WINSTON PREFERRED LODGES ®
EXCEPTIONAL FLY FISHING EXPERIENCES, WORLDWIDE.
At Winston, we often journey far beyond Montana to research and field test our rods. In the course of these travels, we or our Pro Staff have come across a number of destination lodges that provide overall fly fishing experiences worthy of recognition. And so began the Winston Preferred Lodges program. In terms of angling, guiding and accommodations, the lodges below are remarkable in every sense of the word, and have Winston rods ideal for the specific fisheries available for guests. Once selected, we don’t charge these lodges a listing fee. The experiences they provide simply reflect our passion for doing things the right way. New lodges will be added as the program broadens.
The R.L. Winston Rod Company shall not be liable for any incidental, accidental or consequential damages resulting from a trip to a Winston Preferred Lodge®.
Where: Amazon Negro Basin, Brazil
Rio Marié, in Brazil, is the first and largest fly-fishing-only area located inside an indigenous territory of the entire Amazon basin. Developed with the cooperation of the Native Communities and the South American outfitting company, Untamed Angling, this protected area encompasses 400 miles of pristine waters, including more than 180 known creeks, 60 lakes, and three major tributaries. Located entirely located inside an extensive Indian Territory, Rio Marié encompasses a huge area of nearly 5 million acres. The Brazilian Government Official Environmental and Indian Institutes worked together with the Indian Association and Untamed Angling to create the very first official sport fishing operation in Brazil inside an Indian Territory.
Rio Marié was developed in complete cooperation with and endorsement by the local communities. Untamed Angling’s vision is based on partnering with the local indigenous population. This strategy generates higher socio-economic value to the community than conventional tourism since these communities actively participate in the fly fishing operation. The local people reap direct economic benefits as well as gain valuable experience and skills that benefit their communities. One of Untamed Angling’s main objectives is to not only protect their way of life, cultural values and traditions but also improve their quality of life, all in accordance with their vision for the future. They’ve designed a unique working platform for all their projects including Rio Marié – a team formed by a professional and a native guide working together. The pro guide provides specific technical skills and the native guide intensive knowledge of the forest. Working together as a team allows them to enrich their guests’ fishing experience in a way that neither could achieve alone.
Several biological studies conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) and Untamed Angling, have shown the waters of the Rio Marié to be home to some of the largest peacock bass in Brazil. Average size of speckled peacock bass is over 10 pounds and fish recorded at over 15 pounds is not uncommon. In fact, there are more fish here weighing over 20 pounds than anywhere else in the entire Amazon Negro Basin, or the world. In addition to the giant speckled peacock bass, the Rio Marié River is also home to healthy populations of smaller butterfly peacocks; a beautiful, brightly-colored, and aggressive strain of peacock bass that hit hard and often take to the air when hooked. The new Winston Boron III Plus 8 and 9wt. Jungle rods were designed specifically for these fishing conditions with valuable input from the Untamed Angling team.
When you visit Rio Marié, you will be staying aboard the Untamed Amazon. All electrical use is generated 100% by solar power, making the Untamed Amazon the most modern and technologically advanced ship in the Amazon. To reduce environmental and social footprint, guest capacity is limited to small groups. But accommodations are not what you would expect deep in the Amazon jungle. All eight guest suites feature panoramic picture windows, air conditioning, and private bathrooms. An experienced staff including international chefs provides premium services and the perfect mix of local and fine international dishes accompanied by fine wines. You will be fishing with a both an English-speaking professional fly-fishing guide as well as native guide in state-of-the-art shallow draft fly fishing skiffs. Both skilled in teaching improved techniques to pursue the famous giant peacock bass on a fly rod.
Rio Marié masterfully blends Amazon jungle wilderness with the highest expectations in service and accommodations for fly fishing destination travel. If you are lucky enough to go to Rio Marié, we know you’ll agree that the combination of virgin jungle environment and luxurious accommodations make this a truly unforgettable fly fishing adventure.
Photo: Matt Harris
Spatsizi Wilderness Lodge
Where: 200 miles north of Smithers, British Columbia, Canada
The Spatsizi Wilderness Lodge is located in the middle of some of the best wilderness trout fishing in the world. A fly-out lodge in northern British Columbia was discovered in the late 60’s when Ray Collingwood was dropped off by a bush pilot on the Firesteel River after hearing of its legendary fishing. Ray built the lodge’s first cabin in 1969 and now, together with his daughter Carrie and their staff, Spatsizi continues to provide a select group of anglers with access to one of the world’s most spectacular trout fishing destinations.
