Kau Tapen Lodge – Week 11: March 11th to 18th, 2023

By Max Kantor - Kau Tapen Lodge Fishing Guide

This week at Kau Tapen we welcomed guests from the USA, Iceland, and Argentina. After a strong previous week, we were excited to see what the river had in store for this large multinational group of friends. Immediately after the warmup session, guests returned with tales of fish landed and lost, as the great late season fishing we see in the middle part of the river and the Menendez was in full effect. 

Following the significant water level rise two weeks ago, the Rio Grande remained at a solid flow. Up until Wednesday evening, guests enjoyed a stable main river and consistent fishing all around. Then the Rio Grande rose rapidly and all anglers flocked to the Menendez, which proved to be equally as challenging. The final part of the week brought more water to both rivers,  making Thursday quite difficult although there are taking spots in less visibility than one is used to if we can find fish in a happy mood. The Rasmussen river tributary just above our section of the Grande is responsible for bringing lots of mud and debris when it rises, though it does not take long to clear. On Friday – once again on a dropping river – fishing improved to its previous level and we finished the week on a strong note. 

Air temperatures were warmer on average than the previous week, ranging from 4 to 12 degrees C (39 to 54 F) and winds remained normal for March. Usually, this means the day begins very calm with increasing wind throughout the afternoon, and finishes calm again in the evening. A few days saw strong winds in the middle of the day up to 80 or 90 kph, but these did not persist, making for great conditions overall. 

Fishing was among the best we have seen so far this season thanks to the stability of the water and weather, so this group got to enjoy the best both our rivers have to offer. Once again, the average weight was well over 10 lbs and there are a number of fish to mention. For the first time this year, all guests landed fish over 15 lbs, including some really special catches that qualify as fish of a lifetime. Three fish passed the magic 20lb mark including Jon’s 21.5 lber, JJ’s 20.5 lber, and Tom’s 26 lb Menendez behemoth. After the main river became unfishable with debris on Wednesday afternoon, we moved to Menendez and landed this very special fish. It just goes to show that if one keeps the fly in the water – anything can happen!

This fish is a testament to the versatility of the program at Kau Tapen, as we have the opportunity to fish both the main river and the Menendez tributary. In the final part of the season, some of our best fishing can be found in the smaller river and after the last two years, the addition of many new roads has opened the possibility of fishing the entire lower river. Our guides love to spend time here when water conditions allow, and every pool seems to have at least one large fish (20+ pounds) or more. The same fish that can be found in the Grande are in the Menendez, and the fight is just spectacular in the smaller river. Give it a try on your visit –  it is a core part of the Kau Tapen experience! 

We regularly check hydrographs of the upper river in Chile along with the Rasmussen tributary. Friday afternoon, these showed a spike that indicates another push of water. While it takes around a day and a half to two days to reach the Rio Grande in Kau Tapen’s waters, we are expecting another rise sometime early in the next fishing week. Time will tell how this affects the river, but at the moment we are in the midst of a solid end to the season. Fish are well dispersed throughout the pools and if one can brave the elements and cast straight with the wind, chances are high for connecting regularly with fish.

For current updates, be sure to follow our social media accounts (@kautapen and @nervouswaters). For any questions regarding our preferred tackle setups, information about the river, or our preferred fishing techniques, please visit our website for a thorough list of information. We wish you all the best and hope to see you soon on the water!

Tight Lines from the Kau Tapen Guide Team

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