Villa María Lodge

Fly Fishing in Buenos Aires

Villa Maria Lodge – End of Season Report 2017

When we stepped into the river for the first time in 2017, it was eerily similar to how we left it back in April 2016. There were no signs of the usual spring flooding caused by rain and snowmelt. We found our same rutted truck paths from last year. And the runs were flowing smoothly through their heads and crept slowly along their mid-sections. Wading and crossing the river was as easy as ever. Considering what we found, we scrapped the traditional early-season setups—13-14 ft double-handed rods and dense sinking-tips—and replaced them with lighter speys, switch rods, and even single-handers. Lines, too, were adjusted accordingly: light sink-tips and floaters found their place. Of course, tippets and flies were also downsized, and Green Machines, Prince Nymphs and small rubber-legged were typically the first options fished through a run. During January the river steadily dropped, giving us some of the most impressive fly-fishing experiences I’ve witnessed in many years guiding this river. Imagine casting a single hander, floating line, and a long, supple leader 40 feet to catch a double-digit chromer. This amazing fishing reached its pinnacle when Axel W. hooked a beast using a similar setup. It was 30-pounder… attached to a trout tippet! This unreal fishing spanned the month of January and lasted until the first week of February. By then, rain had found the Rio Grande valley and its headwaters. The weather events that followed produced slight bumps in flows and, on some days, killed the water clarity. Add rising water to a low river stacked with trout and the fish start running upstream, as fast as possible, so they can spread out along the river’s full length. This scenario came to define the last weeks of February. Fishing was more challenging, but it remained interesting as the fish […]

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Bahamas Fly Fishing Services

Villa Maria Lodge – Week 11: March 16 – 24 , 2017

Similar to what we experienced the last couple of weeks, river levels have been seesawing daily due to some rain mixed with snowmelt from the headwaters. But the flow fluctuations were mostly mild and predictable—thankfully—and the fish have remained in the deeper channels and slower moving waters. Wind, air, and even water temperatures were pleasant for late March, while the fishing remained erratic and challenging. Finding the winning line/fly combination was a game of experimentation. But overall, heavier tips (up to 15 feet of T17) driving heavy, bushy tubes and colorful intruders produced the best results. Again, our guests did a great job and demonstrated appreciated patience throughout the week. Jean Daniel achieved his trip goals, catching a gorgeous 26-pound hen followed by another 20-pounder. But the biggest surprise came when he landed a 14-pound steelhead swinging a Sunray shadow on an intermediate line. Well done, Jean!   Largest fish of the week: 26 pounds Fish over 20 lbs: 2 Fish over 15 lbs: 4   Alejandro Martello Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager  

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Fishing Report Villa Maria Lodge – Week 9 & 10: March 4 - 16, 2017

Villa Maria Lodge – Week 9 & 10: March 4 – 16, 2017

The last couple of week in Rio Grande, especially the lower section, have been as challenging as ever. February has been quite particular, as it rained for the whole month. Not very intense rain, mostly just drizzle close to  town, but there were 3 or 4 days of very strong rains, especially in the headwaters what changed the game. These rains made the Rio Grande and its tributaries, like Radman, Menendez, and  Ona to change levels and water clarity constantly. This scenario made the fishing very challenging as we had to change where and how we were looking for the fish. Instead of the deep channels we started fishing the tails and shallower waters as this is where the fish like to sit and rest during those conditions. We also had to adjust our lines and the typical 10ft of T11 sinking tip we used along the season was replaced for longer and heavier tips like 15’ of T17 and the nymphs and leeches were replaced for heavy bushy tubes, colorful intruders and most of the time, we had to stack 2 or more flies to get a size and silhouette required for those water conditions.  The takes were sparse and very unpredictable so the fishing was demanding and the fishermen were pushed to do their best to seduce the fish as casting big flies and heavy lines for many hours is not the easiest task. But our guests did a great job and had tons of patience to follow our suggestions for catching that dream fish that everybody has in mind when they step into the river every day. The river is starting to stabilize, drop and clean, so next week we will be up to another new challenge. Largest fish of the week, 26 lbs. Fish over 20 lbs: […]

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Easy Fly Fishing

Villa Maria Lodge – Week 8: Feb. 24 – March 3, 2017

Another group of returning guests visited us at Villa Maria Lodge this last past week. Having logged more than 10 trips to the Rio Grande, they were seasoned and equipped to deal with the current fishing conditions. River and weather conditions remained unstable, with booming tributaries altering water levels and clarity in the main-stem Rio Grande. And similar to last week, we prospected deeper, slower moving runs. Tailouts have been especially productive. Gear for this kind of fishing includes Skagit heads paired with long sink-tips (12 to 15ft) and rods from 13 to 14 ft for extra power in the wind. Winning flies included both large articulated leeches and intruder-style patterns. Color, on the other hand, was less important. We’ve had equal success with chartreuse, black, purple… even orange. Go figure. Dave pocketed the Rookie of the Week title. Maybe an obvious choice, considering he was our only first timer! But he also worked for it, landing two fish that topped the 20-pound mark, including a 24-pound hen that took the fly in a swift and shallow pool. The river is currently dropping and clearing, so next week will be a new challenge. We’ll be ready for it.   Largest fish of the week: 24 pounds. Fish over 20 pounds: 8 Fish over 15 pounds: 26   —Alejandro Martello Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager

