Villa Maria Lodge, 2 Reports, Jan 17-31, 2020

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Villa Maria Lodge 2020 Fishing Reports
Jan 17-24  & Jan 24-31, 2020
Weeks 3 & 4

January 17-24, 2020  

This week we excitedly welcomed back our friend Axel and former veteran guide Ale Bianchetti.

When we approached the river during our warm up session, we realized the river was still affected by the previous week’s rain. The river was high and slightly off-color but fortunately, it appeared to be dropping quickly so we were optimistic for the week to come.

During the next two days, we experienced a strong down-river wind, which helped to push a lot of water out of the system and bring the river to a very “fishy” level.  Many fish have moved into the river system, but with the unstable weather and river conditions, getting fish to move on a fly proved difficult. Our anglers stayed motivated and continued fishing through difficult conditions. When the proper conditions aligned, and our guests flies were in the water there were some beautiful fish landed.

By the tail end of the week, the new moon we were looking forward to had brought in a fresh run of fish. Who began to settle into their pools up and down our beats. Even the odd pools we rarely fished in the past seemed to be loaded. Needless to say the week ended on a high note.

Axel and Ale were using different sink lines and the new game changer lines matched with “T-tips” of different density to slow down our drifts and get down to the fish in the high water we experienced early in the week. When the river dropped, we were able to properly fish the river with lighter sinking heads and lines as we normally do. The top flies for the week were the classics: leeches during high water and the evening, and green machines and rubber legs when the river cleared.

Highlights from the week included Ale Bianchetti’s picture-perfect chrome 20 pounder he landed on the second to last evening, that must have been in the river for no more than a few hours. Axel’s banner last two sessions featured 7 fish between 15-19 lbs.

Congrats guys! We’re already looking forward to seeing you next year.

Alejandro Martello – Villa Maria Lodge Head Guide

 

January 24-31, 2020  

This week we welcomed back Gerald, Marc, Gina, Bruno, Jonathan and our new friend Hans.

The week started off with a bang. With the river at a near-perfect level, fresh fish in the system and some veteran anglers staying with us we had the “perfect storm”.

It seemed like every session anglers were coming back with sore arms, grins from cheek-to-cheek and fish stories that will be told for years. Throughout the week, the wind picked up and dropped the water level. The fish seemed to be on the move running upriver and the average fish size decreased to healthy fresh 5-12 lb specimens. Every pool we arrived to seemed to have a few taking fish which made the week fly by. On the final day, the wind picked up to near-impossible speeds for fishing, clocking in at around 60-90 kph. The lack of visibility and cold river temperatures seemed to drive the fish to the bottom with lockjaw. Due to this erratic behavior, we experienced lots of short strikes with the occasional successful hook-up.

The week was filled with good company, lots of quality size fish, and as always delicious food and beyond comfortable living conditions.

The week seemed to have too many highlights to mention but let’s give it a try. During the first couple of days, Marc, Gina, Gerald, and Jonathan all landed fresh, chromed-up 20-21 lb sea trout. On the third evening, Bruno landed a beautiful 22 lb hen on one of his last casts. Gerald, shortly after losing two “monsters,” got redemption on a marvelous 24 lb buck from an unsuspecting hole using a Leech in slightly off-color, but very fishable, water clarity.

The top flies for the week were leeches, heavy rubber leg stones and, when the water clarity allowed, the infamous Green-Machine. We were mostly using floating bellies matched with different densities T-tips, based on the flies, pool structure and wind/water conditions. A 12 ft rod was the most useful length as an all-around tip.

Even with the “slow” last day and a half of fishing, the final tapas night was filled with fun camaraderie and a plethora of fishing stories from the week.

Alejandro Martello. Villa Maria Lodge Head Guide

Kau Tapen Lodge, 2 Reports Jan 18-Feb 1, 2020

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Kau Tapen Lodge Fishing Reports
Jan 18-25   &  Jan 25- Feb 1, 2020
Weeks 3 & 4

 

January 18-25, 2020  

Another fantastic week comes to an end! We were happy to welcome another great bunch of anglers in our realm giant sea trout, good wine, endless skies, and hearty cuisine, to battle the elements at the end of the world and chase dreams in the troubled waters of the Río Grande.

