By MATT HARRIS Itati, a humble farming village on Argentina’s remote northern border seems an unlikely spot to find a spectac..
Villa María Lodge – Week 3: January 14th to 21st, 2022
If I defined the previous week as “extreme”, our third week would easily fit the adjective of challenging. Why? Because along the week the weather changes were restless and we had the most varied conditions. We started the week with a thick rain that came with a strong East (upstream) wind. A couple of days later that precipitation arrived at our stretch of the river and it raised approx. 20cm, compromising the clarity of the water to the level that by the end of that day, the visibility was not more than 30cm.
The day after it started to drop and clear up and that process came together with the typical strong west (downstream) wind. By the end of the week, the water level and clarity were back to the starting point but its main change was its temperature. By the beginning of the week, the water was around 7-8 Celsius and on Thursday evening it was 18 Celsius.
You can imagine that with a scenario of daily changing winds (we also had full days of south and north wind!) and compromised water conditions, the fishing tactics were changing constantly as not every pool was fishable and one day you were swinging a green machine and the day after we were combining tube flies to get proper weight, good silhouette, nice profile, and contrasty color combinations.
We received fishermen coming from South Africa and Norway in a mixed bag of Rio Grande rookies and longtime friends, like Didrik with whom I had the pleasure to share fishing weeks both in the Rio Grande and in Iceland.
I would like a special mention for Calix and Morten as in their first tour to the river they destroyed their personal records for sea trouts and topped the scales with fish of 20 & 19 pounds. Congratulations guys!
The most chosen line to use, again, was of skaggit type as we were in the need to deliver the usual 10-12ft of sinking tips and big bushy flies into winds coming from uncomfortable angles. Scandi lines had their place also, especially when needing better presentations and quick depth was not the maximum goal.
As the water conditions were ever-changing, we preferred to fish big flies which will provide the volume and silhouette desired in murky conditions. Of course, the preferences were changing as the water was going from clear to brown to clear again. Articulated leeches, intruders, snaeldas, collie dogs, and a big variety of tube flies caught fish every day. The combination of bright and dark colors was the most productive -as my favorite combination for murky water- of black & yellow patterns.
Next week we should have some showers but weather will set back to “normal” so smaller patterns will be the norm once again.
Largest fish of the week, 20 lbs.
Fish over 15 lbs: 9
By Alejandro Martello – Villa María Lodge Fishing Manager