Winston Field Advisor, Todd Moen, visited the Spatsizi Wilderness Lodge several years ago and featured them in Issue # 33 of Catch Magazine. “The opportunity to meet and film the Collingwood Family at Spatsizi Lodge was an incredible experience for me as a filmmaker. The lodge sits in the remotest of remote northern B.C.’s Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park, nearly 2 million acres of protected land that includes the upper reaches of the Stikine River. Once there, settled into the Lodge on the banks of Laslui Lake at the headwaters of the Stikine, I discovered that the best way to film, and what they relied on daily, would be in the air. Billy Labonte and bush pilot legend Ray Collingwood flew me into the most spectacular waters (and waters particularly special to his family) via his PA-12 Super Cruiser, a Piper floatplane. Ray is an experienced bush pilot, and it was on these flights over rugged land and waters that I learned about the Collingwood’s remarkable history and family homesteading there in northern B.C. I knew I had to get it right, I had a great story to tell in film and things just clicked. With the help of Carrie and Ray and the folks at the Spatsizi Lodge, a great film unraveled and became the featured T-Motion Theater film called “Spatsizi”. To be able to experience Spatszi Lodge with the Collingwood Family was fantastic, and to be able to tell their story was an honor.”
Spatsizi Wilderness Lodge is the only outfitter licensed to guide and fly into the wild and pristine Spatsizi Wilderness Park region, an area roughly 3 times the size of Yellowstone Park. Boat and plane provide exclusive access to the most beautiful, prolific and unspoiled trout fishing in the world including the legendary Firesteel River. With only 8 fly-in guests a week, the weeklong trip merely scratches the surface of over thirty rivers, lakes and streams to choose from. Spatsizi offers a customized trip to suit your fishing preferences and with a multitude of water conditions and hatch activity available, you will be in constant pursuit of beautiful rainbow, arctic grayling, lake trout and trophy sized bull trout. Stationed floatplanes allow for spectacular scenery, fantastic fishing and a new destination each day where you can tie on anything from a huge mouse pattern to a delicate #20 Adams. Spatsizi has a full range of Boron III LS and Boron III X rods available for guests, from a 3-weight to 6-weight. A Boron III Plus 9’ 5-weight would be also be a great choice for large water, bigger bugs and big fish.
This comfortable, rustic lodge offers incomparable views while tying the next day’s flies or relaxing. Guests can stay in the four cozy log cabins that come with private baths, modern wood stoves and breathtaking mountain views. Exquisite cuisine is as important to the experience as the adventures themselves and Spatsizi guests are treated to fresh, local, homemade fare paired with the finest British Columbia wines.
ESTANCIA MARIA BEHETY
ARGENTINA / CHILE
Where: Tierra del Fuego Argentina/Chile
We visited Estancia Maria Behety Lodge in January after a long trip directly south to what seemed like the bottom of the Americas. We were not disappointed. In fact, we are planning to go back again. Maria Behety has fishing on an unbelievable 33 miles of the lower Rio Grande river, the greatest sea run brown trout river in the world.
The beautiful, recently built lodge is spectacular, sitting on a promontory overlooking the majestic Rio Grande River. It seems that once you are there, there is nothing Maria Behety doesn’t offer in the way of comfort. Exceptional meals, luxurious accommodations, a fishing schedule designed to maximize your success, custom wader room, outstanding guides, all on an original, authentic working estancia with 495 square miles of cattle and sheep grazing country. The lodge is limited to only twelve anglers for each of the 14 weeks of the season. Everything about the Estancia Maria Behety Lodge revolves around the Menendez Family’s personal guarantee and commitment to offering the finest sea run brown fly fishing experience in the Americas. If you want to catch a trophy sea run brown and impress your friends and family with a photo holding a massive trout, Maria Behety should be on your bucket list! If you have the time, we recommend combining a trip to Maria Behety with a visit to other parts of Argentina. It’s an amazing country. We have fished throughout Patagonia and, though we don’t really recommend it, one year, we even spent a few weeks driving south on route 40, fishing our way down through Patagonia all the way to Tierra del Fuego and to Ushuaia. We loved every minute and every beautiful trout we caught. They seemed to get bigger the further south we went, with the biggest fish at Maria Behety. Our catalog and website one year featured photos from that trip.