 

Cheyll and Peter, our old friends who have been coming here for over a decade; Jim and Robert, who we had the pleasure to already get to know here last year and truly embraced into our family. JR and Spain, two friends and very keen fishermen for their first time down here in Tierra del Fuego; and finally, Juanjo’s friend Eduardo from Argentina. An intimate group of “only” seven guests that gave us all a bit more space to roam freely around our beats, to rest some pools in between, and of course get to know everyone a bit better and refresh old friendships.

The water conditions were not easy, for the first time this season, the water dropped rapidly – approx. 4 inches along the week – and stayed crystal clear. Although we had reached a normal water level now (+/- 0cm), if the wind dropped, one had wade really carefully and cast as quietly as possible. Luckily, the fish that had entered the river with the big tide early last week and were filling up our beats now and you could feel that more fish were around. Even though the river conditions were not easy, for the first time this season we were getting the feeling of consistency. The fishing was far less patchy than in previous weeks, and the usual “hotspots” would start to produce more takes.

 

Due to some rather warm days and then chilly nights in between, the water temperature fluctuated between 10 and 16 °C. With these temperatures, the metabolism of the fish is working fast, and if aligned with the right weather conditions, they will be very active. Some of the fights that these fish were putting on (even the smaller ones) were unbelievable – acrobatic, strong and fast – and the overall quality of the fishing, outstanding. We even saw the backing a few times this week, which (considering the size of most pools here) is rather unusual. Cheryll hooked into an 8 lbs fish during one evening that made her Tibor reel scream like a banshee on a set drag and went straight into backing in one run.

The amount of 8-15 lbs fresh running fish that we saw, hooked, or caught leaves us very hopeful and they are amazing sport to hook into! More and more big fish were hooked and seen as well. The first day already showed us that, with Spain and JR landing two incredible fish in their first session on Río Menéndez, a 15 lbs and a stunning 17 lbs fish. Spain kept going with another great 17,5 lbs in the evening and also Cheryll got a head start into the week with a cracking 16,5 lbs fish amongst some others. Most of these high-teen fish were very fresh and fought like freight trains. While Sunday produced good-sized fish, Monday produced numbers – only six anglers hooked into a stunning number of 31 fish (!!) and everyone was able to land at least a couple that day. Cheryll managed to land an incredible 19 lbs fish, Robert was able to bring in a few double-digit fish, amongst them a cracking 15 pounder, and Eduardo was able to finish his evening with two amazing fish – a 14 lbs and a 16lbs. While Cheryll was in charge of the numbers this week, it seemed like Eduardo was picking out the big fish, just like the 19 lbs he landed on Tuesday morning, and then topped by an outstanding 20 lbs on Thursday night. This great specimen would remain the biggest of the week!

Spain and JR were taking care of consistency – they would come back from almost every session with at least one mid-teen fish, and just like they kick-started their trip on the Río Menéndez, they finished it off on two beautiful 16 lbs fish during their last evening session.

Just as we saw many great fish make it to the next, it was also a week of lost battles. Such as the fish that Jim hooked on Thursday, that – after some deep and heavy headshakes – took off downstream, went into backing, and finally snapped the line. While landing a fish is what we aim for, losing a giant is what makes great stories and fuel the urge to come back!

These fish were incredible this week – not easy to hook, but in such great condition – and I am very confident, that (if the river keeps this water level for just a bit longer) we will have some outstanding fishing ahead.

It always amazes me how fast the time flies by down here. It still feels like the season has barely started, but our third week is already in the books. I am not complaining though, time that goes by fast is usually time very worth its while – and if everyone else is having as much fun as I do, this season is going to go by in a heartbeat. Thanks for a great week, to be repeated next season!

Paulo Hoffmann – Kau Tapen Fishing Guide

 

January 25- February 1, 2020  

Here we go again! Another amazing week was upon us and we could not be more excited. Promising water conditions together with a full group of very capable anglers, most of them here for their very first time: Brian and Kevin (UK), Keith and Laurence (UK), Claude (CAN) and Jon (USA), Teresa and Martin (ARG), as well as Marina Gibson and her mother Joanna (UK), together with Stephan (GER) who came by to take photos along the week. While only Martin, Teresa, and Stephan had been here in recent years, all group members had experience with 2-hand rods in one way or another.

What a great group, we had lots of interesting and bright conversations during the first “tapas night” that would promise a week full of fun ahead, no matter what the fishing might bring.

