Kau Tapen Lodge

Kau Tapen Lodge – 2020 Season End Report

A few weeks earlier than expected, we have finished up this year’s season for obvious reasons. The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly become the center of everyone’s lives and has put a hold on international travel in a heartbeat. While this came on unexpectedly for all of us, we are glad that our guests are safe at home, and our staff and international guides were able to return to their families without major complications. As sad as we are to prematurely end this season, we’re happy and thankful for the special 10 weeks that could not have been more enjoyable.  This season’s conditions could not have been any more different from last year’s, especially where water levels are concerned. 2020’s summer was dictated by much higher water levels and variable weather for the most part. Almost every week, the river changed – it was much higher at its lowest point this year than it ever was in most weeks of last season. During these changing conditions, we discovered that it did affect the fishing quite a bit – The contrast between good and tough fishing was more apparent, and anglers had to use their windows of opportunity when conditions aligned and gave them a chance. Despite that, the catch results at the end of each week were very consistent. The shifting conditions and the fact that these fish could turn on and off like a switch made some weeks seem a bit more random, making it harder for us guides to find the right approach and forced us to experiment more with our tactics than in previous years. While I personally believe that these high-water seasons are exactly what this river needs once in a while, it did affect the fishing and the course of the season noticeably. As the river […]

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Kau Tapen Lodge Week 10: March 6 – 13, 2020

Another great week of great fishing in tough conditions, complete with ups and downs, strange weather, bright fish, and lots of laughs along the riverbanks comes to an end! We were welcoming a full house of good friends and a few new faces that we soon embraced into the Kau Tapen family. Sandy and Andy, who were starting their second week with us became an important part of our lodge life and it was such a pleasure to have them around. Dick (Richard) and Maurice, who we got to know here last year and who were such lovely chaps to spend time with, never too serious, always good for a laugh, and great fishermen to boot. Michael, joined us for his second week here and is always a wonderful person to have around the lodge. Roddy, who was here last two years ago, brought Kamal and Malcom along for their first time, who we quickly embraced into the family. And last but not least, Richard and his son Richard Jr., who mostly fished for steelhead and salmon before, but were looking to add a new favorite fish to their list.  Heading into the week, the water and weather conditions were very similar to last week’s. Fairly warm days caused the remaining snow in the mountains to melt, pushing the water level up in small increments. These small fluctuations of water level (~2 inches up and down), on top of the temperature changes, never allowed the river to settle and the fish seemed to be put down by these instabilities. Hence, the fish were fairly inactive during the first couple of days and the start of the week revealed itself as a seemingly tough one. Nonetheless, good numbers of smaller 4-9 lbs fish were around and some of them were playing […]

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Kau Tapen Lodge Week 9: Feb 29- March 6, 2020

Oh my, what an eventful week down here in Tierra del Fuego! This week featured ups-and-downs, good fishing and some tough sessions, and lots of hard work. Overall the week was highly rewarding, with delicious food, amazing sunsets, and new friendships forged on the banks of the Rio Grande. We welcomed a wonderful group of anglers this week: Andy and Sandy, who we already had the pleasure to host here last year and were much looking forward to having here for two weeks. Jeannie and Ray, a lovely couple enjoying their first ever spey casting experience, but were keen to learn and appreciative of instruction from our guides. Steffan, who had fished this river many times over the last 15 years, brought René, Tim, and Colin for their very first visit. Our good friend Jim, who’d already been with us the last week. And last but not least James, who has fished all over the world, but came here for a completely new and different experience. All quite lovely people, and a great bunch of characters to spend time with on the water. After last week’s great results, we were all looking forward to another cracking week – the river was in good shape and our anglers were keen to put in the work! The week started off with good conditions. However, fresh snow in the mountains, followed by warm weather during the days caused daily, sometimes hourly fluctuations in water level. The water stayed clear for the most part, but those small pushes washed down some debris and did affect the activity of the fish. Once stable, the fish settled down and were eager to play. Unlike last week when the winds howled day and night, this week was much more mellow and blessed us with calm evenings nearly […]

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Kau Tapen Lodge Week 8: Feb 22-28, 2020