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Fishing for Fun

Villa Maria Lodge – Week 7: Feb. 18 – 23, 2017

This past week we had a mixed group of first timers and Villa Maria Lodge regulars from Iceland and England. In between jokes about the Cold War and Euro Cup football, we experienced some challenging but ultimately high-quality fishing. River flows remained unstable as upstream tributaries continued to raise water levels and alter clarity in the Rio Grande. That combined with colder temperatures forced us to adjust our techniques to find fish in the deeper, slower moving sections of most runs. And although the river was higher it wasn’t unmanageable. We fished Skagit heads with long, heavy sink-tips carrying large flies for their sizeable silhouettes. And we found some spectacular fish. Rookie of the Week honors went to Angus W., who overcame a tough few days by rallying back with three fish in the 20-pound range! I also have to shout-out “The Toby”—a heavily modified Sunray Shadow-style tube fly that Oddur’s good friend tied exclusively for this trip. The fly not only produced a beautiful 21-pound buck, but also made a fantastic come back from the trashcan. After some recycling the “Zombie Toby” kept catching fish after fish till it perished once and for all during a fight with another Rio Grande monster.   Largest fish of the week: 24 lbs. Fish over 20 lbs: 6 Fish over 15 lbs: 27   Alejandro Martello Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager  

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Small Fishing Trip

Villa Maria Lodge – Week 6: Feb. 10 – 17, 2017

Like the last days of the previous week, this fishing week started with some rain in the lower stretch but there were serious cells of rain and snow in the headwaters and the Andes. Its is quite impressive to drive to the river and see all the mountains dressed in white in the middle of the summer! All that rain bumped up the level of the river around 8 inches which turned the river murky. For a couple of days the underwater visibility was quite compromised (around 8 inches) making the fishing a bit more difficult and we had to work harder to get the fish to take the flies. During those days of low water clarity, we had to fish with heavier than usual sinking tips and big, bushy, colorful flies. Along the week the water was dropping and cleaning letting us use a wide variety of techniques ranging from from deep, heavy fly/lines combinations to intermediate lines swinging collie dog tube flies.  But also, part of the snow reached the river and even when it didn’t change its level at all, we noticed a significative drop in the temperature of the water making the fish to react slower to flies, specially during the earlier morning hours. But around noon, as the sun was heating up the water, the fish started to roll on the surface and react more energetically to the flies. Most of the fisherman had several seasons fishing Rio Grande, as Gilbert who is fishing his 16th time here, and their patience helped in the tough and we were successful when the fish gave us the chance. The Lucky Guy of the Week Award was for Bob S, who in his two sessions to our lowest beat he managed to beat the tough fishing conditions and […]

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Fishing in Bahamas

Villa Maria Lodge – Week 5: Feb. 3 – 9, 2017

  The House of Forstinger’s Friends visited us last week. Willy first traveled to Villa Maria Lodge in 1986, so he’s seen a lot and has plenty of amusing stories to tell. And, luckily, the fishing was in tune with all the fun. This was, so far, the most productive week of the season! Weather has been pleasant, with light winds and warmer-than-average temps. Consistent conditions have made for reliable fishing from morning till night. The river is still low and clear and delicate presentations were key. Nymphs remained the top producers and our European friends had clearly mastered the setups and skills that led to their astonishing results. Astonishing? Yes, the group landed a total of 16 fish over 20 pounds! Barry’s 24-pound buck was the biggest of the week. The sea-run monster ate a dead-drifted prince nymph just under the surface. Chaos ensured. Again, single-handed rods and floating lines were the weapons of choice. We also fished some switch rods lined with floaters and lighter sinking-tips. And as per usual, good presentations were more important than the line/rod combo. Nymphs from #6-10 were the best options coming out of the fly boxes. Green machines also fooled a few finicky fish. As for streamers, long, dark and slender were musts during closer-to-dark conditions. On Tuesday we had some furious rain for about 10 hours. By Thursday morning (our last day with this group) we noticed the river had risen by about 6 inches. The higher, off-color water forced us to exchange single-handers for our double-handed rods. Add to that fast sinking-tips and monster-sized leeches and you have a completely new game. The challenge has been delivered for the upcoming week…   Largest fish of the week: 24 pounds Fish over 20 lbs: 16 Fish over 15 lbs: 90   […]