The water conditions looked great. Although the river had been dropping constantly during the previous week, it still had a comfortable water level that allowed us to swing every pool from top to bottom. The pools were filling up with fresh fish day-by-day and when conditions aligned, some exceptional fishing would await us. While some days were blessed with those perfect conditions, on some others the fishing was troubled by harsh winds with gusts up to 100 km/h out of all kinds of directions, making it hard to even stand on some occasions.

The very first session started rather slow for most. Strong winds did not make it easy to find a rhythm and get the casting sorted at first. However, that did not keep Kevin from getting a head-start, landing four beautiful fish in his first session, including a cracking 17 lbs chromer. But it wasn’t long until everyone else caught on in the evening and by the end of the day, everyone had already hooked fish. Jon and Claude, for instance, had a special double-up in the evening with two beautiful 16 lb fish. What an amazing start into the week.

It wasn’t until the next day, that the fishing really picked up. Monday was one of those moody days with a constant cloud-cover and a slight drizzle. There was only a little wind, but it was just enough to make casting a bit more forgiving. You simply could not design a day that felt “fishier” – and the fish seemed to agree. Close to 50 fish were hooked on that single day and some groups came back from their session reporting to have hooked into a dozen fish. Joanna doubled up with her daughter Marina, two stunning fish of 18 and 10 lbs respectively. Keith managed to bring in another immaculate 18 lbs fish, while Kevin would land a great fresh 16 pounder amongst four other fish. Jon experienced the Río Menéndez from its possibly best side, connecting to fish in virtually every pool, including another muscle-packed 16 lbs fish on his light single-hander. Stephan topped this day off with two (!) amazing 19 lb fish in their evening session. That day was special for everyone, fisherman and guides alike. Although an above-average percentage of fish was lost during battles, it surely was a day to remember and once again proof of how strongly weather and water conditions, with all their various factors, can affect the activity of those incredible fish.

From then on it was just easy riding for most. Everyone had already landed some good fish after only two days, which takes the pressure away, makes you fish more relaxed, and quite frankly allows you to enjoy the ride experience even more.

While Monday would remain the most prolific day of the week, we could not at all complain about the following days either. On some days the wind would make it incredibly tough to put the line where you wanted, and simply standing or walking demanded a lot of energy. But that’s part of this wonderful place and everyone should experience the unleashed force of Mother Nature down here at least once – it is a humbling experience and makes you realize you are “only” a very small part of nature and never in control. I personally love it!

During the next few days, great fish in the high-teens (weight) were landed every day, including a cracking 18 lbs for Teresa out of the Menéndez, another 18 lbs for Brian, and two beautiful 16 lbs for Laurence and Marina. The very last day, however – Friday’s morning session – left us all with an open jaw. Brian managed to hook, fight, and land an unbelievable fish of 26 lbs, that would be the biggest of the season so far and possibly hard to beat in the weeks to come. Hooking a fish like this is one thing, landing it a completely different game, especially in a little, stump-filled river such-as the Río Menéndez. Yes, that is correct, this incredibly fish was caught in our favorite tributary and is yet another testament to how lucky we are to be able to fish this amazing piece of water. Brian worked hard, grinding every day, hooking plenty of fish but also losing many. This fish was well deserved and especially hard- won! Well done, sir and congratulations to a fish of a lifetime

In the end, we could not have asked for a better week. While the fishing was great – and we can all agree that this is a great factor – it was simply incredibly fun to spend time with each angler out in the water. Around the bar and dinner table friendships were formed and fostered, along the river-banks emotions shared and memories made. I cannot wait to meet and hopefully fish with these great people again soon.

Thank you all for an outstanding week!
Paulo Hoffman. Kau Tapen Lodge Fishing Guide

La Villa de EMB Lodge, Fishing Report Jan 25-Feb 1, 2020

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La Villa Lodge Fishing Report
Jan 25-Feb 1, 2020

The fishing on the Rio Grande was slow this week and the weather didn’t help much, the wind was strong and blow even stronger than 100 km. Really strong rain on Tuesday, river rose on Thursday.  The river still with great level of water.

80 fish were landed,  14 fish over 15 pounds, 1 over 20,  Average weight 9 pounds.
Roger young was top rod of the week with 27 fish landed.
Roger young got the biggest fish 20 pounds.
Sinking lines were the best.
Emb and sunray shadow were the best flies.

Water Conditions
Water color and visibility: Very clear water until thursday.
Water temperature: 9 c to 14 c.
Water level: the entire river is in a perfect level of water, even the upper part.

