Kau Tapen Lodge – Week 12: March 18th to 25th, 2023
By Max Kantor – Kau Tapen Lodge Fishing Guide This week at Kau Tapen, we welcomed guests from the USA, the UK, and Urugua..
This week we welcomed a full lodge of guests from the USA and the UK to Kau Tapen. While there were a few repeating guests, we have had the pleasure to share our water with many new faces this year. As an introduction to anadromous fish and two-handed fly casting, the Rio Grande is a fantastic place with a learning curve that does take a few days to get acquainted with. Practice your casting from either side, keep the fly in the water, and the results will show in dividends.
We began the week with low water once again, followed by a significant cold weather system that lasted for a few days. First, wind from the south brought much colder air temperatures than we are used to in February and that caused the temperature of the water to plummet. A few mornings showed water readings of only 5-7 degrees Celsius (41-44 degrees F). Lower temperatures paired with low and clear water is a difficult combination and guides worked diligently to find the right combinations of holding areas and tackle setups to hook fish. Air temperatures in the evening dropped as far as -1 C (30 F) for the first part of the week.
Thursday, there was a complete shift and winds moved from the north, bringing back a normal climate for this time of the year. On Friday, once all stabilized, winds resumed from the west and fishing drastically improved. West is our prevailing wind, as the river flows from west to east, and that means that in the majority of the pools, it is at the back of the angler. There are places throughout our waters that fish well from other directions, but the old saying “wind from the west, fishing is best,” is certainly present here.
This time of year is when the larger males start to wake up and become more aggressive about taking a fly and this came into fashion in a big way in the final part of the week. Even our new anglers began to hook fish in the trophy category of over 20 pounds, but it takes a certain experience to land these fish. Firstly, they are not salmon, and fighting them as such will only end in a fish story. They love to take advantage of the river’s many grass and clay bits of structure and one must keep tension at the right angles to have a chance. Listen to your guide and it just might be the fish of your lifetime. Overall, four fish were landed over that magic +20 mark, including 2 fish of 20 and 20.5 lbs for Eric, a 20lber for Mark, and a 21lber for Graeme.
Many fish to be mentioned in the high teens were landed for James, Chip, and Fred as well. It has been a fantastic year so far for Rio Grande’s sea trout with many healthy specimens and we are excited to see what the river has in store for the weeks to come. It has been a season of adapting to the whims of the weather and water, but the Rio Grande has rewarded the patient and persistent angler many times over. This week may have started on a tough note, but once all conditions stabilized and our anglers became more acquainted with two-handed casting, it turned into the most successful week so far for the season in terms of both quantity and quality.
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,