Villa Maria, Rio Grande – 10-17 January 2020
Our annual trip down south to Rio Grande has become a complete saviour to the Norwegian winter. From the end of the Norwegian Salmon season it gives us something to hold on to, to look forward, to return to a place we now know so well. Not just the river, but the lodges, the people, the wildlife, the wine!
It really is a major highlight in our annual travel calendar.
Although we have frequented Kau Tapen over the last years, this time it was an opportunity to fish the lower river water out of Nervous Waters lodge there, Villa Maria.
With a team of good friends, I could not wait to share the week with likeminded individuals on some of the finest sea trout water on the planet.
The water down at Villa Maria is bigger than at Kau Tapen. It is also subjected to two additional tributaries upstream that enter and affect the rivers height and colour. A touch unlucky the rain had come down in large quantities the day before our arrival, and the river had already risen, and was continuing to rise. In addition, quite a lot of colour had taken to the water, and in short, the lower section was unfishable.
Nervous Waters, in the professional fashion we have become used to, made a plan. Our first day ended up fishing Kau Tapen water and at least getting into the swing of things. A few nice fish to get the team off the mark, and meeting up with some of our good friends (guides) at the lodge was in the end an entertaining way to start the week.
Day 2 we were back on VM water. A relaxed start after lazy breakfast, and a slippery drive along the wet roads to the beats, the river was big, and I loved it!
For salmon anglers it did not take long to get settled. Heavier tips, larger flies, deeper wading and longer casts! Heaven if you ask me. Yet fishing was tough. Fish had their heads down, and were making it hard work. We needed the river to settle a bit more.
The lunch sessions at VM are just epic. The siesta lodge/cabin is magical. Fire going, large open glass windows with an incredible vista, and the normal fabulous cuisine we have come to recognise with these lodges. A great way to take a break from the wind and ready ourselves again for the afternoon session. A few nice fish were taken that afternoon, the largest 18 lbs of incredible chrome sea trout! Everybody knew the fish were there and we just needed conditions to settle a tad. They did…..
Day 3 we got stuck in. Dropping and clearing river, still big and still a bit coloured, so tactics did not change a great deal. The knowledge of the guides here, was as always superb, and they put us onto the fish, and some cracking fish at that. The quality and average size of fish at this time of year on the lower river really is quite something. To have a 3 or 4 fish sea trout day with the average size over 15lbs, really is world class.
The mid week days proved to be incredible. Good numbers of fish all in the mid to upper teens and just fresh as a daisy. I have fished the sea trout rivers of Patagonia for nearly 20 years, and managed to have my personal best day ever. Amongst a few ‘regular’ sized fish, I also managed an 18, 20 and 24lb sea trout in a day. Not to be forgotten in a rush that much I can promise you. It wasn’t just me either. Our party that day managed another 24lb, a 19, two 18 and a 17. Truly a world class fishery when it is on fire!!!
Back at the lodge, round the dinner table, the volume was turned right up that night. These lodges cover all bases. World class guides, incredible food, superb service and friendship and attention to detail all the way from your gin and tonic through to the choice of pillow in your bedroom.
I am already looking forward to return to the river in 2021 and our weeks are secured. If you would like to join, get in touch early.