Another eventful week unfolds at Villa Maria Lodge, with plenty to recount! The week commenced with a balmy 28 degrees and calm..
Kau Tapen Lodge – Week 5: January 28th to February 4th, 2023
By Max Kantor - Kau Tapen Lodge Fishing Guide
We were excited to welcome guests from the USA, the UK, and Ireland to Kau Tapen this week. It was a great mix of familiar faces and those visiting the Rio Grande for the first time. Whether a first-time spey caster or a lifelong anadromous fish angler, Kau Tapen is a truly special place as any cast has the possibility for the fish of a lifetime. In the past weeks we have been privileged in putting a few of these in the net and watching them swim away, which overall is one of the most rewarding experiences fly fishing has to offer.
Weather and fishing conditions for the week continued to get more difficult, as the rain from last week was almost negligible in its effect on the river. Fishing was steady for the few days following this, but a significant push of fresh water is needed to invigorate our system of both the Grande and Menendez. That is not to say that fresh fish are not arriving, but both rivers are in need of water. Once again, low water tactics were employed by the guide team, fishing light, long, and stealthy in all prime lies.
The wind was steady throughout the week, picking up briefly the last few days but remaining from either the prevailing West or Northwest. What made this week more difficult to fish than the last was the temperature. Mid-week, daytime temperatures reached over 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit), and water temperatures ranging between 11 and 18 degrees throughout the week. Low water is more susceptible to change simply because there is less of it. Once 16 degrees or over, sea trout fishing becomes difficult as it is harder to induce a take. Steady is always best, but a rise in air pressure can do wonders for the fishing as well. The magic spot regarding temperature seemed to be right around 13 degrees this week, but providing that it is not too hot, the best thing to do is keep the flies in the water, as a fish that is happy to take a fly will often do so.
The first success to be mentioned is that despite the difficult conditions, everyone hooked up and landed sea trout, and for many, it was their first. A first anadromous fish of any type, whether a salmon, steelhead, or sea trout is no small feat in fly fishing and is usually the cause of a lifelong obsession. Overall, we hooked well over 100 fish for the week, showing that perseverance does indeed pay off, coupled with the guide team’s tireless efforts to keep guests on fish and fishing in an effective way.
Once again, we have continued to see some quality fish both in our upstream and downstream beats. Clemens landed the fish of his life on his first visit to the Rio Grande- a 24-pound male that alternated between scorching runs and a series of half-body jumps before it could be netted. It has been amazing to see fish in this condition for the last few weeks. There was also a pair of 19-pounders landed for Chris and Mark and plenty of fish in the mid-teens meaning many “largest sea trout of one’s life.”
Looking forward, there is rain in the forecast in the mountains and further down in our area, but it remains to be seen what effect this will have on the river. For the water level, there is a good concentration of fish spread throughout our water, but this coupled with the spring tides at the moment could change the condition of the river on a dime. 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,