Stunning landscapes, luxury accommodations, fine dining, and the chance to pull in trophy-sized fish draw avid anglers to destinations around the world.
With roughly 3.8 million fly anglers in the United States alone, it's no surprise a number of resorts cater to the men and women who enjoy the hobby. These three properties, all ecologically responsible, have everything a discerning traveler looks for in a top fishing resort.
No-See-Um Lodge, Alaska
Alaska has 57 million acres of sparsely populated wilderness — featuring untouched tundra, vast forest expanses, and an abundance of wildlife. Its crystal-clear lakes, roaring rivers, and quiet streams are teeming with wild rainbow trout. John Holman, owner of the family-run No-See-Um Lodge, lays claim to catches that "reach lengths over 35 inches and weigh in at over 20 pounds!" Want some variety? Char, grayling, and five species of salmon also swim those waters.
Your casting arm will begin to tingle as you fly in on one of the lodge's legendary DeHavilland Beaver seaplanes. Overlooking the Kvichak River, the lodge provides all the comfort and amenities an outdoorsman looks for after a long day on the water: gourmet dining, sauna and hot tub, and an open bar. The property accommodates a total of 12 in its six guest rooms.
Belcampo Lodge, Belize
When the challenge of fishing salt and brackish water calls your name, Belcampo Lodge may be your destination. Tarzan's jungle digs were never like this. Belcampo sits in the rainforest, five minutes from the sea, overlooking the Rio Grande as it feeds into the 100,000-acre Port Honduras Marine Preserve. It's a world of soaring hardwoods and dense foliage; the tropical air is alive with the rumbles of Howler monkeys, and rainbow-hued toucans and butterflies flit overhead. In the midst of 16 guest bungalows is the main lodge, soaring four stories into the canopy. From its beautiful veranda you can gaze across the treetops to an endless horizon.
Taylor Edrington, president of Royal Gorge Anglers and its head fly-fishing guide, recently returned from Belcampo Lodge and raved about it: "Belcampo is one of the premier permit fisheries on earth and also presents great opportunities to catch many other game fish. If you long to attain the saltwater grand slam — tarpon, bonefish, and permit — this is the place to do it!"
Rio Manso Lodge, Argentina
When Old Man Winter shows his hoary head in North America, anglers head south to the waters of Patagonia. This is the land of huge browns, weighty rainbow, and trophy-sized brook trout. Among northern Argentina's many fine fishing outfits, the Rio Manso Lodge near the Chilean border stands out.
Surrounded by Nahuel Huapi National Park and its nearly 2 million acres of old-growth forest and wilderness, nine guest rooms feature awe-inspiring views of Lake Hess and majestic Mount Tronador. When not on the water, guests are pampered in the well-known Latin style with international cuisine, local dishes, and superb local wines. Orvis, America's highly regarded supplier of sporting services, designated this property its 2015 International Destination of the Year.
Time spent at any of these lodges provides a memorable adventure. But in the end, what counts is the snap and curl of the wrist, the whir of the line arcing through the air, and the magical moment when that big old boy rises up to take the bait.