Villa Maria Lodge – 2015 Season Fishing Reports

Week: March 7-12, 2015

Finally the rain has arrived! The week started with the usual low-water conditions we’ve seen through Jan. and Feb., but by midweek it poured. In the headwaters it rained hard and the river swelled a couple of inches, got murky, and sent a pile of debris drifting toward the ocean. The mainstem eventually came up another 4 to 6 inches before clearing, while the spike sent fish moving upstream—fast.

Our wind situation was also notable… for its nuclear qualities. One day, in particular, we got pummelled with 80-mph (120-km/h) gusts. The wise thing to do was to avoid it until evening time, when it dropped and we ventured out to catch fish.

Even with all this weather madness, fishing has been excellent and the river continues to deliver formidable sea trout. The usual setups of short, heavy sinking-tips with small flies produced early on. But we changed to longer tips and bigger, starkly silhouetted flies when the water clarity diminished. Of course, we stuck with Skagit heads because they’re best for throwing those long, heavy tips and leech-style flies.

We had three first timers at the lodge and they did great. Tony landed 22- and 23-pound fish. Dave had a 21 and 23 pounder. And John caught a cracking 25-pound hen! Congratulations guys, well done.

Largest fish of the week: 25 lbs.
Fish over 20 lbs: 6
Fish over 15 lbs: 25

Week: February 7-14, 2015

This past week we welcomed return guests from Iceland, Switzerland, USA, and the UK. The whole crew boasted plenty of experience on the Rio Grande, which helped us succeed day-to-day.

Early in the week rain in the lower stretches and the headwaters gave us our first real bump, by about two to three inches, in a long time. The river thankfully remained clear and the fishing didn’t suffer. In fact we had some fantastic outings! On our best day, we landed 44 fish and 33 of them were caught during the evening session. Wind, on the other hand, was very strong and steady through the whole week.

Again, a variety of flies were successful without a clear overall winner. But smaller nymphs and Green Machines were the preference of both fish and fishermen. Skagit lines with short, heavy sinking-tips were the best options with 10 to 12 lb leaders.

All in all, it was another good week. Let’s hope the favorable conditions prevail as we continue into mid-February.

Largest fish of the week: 24 pounds
Fish over 20 pounds: 9
Fish over 15 pounds: 27

Week: January 24-30, 2015

We just finished another fantastic week at Villa Maria Lodge. Fishermen from several countries arrived and quickly divided themselves into Team Germany, Team Austria, and Team Switzerland. As you could imagine, plenty of good jokes and laughs ensued with our “allied nations”!

Weather was cooperative. It wasn’t as hot as the previous week and cloudy skies helped cool the water. And in addition to prime morning and evening fishing, we found active fish through the daylight hours.

A variety of flies proved successful without a clear overall winner. Some days all fish were landed on different patterns. As usual, much depended on HOW the fly was fished, not what was used. There was an exception, however, and the Innovator of the Week award went to Christoph from Team Germany, who during a slow, clam day tied on a shrimp pattern. It worked! Kudos to him.

As for lines and sinking-tips, guests fished everything from intermediate to heavy, and there was no clear winner in this category either. They all had their moments in the right circumstances. Tied to the end of the line, most small flies worked fine as noted, but rubber-legged nymphs were the best options during the day. Leeches, on the other hand, continued to produce in low-light hours.

Week: January 17-22, 2015

There’s something special about linking up with old friends for great fishing! And this past week consisted of good times with several familiar faces from Switzerland.

Unseasonably warm weather crept into the forecast, with the thermometer climbing all the way to 28 degrees C. Fine cigars, music, and single-malt scotch helped us cope with the midday doldrums. Water temperatures, however, proved ideal for fishing small nymphs in the a.m. hours and switching to leeches in the late afternoons. Both timeframes produced aggressive eats. We also had success with lighter tips and clear-intermediate lines.

Most of the small flies worked fine, but leeches and Rubber-Legged Nymphs were the best options. The Green Machine also had its moments.

Largest fish of the week: 21 lbs.
Fish over 20 lbs: 3
Fish over 15 lbs: 9