Updated May 2017 — Anglers who fly-fish tend to be particularly avid about their sport — relishing in its graceful artistry, specialized techniques, and unique gear. For many, standing knee-deep in a river and contemplatively casting a fly into the slow-moving water is about as good as it gets. Unless, of course, you combine your fishing trip with a visit to a top-notch resort, where you can also enjoy stunning landscapes, luxury accommodations, and fine dining. So pack your gear and grab a few buddies, these three properties 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, took over the operation from his father, who opened the lodge in the early 1970s after he and his family moved to Alaska from upstate New York.
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 nature lovers look for after a long day on the water: gourmet dining, sauna and hot tub, an open bar, and a new screened-in gazebo with a stone fire pit. 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. The lodge, with 16 private suites and one three-bedroom villa, soars high into the canopy. From its beautiful veranda you can gaze across the treetops to an endless horizon.
You can go solo or with a guide to famed fishing spots along the Rio Grande River, Caribbean Sea, or the white sand beaches of the Sapodilla Cayes. Expect to hook everything from tarpon to bonefish. Once back at the lodge, enjoy a relaxing massage at the spa overlooking the rainforest canopy, or enjoy a meal at the restaurant, which uses ingredients from the onsite farm and local fishermen to prepare culturally diverse meals.
Rio Manso Lodge, Argentina
When Old Man Winter shows his 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.