How to plan your Santa Cruz trip to Los Plateados
A quick guide with 5 steps for preparation, casting training, gear to have, packing list and travel information.
One big thing, and for many great part of the fun of an upcoming trip is the preparation. Some of us start tying our own flies way in advance thinking of the time and place we will be using them, while having a cold IPA… leaches and intruders, as well as must of the usual winter steelhead patterns work just fine. We like them to have some weight -not much- so medium sized coneheads or eyes. Bunny leaches on tube flies is what you see in the guides boxes. Regarding colors: black, blue, purple, as well and orange and pink. Combining them is a good idea too. Eg: Black bunny leach with purple collar and orange cone head is a must…
Length of the flies varies from 2’’ to 3’’ and we love some flash on the sides, like crinkle pearl flashabou.
Check out Midnight Sun Custom Flies on Instagram for inspiration
2. Train you Spey casting:
Even thou we access both sides of the river when moving on the boats, most time we fish the northern bank, meaning river left, where we can have both upstream and downstream winds.
Knowing how to make a Snap-t for upstream wind conditions and a reverse double Spey for downstream winds are the two must-know casts in for Santa Cruz.
Team up with your friends and hit the closest pond for practice and/or set up a class with a local instructor.
What you want to have with you is a 8-9wt Spey rod. We recommend 6 pieces for easier packing and avoid extra costs when flying. I’m fishing most of the time an 8wt 12’ Sage X, with a 550gn Rio Skagit Max (Float) and my all-round tip is 12’ of T-14. Carry shorter and longer ones too.
As always a reliable reel is all you need.
My tippet choice like many steelheaders is Maxima Ultragreen, 15lb in this case.
My choice of running line is mono, currently using Rio slick shooter in 50lb.
4. Clothing / Packing list:
Don’t carry unnecessary things, only what you may need, starting by:
1 par of waders; 1 pair of rubber sole boots (can be felt as well); no studs/nails; avoid interchangeable sole boots.
1 Rain jacket, more for wind braker than actual rain even thou it might happen as well.
2 caps / wool hat
1 or 2 pairs of under wader pants and good warm sox
1 or 2 fleece pullovers plus a primaloft or down vest, and/or a jacket
1 or 2 pair of polarized sunglasses
Some other items to consider are: sun block and lip balm; gloves for the boat rides; buffs for extra warmth and sun/wind protection too; quick wader repair kit (UV); hand cream.
-My personal item, the one I hate to forget is a good set of pliers for pinching barbs, removing hooks and also cut my tippet (I normally don’t carry nippers)-
Our recommendation: www.patagonia.com
5. Travel to Buenos Aires and to Río Gallegos
Buenos Aires has two airports, an international one and a domestic one. You got to commute between the two airports, and they are an hour -or more- driving distance away from each other. There are both bus and taxi options to do it, and some people also prefer to spend a night in the city and get to walk around a bit.
The domestic flight is 3 hours long to Río Gallegos (RGL) and we recommend flying Aerolineas Argentinas.