Week 1: December 31st to January 7th, 2023
BY MAX KANTOR – KAU TAPEN LODGE FISHING GUIDE
Welcome to Kau Tapen Lodge 2023 season!
We were excited to welcome guests from the USA, UK, and Argentina for the opening week of the Kau Tapen season. Almost all had never fished the Rio Grande before and had ventured to see if they could connect with some of our early fresh arriving sea-run brown trout. This was a smaller group that started with only 7 rods and then had a few late arrivals halfway through the week.
Early season fishing often involves a lot of searching and while scouting showed that sea trout were present throughout our beats, concentrations of fish are moving around while we wait for the bulk of the run to arrive. That being said, both the upstream and downstream beats of the main river were consistently producing hookups. We say to expect around 2 fish a day on average, although savvy rods can take advantage of opportunistic fish at times, as hookups often come in numbers as the fish switch on. This is anadromous fish angling at its finest, comparable to swinging flies for the famed Atlantic salmon or the elusive steelhead.
Weather conditions for the week started on a tough note but improved as time went on. The first few days saw high winds lasting into the evening session paired with low water. Sea-run browns are temperamental fish at times, and these factors mixed with bright sunshine are not optimal for many hookups. Our anglers persevered, however, braving winds well over 100kph at times and connected with their desired quarry thanks to insight from our guide team.
A few days into the week there was a noticeable change and as the wind quieted for Tuesday’s evening session, significantly more fish were hooked and landed. This flurry of action was followed by a rainy period and a slight rise in the main river. From this point on, fishing became more consistent across our beats and some sessions produced great numbers. The river did drop to its previous level, but small bouts of rain kept it stable for the rest of the week.
Many of these early run fish were fun-sized between 5 and 12 pounds, although guests did tangle with a few of the larger specimens. These giants know where the structure is and will try their best to get back into the grass clumps along the Rio Grande’s winding cut-banks. The fish of the week- a well-earned 19-pound male in beautiful shape, was landed by Frans.
We did venture to fish the lower Menendez River as well with mixed results. One session produced a solid number of chances for early run fish in the tributary, but changes in water clarity made for some difficult fishing as well. Fish were observed in some of the pools as early as late November, so they are certainly present throughout the lower section. The Menendez is a great alternative to the Grande providing some of the most exciting single-hand fishing anywhere. This river will test your tackle and angling skills in a close-quarters scenario with the same plus-sized sea trout that venture into the Grande River.
Altogether, it was a fantastic week to kickstart the season here at Kau Tapen. Compared to previous years, fish numbers were quite good for the starting week and the river looks promising for the arriving guests. All of us here at Kau Tapen could not be more excited for guests to once again visit our waters from around the globe. For current updates from the river, be sure to follow our social media accounts (@kautapen and @nervouswaters). We wish you all a Happy New Year, and hope to see you soon on the river!
Tight Lines from the Kau Tapen Guide Team.