March 2016


Villa María Lodge: March 6 – 13, 2016

We just finished another “tempestuous weather” week! The wind and large temperature variations across the days made this week quite particularly challenging in that aspect. Winds up to 60mph and near freezing temperatures overnight were the main challenges to defeat. But with patience and between wine talks, jokes, and hard work we enjoyed great success. Similar to the last couple of weeks, we had a few hours of rain that bumped up the water level a couple of centimeters. Even when it still looks like too little to make a difference, that event stirs things up. There was no a pattern of behavior of fish preferring one fly over another. In one pool someone was catching on green machines and in the next one below, on collie dog tubes. Even leeches were good on some cold mornings and when the fish were not moving to anything else. Of course Leeches remain the almighty option in lower light conditions. Regarding lines, skaggit lines with short sink tips were the best options, as usual. Floating and intermediates lines saw a lot of action this week with great success when fished teamed with a Sunray shadow style tube.  

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Villa María Lodge: February 21 – 28, 2016

Looks like rain is the big absent this summer on the Rio Grande. The river remains very low and clear, but it’s still delivering the best sea-run brown trout fishing on the planet! Light rain last week bumped water levels by less than an inch. That doesn’t sound like much, but the fish feel the difference and react accordingly—charging upstream or changing positions in the pools. The group of return anglers we had knew the drill and how to properly adapt to the ever-so-slight changes. Faced with low water, relatively strong winds, and cool temperatures—dropping all the way to 3-degrees C at night—they found success. The “Best New Entrance Award” goes to Ingve, our Icelandic pal who during his first Rio Grande tour hooked and landed a superb 24-pound buck! But that wasn’t the only big fish of the week; everyone in the group landed at least one fish over 20 pounds, with Neil scoring his at week’s end—right before the buzzer! Again, we dabbled with a variety of flies for best results across changing light, temperature, and time-of-day conditions. Summertime staples like small nymphs and green machines performed somewhat better than others. And leeches remain the almighty option in low-light conditions. Regarding lines: Skagit heads with short sink-tips have been the go-to option. Although, floating and intermediates lines saw a lot of action this week—and success. The group also enjoyed using ultra-light switch rods, so it was fun dealing with some monsters that the river kicked their way. Largest fish of the week: 24 lbs. Fish over 20 lbs: 7 Fish over 15 lbs: 28   Alejandro Martello Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager

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Villa Maria Lodge: February 14 – 21, 2016

Similar to last week, we started with rain in the lower stretches and there were serious storms in the Andes headwaters. The rain bumped river levels by about an inch, while the water stayed clear and fishable with small flies. Through the week snowmelt from higher elevations significantly cooled water temperatures down low, affecting the fishing. The fish weren’t as grabby, especially during the early morning hours. By around noon, as the sun warmed the water, the fish started rolling and reacting better to our flies. Wind also played a role this past week, considering we had four days of 40+ mph gusts. Most of our guests were Rio Grande veterans—experienced enough to know that patience prevails through tough conditions. That patience was rewarded whenever the fish gave us a chance. The “Lucky Man Award” went to Mike, who landed three 20+ pounders. His monster 28-pound hen was so far the biggest of the season. It should be noted that Mike is no stranger to Villa Maria’s Wall of Fame. He landed the biggest fish of the season in 2008; a beautiful 27-pound buck. Nicely done, Mike! Depending on light, temperature, and time of the day, we had success with a variety of flies. But if I had to choose winners, small weighted-nymphs and rubber-legs generally outperformed the rest. Leeches and Intruders remained the best options in low-light conditions. Skagit heads with short, heavy sink-tips produced the most strikes. And we’re currently fishing tippets in the lighter 10- to 12-pound range. Largest fish of the week: 28 lbs Fish over 20 lbs: 4 Fish over 15 lbs: 19   Alejandro Martello Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager

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Villa María Lodge: Jan. 31 – Feb. 7, 2016

