Week 8: February 18th to 25th, 2023
BY MAX KANTOR – KAU TAPEN LODGE FISHING GUIDE
This week we welcomed a full lodge of guests from the USA, the UK, and Italy. For some, it was the first time holding a two-handed rod and chasing anadromous fish, while others were quite accomplished steelhead and Atlantic salmon anglers. It is always special to have a mix of people from around the globe here for the united goal of holding one of Rio Grande’s special sea-run trout.
Conditions resumed in a similar way to last week, with extremely low water and cold evening temperatures. On the second fishing day, the wind increased and did not stop until much later in the week. We regularly had gusts over 80-90 kph with an average speed of 70 kph. From the west, this is not an issue, but a few days this week showed north wind. This direction is directly in the face of the majority of the river and proved a challenge for new and experienced spey casters.
Snowmelt in the mountains from the previous week reached the Menendez and those making the trek down on Thursday found a higher, off-color river full of debris floating down. The upper reaches of the lower section were declared almost un-fishable, but a few fantastic fish were landed in a productive spot downstream just before the bulk of runoff could reach it. The Grande remained at its previous level for most of the week and then dropped due to a lack of rain and wind pushing water out into the estuary.
Despite the tough conditions, there are quite a few fantastic fish to mention, including two particularly amazing catches for one lucky angler. Historically, some of the largest fish of the season start to become active around this time of year and this week certainly supported that trend. Bill, Michelangelo, Sergio, and Andrew all landed fish over the 15-pound mark, including Bill’s fantastic 17-pound Menendez fish and Andrew’s 19-pounder on the final evening. Yet, the feat of the week, and possibly the season, went to Nina. She landed two fish of a lifetime back to back, first with a 27-pound male measuring 97×57 cm, followed by a hen of 24 pounds the next day. The former is the fish of the season thus far, though when one keeps the fly in the water, anything can happen, but for now- congratulations to a well-deserved angler on a pair of remarkable fish!
Thursday evening into Friday had a decent rain, but no change in the river was observed yet. Without much rain in the forecast and very high winds scheduled for the first part of the week, it remains to be seen how the river will produce. The Menendez enjoyed a nice bump of snowmelt, but the Grande is in great need of water. Still, with fish in the river, we are working hard to keep rods bent and guests smiling. Once again, it has certainly been a season of adapting to the whims of the weather and water, but the Rio Grande has a way of rewarding the patient and persistent angler.
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 Guide Team.