Puerto Lussich Lodge Gets A Rave Review

I would like to report on a trip I made to Puerto Lussich Lodge in Quillén, a village in the Parque Nacional Lanin in Neuquen Province, Argentina. It's north of Junín de los Andes and close to the town of Aluminé. I'd heard of the place for years - other Angling Report subscribers may know it well - but had never been able to make contact and arrange a time to go and try it out. It is excellent!

The lodge is located on a very large, old estancia inside the park. The Quillén River runs right past the door. It is a medium-size stream rich in nutrients and a lot of fish. Also on the property is a smaller stream called the Malalco, which starts out as a spring creek and becomes much like a freestoner farther downstream where it joins the Quillén. The fish in these two streams are mainly rainbows, but there are also some browns and brookies. All are well fed, beautifully colored and very strong.

We fished mainly with nymphs during the cold and sometimes rainy days when I was there in mid-December. The weather at that time of the year is typically warm and pleasant, despite the altitude of the lodge. But in one of the frequent and unpredictable spells of weird weather experienced in Patagonia, it got quite cold during my trip, getting down to below 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night. We had sun, snow and hail all in one day. But there was also enough nice weather that we got a gratifying amount of surface activity for this early in the season. I found my guide was very talented at spotting feeding trout and directing my cast to them. I've been told that the dry fly fishing is good to excellent later in January and February, when the weather is more reliable. These are not the kind of streams where you just sling streamers all day.

The waters are inside the estancia and, although Argentine law says anyone can enter via the stream, you have close to exclusive access to these wonderful streams when you are a guest at the lodge. The Rio Quillén flows out of a lake of the same name, and its mouth and part of the shoreline are on the property. When the weather is right, this also provides good fishing around reed beds and elsewhere in the lake. Owner-operator Mario Lussich can also offer floattrips on the Aluminé River (we had a fine day there), and other nearby destinations. Lussich is well known as a guide in Argentina. He speaks fluent English, for those who don’t speak Spanish; takes great care of guests and is extremely knowledgeable about how and where to hook up with the trout. I stayed at the small "Casa del Rio," right on the river, a comfortable building that can handle up to four anglers in two twin-bed rooms, plus overflow space for others in a loft area. With its warm, wood-paneled interior, fireplace, fishing-oriented decor, good food and wine, and agreeable attention, the place makes you feel at home. There are two other buildings - one on Lake Quillén - that can take larger groups of anglers, but I was too busy and happy fishing to get around to see them.

This is not primarily a destination for trophy trout, although there are some very fine fish in these streams. What the lodge offers is plenty of action, a spectacularly beautiful setting, a most congenial host and very comfortable accommodations. I’ve fished at many lodges in Argentina and Chile and find this to be one of the best. It’s the kind of place that makes you want to return, which I hope to do frequently.

This would be a good place for an angler to take friends or family who may be interested in activities other than fly fishing, since horseback riding, rafting and similar activities can be arranged. Lussich is also a Federation of Fly Fishers-certified flycasting instructor and would be a wonderful teacher and guide for someone beginning fly fishing. For information, you can contact him at Mlussich@aguas patagonicas.org.

Robert W. McMeekin.