Kau Tapen Lodge – Fishing Report 2015 Season

Week: March 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 marvelling 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 coloured 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.

Week: February 28 – March 7, 2015

Sea trout can be fickle mistresses, but this week was an exception with a full moon and high tides changing things up a little. For instance, the Rio Grande—still low, cold, and clear—ushered in a 26-pound hen for Dan, who happened to be at the right place at the right time with his guide Santy.

The colossus took his fly without hesitation and a fight of monumental proportions ensued. Quite some time later, after many long blistering runs downstream, the fish was netted. “Fish of a lifetime” is a term bandied about quite often, but a 26 pounder might be more than that. I’ve met many experienced sea trout fisherman who can’t top that on their list of personal bests.

The good fishing didn’t stop there. Dave became known as “Double Digit Dave” after catching a 10-plus-pound fish almost every session. The rest of the group had similar results: Garry catching an 18-pound fish on the first full evening, and then topping it with a 19 pounder the very next night. And so it went throughout the week. Thursday was particularly windy, but despite barely being able to keep upright, the anglers capitalized.

It was great to have a large group of friends in camp, and particularly nice to share a week with some fellow South Africans.

The week’s score was 143 fish landed, almost 20 fish better than any other week thus far. The average weight was considerably higher, too. If you aren’t already on your way to Kau Tapen, you better make plans soon—the fishing is HOT.

We hope to see you on the water,

—The Kau Tapen Guide Team

Week: February 21-27, 2015

As you know, there’s always something to be learnt when fly fishing. 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 learnt 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 had learnt 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 the end of the week. Overall, sea trout numbers were decent and all 9 rods caught fish over 15 lbs… the largest being a 22 lb-er.

Finally, we gave Gianni a special prize for his faithful patronage at Kau Tapen. This was his 22nd week!

Hope to see you on the water soon.

Week: February 14-20, 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 definitely 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!

Week: February 7-14, 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 with 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!

Week: February 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 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 a beautiful 21 lb 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.

Week: January 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!