2024 Season Update at Bella Sofia Lodge: the Sea-Run Season Has Begun, the Spring Creeks are Producing

My first sea run brown trout – and one of my personal largest – came off the Rio Gallegos almost 20 years ago. I was down visiting an estancia and being guided by a long-time friend and then manager – Nick Z – when I hooked into a bright 19-pound hen off a hero cast with my brand new 2-handed rod.  Counting that fish as a “successful day”, we wandered over to the windswept Chico Spring Creek that afternoon where the casting was a challenge and the reward ample. Eager resident browns hammered terrestrial patterns with reckless abandon on casts where I managed to land tight to undercut banks and likely buckets in a deep, serpentine ribbon of water that – at spots – was narrow enough to jump across. That was a turning point in my fishing career and one I often contemplate fondly.

Fast forward to 2024 and this very Estancia is now managed by another good friend – Guy S - and the Rio Gallegos and Chico Spring Creek are still producing. The lodge is fully renovated and updated. While sea-run brown trout are certainly one focused target here, a unique aspect of this ranch is the sea-runs are not the only game in town by any means. Large resident trout on the main Gallegos are chased successfully via Trout Spey, and the Chico Spring Creek browns present spring creek aficionados with ample challenge and opportunities to round out a diverse southern Patagonia trout fishing experience.

The traditional Estancia house at Bella Sofia Lodge has been meticulously updated preserving her stately “old world charm” while implementing an infrastructure focused on sustainability and full service off the grid. The program and lodge marry forward thinking with traditional Argentine, a balancing act that is much sought after in many traveling circles but nonetheless difficult to pull off successfully in many cases. Think of warm empanadas awaiting anglers from the water, the waft of an outside Asado welcoming hungry travelers and a glass of Malbec wine to savor. I remember the Rio Gallegos and Bella Sofia Lodge fondly, and think you will as well.

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