Kau Tapen Lodge – Week 9: February 25th to March 4th, 2023

By Max Kantor - Kau Tapen Lodge Fishing Guide

This week we were excited to welcome a group of all returning guests from the USA and Australia. Some guests were on their second or third visit in the past few years, but a few were veterans of almost 20 trips to chase sea-run brown trout. All are accomplished anglers and despite the whirlwind of conditions that followed through the week, managed to have a fantastic time and land some memorable fish.

Conditions on the Rio Grande were extremely low and clear for the first two days. The first morning was probably the nicest the air and wind would get for the remainder of the week, as wind speeds kicked up first from the North and then the West to gusts well over 100 kph. While it did drop at times, this wind often continued well into the evening and after we returned from the river. It was relentless until the last evening when it showed no signs of slowing down. It was steady around 70-80 kph throughout the week with the gusts described above. Air temperatures started on the cold side, and became very cold mid-week, below 0 C (32 F) at times. 

On Monday there was a rise in the Menendez that started to bring down some debris, but in the very lowest section, it was fishable for some time. A few fish were caught adjusting to the rising dirty water there along with similar results in the drastically different Grande. The two rivers, however, would not stay different for long, as we found a blown-out Grande when we awoke on Tuesday. Visibility was less than 10cm (4-5 in) but there was not too much debris floating down. The Menendez continued to rise but was plagued with lots of floating algae, feathers, and other snags for the fly.

Wednesday, on the upper section of the Grande, the river began to clear to knee-deep visibility and dirty water tactics were needed to hook fish. We were surprised to see a fairly productive morning after the blowout the previous day, but that goes to show how quickly the river can recover from near un-fishable conditions. For the next two days, the river started to drop but the water temperature remained cold. We measured it around 5 C in the morning (41 F) and it rose to around 9 C (48 F) throughout the day.  

On the final day, Menendez began to clear a bit along with the Grande from the previous days and we got to enjoy the most productive day of the week on both rivers. For one final drastic change to the conditions, the uppermost beats of the Grande got a huge influx of water in the last hours of the last session. With a stick to gauge height placed on the bank, the river moved up over 8 inches (20 cm) and over five meters of the bank in the last few hours. 

We had it all this week- cold, wind, low water, rising water, and dirty water. Yet, there are still some memorable catches to mention made possible by a diligent group of anglers and our guide team. First, the fish of the week was for Anne, who landed a personal best 21-pound male sea trout after a harrowing battle. Jake landed a 20-pounder as well on the final day and several fish were pushing the 15-pound mark for Ian, Bill, and Janet. Well done to all in these tough conditions!

Once again, we just received a new flush of water and it remains to be seen how this will affect the river in the coming days. Around this time last year the major rise for the Grande was about the same time and the fishing that followed was no less than spectacular. All that can be done now is adjust to the conditions and keep the flies in the water. 

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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