Weather Conditions
Wind speed ranges through the week: the wind blows northwest ,it was strong all week.
Air temperature ranges through the week: 6 c to 16 c .
Weather observations (sun, rain, fog, etc.): strong rain on Tuesday and strong wind on Thursday.

Fishing Conditions
Flies that are working the best:  emb, bitch creek, green machine, sunray shadow. Big flies for the last hour: big tube flies, leeches, intruders.
Fly lines (tips, heads, lengths, densities, etc) that are producing the best: Skagit heads with different lengths of T-17,14, 11.   Sinking lines were the best.
Floating and intermediate lines were very good.
Length and strength of tippet and leaders: 7 to 14 feet. 15 to 20 pounds.
Dead drifting nymph was very good, stripping sunray shadow work good.
Most of the fish were in the lower and middle  part of the river, upper part is getting  better.
We start getting some dark fish.

Fish catch statistics
Number of anglers for the week: 6.
Total number of fish landed for the week: 80.
Weight of the biggest fish landed for the week: 20 pounds.
Number of fish landed over 15 pounds: 14.
Number of fish landed over 20 pounds:1.
Average size: 9

Las Buitreras Lodge, 2 reports, Jan 15-Feb 1, 2020

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Estancia Las Buitreras Lodge
Rio Gallegos Fishing Reports
January 18-25  &  Jan 25-Feb 1, 2020
Weeks 3 & 4

 January 18-25, 2020

This week it was time to greet old friends from the UK, USA, Canada, Luxembourg and Norway. Most of the guests this week have been coming to Las Buitreras for years. For David this was his 15th time at the lodge so to say that these guys know the river pretty well is a bit of an understatement.

This year however they were accompanied by a few first-timers: Sten brought his two sons Nicholas and Chris, and Kjersti was accompanied by her two daughters, Emilie and Linnea. It is great to see more and more families at the lodge as well as younger generations getting into fly fishing.

When it came to fishing this group made their intentions clear from the get go. David, using all his previous experience and knowledge, placed a small red nymph in the exact right spot in Molino pool and landed a massive fish during the first morning session of the week.

Nick had a very special moment on day two when he tricked a mad 21 lbs fish to grab his fly on the upper part of Goat using a small chartreuse EMB fly. It is always super exciting fighting a big fish in such a narrow fast flowing channel. This time however, Nick and everyone around him could have probably done with a little less excitement than how it turned out.

Somewhere along the fight Nick´s running line got stuck in the reel, Not a good thing to have happened when you are fighting the fish of your dreams. Carlos, our head guide reacted quickly and took the line in his hands, trying to keep just enough tension on the line while Nick and another guide, Franco, frantically tried to take NIck’s reel apart and get the backing in place. In the background Nick’s fishing partner Keith was observing it all, jaw wide open, trying to make sense of three guys running together up and down the river, carrying different parts of equipment in their hands. 

Somehow during all this madness the reel got assembled back together, the leader didn’t break, the hook didn’t come out, and Nick was able to land the fish. To say there were cheers and jubilation on the bank is a gross understatement. These are the types of memories you will carry with you for a lifetime.

The fishing remained fairly consistent over the course of the week with the sea-run brown trout average weight ending up at 9.4 lbs. By the end of the week we had a quick rise in the river followed by an immediate drop of the water level. This changed the fishing a little and we saw shorter and more intense biting periods the last couple of sessions.

Small rubber leg nymph patterns were the most commonly fished flies during the week and it seemed to be working very well. During the more windy sessions bigger girdle bugs, leeches, and yellow yummies seemed to be more efficient as the wind tends to color the water a little in certain sections.

As is often the case the weather varied quite a bit during the week. We always recommend bringing several layers of back up clothing for your fishing session as you never know what to expect. And since you always have a car with you there is  never any concern about having to carry anything heavy around. Just leave it all in the car until you need it.

We’d like to thank all of our guests this week for some really good times. It is always a pleasure to have you guys visit and we got to say that the “Estancia Las Buitreras” lyrics this year were top notch! To the new generation we have to say we were very impressed with your fishing and how you improved during the week. It was a true pleasure to get to know you all. We hope you had a good time and that we get to see you again next year.

