By MATT HARRIS Itati, a humble farming village on Argentina’s remote northern border seems an unlikely spot to find a spectac..
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 his trip with a beautiful 23-pounder.
Largest fish of the week: 23 lbs.
Fish over 15 lbs: 29
Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager