Week 11: Mar. 21-27, 2015
Martin Carranza, Florida guide and Nervous Waters partner at Chime Lodge brought a group of his friends and clients down south for a taste of the famous giant patagonian sea trout.
Most were accomplished single hand fisherman, but all but one had experience with a double handed rod. Normally that would mean a few casting demonstrations with the double hander, and refining techniques throughout the week, something the guides at KT are very accustomed to. This, however, proved unnecessary.
This week was incredibly unusual for the inexplicable absence of wind. The first few days were bright and sunny, with no wind. The last couple days were overcast and cool, with no wind. There was no wind in the mornings, none in the afternoons, and none in the evening. It was uncanny, freakish, and we wondered if all of a sudden the mother of all gales would make up for all the quiet days, but it didn’t arrive. With low, clear water, and no wind to speak of, it meant the anglers could stay well within their comfort zone and make delicate presentations with single handers without difficulty. The fish respond well and most of the anglers caught their fish of a lifetime. Notable catches were a 22lb fish by Ed (who only started fly fishing 5 years ago and was one of the few to persist with a double hander- defiantly one of the quickest learners the guides have worked with!); John caught a beautiful 23lb fish on his last night and Jo landed a very unusual catch indeed. An estimated 25lb CHINOOK (no doubt very lost) found itself attached to the end of Jo’s line.
It was a great way to finish off the season, a friendly group, good fishing and great weather.
A big thanks goes out to the lodge managers Carolina and Alehandro for running such a tight ship. The excellent reports about the lodge and food and general service meant that the guides could focus on the fishing, knowing that their clients were well looked after, well fed, relaxed and comfortable.
I’m really proud of the guide team. An estimated 672 hours was spent on the river, more often than not in adverse weather conditions. They all produced consistent results without complaint, impressing clients to the very last hour of the season. It takes a special breed to take a battering like that for three months and do it with good humour. It was a privilege working with all of you: Max Mamayev, Santi Villalba, Pablo Brusa, Diego Sepulveda, Kristjan Gunnarsson, Jamey Cloete, Gaston Guglielminetti. Well done boys.
Of course Kau Tapen would be an empty shell if it wasn’t for you, the guests. The staff and guides would like to thank each and every one of you for your patronage, sportsmanship, friendship and generosity. We hope we get to see you in the near future.
Kau Tapen Lodge, Rio Grande
Week 10: Mar. 7- 13, 2015
My boyhood hero was Robert F. Scott, the famous Antarctic explorer from the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition to the South Pole. Those of you familiar with the story will recall Captain Oats, who stricken frostbite and realizing he was slowing down the group said, “I’m going outside, I might be gone some time”… and was never seen again.
This scene flashed through my mind when early on in the week we had a morning session with 100km/h winds and gusts strong enough to knock a full-grown flyfisher off his feet. At our first pool I parked the car into the wind, so the doors wouldn’t rip off their hinges. We sat for a few moments marveling at what the river had become. It was completely white-capped, with sheets of spray whirling and rolling downstream. It looked more like a waterfall that had been turned horizontally than the usually sedate Rio Grande.
The car rocked and bucked. The rods needed a leader change. And I said to my wide-eyed guests, “I’m going outside, I might be gone some time”. I tried to replicate the brave Captain Oats and make a hero’s exit, but embarrassingly the doors wouldn’t open, the wind kept them firmly shut. It took some ungraceful grunting and shoving until I finally made it outside and was promptly blown out of sight. My 120-pound frame isn’t built for such conditions. One might say I’m gravitationally challenged. It was thrilling though, and we laughed over the absurdity of flyfishing in gale-force winds. It wasn’t a complete bust either. Peter Rippen managed to catch a beautifully fresh 11-pound hen, while casting on his knees so he wouldn’t get blown over.
Thankfully, it quieted down for the evening sessions, and normal fishing resumed. The river had risen and colored from a previous rain (and all the wave action!) so large leeches were the best bet. Some big fish were caught this week, too: Another 21-pound hen, as well as a host of sizable trout from 12 to 19 pounds. Again, the bigger fish seem to be coming through, and the average seems much heavier as the weeks progress.
All in all the week was a great success, and an adventure that all of us will remember for a long time.
See you on the water,
—James Topham and the Kau Tapen Guide Team
Week 9: Feb. 25- Mar. 2, 2015
So ends another fun fishing session at Kau Tapen Lodge, but by all accounts it was not your average week. Mark Taylor from Mavungana, Norway, brought his friends from all the way up there, to all the way down here. I’d been looking forward to this week as I know the crew well from guiding in Norway, and I knew that it was going to be, well, fun as hell.
The crew didn’t disappoint, and it didn’t take them long to christen the lodges new hot tub in a spectacular show of partial male nudity. But I’m sure you folks don’t want to hear too much about male bonding sojourns, so let’s cut to the chase and talk about some fishing!
The river is still running low, and cold and clear. As with the last few weeks this has meant great opportunities for some technical fishing. Small heavy nymphs, slow-sinking/intermediate tips, and good presentations made all the difference. After sunset, small Sunrays were fished with confidence and often produced three or four fish in the dying minutes of the day.
The final tally of the week was 135 fish landed, and another 25 lost after a short fight. The largest fish was Kristoffe Vasdal’s beautiful 21-pound buck. It was sad to see the group leave this morning, my only consolation being I’ll see most of the guys again, when salmon season starts this summer.
Hope to see you on the water,
—James Topham and the Kau Tapen Guide Team
Week 8: Feb. 21 – 27, 2015
As you know, there’s always something to be learned when flyfishing. So I’m wary when someone calls himself an absolute “expert”—unless that person is veteran KT guide Max Mamaev. He comes pretty close.
This week, we all learned a few important things: the first being the positives that come from practicing new techniques before venturing as far as Tierra del Fuego. Our group of intrepid anglers from Nebraska did exactly that. None had cast a Spey rod before, so they went out and sought instruction, bought casting DVDs, and tested what they’d learned on their local river. What a massive difference that made! We gave them a few tweaks and adjustments, and they were casting well—and catching fish—from the get-go.
The fishing this week was marked by a continuation of technical, low water conditions. Although we did see a brief spike and slight water discoloration toward week’s end. Overall, sea trout numbers were decent and all 9 rods caught fish above 15 pounds… the largest being a 22 pounder.
Finally, we gave Gianni a special prize for his faithful patronage at Kau Tapen. This was his 22nd week! And he earned himself a Sage One rod tube. (We’ll give him the rod on the next 22nd week anniversary!)
Hope to see you on the water soon,
—Kau Tapen Guide Team
Week 7: Feb. 12-19, 2015
Well that one went quickly! It seems like yesterday that the group arrived, and now I’ve just said goodbye. As they say, time is relative. Then again, I guess fishing is too.
Anyway, this week was defenatly a quality over quantity week. Despite catching fewer fish than previous weeks, we landed 5 fish over 20lb this week. The largest being 23lb. The total landed fish for the week capped at 88 fish.
At the beginning of the week we had a good rain which despite soaking the ground, did little else to the river other than to discolour it, albeit fractionally and only for a few hours. The level might have gone up an inch or two, which was bit of a disappointment. I don’t know where it all went to. Re-filled the beaver holes I guess.
It’s getting colder everyday, the water being no exception. We’ve started getting more and more fish on larger flies, so if you’re on your way here, don’t forget to pack a couple leeches and sunrays.
See you on the water
Kau Tapen Guide Team
Week 6: Feb. 6-11, 2015
The weeks are flying by! And a melting pot of nationalities has joined us at Kau Tapen Lodge united by their love, or curiosity, of monster Patagonian sea trout. So far no one has left disappointed.
This past week, three Americans, two Norwegians, and six Brits got the full experience and entertained the guides with some great fishing and excellent company. Status quo tactics remain productive for now, with small Rubber-Legged Nymphs fished on long leaders during the day followed by fishing by larger Sunrays and leeches at night. Water temperatures have been getting colder, and the bigger flies are becoming more effective, inciting some aggressive takes. Despite the drop in water temperature, the Rio Grande is still on the low and clear side. It is however raining at the time of this writing, so let’s hope for a little bump.
Overall, 125 fish were landed this week, with top honors going to Jim Simcoke for the largest of the week at 18 pounds.
Hope to see you out here soon!
The Kau Tapen guide team
Week 5: Feb. 1-7, 2015
So ends another week at Kau Tapen, but by all accounts it was not you’re average week. Mark Taylor from Mavungana Norway brought his Norwegian friends from all the way up there, to all the way down here. I’d been looking forward to this week as I know the crew well from guiding in Norway and I knew that it was going to be , well, fun as hell.
The Crew didn’t disappoint, and it didn’t take them very long to christen the lodges new hot tub in a spectacular show of partial male nudity.
But I’m sure you folks don’t want to hear too much about male bonding sojourns, so lets cut to the chase and talk about some fishing…
The river is still running pretty low, but running cold and clear. As with the last few weeks this meant an opportunity for some great technical fishing. Small heavy nymphs, and slow sink/ intermediate leaders and good presentations made all the difference. After sunset small Sunrays were fished confidence and often produced three or four fish in the dying minutes of the day.
The final tally of the week was 135 fish landed, and another 25 lost after a short fight. The largest fish was a beautiful 21lb Cock landed by Kristoffe Vasdal. It was sad to see the group leave this morning, my only consolation being I’ll see most of the guys in for the Salmon season this summer.
Hope to see you on the water,
James Topham and the Kau Tapen Guide Team
Week 4: Jan. 24-30, 2015
It’s the end of the fourth week at Kau Taupen Lodge on the Rio Grande. The water, despite the odd shower, has continued to drop. Now very low the conditions have called for some technical fishing. The guides are in their element, this is not the time for throwing large leeches on sinking lines for hours on end.
Now presentation is critical, and instead of covering large tracts of water, small pockets and “Hot Spots” are the main focus. Leaders are lengthened, then shortened. Flies go heavier and smaller, then larger and and lighter, then smaller and lighter, in no particular order. The reward, after a fish is hooked, is all the greater for the effort gone into identifying exactly what the fish is after.
The guest list was as varied in nationality as it was in experience. We had a group of friends from Ukraine, brothers from Newfoundland, a talented photographer from Japan, and compatriots from Germany.
Despite the varied skill levels, some fantastic fishing was had by all. In total 127 fish were landed and another 64 lost. Half a dozen or so fish were 16 lb and up, one which was caught by Victor, one of the Ukrainians on his first fly fishing experience. The Biggest fish of the week was caught by Daniel Stefan from Germany, weighing in at over 18lb.
Hope to see you on the river,
Kau Tapen Guide Team
Week 3: Jan. 17-24, 2015
With another week gone at Kau Tapen, we are praying for rain. The Rio Grande is at an extremely low condition. In fact it’s the lowest water conditions we’ve seen here in a long time. At least in the last five years. Fishing however, is still okay.
Not as many fish were hooked this past week, but more landed then previous weeks since the season began. A total landed of 116 sea trout between 10 rods bumped the average up, and given the sunny conditions and low water everyone was happy. Rain is in the forecast and were experiencing showers as this is being written. With the old superstition in mind, we’re all looking for spiders to step on to bring some more rain.
Single hand rods are good for covering most pools at the moment with the use of the double hander in some wider areas. 12ft rods are the best choice at the moment, so if you’re getting ready to come, pack a shorter double hander with a skandinavian line.
Winds have been light and temperatures high. The water has been warm and ultimately the evening sessions have produced the most and bigger fish.
Guests Nichole Stroh and Mitchell Nelson both took home the fish of the week with two beautiful 17lb sea trout. Steady catches of 10-12lb fish are being reported daily. The average at the moment is about 7lbs. Lots of big fish have been showing up and the River is absolutely full of fish. We’re just waiting for the conditions to be optimal and the river should start pumping out fish. Let it rain!
Thanks to everyone in the last week for the great time and we’ll see you again next year.
Week 4 is currently under way and the fishing has been better.
Let it rain!
Kau Tapen Lodge Fishing Manager
Week 2: Jan. 10-17, 2015
Well another week has gone by here at kau Tapen Lodge. We have been blessed with beautiful weather and moderate winds, however the river is low and not optimal for fishing. That being said we have had a fantastic week that has past. A total of 94 fish were landed between 8 rods with 126 hooked. Pretty good hook to land ratio meaning we had some good anglers with us.
Fish of the week goes to Olof Risto with a beautiful 18lb hen fresh from the sea. Another beauty fish landed by James Oliver of 17lbs was a close second while Kjell Askling showed the rest of the group that although he is new to the two handed rods he can fish with the best of them. Kjell landed a monstrous 86.5cm buck, his first big fish on the rio grande. He followed it up with another 15lb hen the following morning.
A big thanks to the guys and gals of week two. Safe travels and we’ll see some of you again next year. James Thorpe also get an honourable mention as he was awarded with a certificate of competency for using the Kau Tapen sauna. Big shout out to James (Clapping hands!)
Bring on week 3
Kau Tapen Lodge Fishing Manager
Week 1: Jan. 3-10, 2015After their long flights from multiple destinations in the northern hemisphere, seven exhausted guests arrived in the windswept town of Rio Grande. They made their way along the dusty road over rolling hills, soon arriving at the world famous Kau Tapen Lodge.A week prior to the guests’ arrivals, the odd fish was trickling into the mid-stretch of the Rio Grande where Kau Tapen waters are located. However, the clients were welcomed with a bang! Massive tides, a dropping river, and a low ceiling of clouds created perfect conditions to get the week started off just right.The group of 7 rods landed 74 sea trout, with countless additional hookups. And expectations were exceeded considering the run had just begun. The best fish of the week went to angler Fred Clough from Maine. His monstrous doe measured 39.4 inches and weighed an estimated 27 to 30 pounds. He battled the wind with his 9 foot single-handed rod while everyone else threw double-handers. A trophy well earned and well deserved. Other fish were weighed in between 14 and 17 pounds, with a couple 18s and another beautiful 22-pound buck.Some epic battles were won, and some lost, but memories were made that will last a lifetime. A big thanks to our first guests of the season for their laughter and enthusiasm, which kept the morale up no matter what Mother Nature threw at us.BRING ON WEEK 2!James Topham
Kau Tapen Lodge Fishing Manager