Fishing Reports

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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Kau Tapen River Diary – Week 11: March 16 – 23, 2019

While we were sad about our Italian friends from last week leaving, we were just as excited for our new group to arrive. Especially with the weather forecast, that predicted heavy rain for Saturday and Sunday – not only here, but most importantly in the mountains. When our new group arrived in the evening on Saturday, it had already started raining. Enrico, Joe, Paul, Robert (Bob), Charlie and Kevin, who all came together as friends, and some of whom had fished here before a couple of years ago. Peter and Cam, who came here straight from a week of Peacock fishing in Colombia and were looking for a change-up in weather and pace; Virgil, who would be with us for his first time and who was completely new to this kind of fishing; and Robert, who had been to the Rio Grande five times already, but never with us here at Kau Tapen. We were all keen for the week to come and to show all of our dear guests a great experience.   The rain never stopped at night and persisted throughout the entire first fishing day. It was a rough start in the pouring rain, and the morning only produced “smaller” fish. The barometric pressure was down and the fish were not really active.  But the evening proved to be more prolific and some good fish could be hooked. Amongst them a 17 lbs for Joe and a great 18 lbs fish for Robert. On Monday morning, it had stopped raining and the sun peaked though again. While the Rio Grande had a slow start again, the Rio Menendez produced once again some amazing fishing for Bob and Charlie. Amongst the 4 double digit fish they could land during their morning session, two of them were over 20 […]

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Kau Tapen River Diary – Week 10: March 9 – 16, 2019

We were happy to welcome a new group of guests and a very fun week should lie ahead of us. A group of Italian anglers, some of whom had fished the Rio Grande before, and some, who were completely new to this kind of fishing. Orazio, Matteo, Michelangelo, Riccardo, Luigi, and Marco – such lovely people and passionate fishermen through and though. The group was completed by Clint, Ben and Mike from the US, all who came for their first time and who were looking to learn and experience something completely new, including spey casting. The conditions remained very similar compared to last week. The forecast did not predict any major rain and we were looking at another week of super low and clear water. Very tricky conditions to start on. But all of this week’s anglers knew that weather and water conditions are beyond our control and were eager to put in the work in order to make this week a success on the fishing side of things. Tricky conditions and a new environment made the first session tough for most. After skipping Saturday’s warm-up session after a delayed flight, the first morning was the first chance to wet a line. But already in the evening, both the Rio Grande and the Menendez showed its full potential. Orazio started into the week on a great 18 lbs fish, and Marco kicked off his week on an incredible 23 lbs Menendez fish in the evening. This fish set the bar high for the week, but a bit of healthy competition between the anglers kept the ambition up. After the first day, everybody seemed to have warmed up and was ready, when the fishing suddenly “turned on” on Monday – a windy high-pressure day. The river conditions did not change much, but the fish were […]

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Villa Maria Lodge – Week 9: March 8-15, 2019

We just finished our last week of the season at Villa Maria Lodge! It feels great when you meet old friends again and spend a full week fishing with them !! We received a group of Villa Maria veterans, from Switzerland, the heart of Europe. To some of them, like Hugo, whom i  met about 15 years ago in the old & beautiful Toon Ken Lodge. The weather improved dramatically from previous weeks with milder temperatures and gentle winds and this combination helped to get the best from the river. The river remains very low and clear so when you put all this together, you need to be extremely careful how you fish each pool. But cigars, songs, music, and single malt from Islay helped to deal with the conditions and to wait patiently till the best moments of the day to catch a trophy fish. We focused our efforts in the early morning and late evening as in those moments the water temperature was lower and the fish more aggressive towards flies. In the morning small nymphs, and leeches in the evening, were the most successful options. Thomas, on his second visit to VM landed a fantastic 24lb cock fish, topping up his biggest 23 lbs fish from his past -and first- visit! Joerg, his fishing partner, not to be outdone-landed a chubby 23lbs hen from Primera Vez but not before working really hard for 4 long days when the trophy fish were elusive to his flies. Lighter lines than usual were better options than long tungsten tips. So clear intermediate tips or short sinking ones were heavily used. Several small flies worked fine, but leeches and legless nymphs were the best options coming out of the fly boxes while the green machine was the best player coming from […]

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Kau Tapen River Diary – Week 9: March 2 – 9, 2019

