Fishing Reports

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 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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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 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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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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Villa Maria Lodge – Week 6: February 15 – 22, 2019

Another brilliant week has gone by at Villa Maria Lodge. The group this week was formed by old-time repeaters, like Mark and John -founder and presidents of G&T team. Also, there were 3 special people to me, Rabbi, Jonni, and Helgi, all of whom I met in Iceland 15 years ago. I spent my summers teaming up with them while guiding over there. Örn, another Icelandic guide was part of the group, but he works on another world-renowned river, the Spey River in Scotland. The river conditions remained the same as the prior weeks, low and clear. I can say that the weather was nice, as the temperatures and wind remained mild throughout the whole week with long periods of overcast conditions. Those conditions helped a lot and the fishing was great both during the day and in lower light conditions and 20lbs+ fish were happy to take our flies.  Jonni landed his first 20 pounder in the warm-up session at 7 pm, it was 14 C/ 57F degrees and a very mild breeze was just breaking the surface helping us to mask the landing of both line and fly. Floating lines with long leaders and nymphs were the most successful set up as the low and clear water makes the fish skittish if you are not careful or delicate enough– and very often the typical skaggit lines and sink tips were too splashy and noisy for the conditions, especially when it’s not windy enough to mask their water entry. Anyways,  it was not all was just floaters and small flies. The sink tips did shine when the sun started to go down and the use of flies with bigger silhouette was required. As flies go, the classics are still going strong. rubber legs, green machines, Pepe´s nymph, wonder bugs, […]

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Kau Tapen River Diary – Week 7: February 16-23, 2019

Another week has passed and we were excited to welcome some very old friends once again this year. Jon, Jeremy (US), Hubert and his son Jean-Hubert (Belgium), who have been with us many, many years and who we were much looking forward to take out to the river once again. But also Julian, Philipp, Collin and Rosemary (UK) had been here before and we were equally excited to fish with them again after four years. Nina and her husband Goeff (US) came for their first time and we were very keen on showing them a new experience on this river.   The conditions remained tricky! The water was still extremely low and clear, the forecast predicted some heavier rain for midweek, however – so fingers crossed! Fishing float/intermediate lines, long leaders, and very small flies, as well as minimizing the wading was our preferred approach during the day, and larger sunrays and leeches for the later evenings. This delicate adjustment payed off on the first day already, when almost every member of the group would hook into fish! However, temperatures dropped significantly during the night and made for very cold water on the second morning. The combination of the suddenly very cold and still extremely low water put the activity of the fish down significantly. Every fish was hard work and the result of many cast into the frosty morning air. Fishing bigger flies slower and deeper brought some results, but the fishing was quite tough during these mornings. The eveningsessions on the other hand – when water temperatures had gone up a bit – brought better results. Monday’s evening showed again how quickly things can get turned around, when Jean and Hubert had an amazing last hour with 8 fish landed, ending on an incredible 19 lbs fish for […]

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Kau Tapen River Diary – Week 6: February 9 – 16, 2019

Here we go again, another week had gone by and we’ve almost reached halftime for this season. And – you might have guessed it already – we were still struggling with incredibly low water. But both – guides and our new guests alike – were eager to put in the work to make this week a success, no matter the conditions. Richard and Rupert (UK), John and Terry (UK), Andy and Sandy (Alexander, who had been with us here the previous week already), Chris R. and Chris M. (UK), David (UK) and Evan (US). A mixed group of great characters, some who had been here many times, some others, for whom this week would be their first Rio Grande experience. But all of them good fishermen with a great attitude, which was highly needed to tackle these tricky conditions. Despite of what good or bad surprises the river may bring, we were all looking forward to a fun week and making new friends! The first fishing day started off with cold wind from the south. Although quite slow for most anglers, the first session already showed the group what can be possible on the Rio Grande, when John came back with a 19,5 lbs and Terry with a cracking 21,5 lbs fish from the same pool. Sandy, after already landing a 21 lbs the previous week already, topped his PB fish during the first evening by landing another amazing 22 lbs fish. Also John got lucky again with a 17 lbs and Richard started his week with a proper 15 lbs fish. Monday was overcast and during the first hours, the wind was quite moderate. These good conditions made for pretty good numbers during the morning session. All anglers were able to land fish, many of them in the 8-12 […]

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Villa Maria Lodge – Week 5: February 8 – 15, 2019

By Alejandro Martello   This past week we welcomed a group consisting of four old friends, (Gilbert, Nigel, Bob, and Ken) and 2 new friends (Dave and Joe). The river remained low so we had to continue our practice of fishing with stealth. Nymphs were the top selection and our old friends showed that several years of expertise paid off. Mastering dead drifts and feeling a very light touch to the fly, with 20 mph winds and waves its not an easy task– but after a few hours of tuning up the set ups and refreshing the skills, the results were nothing short of astonishing. Nigel showed his skills off in the warm up session the first morning while landing 2- 16 pounders, plus a 17 and a 19 lb. fish. Each fish was celebrated with Gilbert’s Belgian chocolates and Hardy’s smooth Cognac. Joe was quick to pick up the Rio Grande fishing game and landed an 11, 14, and 21 lb fish in a morning shift. Strangely enough for Villa Maria waters, single handed rods + floating lines were the best option. But as always, a good presentation and drift were more important than the line/rod itself. Dave was able to test his swinging skills and was quickly rewarded with a 21 lb hen in the first evening of fishing Most of the small flies worked fine, but nymphs from #6 to #10 were the best options coming out the fly boxes. Green Machines were good also-they fooled picky fish when they were not even looking at the tiniest nymph we could find in our boxes. Of course long, dark, slender streamers were a must from the moment when the sun was getting close to the horizon and afterwards. During the last three fishing sessions, the wind began picking up slowly and on Thursday morning we experienced winds up to 110 km/h (75mph) and despite these near impossible fishing conditions Ken […]

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