  This last week we hosted a great group of Austrian and German anglers. There was a mix of first timers, second timers, and long-time repeaters at Villa Maria Lodge. And, luckily, the fishing was in tune with all the fun. We had, so far, the most productive week of the season. The weather was a bit crazy at the start—crazy good—with pleasantly warm days and light winds. But then we had a full day of heavy rain that led to a subtle spike in river levels. Fish typically don’t like to take flies when the river is rising. Fortunately, the water clarity remained good and after a couple of fishing sessions the fish started committing to the fly again. After the rain, we had three straight days of unusual heat, where thermometer readings climbed all the way to 26-degrees C! Again the fishing turned tricky, but stabilized in the mornings and late evenings when the sun was off the water. We experimented with a variety of flies without a clear overall winner. We skated dries, fished nymphs high in the water column, we dredged some pool with tiny flies, and we also used more traditional streamers. Everything seemed to work when fished properly. As always, good presentation is key. Green machines worked well on picky fish. Of course leeches were a must in the darker moments.   Largest fish of the week: 23.5 lbs. Fish over 20 lbs: 5 Fish over 15 lbs: 32   Alejandro Martello, Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager

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Villa María Lodge: January 17 – 24, 2016

  We just finished the third week of the season at Villa Maria lodge and it was fantastic! The weather has improved dramatically from previous weeks with milder temperatures and gentle winds and this combination helped us to get the very best from the river. The river is now low and clear so you need the be extremely careful how you fish each pool. The correct choice of lines, long leaders and extremely careful wading and casting are a must. However the Swiss anglers we hosted this week have been fishing the Rio Grande for over 10 years so they understood the scenario and did a fantastic job. It also helped that we had a run of big fresh fish. This year the fish are particularly fat and gorgeous looking! Slow sinking lines or intermediate lines with 10ft+ leaders were lethal in slow flowing pools. For the deeper or faster pools the use of heavier sinking tips were the best option but still long leaders were useful in those set ups. Nymphs, both weighted and unweighted were the most successful patterns, especially those that were not very shiny. Some of them, fished just below the surface and without any stripping or motion were responsible for some outstanding takes, very similar to a regular or resident trout.   Largest fish of the week, 22 lbs. Fish over 15 lbs: 21   Alejandro Martello Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager  

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Villa María Lodge: January 3 – 10, 2016

Welcome to Villa María Lodge 2016!! We opened our season with normal conditions for January, which means dry and windy. The water level is lower than last year at the same time and surely on the low side for the time of the season. But the river looks good and without many  structural changes following the winter scour. The wind was a major player this week and almost every day we had gusts reaching 90 km/h. This made fishing some spots impossible and turned the river murky, so we lost almost all our underwater visibility. An stamina & patience game for all of us…. The good news is that the fish are running. Several double figure fish were caught, all super silver, super fresh, and with unbelievable power and explosive fights. Fish are moving quickly upstream and an empty pool in the morning could be filled with rolling and taking fish during the afternoon. As stated above, because water clarity was compromised most of the days, the most successful set up included good skaggit lines, heavy sink tips of 3-4 mts long and bigger than usual flies. Patterns like leeches, scandinavian tubes and intruders were the ones that saw most of the action. The upcoming week’s forecast is for a break in the wind intensity, so we will have to adapt as conditions change.   Largest fish of the week, 18 lbs. Fish over 15 lbs: 4 Alejandro Martello  

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Villa María Lodge- End of Season 2015