Another week is done and I can’t believe how fast the time is flying. We are closing in towards the end of the season, but our excitement for the week to come was as high as always. We were happy to welcome a full group of Kau Tapen (and Rio Grande) first timers. Kent, his son Kris, Joe, George, Paul, and Mike – all good friends, who have known each other for a long time – most new to spey casting but very keen on a new experience here. Maurice and Richard, who have been fishing together for many years for salmon and sea trout in the UK; Anthony, seasoned salmon angler and very handy with a spey rod; Peter, who fishes sea trout a lot back home in the UK, but who came here for the fish of a lifetime; and Robert, new to this kind of fishing, but who had prepared his spey casting prior to this trip!   Last week’s rain did not do much to the river – it remained low, similar to the water level from one week ago. The forecast did predict some heavier rain for the week, but most of us had given up hoping for rain, after seeing the river drop at a consistent pace almost all season long, not coming up a significant amount once! Although very low and clear, Sunday morning started off moody with overcast and a slight drizzle here and there. The mild easterly wind kept pushing the wet air from the ocean against the Andes – not the easiest wind to fish most pools, but good preconditions if you are looking for clouds and rain. Most of our guest were new to spey casting and had to get used to the new technique. But Maurice made quick […]

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Villa Maria Lodge – Week 8: March 1-8, 2019

Another week has passed and we were excited to see a bunch of new faces made there way to Villa Maria this week along with Kelly, a repeat fisherman and guest at Villa Maria. The low water and changing weather patterns forecasted for challenging fishing but both guides and guests were motivated and had a positive attitude that was needed to tackle these tricky conditions.  The fishing was very difficult the first few days of the week with light winds and lots of rain that seemed to make a lot of the bigger fish inactive. But with light lines cautious wading, a proper approach to the pool, and small flies with long leaders anglers were still rewarded with quality fish. Both Robert and Brett landed some beautiful fish including a 22 lb hen and 17 lb fish on the second day. Throughout the week anglers were able to catch a few larger fish here and there but the consistent change of barometric pressure seemed to make for tough fishing but again motivation and a positive attitude allowed anglers to catch fish in the brief windows that they were open. Kelly was rewarded with a beautiful 17 lb male on his last few casts of the third evening and his fishing partner Aline landed a beautiful 19 lb specimen the following morning. On the last day, the pressure got the perfect trend for fishing -that’s raising continuously overnight- and we had a nice breeze from the west that turned the fishing on. Sergei was able to land a 20 lb hen and lost a few other nice fish after an epic well fought battles. Brett and Robert cleaned up in the evening session with 12 fish over 9 lbs including 21 and 22 lb bucks. As you can see, the river […]

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Villa Maria Lodge – Week 7: February 22 – March 2, 2019

This week we welcomed back two of our former guest David and Johnathan. The rest of the group were all first timers on the Rio Grande. Like the last couple of weeks, the river kept varying its level daily due to slight rains and snow melting in its headwaters at the mountains. These variations were very mild and predictable and there was no sudden 10inches of overnight overflows. We did though have the first frosts of the season for a couple of mornings. This resulted in cold for water for the morning sessions and small changes to the usual tactics. Deeper lines and bigger flies did the trick. Bruce got his first ever Grande trout short into his first run of the pool and the scale stopped at 19 lbs. Sarah and Steve also had a fantastic debut at Villa Maria ending the evening with a 16 and a 18 pounder. On the morning of the second day Jonathan put his all his 27 years of Rio Grande experience into to work and landed the first 20 lbs fish of the week. The big male took a black and green streamer. The water slowly got back (to what has been the tale of the season so far) its low state. So, the fish stayed in the usual places, like deeper channels and slower moving waters. The big fish kept taking and David had himself a day with a with two 18 pound females one in the morning and one in the evening. Barrie had yet to land one of the bigger elusive fish but on the morning of the fourth day, he got himself a 19 pound pleasant surprise to start the day with. The fishing setups remained similar to last weeks, using mainly floating lines but 10ft sink tips […]

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Kau Tapen River Diary – Week 8: February 23 – March 2, 2019

A bunch of familiar faces was on its way here and we were super stoked to see all of them again. We were so happy to see Bill, Janet and their son Jake again, all of whom had come here many times and who we had grown so very fond of. Along with them their good friend Rodney for his second consecutive time with us and who is always in for a great time and lots of laughs. David and his father Kjell, along with their friends Jim and Roger, who had come to visit us multiple years now and who were such a bliss to spend time with. And finally, Ferro and Sergio, who we had the pleasure to host two years ago and who’s Italian charm and temperament we were all looking forward to. Such a lovely group would guarantee for a week full of laughs, good stories, old memories and new ones to be made – fishing conditions aside. After the river had risen a few inches during the last couple of days of the previous week, we were hoping for some more stable water conditions and faster flow in the pools. But already during Saturday night’s warm-up session, we had to realize, that our watermarks were out in the dry yet again and the water had dropped right back to its critically low level we had seen it at the beginning of last week. And unfortunately, the forecast would not predict any major rain for the week to come. But just as all of our guests were motivated to put in the hard work to tackle these ongoing low-water conditions, we were just as eager to do our best to make this week’s experience the best possible one for every one of them. Despite the tricky […]

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