This last week went by way too quickly! A family-like atmosphere with lots of dear friends that we have the pleasure of welcoming back year after year. Bill, Janet, Jake, and Rodney have been coming here for over a decade and have long become part of our family, way beyond “just” sea trout fishing. Tom and Ed, who have fished with us here last year and who we much looked forward to spending time with again. Jim, who has delighted us the past years with his presence and we are fortunate to host him for two weeks in a row – great angler and great fun to have around. Our friend Paddy, who we had the pleasure to get to know two years ago and who is always in for a good laugh on and off the river. Fred, who visited us in January and had some unfinished business to address with a few trout. Fred also brought along his friend Don who we warmly welcomed into our family. Paul joined us for the last stop of his summer tour through Argentina and Chile. Our new friends Paul and Don were new to spey casting, but just as expected, were able to pick it up quickly. While last week was dictated by inconsistent water levels and temperatures, this week was dominated by strong winds, blowing day and night. During our usual warm-up session on Saturday evening, Mother Nature gave us a little appetizer of what she had in store for us for the coming week, bringing down an apocalyptic storm front with gusts over 100 km/h. Every single day it would strongly blow – steady winds of 50-70 km/h with gusts up to over 90-100 km/h – hardly slowing down during most evenings. Although the fish are mostly not directly […]

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Kau Tapen Lodge Week 7: Feb 15-21, 2020

It’s amazing how time flies as we have already passed the mid-point of our 2020 season. Another great week was in the books, and we were looking forward to welcoming some old friends, like Kjell and Dave, who have been a part of our family for quite a few years now, and spending quality time on and off the river with them is always precious. Hubert and his son Jean-Hubert were also returners who we had the pleasure to welcome here for many, many years already and were happy to see again this year. But, it was great to welcome new members for their first time, like Charles and Brian from Canada, Pierre from France (who had fished our old sister Lodge “Toon Ken” years before), and Bud from Colorado. Neither Bud nor Brian had ever cast spey rods before, would later show us just how easy it can be to learn! A great group that promised great fun ahead on and off the water. While stable conditions blessed our fishing during the previous week, this week showed more severe fluctuations in weather and water once again. As our new guests arrived, the combination of strong winds and previous rain in the mountains started to stain the visibility in of the water. This created a tough day to get acquainted with a new technique like spey casting, as our conditions demanded heavier flies and sink tips. But, the crew managed surprisingly well, and the first good fish were being landed. Dave, for instance, had an amazing start into his week with a chunky 16 lb and another cracking 17 lb fish right off the bat in his first pool. Brian and Charles took the pressure off with a few nice fish out of the gate, as well! This hot-start was […]

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Kau Tapen Lodge Week 6: Feb 9-14, 2020

What a week! My hands are still shaking, and I am still trying to catch my breath. Such an eventful, fun, successful, and overall amazing week that none of us wanted to end. A full house with some good friends returning to visit us: Vini and Luke, who we got to know last year and immediately were adopted into the Kau Tapen family. Jim and Roger both of whom have been coming here for a number of years and every season we cannot wait to welcome them back. Graeme, who had been here a few years ago and was as prepared as could be – mentally and physically. We also had the pleasure of welcoming some new faces: Piggy and David, two good fishing friends who have fished this river before but never here at Kau Tapen with us, both are amazing fun, on and off the river, and were such a great addition to the group. Last but not least we have Charly, his brother Russel, and son Nick, along with their good friend Jorge, all of whom started the week as sea trout and spey casting rookies. The previous week’s fishing had been a bit difficult with variable weather and water conditions. Our fingers were crossed, and we were hoping for more consistent conditions this week. And so it was – the river settled, cleared up even more and dropped at a very, very slow pace. The consistent water conditions enabled the fish to settle in their pools and as soon as that happened, they became more active and miraculously “switched on” again. Slightly warmer water (14-16 °C), thanks to warmer days and mild nights caused the fish to be more surface oriented. All of these factors combined, made for some of the most amazing fishing we’ve had […]

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Kau Tapen Lodge Week 5: Feb 1-8, 2020

A strange, but very eventful week comes to its end. As we began our fifth week of the season, we were all expecting very consistent weather and water conditions. Especially with the amount of fish now already in the system, these weeks are usually very predictable and consistent. While the river was in absolutely great shape as we headed into the week, constantly changing water level, wind direction, light condition, and barometric pressure, ultimately affected the activity of the fish and made the fishing quite challenging on some days, however. Luckily, we were welcoming a fairly intimate group of “only” six this week, including some experienced Río Grande anglers such as Gerald and Irwin. Dave, another of our anglers this week, was a keen spey caster who could efficiently cover the water from the first day on. But even our new friends Michael, Jarod, and Tom, all picking up the spey rod for the first time, had a good understanding of what the fly is supposed to do in the water, listened carefully to their guide’s advice, and picked up the methods we use here very quickly.  As we started the fishing week, the river was just starting to drop and clear after it had come up on Thursday night. Heavier tips and more visible, water-pushing flies were the trick of the trade. However, it was merely a push of water that would drop back to almost zero within just a day. A severe thunderstorm with hail, heavy rain, and lightning bolts crashed down onto the pampa as it passed us on Monday afternoon. It only took these few hours of downpouring rain to push the water level back up about 10 inches (25 cm) overnight, leaving us with only a few inches of visibility in the water the next […]

