Week 4: January 21st to 28th, 2023
BY MAX KANTOR – KAU TAPEN LODGE FISHING GUIDE
This week at Kau Tapen we welcomed a group of new and return guests from Norway, South Africa, the and UK put together by longtime friend Mark. Most rods were quite experienced salmon anglers and ready to take on the challenge of Rio Grande sea trout. At times these fish display behavior quite similar to that of a fresh Atlantic salmon, but there are minuscule differences in the presentation that define sea trout angling. It was not long before casts were being fired out and the first fish hit the net for this week’s group.
The weather and conditions for the week were difficult, as the water in both the Grande and Menendez dropped to extremely low levels. On the first day, there was a slight 2 cm rise that brought decent fishing for a few sessions along with it, but last week’s rain was not enough and both rivers steadily dropped throughout the week. It is safe to say that this is among the lowest water levels we have seen in both the Grande and Menendez, but all anglers were up to the challenge. Low water tactics were employed by the guide team, targeting concentrations of fish in their prime lies with extreme stealth.
However, with the gauge for the river well below its minimum level, fishing remained difficult for the latter part of the week. Temperatures were quite cool compared to last week’s, especially at night, and this led to water that was cold during the morning session. Fish would become active later in the day, but the large temperature swings often meant we were using a variety of different flies and tips to produce takes and fish.
Throughout the beginning part of the week, many fish were witnessed moving in and between all beats, but this activity seemed to stall for the final few days. It is not as if they were not hooked and caught, as the final day was quite good, but less seemed to be showing. On the bright side, the final evening was filled with heavy rain that lasted for a few hours, both down by the lodge and in the mountains above. It is to be determined if this will cause a significant rise, but any water at the moment is much appreciated.
The quality of the fish cannot be understated this week, and some truly impressive specimens need to be mentioned. First was Morten’s 24-pound male guided by Gaston early in the week. Morton was diligent all day and eventually, the fish of dreams found his fly, and after a lengthy fight, all went well for the angler before the fish was returned after a couple of pictures. This fish is the largest of the season so far, but we have witnessed a number of similar fish moving throughout our pools as well.
Also to be noted was Calix’s 23-pound fresh male sea trout guided by Colo, which displayed incredible girth and put up a similar fight. Any week that we land one of these larger fish is considered a success, but two fish of this size class within a few days is phenomenal. Not all battles with oversized sea trout are won, as these fish know where the structure is and will do everything in their power to free themselves of the hook. If the angler is lucky enough to win, it is a fish to remember and most regular guests can recount stories of one of their monsters over the years.
Overall, in spite of low water and what would be challenging fishing conditions, it was a great week among persevering anglers who managed to keep the rods bent with a smile. There was a significant increase in the number of fish hooked during the same week last year by this group as well. Hopefully, the rain on the final day was enough to bring a rise to both the Grande and Menendez for the next group, although historically, this takes around a day or two to arrive, which should be right on time. All of us could not be more excited for guests to once again visit our waters from around the globe.
For current updates, be sure to follow our social media accounts (@kautapen and @nervouswaters). For any questions regarding our preferred tackle setups, information about the river, or our preferred fishing techniques, please visit our website for a thorough list of information. We wish you all the best and hope to see you soon on the water!
Tight Lines from the Kau Tapen Team.