La Villa De Maria Behety
Also on the spectacular 275,000-acre Estancia Maria Behety, is a gem of a small fly fishing lodge, La Villa, near the city of Rio Grande. It is among the most beautiful ranch mansions in all of Tierra del Fuego, having been painstakingly restored by local craftsmen who have combined modern convenience with traditional old world charm. The magnificent ranch home is now available for up to six anglers who prefer a more intimate and extraordinary upscale lodging experience while fishing for enormous sea-run brown trout. Anglers at La Villa will rotate through the premier pools of the Rio Grande (33 river miles), all within the massive borders of the estancia. From when we visited a few years ago, we were impressed with the unique experience that anglers will enjoy, with luxurious private (single occupancy) accommodations, excellent meals, Jacuzzi Tubs, the finest Argentine vintages, and one of the best fly fishing experiences in the world. We hope to go back very soon. We recommend any of our Boron III TH two handed rods, especially in the 12′ 6″, 12’9″ and the 13’3″ lengths. For single handed users, the strong southern Patagonian winds demand a little extra power, so we suggest a Boron III SX 8-weight or 9-weight in whichever lengths you prefer, though longer rods will make for easier mending since all fishing will be using a downstream swing…after that, you’ll need to hold on!
Despite the long flight south to Argentina and then to the town of Rio Grande, most people are pleasantly surprised to find that the lodge is located only 15 minutes from the Rio Grande Airport. Estancia Maria Behety for a few years has offered a supply of Winston Boron Two Handed rods. However, we encourage you to bring your own. To optimize your experience we recommend bringing any of our Boron III TH rods, especially the 12’6” 6wt, 12’9” 7wt or 13’3” 7wt. For single handed casters, the Boron III SX 9’ 8wt is perhaps the perfect single handed rod to handle heavy winds, especially in Tierra del Fuego.
Henry’s Fork Lodge
Located on a picturesque bluff overlooking the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River, Henry’s Fork Lodge offers outstanding accommodations and dining, combined with excellent and diverse fishing programs across the entire Yellowstone region. Set in a spectacular setting, Henry’s Fork Lodge provides an ideal holiday for experienced anglers as well as families, groups, and couples looking for one of the very best high-end, elegant lodge experiences in the United States.
Designed by award-winning architect Joseph Esherick, the lodge is an outstanding combination of elegance and comfort. With open and inviting public spaces and beautifully designed rooms, it’s easy for guests to feel at home and unwind. The famous expansive open-air porch overlooking the spectacular Henry’s Fork is a perfect place to relax and share fishing stories after a day on the river.
The main lodge has six rooms, including two deluxe suites with oversized fireplaces and views of the Henry’s Fork River. In addition, beside the Lodge, there are eight cottage suites, all with separate bedrooms, sitting rooms, and cozy fireplaces.
Dining at the Henry’s Fork Lodge is excellent with made-to-order breakfasts, lunches on the river and a seasonal rotating dinner menu with exquisite Rocky Mountain fare.
On any given day, anglers at the Lodge have access to either the Henry’s Fork, South Fork, Madison River, Hebgen Lake, Yellowstone Park, as well as a collection of other still waters and smaller streams in the area. The Lodge works closely with area outfitters, so if you have a favorite guide in the area, chances are it can be arranged. And, of course, the Lodge has a collection of Winston Rods available for guest use. Based on our experience, we expect you will find that a Boron III X 5-weight or 6-weight will cover 90% of your fishing situations, though you could also bring lighter rod, a Boron III LS 4-weight for smaller stream dry fly fishing or light wind days. We have fished the Henry’s Fork for years and have been longtime fans of the Henry’s Fork Lodge – deservedly famous as one of the very best fly fishing lodges in the country.
HOLBOX FLY FISHING LODGE
Where: Isla Holbox, off the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
We feel like we just discovered Isla Holbox. Run by manager Luciano for 7 years, the small Isla Holbox Flyfishing Lodge is a delight. While we’ve been flying into Cancun and driving down to Ascension Bay in Mexico for over a decade, this year we decided to mix it up and spend a few days beforehand fishing for baby tarpon on Isla Holbox. What a treat. We’ve never seen so many tarpon.
For four days in February, we cast to hundreds of tarpon between 10-40lbs in water under 6 feet deep, our final two days stalking baby tarpon tailing in water under two feet deep. Because of the fantastic collection of excellent restaurants in the town of Holbox, the schedule at Isla Holbox Flyfishing Lodge is refreshingly different from most lodge operations. Up early with cappuccinos waiting to breakfast at the lodge before heading out for a full day on the water fishing virtually exclusively for tarpon. After late April, the large tarpon (over 100lbs) move in outside the lagoon. This is peak season in Holbox for anglers as well as tourists since the migration of the larger tarpon overlaps with the arrival of the spectacular whale sharks. However, there appears to be no off season for the baby tarpon as they live year around in the massive sheltered lagoon (yes, far less wind) and provide constant action, ideal for anglers eager to catch their first tarpon.