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Kau Tapen Lodge Week 4: Jan 25-31, 2020

Here we go again! Another amazing week was upon us and we could not be more excited. Promising water conditions together with a full group of very capable anglers, most of them here for their very first time: Brian and Kevin (UK), Keith and Laurence (UK), Claude (CAN) and Jon (USA), Teresa and Martin (ARG), as well as Marina Gibson and her mother Joanna (UK), together with Stephan (GER) who came by to take photos along the week. While only Martin, Teresa, and Stephan had been here in recent years, all group members had experience with 2-hand rods in one way or another. What a great group, we had lots of interesting and bright conversations during the first “tapas night” that would promise a week full of fun ahead, no matter what the fishing might bring. The water conditions looked great. Although the river had been dropping constantly during the previous week, it still had a comfortable water level that allowed us to swing every pool from top to bottom. The pools were filling up with fresh fish day-by-day and when conditions aligned, some exceptional fishing would await us. While some days were blessed with those perfect conditions, on some others the fishing was troubled by harsh winds with gusts up to 100 km/h out of all kinds of directions, making it hard to even stand on some occasions. The very first session started rather slow for most. Strong winds did not make it easy to find a rhythm and get the casting sorted at first. However, that did not keep Kevin from getting a head-start, landing four beautiful fish in his first session, including a cracking 17 lbs chromer. But it wasn’t long until everyone else caught on in the evening and by the end of the day, everyone […]

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Kau Tapen Lodge Week 3: Jan 18-24, 2020

Another fantastic week comes to an end!  We were happy to welcome another great bunch of anglers in our realm of giant sea trout, good wine, endless skies, and hearty cuisine, to battle the elements at the end of the world and chase dreams in the troubled waters of the Río Grande. Cheryll and Peter, old friends who have been fishing with us for over a decade; Jim and Robert, who we had the pleasure to get to know here last year and have been truly embraced into our Kau Tapen family. JR and Spain, two friends and very keen fishermen for their first time down here in Tierra del Fuego; and finally, Juanjo’s friend Eduardo from Argentina. An intimate group of “only” seven guests that gave us all a bit more space to roam freely around our beats, to rest some pools in between, and of course get to know everyone a bit better and refresh old friendships. The water conditions were not easy, for the first time this season, the water dropped rapidly – approx. 4 inches along the week – and stayed crystal clear. Although we had reached a normal water level now (+/- 0cm), if the wind dropped, one had wade really carefully and cast as quietly as possible. Luckily, the fish that had entered the river with the big tide early last week and were filling up our beats now and you could feel that more fish were around. Even though the river conditions were not easy, for the first time this season we were getting the feeling of consistency. The fishing was far less patchy than in previous weeks, and the usual “hotspots” would start to produce more takes. Due to some rather warm days with chilly nights in between, the water temperature fluctuated […]

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Kau Tapen Lodge Week 2: Jan 11-17, 2020

One great week was in the books and we were all very happy with the start of the season, despite of its rather late nature this year. While we had to say “good-bye” to our first week’s amazing bunch of, we were keen on meeting our new guests for this coming week: A fairly small group would await us, which is always refreshing, because you get to spend more time with each guest and it feels like you really get to know each group member along the week. Brian and Christina, a lovely couple out of Chicago, both who never spey-casted before (and a fishing debut for Christina!). Fred and Chuck, two old friends who have known each other since medical school and stayed life-long fishing friends. Alex and Pat, both keen fishermen and simply overall “good-time havers”. And last but not least Santi from Nervous Waters, who joined us mid-week for a couple of good fishing days. Except for Santi, all members of this week’s group were Kau Tapen first-timers and just as they were keen to experience our pristine sea trout waters, we were much looking forwards to invite them into our world here at Kau Tapen.  The water conditions did not change much from last week: The visibility remained clear and the water level at a stable + 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) above normal. The weather however did not, almost every day we experienced severe changes. If it was sunny in the morning, it could be hail-storming in the afternoon, if it was quite the first few hours, it might blow 75 km/h a couple of hours later. Strong rains on Monday night and Tuesday caused a minor rise in the Rio Grande, but pushed the Río Menéndez up a foot, rendering it dirty and unfishable for almost […]

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2020 Fishing Reports

Fishing Reports by Year