Fishing Reports

Villa María Lodge : Week 2 – January 10 – January 16th, 2020

We just finished our second week at Villa Maria Lodge. Once again, the week was dominated by challenging weather, strong storms, and changing river conditions. Our opening week concluded with heavy rains along the Rio Grande’s valley, all the way up to the Andes. This resulted in higher water levels and murky visibility. The low visibility seriously affected our first couple of sessions, and as a result, they were slow and difficult. The river began to show improving conditions during the second fishing day and the catch-rate started to pick up. The weather was still a challenge during the week, with some daily showers that turned into some serious rain as the week went on. But, our anglers stayed on the river and gave it their all!  As the heavy rains subsided, the river level raised 20 cm and the visibility dropped to unfishable levels, mainly due to high levels of runoff entering the river via the Ona and Menendez Rivers.  I would like to thank all of the Kau Tapen crew and guides who received us and let us fish part of their water so Villa Maria guests didn’t lose a fishing session even with the complicated conditions. With regards to the fishing, the tackle we used was the same as the opening week. Rods between 13 to 14ft were the best choice matched with intermediate Skagit heads. The sink tips of choice were around 10 to 12 ft and with fast sink rates like the T-14 or even the T-18. Again, the selection of flies varied greatly, depending on the pool and the angler.  Didrik caught several fish up to 18 pounds using small rubber legs, while Mark had most of his success on leeches. Speaking of Mark, he starred in one of the highlights of the week breaking his all-time personal record twice in the […]

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Kau Tapen Lodge – Report Week 2: January 11-17, 2020

One great week was in the books and we were all very happy with the start of the season, despite of its rather late nature this year. While we had to say “good-bye” to our first week’s amazing bunch of, we were keen on meeting our new guests for this coming week: A fairly small group would await us, which is always refreshing, because you get to spend more time with each guest and it feels like you really get to know each group member along the week. Brian and Christina, a lovely couple out of Chicago, both who never spey-casted before (and a fishing debut for Christina!). Fred and Chuck, two old friends who have known each other since medical school and stayed life-long fishing friends. Alex and Pat, both keen fishermen and simply overall “good-time havers”. And last but not least Santi from Nervous Waters, who joined us mid-week for a couple of good fishing days. Except for Santi, all members of this week’s group were Kau Tapen first-timers and just as they were keen to experience our pristine sea trout waters, we were much looking forwards to invite them into our world here at Kau Tapen.  The water conditions did not change much from last week: The visibility remained clear and the water level at a stable + 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) above normal. The weather however did not, almost every day we experienced severe changes. If it was sunny in the morning, it could be hail-storming in the afternoon, if it was quite the first few hours, it might blow 75 km/h a couple of hours later. Strong rains on Monday night and Tuesday caused a minor rise in the Rio Grande, but pushed the Río Menéndez up a foot, rendering it dirty and unfishable for almost […]

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Villa Maria Lodge: Week 1 – January 3-9, 2020

We are back for a new season at Villa Maria Lodge! We just finished up our opening week and it was really exciting for several reasons. The river conditions we encountered in the River were phenomenal. The water level is the highest we have seen since 2014. This is a great thing to see after several years of really low levels and a drought during most of the 2019 season.  The river looked beautiful! Its level was low enough to cross the river – in selected places – to fish. Fishing-wise, that means the pools were long and have consistent flow throughout them. The water was slightly colored and murky but was perfectly fishable even with small flies.  For these conditions, we chose to go with heavier than usual setups. Rods between 13-14 ft were the best choice, even though in some places we used slightly shorter ones. My personal choice was a Loop 7x 13’2” #8. Selecting a line and sink tip is more complicated than ever due to the endless combinations available nowadays in fly shops and online.  Due to the conditions and that the fast-flowing pools, the best move was to fish partly sinking Skagit heads. A good example of those is the Rio Game Changer which comes in a combination of F/H/Intermediate sink rate through the head of the line, which makes it a really handy option if you need to fish deeper and slow down the drift of the fly.  The sink-tips of choice were around 10 to 12 ft and with fast sink-rates like the T14 or even T18. The selection of flies was vastly eclectic and the final fly decisions were made specifically according to which pool we were fishing and the time of day. For example, one morning our group was fishing […]

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Pirá Lodge – Start of the season, 2020