The Isla Holbox Flyfishing Lodge fronts the beautiful two-mile beach shared by local fisherman and an assortment of small bungalows housing visiting European, Mexican and North American tourists. The accommodations are small and very comfortable; the manager, Luciano is a wealth of fishing and other information; and the guides are excellent. Perhaps the most unique draw of Isla Holbox (aside from the number of tarpon, of course), is the wonderful town of Holbox. There are no cars on the island of Holbox. Residents as well as visiting anglers and other tourists travel along the sandy streets in golf carts or by foot. The restaurants in Holbox are fantastic; alive at night and the food is excellent.
Isla Holbox carries a collection of new Winston Boron III SX rods for you to try and will recommend which rods to bring depending on the time of year. If you are there after mid March, you should definitely bring a 12-weight just in case the big tarpon are around. For most of the trip fishing for smaller tarpon we used a Boron III SX 9-weight that was ideal in handling the wind, large flies, and medium-sized tarpon (up to 45 lbs). An 8-weight or 10-weight Boron III SX would also work well. When fishing in shallow water to smaller tailing tarpon in the lagoons, a 7-weight or 8-weight Boron IIIx was perfect for more delicate presentations with smaller flies.
Where: Lake Aleknagik, Bristol Bay, Alaska
Mission Lodge is easily one of Alaska’s top fly-out lodges. Located in a spectacular wilderness setting in the Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska, it is within easy flying distance to some of the best fly fishing in the state. We’ve known managers Guy and Sarah for years, and have shot some spectacular footage and big fish photography for various film and advertising projects here.
Nomads of the Seas
Where: Chilean Patagonia
Nomads of the Seas is as much a moving high end hotel as it is fly fishing lodge. Guests stay on a state-of-the-art expedition cruise ship, the Atmosphere, and cruise along the remote Chilean coast accessing some of the best freshwater flyfishing in the world. The ship has its own helicopter, drift boats, kayaks and jet boats, so guests are afforded the rare opportunity of exploring the Chilean Patagonia water systems by air, land or water.
With its first rate crew and unique air and water transport system, Nomads of the Seas can deliver the thrill of fly-fishing, whale–watching, bird-watching, and nature photography and other activities for a varied selection of outdoor adventures in the southernmost corner of the world. This is unique trip with exceptional fly fishing.
Long-time Winston rod enthusiasts, Nomads of the Seas has discovered unexplored waters, developed new programs, and added new infrastructure to make their trips over the past eight years different from the any other flyfishing operation in the world. It is for this reason that it has been selected as a Winston Preferred Lodge and is on the list of many adventurous anglers seeking new experiences. The flyfishing opportunities in Chilean Patagonia near the coast are as varied as the many different river systems Nomads of the Seas can access. Consequently, the Atmosphere carries a selection of Winston Boron III X (all-around rods) in 5-weight through 8-weights, as well as 6 through 8-weight Boron III SX rods for more challenging conditions.
Patagonia River Guides (PRG)
Where: Trevelin (near Esquel), Patagonia, Argentina
Patagonia River Guides has been a Winston Preferred Lodge for over a decade. Owned and managed by longtime Winston pro staff members and friends, Rance Rathie and Travis Smith, PRG offers fly fishing programs out of their lodge in Trevelin as well as in the north and in Rio Pico. At Winston, we’ve visited these extremely sought after locations many times over the past several years, have shot many of our catalog and website images there (including some on the website now) and can’t wait to return, fishing new water on each trip.
The accommodations, food and service are exceptional. In fact, PRG-Trevelin is one of the few lodges in the world we have visited where we wouldn’t hesitate to bring less experienced anglers or non-fishing companions. The area surrounding Trevelin and Esquel boasts over two-dozen rivers and some of the most diverse fishing in all of Patagonia from temperate rainforest in Los Alerces National Park to the arid Patagonia steppe – all intentionally within striking distance of the lodge at Trevelin. The area is a fly fisherman’s dream come true.
