Kau Tapen Lodge – Week 13: March 25th to April 1st, 2023

By Max Kantor - Kau Tapen Lodge Fishing Guide

This week at Kau Tapen, we welcomed a truly international group from the USA, the UK, New Caledonia, and Argentina. Once again, almost all were returning veterans to the Rio Grande and had high expectations after the previous week’s fishing. Fall has arrived here in Tierra del Fuego, and the large sea trout that have spent time in the river have been on the take, although there are still fresh fish pushing into the river system. Overall, fishing proved to be very solid, with sporadic activity on some days and plenty of taking fish on others, as fish adapted to a bout of cold weather. 

Luckily, the strong winds of the previous week came to a halt, and more normal fall conditions were observed throughout the week. A little wind in the middle of the day, all from the prevailing west, made for pleasant casting and fishing for our guests. Air temperatures dropped well below freezing, and this had a great effect on the water as well. We started and finished on a warmer note, and with this, there was more consistent fishing. Mid-week, air temperatures hovered at -4°C late into the morning, and ice even took over the non-flowing edges of the river. Yet, the fish are there, and we managed to hook and land them in the water at around 2°C (35°F). This cold water was observed in both the Grande and Menendez rivers, and cold-water fishing tactics, similar to those used for winter steelhead or early spring Atlantic salmon, were necessary to hook fish. 

The river level continued to drop after the rise from two weeks ago. We had heavy rain on Monday that left a significant amount of snow in the mountains, but any rise from this was negligible with the cold. Menendez started at an off-green color but moved to low and clear by the week’s end. Even still, it was only a matter of finding the right pockets, and there were some significant fish to be found. The same could be said for runs in the Grande, as despite fluctuating temperatures and the coldest weather we have experienced this season, fishing remained very strong. 

In terms of numbers, it was our most prolific week of the season, with well over 200 fish hooked, and a significant portion of these landed. The average weight was right on track historically, around 8 lbs, influenced by a run of fresh one-sea-winter fish among the larger ones present in the river. These sea trout are the future of the fishery, as they are repeat spawners, and it is great to see a healthy population of all sizes returning to both rivers. Once again, every guest managed a great fish over the 15 lb mark, and there were a few in the 20 lb range as well. Both Robert and Joe had amazing males of 24 lbs, and Rob managed a few at 20 lbs as well- a spectacular effort! 

The season is coming to a close here at Kau Tapen with only one week of fishing remaining. With our beats on the Menendez and Grande holding healthy numbers of fish, we are excited for a strong end to the season and are looking forward to seeing our guests again in the future. For current updates, be sure to follow our social media accounts (@kautapenlodge and @nervouswaters). For any questions regarding our preferred tackle setups and techniques, information about the river, or if you’d like to come join us, please visit our website! We wish you all the best and hope to see you on the water!

Tight Lines from the Kau Tapen Guide Team

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