Another week is in the books and the fishing has been a rollercoaster ride indeed. While conditions were almost perfect and stable during the previous week, this week has provided us – once again – with a lot of weather changes.
For over two decades now, client and dear friend Jon has been coming to Kau Tapen Lodge now and this week once again being a great joy to all of us here. Alongside with him his friends Jeremy, Jeffrey, Chris and Hubert with son Jean-Hubert, some who we had the pleasure to host before, some who would spend their first week with us. To complete this week’s group, we were happy to welcome Alexey and Sonia from Russia for their debut here at our Lodge.
For some strange reason, the first day of each week has always been a tough one, and that should be the case this week as well. Proper Patagonian winds of up to 65 km/h made it tough to acquire any kind of casting rhythm or get a feeling for the double handed rod. Especially a rough start for our speycasting beginners. On top of the winds, warm temperature and sun did not help the fishing either. Towards the evening, the wind died down though and the later hours brought the first nice fish of the week, including a perfect 18-pound fish for Jon!
But whoever though the wind would not get stronger got proven wrong on day two. With gusts up to 80-90 km/h, all of us had a hard time standing straight in the river, not to speak about bringing the fly across in a proper angle. While the wind died down again towards the night, the fishing picked up significantly at dusk and besides a buff 17 lbs fish for Jean, we were able to add a few more double digit fish to the catchbook after the session.
After two tough days, fishing finally picked up on Tuesday. Cold nights had cooled down the water, the wind was back to normal (strong, but not too gusty) and a slight overcast made for a promising day. After no fish for Jeremy up to this point, all of us were even happier, when he ended the day with a 14 and a 17-pounder landed out of the Rio Menendez.
With every day that passes now, it seems like the Rio Menendez is getting more and more productive. A lot of the time during the past two weeks, the smaller Tributary of the Rio Grande was rather a desired beat to go to than a back-up plan for “just in case”. The smaller, more condensed pools are quick to cover and most of the pools in the lower section consistently hold fish now.
While Alexey and Sonia decided to do a Heli round-trip to Ushuaia to do some sight-seeing on Wednesday, that day would provide us with perfect conditions and the most prolific fishing for the entire week. Already early in the morning session, everybody had connected to and landed fish. Cloudy with a light rain drizzle here and there, a little wind and water temperatures around 12 °C – only fishermen could get excited about weathers like this and all of us surely did. Next to a whole bunch of fish between 10- and 16-pound, Jon would end his day with an 18-pounder, Jeff with a cracking 19-pounder and Jeremy with two splendid fresh fish, one 17- and 18-pounders, amongst others. Jeremy would recall this as one of his best fishing days so far and it made us happy to be at his side on this fantastic day.
Wednesday was followed by a really warm night and on Thursday, air temperatures would sky-rocket to up to 23 °C. With a lot of sun that would warm up the water from 12 to 16°C, fishing was extremely tough on that day. Even the evening hours did not turn the game around. Sudden changes in conditions (especially water temperatures) always seem to trouble the fishing and although the water temperature did not go down towards Friday, we ended the week on a pretty good note, landing fish on all rods. Amongst these, two splendid 16-pounders for Hubert and Alexey.
Throughout the week, the river had continued to slowly drop. The rain on Wednesday had no noticeable effect on the water level. With these kinds of conditions (low and clear water), our focus shifted more and more towards fishing small EMBs, smaller nymphs (e.g. Copper John or Prince Nymph) and smaller green machines on lighter tips (mostly S3). Towards the dusk hours, bigger rubberleg pattern (Yuck Bug, Girdle Bug), as well as Sunrays and Leeches produced great results. Although the good flow in most pools will still enable us to fish sink tips up to 6-8 inch/s, the water conditions allow us to fish even more delicate tips or even floating lines now.
It is good to see fish moving – jumping, rolling and splashing – in almost every pool now and all of us here are even more excited for the weeks to come.
~ Paulo Hoffmann, Kau Tapen Fishing Guide