Kau Tapen Lodge – Week 6: February 4th to 11th, 2023

By Max Kantor - Kau Tapen Lodge Fishing Guide

This week we welcomed guests from the USA, the UK, and Austria. As usual, it was a mix of old and new friends with varying experiences with anadromous fish and spey casting. Although everyone arrived to see a low river, heavy rain in the mountains and on the Rio Grande during the first day caused an immediate bump that we looked to with anticipation. 

Along with the rise, we got a taste of the upper end of what the wind can do in Tierra del Fuego for the first session. Gusts surpassed 115 kph and the wind blew steady at around 100 kph. This is right on the edge of what is considered fishable and for those willing to brave the tough conditions, guides chose pools where this wind could be considered favorable or in this case, fishable. One effect of heavy wind is it often leads to dirty water, stirring up the mud and clay banks, but with slight adjustments to sink tips and flies- all anglers were in the game. That afternoon the wind dropped slightly, and catches improved for all. 

The next morning, after the water had cleared, the rise was noticeable throughout our pools, as the water had come up a couple of inches or about 6 cm. However, the gauge for the headwaters showed a sharp drop once again. It seemed as if we just received a short burst of water to rejuvenate the Grande system and time on the water would tell if it was enough to improve the fishing. 

After the sharp rise and drop before conditions had stabilized, it seemed as if there was no clear winning pattern for success. On multiple occasions, guides returned with accounts of numbers such as “four fish per session using four different flies at varying depths.” With hard work from the guide team, we were able to search out likely taking fish and systematically work throughout our beats. Only eight rods at the lodge meant a couple of open beats, so there were reserve pools as well if needed to add to the guest’s day. 

The overall size of the fish this week increased with an average weight above 10 pounds. Once again, well over 100 were hooked and while a few were lost, the catch per rod was as good as we have seen all season. There were good numbers of fish landed in the upper teens, including a 17-pounder for Brian, an 18-pounder for George, an 18-pounder for Gerald, and back-to-back 18 and 19-pounders for Tony. There were many in the mid-teens land as well.

Following the rise, the river has once again dropped to its previous level. It was great to get a push of water into the Grande and Menendez to reinvigorate our waters. While it was not significant enough to last through the week, any influx of water is much appreciated. As conditions stabilized with the low water, however, the fishing definitely improved in the last days of the week, aided by cold overnight temperatures. We are still waiting for a big rise that could happen at any point in the next few weeks. There is rain in the mountains and headwaters at the moment, but any changes to the water level are to be determined. 

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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