long casts but you will need to fish with Spey rods and heavy sink tips. Apart from a couple of pools, the river is not deep, you only need heavy sink tips from T11 right through to T20 so your flies can get down very quickly in the zone before the swing is over.

Due to using heavy sink tips, the best lines are either floating or intermediate Skagit lines as these allow you to both pick up the tips out of the water and to cast them with ease. Depending on where you are fishing, you will be either be casting just off from 90 degrees across the river or preferably at 45 degrees downstream. The trick is then to change and vary your swing by mending the line.

Mending upstream is going to allow your fly to sink and get into the zone quicker, but then you need to manage the swing, as you do not want your fly to move either too fast or too slow. As the swing slows, you need to mend downstream so the belly keeps the fly moving. I have seen many Kings chase a fly and when the swing slows to only turn away from the fly. Quite often in these situations, amend at the end of the swing so the fly sweeps into the bank brings those followers into hard takes.

It is also good to go through the pools fast, do three casts in each spot but vary each of the three casts and swings so you mix it up. Then take three large steps downstream before repeating the whole process again. In clear water, Kings can become soft takers as they can see your fly coming from along away off. By the time you have got down to your fly actually covering the fish, it has already seen it 9 or 10 times from a distance.

For rods and reels, the perfect setups are 9/10# 13 foot Spey rods and large arbour reels that can hold a serious amount of 50lb braided backing.

Do the guides speak English?

Our head guide speaks fluent English. The supporting guides speak basic English but more than enough to get by and communicate to you about the fishing.

Who is best suited to this destination?

Customers who have caught King Salmon before and are looking for that special fish of a lifetime and new personal best Salmon. Also, customers who like to think and work out just how to get the fish to take.

What skill level is required?

What we love about this place is that it is technical fishing and therefore suits a thinking angler. You do need to be able and proficient in a few basic Spey cast such as single Spey and snake rolls, as these will cover most of the water. A basic understanding of swinging flies and how to make them react differently in the water is also important. However, the guides love nothing more than teaching customers new fishing methods.

How physically demanding is this trip?

Caterina River Salmon fishing involves quite a lot of walking to cover the whole river. There are not many hills however the ground is covered with rocks so you have to constantly look where you are walking. The guides are happy to take the walk at a pace you are comfortable with.

When to go?

January through mid-March.

How do I get there?

You will fly from the UK to Buenos Aires, transfer to internal airport and catch a flight to Calafate. You will stay overnight in Calafate before taking the 3.5-hour ferry to Estancia Christina.

What is the accommodation like?

Estancia Cristina Lodge is a wonderful fully converted old estancia that was founded in 1914 by English settlers. You will stay in separate bungalows. The bungalows have three twin bedded rooms each with their own private bathroom. Each room has stunning views of the Andes and the river valley. You will wake up each morning looking at the snow-capped mountains before walking to the main building that is the centre point of your stay. In the main building, we have a private restaurant that serves not only breakfast but also 3-course meals twice a day. There is a large resting area with a bar that sells beers, spirits and bottles of red wine.

Outside there is a small boot room where guests can get dressed in their waders and boots. The trucks pick you up from outside the boot room each session. All in all Estancia Cristina makes the perfect accommodation for your Caterina River Salmon Fishing holiday.

What is the food like?

For breakfast, you can choose anything from cereal to a cooked breakfast, which is all served buffet style. If you return for lunch and dinner there will be a mixture of buffet style food and a full menu to choose 3 courses from.

If you decide to fish until dark, the staff will prepare a private buffet that will be served in the lounge area of the bungalow once you all have returned. If you wish to fish all day, you can take a packed lunch to the river.

Does the lodge provide fishing tackle?

The lodge does not provide tackle. 

Is internet and phone signal available?

There is no mobile phone reception at the lodge, however the lodge has good free WIFI so guests can stay in touch with home.

Are there other activities available?

Estancia Cristina was not set up originally as a fishing lodge. It is inside a national park that was set up to show people all the wonders of the surrounding area. Because of this, there are lots of non-fishing activities that are put on daily for the daytime visitors.

You can choose from the many guided walking trails, glacier tours, museum tours and horse riding activities. As one of our guests, if you wish to swap either a morning or afternoons fishing for an excursion there is NO additional cost.

How much does it cost?

Sportquest Holidays offers you the complete package including all flights and transfers. To view all prices and availability click the “Dates & Prices” tab above.

Alternatively, if you wish to arrange all your own travel arrangements Sportquest Holidays can book just the lodge and fishing for you.

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