It was more than a decade ago when we started thinking about the idea of building an operation in the Santa Cruz river. There were some attempts on the way but it was 4 years ago when we finally found the place in the river and the spot for our camp.
We can proudly say our Santa Cruz Steelhead program is now on and we’ve had our official first group, the pioneers, Justin and Alain.
After their week in Solid Adventures prime destination “Las Buitreras” they tried our Steelhead operation at Los Plateados, only 4 hour drive away. An achievement in cooperation between Tres Amigos Outfitters and Solid Adventures.
Justin, already a follower of our destinations was twice doing Santa Cruz before, some time ago, upriver. He was now ready to check the new spot, pools, guides and service. Alain on the other hand, a Steelhead fan with a number of trips done to British Columbia (Canada) was looking forward to try our strong Atlantic Steelhead.
For their arrival chef Diego was waiting for them with a BBQ outside, with a beautiful 20°C day.
Immediately after that it was time to check out the gear, set up the rods and try some of the pools close by…
Guanacos Bay was the choice. Probably one of the main fish holding pools on this river and only 10’ away from the cabin with access both by boat or by truck.
While working their way downstream, along this beautiful run, Justin had 2 fish on that came off after jumping and a third one landed! As that was not enough Alain managed to follow landing two Steelhead, one of them being our first official 20 pounder in the camp!
It was getting dark and already time to head back to the lodge where some hot appetizers and cold beers were waiting for them.
Result for Day 0: 5 fish hooked. 2 lost and 3 landed.
For Sunday, the first full day of the week, the plan was to take the jetboat and go upstream, passing by Guanacos Bay where it was mandatory to give it a few casts in the early morning. Only took a few minutes for Alain to hook a nice 8lb and by the end of the run Justin managed to catch another one of around the same size. After that some of the smaller spots were tried as well, but it was clear already that the main holding places were going to be the right ones.
Result for Day 1: 2 fish landed.
The chase took us on Monday to go further upstream. Power plant pool was the one to aim, and there the surprise. Alain landed a 7 lb sea run brown! After trying this long run it was time to start seeing some of the places downstream, and the choice was Fence pool, where Alain landed a 9 lb hen. Justin did his part by the end of the day in mighty White Elephants pool, were he caught a nice 8 pounder. Result for Day 2: 2 Steelhead landed, and 1 Sea Trout landed.
For day 3 (Tuesday) we decided to head downstream this time. We took the jetboat downstream in a foggy morning straight to Plateados Bay, a long run that finishes in a slower pool with a long sand bar that breaks the current and generates the perfect resting spot.
There were fish showing along the run, clear sign that they were on their way up, reaching our stretch. The boys took care of it and there was some action since the morning till the afternoon. Result for Day 3: 4 Steelhead landed, two 7lb and two 8lb, with one more Sea Trout.
It was apparent that there was a well-marked run of fish holding in the middle section so the decision for the next couple of days was to focus on the big pools and smaller spots in that stretch.
Result for Day 4: 2 fish lost, one 79 cm hen landed by Alain and more 1 Sea Trout to the list, this one a 9lb!
With Justins departure on Thursday, Alain had the whole Santa Cruz for himself the last two days, and he made justice to it.
Result for Day 5: One 12lb Steelhead landed.
Result for Day 6: Two lost (Elephants and Guanacos), and one 11lb landed.
The weather along the whole week was outstanding. 20°C every day, with cool mornings and evenings with mild wind from the east. High water level but starting to drop and clear up.
Both of our guests managed the river and figured the ways to fish it with cooperation of Pollo and Claudio, and local expert Leandro.
There were highly positive critics on the food in the river and back at the cabin made by chef Diego.
Regarding the figures, we had an average of 1,5 fish caught per day and a total of 17 fish landed, with several chances, takes and fish lost.
For last but not for least, we appreciate the constant support from Patagonia through their Flyfishing manager for Argentina and our friend Francisco, and Richard from Beagle Brewery in Ushuaia to supply the best beer there is!