Below, you will find brief descriptions of 11 lodges and resorts that not only provide superb fly-fishing but also offer an extensive selection of life’s finer pleasures.
1. Estancia Arroyo Verde, Argentina
When fishermen debate which trout stream is the best in the world, Argentina’s Rio Traful inevitably enters the conversation. Just 10 miles long from its boca (mouth) on Lago Traful, it is a fast, clear mountain stream that contains exceptionally large brown and rainbow trout as well as landlocked Atlantic salmon weighing up to 20 pounds. And because the river flows through private land, it is not overfished like so many Patagonian streams. Indeed, the entire left-hand bank of the Traful falls within the boundaries of the Estancia Arroyo Verde. Long owned by the Larivière family, the justly renowned lodge has just six twin-bedded cabins. The fishing season runs November to April; I prefer February and March when the river is clear and less turbulent. On warm summer evenings, huge trout start flopping around in the pools, and the sense of anticipation can be almost unbearable.
2. Blackberry Farm, Tennessee
Set on a 4,200-acre estate bordering Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blackberry Farm is one of our favorite American country house hotels. The property most frequently attracts attention because of its luxurious accommodations and exceptional cuisine. But in 2001, it became the first Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing lodge in the eastern United States. This is an excellent place to learn to fly-fish, as highly competent instruction is always available. Flowing through the estate is a mile of Hesse Creek, a shallow, gin-clear stream, with intermittent deeper pools. Stocked with 10- to 14-inch rainbow trout, it is used for instruction. Although best fished in spring and fall, it is productive year-round. Guests also have access to more than 1,000 miles of rivers and streams in the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is strenuous, hike-in, guided fishing, in narrow, turbulent mountain streams. Most of the trout, including the native brook trout, are small (6 to 9 inches). In some places, however, there are larger resident brown trout (15 to 24 inches), which mysteriously emerge from hiding in fall. In search of larger fish, Blackberry Farm’s guests often undertake leisurely daylong float trips down the tranquil Clinch and Holson rivers. In 2018, sister property Blackberry Mountain opened just 7 miles northeast of the farm. There, similar fly-fishing opportunities are available, organized by the outfitter based at Blackberry Farm.