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Aires Fly Fishing

Villa Maria Lodge – Week 3: Jan. 21 – 26, 2017

“The perfect week at the perfect lodge with the perfect guides.” That’s how one of our returning guests, Axel, described Week 3 at Villa Maria Lodge. So what does perfection look like? Let’s start with a 10-fish warm-up session that included a 24-pound chromer. And let’s follow that up with a tapas night featuring savory tastings from our chefs to end a great day. Now that’s hard to beat! Could it get better? You bet. As Wednesday’s river sessions were coming to a close a gentle voice over the radio advised, “Put the champagne on ice… 30-pounder landed.” A fish that size is what Axel’s been chasing for 12 years at Villa Maria. He had finally achieved his goal! Overall, the fishing was excellent during a week that presented some less-than-stable weather. The river remains quite low despite a few showers, and water temperatures have been averaging 8-16 degrees C. (46-61 degrees F.). With those variables in mind, we experienced some skittish fish. But in the end, they were convinced to eat. And nymphs, both weighted and unweighted patterns, mostly without flash, proved to be the fish-catching ticket. On several occassions, nymphs dead-drifted just below the surface produced some outstanding takes—very similar to how’d you fish for resident river trout. Long and, as delicate as possible, leaders were also key.   Largest fish of the week: 30 pounds Fish over 15 pounds: 38 Average weight: 14.2 pounds Certainly a week to remember for all of us!   Alejandro Martello Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager

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Villa Maria Lodge – Week 4: Jan 21 – 26, 2017

The House of Forstinger’s Friends visited us last week. Willy first traveled to Villa Maria Lodge in 1986, so he’s seen a lot and has plenty of amusing stories to tell. And, luckily, the fishing was in tune with all the fun. This was, so far, the most productive week of the season! Weather has been pleasant, with light winds and warmer-than-average temps. Consistent conditions have made for reliable fishing from morning till night. The river is still low and clear and delicate presentations were key. Nymphs remained the top producers and our European friends had clearly mastered the setups and skills that led to their astonishing results. Astonishing? Yes, the group landed a total of 16 fish over 20 pounds! Barry’s 24-pound buck was the biggest of the week. The sea-run monster ate a dead-drifted prince nymph just under the surface. Chaos ensured. Again, single-handed rods and floating lines were the weapons of choice. We also fished some switch rods lined with floaters and lighter sinking-tips. And as per usual, good presentations were more important than the line/rod combo. Nymphs from #6-10 were the best options coming out of the fly boxes. Green machines also fooled a few finicky fish. As for streamers, long, dark and slender were musts during closer-to-dark conditions. On Tuesday we had some furious rain for about 10 hours. By Thursday morning (our last day with this group) we noticed the river had risen by about 6 inches. The higher, off-color water forced us to exchange single-handers for our double-handed rods. Add to that fast sinking-tips and monster-sized leeches and you have a completely new game. The challenge has been delivered for the upcoming week…   Largest fish of the week: 24 pounds Fish over 20 lbs: 16 Fish over 15 lbs: 90   —Alejandro […]

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Amazing Fishing

Villa Maria Lodge – Week 2: Jan. 14 – 19, 2017

We just finished the second week of the season at Villa Maria Lodge and it was fantastic. In addition to great fishing we welcomed some familiar faces, returning guests from Switzerland who’ve made Villa Maria their home away from home for more than 12 years. The weather improved dramatically from previous weeks, with milder temperatures and gentle winds, and the combination helped us get the most from the river. Water conditions remain low and clear, which means it’s important to fish each pool carefully. We start by selecting the correct lines and tying long leaders. Soft presentations and mindful wading also become musts. Our Swiss group knew the drill well, and began the week with an outstanding warm-up session on Friday. Uli hooked into a chrome 20-pounder on one of his first casts. The week continued with good fishing, great friends, amazing food, and fine cigars and single malt from Islay. Everyone was able to relax and soak in the views from our riverside retreat, enjoying the lost in time feel the Tierra del Fuego countryside. The next few days unfurled with a good run of thick, silver fish. This year’s sea-runs are particularly gorgeous. Due to continued low levels on the Rio Grande, floaters and intermediate tips paired with long 10-foot leaders have been lethal in the slow-flowing pools. For deeper or faster runs, heavier sinking tips improved the odds. But we’re still using longer leaders in those scenarios. Nymphs, both weighted and unweighted, but without flash, were the top patterns. We all took the time to celebrate Tommy’s birthday on Monday evening. Our pastry chef prepared a delicious Chocolate Trifle for the occasion and Tommy received a gift of a lifetime, a giant poster of one of his releases from a previous season. Thomas, our rookie-of-the-week, capped off […]

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2017 Fishing Reports

Fishing Reports by Year