Stats
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 21 lbs by Nick
Top rod of the week: Nick and Keith with 9 sea-run brown trout landed
Number of fish over 20 lbs: 2 (Nick and David)
Number of fish over 15 lbs: 11
Average size: 9.40 lbs

Estancia Las Buitreras Lodge 

January 25 – February 1, 2020

Another great week in the books at Las Buitreras and we’ll go straight into the details. We started the week with a water level of 15 cm below zero which is quite normal for the summer season here on the Rio Gallegos. With this type of water we kept using or old faithful rubber leg nymphs like Copper Johns in smaller sizes during the day. In terms of colors basically anything seemed to work and we caught fish on both green, black, brown and red versions.

Our guests this week came from all corners of Europe, and North America including Poland, Sweden, UK, Canada, France and USA. Along for the ride was Christer and Annakarin Sjöberg. Although most of our guests met each other for the first time it didn’t take long until the first jokes and fishing stories were exchanged.

Once again the fishing started off really strong and only two days into the week we had 35 sea-run browns in the book. Around day 4 the fishing slowed down a little bit and we finally saw a bigger push of water which animated the fish to move upstream without resting too much in between. This being said we still had productive periods especially during the magic hour when it was time to fish bigger flies close to the surface.

Onday 5 Christer was doing just that, fishing a big sunray shadow during magic hour at Upper Limits. Letting the fly sink for a couple seconds before taking it home with long slow strips is usually deadly and this time was no different. Two casts into the pool a big fish took the fly, went up in the air and simply spat it out. Shouting out in equal parts excitement and frustration Christer was surprised it came off that easy before checking his fly and realizing the hook had got tangled in the fly and never even touched the fish. A few casts later another solid fish hit the fly and after some nerve wrecking moments where the fish went under the weed bank Christer was able to land a super nice 16 lbs fish.

Annakarin was her usual self landing one fish after the other, making Christer come up with some very creative excuses as to why he wasn’t catching as many fish as her. One fish that stood out a little extra was her massive 17 lbs fish (55 cm girth!) from Island Stream which fell for a classic silver shadow. Nothing wrong with the backdrop of the photo either.

First-time guests Stefan, Cor, John and Hans all did well, each of them being able to land several nice fish. We had three sea-run brown trout hitting the 18 lbs mark this week, caught by Jean-Luc, Claes, and Jamie. Jean-Luc caught his on day one in Flats, fishing a small yellow Intruder. Claes followed up with his big fish on day two in Little Corner using a small rubber leg nymph. Jamie was a little more patient and waited until the last day before hooking and landing his amazing fish in Island Stream. Fittingly enough this fish also secured his position as top rod of the week with 13 sea-run browns landed.

As expected the weather varied over the week with temperatures between 10 and 17 C. We saw two days with stronger winds which didn’t stop our guests from catching fish. During those sessions we switched to bigger flies (e.g. yellow yummy, yuk bug or green lantern).

I think this week showed again that Las Buitreras is a great place to meet like-minded people and develop new friendships as well as new skills on the water trying to catch that trophy sea-run brown trout. We hope to see everyone again next year and are looking forward to another great week here in Patagonia.

Stats
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 18 lbs by Jean-Luc G from France, Claes B from UK and Jamie M from UK
Top rod of the week: Jamie M with 13 sea-run brown trout landed
Number of fish over 15 lbs: 6
Number of fish over 10 lbs: 13
Average size: 9.14 lbs

 

World’s End Lodge Fishing Report -Jan 17-24

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Worlds End Lodge
Fishing Report on the Rio Irigoyen
Jan 17-24, 2020

Third week of the season and fishing remains firm on the Irigoyen River.

We start the week with very good flow conditions and a lot of activity for fishermen Casey, Steve and Ben. Also our friend Murray who still here enjoying his favorite river for the second week

Steve, a new friend of WEL, a great connoisseur of Sea Trout fishing  (a reference in his country and a representative of Driology), really fishing in a very consistent way during all the sessions, could find beautiful fresh and very fighting specimens. So also his partner Ben, and Casey, who, following the advice and instructions of their guides and working hard, obtained a lot of action and captures for the memory.

Murray, a seasoned fisherman from Irigoyen, remained very connected to the river, managing to capture 34 sea trouts (several between 14 and 18 pounds) taking into account the two weeks he visited us!

Mostly we use rods 7 and 8, at 9.6 and 10 feet, which allows greater control, handling and line correction. Using floating lines and different sinking tips according to each situation, but the Pepefly (nymphs and Leeches) success was assured! Also when starting to lower the flow they performed well some tubes and fly skaters. While we lost some big fish in fights and sticks, we finally closed the week with 52 landed total for the group.

We close the week with good conditions and many fresh fish even entering the system.