The waters, fishing, and scenery are so plentiful that PRG recommends trying their “fish a different river daily” program to make the most of the experience. Those who do will enjoy casting dry and wet flies in every kind of water imaginable, catching a variety of strong, wild and large trout. The area’s rivers and lakes hold excellent numbers of rainbows, browns, brook trout, and landlocked salmon. Each morning, you are literally asked “what would you like to do today?” as you decide between…wade, float, river, lake, dry, wet, large (or very large) trout.
PRG carries a full assortment of the latest Winston Boron IIIx and Boron III SX rods for you to try, and will recommend which rods you should bring to optimize your experience. We found that, though there is a substantial variety of fishing available, a Boron IIIx 6-weight is the ideal all-around rod for PRG – Trevelin. However, as you should always bring more than one rod on a trip like this, we would also suggest bringing a Boron IIIx 5-weight as a lighter rod for the smaller area rivers, and, if possible, a Boron III SX 6-weight to handle big flies when it is windy.
PRG – North
Where: San Martin de los Andes (north of Bariloche), Patagonia, Argentina
PRG guests also have the option of fishing the renowned San Martin and Junin de los Andes region a few hours north of Bariloche and stay at one of PRG-North’s spectacular authentic and vast Argentine estancias. We at Winston recently stayed at the beautiful estancia Huechahue and fished some of Argentina’s most famous trout rivers: the Chemehuin, Malleo, Limay, Aluminé, and the Collón Cura. PRG-North has a full collection of the latest Winston Boron IIIx, Boron III LS and Boron III SX rods available for their guests and will recommend which rods you should bring to cover all the available fishing situations. Because of the mix of small and large rivers, we suggest you consider bringing a lighter line dry fly rod (e.g., a Boron III LS 4 and/or 5-weight), as well as a Boron IIIx 5 and/or 6-weight which can generate more line speed for when the wind picks up.
PRG – Rio Pico
Where: Rio Pico, Patagonia, Argentina
A beautiful two hour drive south from Esquel, PRG-Rio Pico is a delight and serious fisherman’s dream. The rugged countryside near the Chilean border provides a spectacular backdrop for some of the best fishing in Patagonia. A strongly recommended add-on to any PRG trip, we highly doubt you will be disappointed. PRG-Rio Pico also has a collection of the latest Winston Boron IIIx and Boron III SX rods available for their guests, and will recommend which rods you should bring to cover all the available fishing situations. If you go, we strongly recommend you bring a Boron IIIx 5 and/or 6-weight, as well as a Boron III SX 6-weight as it will make casting large flies into the wind for large trout a dramatically more enjoyable (and rewarding) experience.
Where: Bolivian jungle, 125 miles from La Paz, Bolivia
Guests: 12+ in two lodges plus out-camps
Tsimane is one of the finest dorado fly fishing operations in the world. Actually two lodges plus out-camps, it is located in Bolivia within a National Park and Indigenous Territory, where the Amazon meets the Andes. Winston Pro Advisors and Pro Staff have visited and recommend it very strongly as perhaps the best dorado fishery anywhere.
The landscape is extremely dramatic. In fishing season, streams are filled with clear water running through the jungle and the mountains, perfect for wading and sight casting to beautiful golden dorado and other species. The jungle is virtually untouched and one of the most interesting natural environments in the world.
Tsimane offers a rare blend of dorado sight casting, freestone wading, light tackle, floating lines, spectacular scenery, mountain rivers with clear, virgin waters, and four distinct species (dorado, pirapitinga, yatorana, surubi) reaching significant sizes. Recently, Tsimane introduced its ‘headwater out-camps’ for more adventurous anglers.
Tsimane provides an unforgettable angling experience, yet due to its remote location and the challenges of traveling in the jungle, Winston obviously does not make any representations as to the safety when traveling to this or any WINSTON PREFERRED LODGE®. In particular, the Tsimane out-camps are limited to only a few adventurous and physically fit anglers and feature safari-style wall tents in extremely remote locations at the headwaters of the Pluma, Itirizama and Aguas Negras Rivers. Once you are there, however, Tsimane has a full collection of the latest Winston Boron IIIx, Boron III SX and other Winston rods and gives recommendations by season which rods you should bring as there are a variety of different angling situations.
Because of the size of the fish and the varying size of the rivers, at a minimum we suggest you bring a 8-weight Boron III SX rod which can handle the larger dorado, as well as a Boron IIIx 6-weight and/or 7-weight for fishing smaller dry flies for yatoranas and for the smaller rivers. Though these are freshwater fish, due to the heat, you should equip yourself as you would heading to the tropics to fish for larger more powerful saltwater species. We end up using the Boron III SX 9-weight a lot for the bigger waters and fish!