Another Rio Grande season has come to a close, leaving us with a lot to learn from—as usual. Drought was a major factor in 2015. December marked the last rains of summer and what followed was a long (more than two months) dry spell. Some of Villa Maria’s pools were almost motionless due to low water. And water temperatures shot up on the warmest days… which is never good, considering sub-Antarctic fish don’t enjoy sub-tropical temperatures! These conditions forced us to fish smarter, paying even closer attention to things like wind, sunlight, time of the day, cloud cover, water speed, and an angler’s overall skill level. One main difference from the 2014 season, was that the fish would get active during the last, last moments of the fishing day, or even very early in the morning. Daytime activity was far less prevalent. Despite tricky scenarios, the river delivered and everybody enjoyed their fishing time in Rio Grande. And as for monster fish, we caught 70 weighing 20 or more pounds, and almost 300 over 15lbs! Pretty respectable. Skinny water conditions pushed us to use lighter tackle than usual for this lower stretch of the river. Shorter, lighter sink-tips were the norm. And instead of the classic 14-foot 8- and 9-wt double-hand rods, we were able to get away with some smaller 12’6” 8-weights. Flies remained the same, with nymphs and rubber-legs being the first choice during harsh midday light. Streamers and leeches, on the other hand, ruled when night was approaching. Special thanks to our 2015 guide team: Jason Jagger, Alejandro Bianchetti, Gaston Guglielminetti, Kristján “Diddi” Gunnarsson, and Pablo Brusa. Great job guys!! Hope to see you all next year. I also want to thank Claudio, Alejandra, Emiliano, Rosalía, Gabriela, and Joaquin for making our lives easier and doing a terrific job […]

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Villa Maria Lodge: March 21- 26, 2015

The week began with high, off-color, and cold water due to snowmelt in the Andes. And we fished slow and deep using heavy sink-tips and large flies to wake up the lethargic fish. Despite the freshet-like flows, weather was generally nice: windless and warm. By midweek, water temps improved and the river dropped fast. All these whirlwind changes made the fishing unpredictable. Good casts, better presentations, and perfect swings were absolute musts. While honing our on-the-water skills, we also experimented with myriad lines, tips, and flies. Tips varied from 3 to 12 feet long and from intermediate to T14, depending on water temp, pool depth, and fish activity. Rubber-legged nymphs, leeches, and Intruders in varying colors were top producers. I’d like to extend a BIG “thank you very much” to Jim, Jean, Charlie, and Matt for their patience and persistence. Way to go! Largest fish of the week: 23 lbs Fish over 20 lbs: 1 Fish over 15 lbs: 13 Alejandro Martello Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager  

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Villa Maria Lodge: March 14-19, 2015

Another wet week has come and gone on the Rio Grande! We started with standard conditions, but by the middle of the week it poured hard in the Andes. River levels climbed by about 6 inches and it was unfishable for a day due to poor water clarity and 100km/h winds. The good news is the murky water didn’t linger long. And higher water prompted fish to move upstream—fast—while some new, ocean-fresh sea-runs entered our constantly changing pools. Similar to last week, we fished short and heavy sinking-tips with small flies. After the river spiked, we adjusted by using long, heavy tips and bigger and brighter flies. Intruders and leeches were the top producers. Of course, fishing those heavy tips and flies in combination required a powerful line—so Skagits remained the best option. Largest fish of the week: 22 pounds. Fish over 20 lbs: 5 Fish over 15 lbs: 14 Alejandro Martello Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager For more Fishing Report click HERE

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Villa Maria Lodge: February 21 – 26, 2015

The group that our friend Jim C. put together has been coming to Villa Maria Lodge for a few seasons already, so it was great to see them again and easier to adapt the fishing techniques and tackle to the conditions. As said, the river was low this week, while the wind remained strong and temperatures dropped all the way to 3 degrees C. in the evenings. A variety of flies were used depending on light conditions, river temperature, and the time of the day. And like last week, small weighted nymphs and green machines performed a little better than others. Leeches, on the other hand, remain the almighty option in lower-light conditions. Skagits with short but heavy sinking tips were the best line options, and we’re still finishing 10- to 12-pound leaders/tippet. This group enjoyed using ultralight switch rods, so it was lots of fun dealing with the monsters they hooked and landed! The “Moment of the Week” was when Mike and Mark had a double hook-up that ended with the simultaneous release of 26- and 24-pound hens! But those were not the only big fish. Our group of six fishermen each landed at least one fish over 20 pounds, with Dave McC getting his 10 minutes before he left for home! Largest fish of the week: 26 lbs Fish over 20 lbs: 9 Fish over 15 lbs: 31 Alejandro Martello Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager

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