The start of our 2020 season has kicked off with great water conditions, both in terms of water level and temperature. All of the channels are in great fishing shape, allowing the dorado to take full advantage and spread out in the marsh. The water temperature is at the perfect level for dorado to get active and aggressively feed.  Throughout the Ibera Marsh and the main river, we’ve seen an amazing population of dorado move in. In the upstream reaches of the marsh our resident dorado with their classic dark colors and picture-perfect shape, have been active, happily taking streamers and mouse patterns.  During the off-season, our guides explored new sections of the marsh and struck gold! Finding some large resident dorado who have never seen a fly.  Our anglers had phenomenal success fishing streamers on floating and sinking lines, along with several beautiful fish taken on skated mouse flies. Mouse flies usually elicit one of two reactions from Dorado, either they explode from the surface on the take, or they will sip the mouse like a trout slowly taking it below the surface. One guest, Sean M., experienced the latter, with a take so delicate he and his guide had no idea he had a 12-pound dorado on the line until they landed the fish. Another beautiful 15-pound fish was caught by Lech O, using a sinking line to swing streamers in the headwaters of the Corriente River.   The season is off to a great start with consistent fish action throughout our opening days.  Aside from the fishing action, the natural wonder of the Ibera Marsh is in full bloom. Capybaras and caiman line the channel banks. We’ve spotted Marsh Deer in some places, and hundreds of birds species are singing and chattering in the trees and reeds. The […]

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Kau Tapen Lodge – Report Week 1: Opening Week January 4-10, 2020

The opening week of this season. Needless to say, we were all pretty excited to get the ball rolling, welcome our first week’s guests, and kickstart our fishing year 2020! We could not have asked for a better bunch of anglers for this first week, an amazingly homogenous group, a lot of familiar faces, as well as some new members to the Kau Tapen family: Timo and Iver, our long-time friends together with their buddies Lars and Ian; Mike who has been with us for the past three years brought his good fishing friends Jim and Woody along, who we dearly got to know and hope to be welcoming soon again. And last but not least David, also here for his third time together with his mate Peter, who unfortunately could only get a taste of this place, staying just 2,5 days. All in all, we had five nationalities gathered around our dinner table, but the common language everyone spoke was “fishing”. Starting into this week, the water conditions were near to perfect. A comfortable water level of +10 cm rendered almost every pool fishable from top to bottom and temperatures stayed stable between 10-13 °C (50-55 °F) along the week. Although the wind would come from all imaginable directions over the course of the week, it blew rather mellow, allowing us to efficiently cover most of our pools. While the water and weather conditions were on our side, it was still a hit-and-miss kind of fishery in some beats that did not follow a clear pattern, yet. With this season being rather late, it seemed that the bigger fresh fish were just starting to enter the freshwater in the estuary in the beginning of the week and although it is fair to say that all pools are already holding fish, […]

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Kau Tapen River Diary – Start of the 2020 season – Guide’s week: Dec 27, 2019 -Jan 3, 2020

The very first week of the season, the first opportunity for all of our Guides to see the water for the first time before our opening group with guests. This year, we’re excited to welcome a few new faces to the team, Lucas and Juanjo both from Argentina, and Eugene who will arrive here a few weeks later. Hernan, Paulo and Nick remained part of the team from previous years. Guides week is not only a chance for all the new Guides to learn their ways around the river, get to know every pool and the way we approach them, similarly this time is needed to see how much certain pools change, how they fish and if holding areas have shifted. Hence, regardless of the years spend in this place, it helps all of us massively to start into the new season with confidence.  The overall conditions were great. The weather was stable while bright and overcast days took turns. Mild climate kept the water temperature at good 12-16 °C and the also the water level remained fairly stable, only dropping at a very low pace. A newly installed watermark will help us track changes in water level much easier from now on. Starting into our first week with guests, we are having a comfortable 10 cm above what we’ve established as “zero” or “normal”.  While our 2019 season was a very early one with plenty of fish in the system already by the end of December, the 2020 season seems to be slightly delayed, and the main run of fish has yet to arrive with the next full moon. The river is in great shape, however, and fresh fish will have no problem running into our beats once they have entered the river. The clear water in combination with […]

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Suindá Lodge – Start of the season 2020

Our 2020 season has kicked off with some truly remarkable catches! Despite lower water levels, the fishing action has been hot at Suinda Lodge with several large Golden Dorado landed in our first sessions. Focusing on structure in the Parana has paid off for our anglers with most dorado being found hunting around submerged logs and rocks, along with several hooked while wading the sandbars. So far, the largest fish of the season was a female weighing in at 28 pounds, hooked while fishing lures over submerged rocks. Depending on the water we are fishing, we utilize different techniques to get the fly in the strike zone. Floating and sinking lines have both been effective, depending on the water’s depth and flow. Andino Deceiver style patterns are always on the menu here. Lighter weighted Andinos being most effective around the logs and sandbars when the dorado are sitting closer to the surface in the water column. As a result of the unseasonably lower water levels, longer leaders and delicate presentations have been the key. Pacu and Pira-Pita have been difficult to find lately. But as soon as the fruit begins to fall from the heavily laden branches, Pacu and Pira-Pita will be back at home beneath their favorite trees, looking up and waiting for a fly. However, several Pira-Pita have been hooked on mouse flies recently and we’re looking forward to their increased activity as the season continues. Fabian Anastasio – Suindá Head Guide

