Fly Fishing Travel: Estancia Tecka, Argentina “Beyond the fish”

A fly fishing trip without soul is meaningless.

When we co-ordinated our schedules to host 2 trips to Argentinian Patagonia with Orvis in 2019, we were completely open to anything – and almost completely ignorant to Patagonia beyond our obvious draw of the extensive trout fishing available. When Jeremy Kehrein asked us if we had any preference of ‘where’, we suggested that a trip to the windswept pampas to explore the spring creeks and open landscape with evening sunsets over the Andes was high on our list. Immediately Jeremy returned with suggestion of Estancia Tecka.

Tecka is a private estancia (ranch) of nearly 450,000 acres in central, SW Argentina. Its staggering vastness has had incredible positive consequence for the wildlife, particularly the bird life of the region. While we fell in love with the fishing of the spring creeks, nothing prepared us for the birds on this estancia. A well publicized decline of the Andean Condor the past century led to conservation measures that have seen a mild population rebounding. While we saw condors every day, most often along ridge tops awaiting the morning thermals to lift to soaring heights, at the end of one day driving a dirt track we came around a corner to over 50 condors on a large grass knoll. We drove to a height of land and stood for 45 minutes. One by one the condors began lifting and circling, the wind drifting their circles immediately overhead.

During our time we had great fortune to watch caracaras, rhea, ibis, buzzard eagles, flamingos, kingfishers (martin) and more. While the fly fishing on the estancia’s waters was spectacular, it was the bird life, landscape, other wildlife, the Andes mountain backdrop at sunset, and magnitude of the diversity within the estancia itself that oozed this trip’s soul.

Fly fishing trips seldom turn out to be about the fish. This irony plays out time and again, usually in hindsight. By embracing that strong likelihood and incorporating it into your trip planning, pay attention to such intangibles in your destination options. Landscape, water, culture, wildlife, and so many other aspects and variables offer moments that connect with you and to those you are traveling with. It’s those connections that carry on in our relationships for decades longer than the fish we thought we were seeking.

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