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Villa Maria Lodge – End of Season 2019

Another season has come and gone on the Rio Grande and as usual, the river taught us many lessons. The main theme of this season was the drought over the island – which in fact affected all of Patagonia.  By the end of December we saw the last rains of the summer and they restarted by mid march. This two and a half month period with almost no rain lead to very low river conditions. Probably the lowest I have seen it in 15 years. Those long,deep, and classic Villa Maria pools, like Barranca de Alen or Moneta, were moving very slowly. Low water conditions also leads to a rise in the water temperatures during the warmest hours of the day in summer, turning the fish torpid during these periods. Sub Antarctic fish, don’t really enjoy sub tropical temperatures! This mix of less-than-ideal conditions, forced us to pick very carefully the way and time we were going to fish every pool. The wind, sunlight, time of the day, cloud cover, water speed and angler skills and/or limitations are always things we have to have in mind, and mix them properly, to have a successful day. And trial and error is also part of the process But considering all this, the fishing was very satisfactory and steady along the season. Perhaps was not a year of big numbers but the big fish were around and we were able to catch them along the whole day, not just in the last light of the evening. The river delivered in a perfect manner and everybody enjoyed their fishing time in Rio Grande getting their glimpse at the trophy sea trout that can’t be found anywhere else in the planet. In fact, despite the river’s super low water level, we caught double the number of 20+lbs fish compared to the 2018 season. As tackle goes, low water conditions pushed us to use lighter tackle than usual for this lower stretch of the river. Shorter and not so heavy sink tips were a […]

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Kau Tapen River Diary – Week 12: March 23-30, 2019

The second last week of the season is over and we had a full house! Some old friends came to visit us again: Roberto and Fran, as well as Martin and Theresa, all four from Argentina, and who have been coming here for many years now. Tom and Colman, who’s first time it was were keen fishermen and excited for a completely new fishing experience. Richard, who had fished the Rio Grande before, brought his good friend Gordon. Just as last year, the guys from Fly Fishing Nation hosted part of the week with Alex bringing along Daniel, both who were with the same week last year, as well as Fabrizio and Patrick, who were in for a great first Argentinian experience. Last but not least Toni, who came to follow this week’s anglers with his camera, conserving all these amazing experiences and images in motion pictures! After this exact week last year had been a complete blast, we were all looking forward to another great late season week! Last week’s push of water had already dropped to a large extend. However, the water was still colored and the visibility stayed knee- to thigh-deep all week – a dark tee. In my opinion the best color of water, that gives the fish enough clarity to fish smaller rubberleg nymphs/bugs, but at the same time is murky enough to fish a larger streamers or leeches with good confidence as well. Despite those very promising conditions, the first day started slowly, with only few fish landed during the first morning session. Everybody had to get used to the new environment and get warmed up with the casting. But already the evening brought some proper fish, amongst them a chunky 18 pounder for Gordon to take the pressure off of him. The fishing […]

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Kau Tapen River Diary – Week 13: March 30 – April 6, 2019

The season comes to an end and the timing could not have been more perfect. During the last week, we had the very cool and interesting experience to host a full group of non-anglers, who stayed here for 2,5 days as part of a business meeting. Luckily, the conditions were still great – clear(ish) water and fairly stable & warm weather conditions. After a few hours of (spey)casting lessons, we tackled the river and already caught the first few fish. For us, this experience was just as exciting, as it probably was for them. Most of the group members had never fished before and it was amazing to see their progress on both, the mere casting and the understanding of the entire concept of fly fishing. Within those 2,5 days, we managed to bring everyone into fish, amongst them a few very good high-teen specimen and even one amazing fresh fish of 21 lbs – and it seemed like we might have even sparked the interested for a new passion at least for some of them. What an amazing experience for everyone and the excitement about every fish, no matter its size, was very humbling and refreshing!   As this fun group left on Tuesday morning, we welcomed the last group of anglers on Wednesday morning for the owner’s week with Nervous Water CEO Fernando alongside some good friends and guides from other Nervous Waters operations. Some of them stayed for only one or two days, some others until Sunday. However, while it had heavily rained on Monday and all the way through Tuesday night, the water had come up at least one foot on Wednesday morning. Both, the Rio Grande and the Menendez were quite murky and conditions were tricky. While the fishing was very tough on Wednesday and […]

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