Kau Tapen Lodge 2022 Fishing Reports
By: Max Kantor – Kau Tapen Guide 2021/22
See all photos at the very bottom of all 4 fishing reports!
To book your week at Kau Tapen, Email us or call 434-249-1783
Kau Tapan Lodge – Week 1
Jan 1-8, 2022
Before the start of the new year, we were excited to welcome our first group of international guests to Kau Tapen from Sweden and the UK. It was important to get a fish in the net to keep a continuous yearly record for the lodge for 2021, as the last fish was netted for a guest in March of 2020. We wasted no time and many smiling guests returned the first evening with some success from the lower river. David landed a beautiful 15lb fresh fish on a sunray to end the year and kick off a special week with us. All staff and guests came together for a New Year’s toast, wishing for bright things in 2022! We certainly found a few of those on the river this week!
Despite the early success, our guests were met with challenging conditions consisting of low water and strong winds. To combat this we tried a variety of tactics but had the most success with S3 tips, long leaders, and flies to match the conditions at hand. During bright days the green machine seemed to be the fly of choice, while small traditional salmon tubes and nymphs also had their moments. When the clouds rolled in and in the last hour of fishing before sunset, leeches and sunrays took most of the fish. It was not easy fishing at times, but the persistence of our guides and guests resulted in some fantastic catches.
Mid-week, a large high tide was met with anticipation, and pushes of fresh fish were spotted in both the upper and lower river. More sea-trout were seen rolling, especially in the last few hours of the day, and fishing began to pick up. In the upper river, Lars had a fantastic evening hooking 5 fish and landing 4, the biggest being a 16.5lb fresh beauty and Timo had 4 in a single session as well. These moments make all of the casts and searching worth it, as there is nothing more exciting than swinging a fly to a cooperative group of fish that have just made their way in from the ocean.
The Menendez rose a bit with some rain before retreating to its low level again. However, this was enough to bring in a push of fish and the small tributary continued to produce early in the season. Some large fish were present here as well, including a heartbreaker for Timo that sadly came unbuttoned after an intense battle on the last day. A few fish in the mid-teens were landed as well and many more were seen rolling. We can’t wait to spend more time on this intimate river as the season progresses.
Of the sea-trout landed through the week, there were some notable fish that were hooked, lost, and finally landed. Our guests were privileged to play with a few true monsters in the 20lb class, providing fish stories for years to come. One must be both skillful and lucky in landing a beast like this, as these are smart old fish that know every trick in the book. A few tales of smashed leaders and monster sea-trout echoed around the lodge on quite a few nights, but it was Iyrki with guide Christian that landed a fish that we’ll be talking about for weeks! Mid-week on the upper river, Iyrki hooked and fought a beast of a fish that took his leech and after 5 screaming runs downriver Christian was able to get it into the net. The fish measured 97cm with a girth of 57cm and weighed 29lbs! After a few photos, she was sent back to the Rio Grande making a lifetime memory for all involved. This is one of the biggest fish landed during the beginning of the season in recent memory and hopefully the first of many trophies in 2022.
Kau Tapan Lodge – Week 2
Jan 8-15, 2022
After a memorable first week with guests that was a bit earlier than we usually start our season, we found ourselves with another week to scout the river and prepare for the few months ahead. We rested the main pools for most of the time and spent our efforts looking for different holding areas on both the Grande and the Menendez. The upper Menendez was not fished in the first weeks, but all guides spent some time here and the small river is looking in great shape as we look forward in the season. New roads were also constructed along both the lower and upper Menendez to help you get to the fishing faster and in a comfortable fashion!
Fishing conditions were fairly difficult at the start of the week, as the water continued to drop and high winds were present for a few days straight. This decreased the water clarity when the wind was present, but it quickly cleared after. As far as fishing techniques go, not much changed from the weeks prior, except adjusting leader length and fly size to the dropping water level.
On the bright side, fresh fish were spotted entering the river daily, many in immaculate condition. When these chrome trout show up right from the ocean into your beat, you often see them, but sometimes are rewarded with multiple bites or fish in quick succession. As we move into the next week with a new group of guests once again, both the heavy rain on Saturday and the approaching full moon tides have us optimistic for the fishing to come. During the first evening’s warmup session, fish were seen in all beats, with some hooked and landed. Hopefully, the changing conditions will bring a breath of fresh air to the river and all of us here anticipate some good action in the coming days.
Thank you for joining us to appreciate this special place and we hope to see you all on the water soon!
Kau Tapan Lodge – Week 3
Jan 15-22, 2022
This week we were excited to welcome guests from the UK, USA, and Russia. A few returning faces were mixed in with many anglers who were either brand new to sea-run brown trout fishing in the southern hemisphere or fly fishing altogether. Still, all were eager to get on the water and learn about the intricacies of swinging a fly to anadromous fish.
Conditions were tough right off the bat, as the group arrived to heavy rains all over the Rio Grande area. This was a blessing in disguise, however, as the river really needed a bit more water to come into shape. While it was low and clear on the first day, we awoke on the second morning to a significant two-foot rise and off-color water in both the Grande and the Menendez. Igor wasted no time and on the first morning came tight to a few fish immediately. After warming up with a beautiful fresh 13 pounder, he landed the fish of his dreams, a magnificent 93cm, 21b male sea-trout. In the off-color water, big flies were the ticket to some fantastic takes, although it was a bit of work to cover the water to find fish. The second evening we had good news, with clearing water, but a new set of challenges began to manifest in the days to come.
After the initial rise, the river began to drop quickly below its original point. While it came up around two feet to begin the week, it dropped about two and a half. This combined with warming water temperatures to 17C made for difficult fishing in the middle of the day and early afternoon. Winds also blew from the wrong direction, which hindered fishing ability to a significant degree. While there are some pools on the Rio Grande that can accommodate an easterly wind, it is not the norm and both guides and guests had to persevere to achieve success.
Significant catches still came in despite the tough conditions, including an 18lber for Jeremy and back-to-back 16 and 17lbers for first-time spey caster Rick. As he got more into the swing of things, Rick put on a show landing a 20lber and 19lber in the two final days, a fantastic result for never having held a two-hand fly rod before! The final evening, a buzz was in the air at tapas night, as phones were shown around with pictures of trophy fish. Jeremy’s 15lber, Richard’s 16lber, and Robert’s 17lber were all highlights. All in all, some serious quality fish were landed through the week and each angler managed to put a memorable one into the net. Under these conditions, the hard work of our guides was evident to end with this result.
Currently, a bit more rain is on the horizon and with last week’s full moon tides, more fresh fish are entering the river every day. Even during a tough week conditions-wise, the Rio Grande managed to give up more than a few of its special trophies and we are all excited to see what develops in the weeks to come.
Kau Tapan Lodge – Week 4
Jan 22-29, 2022
Last week’s full moon tides and rain had us full of anticipation as we welcomed a group of guests from Norway, the UK, and Argentina. As always, many returning faces were present on arrival day, along with just a few newcomers to the Rio Grande’s sea-trout. The water was still quite low to begin the week, but by the end of the first day the fishing picked up for almost all despite the tough conditions. Notably, Hans warmed up with back-to-back 14 and 17.5lbers from the lower river and Mark landed his first Argentine sea-trout before following it up with one larger of 14lbs.
Day two brought heavy wind in the morning, at least from a westerly direction that decreased a bit in the evening. Didrik was on fire in both sessions, landing two chrome bright 15 and 16lb fish in the morning and ending his day with a 92cm male of 21lbs. The big fish took fairly early in the evening session and was landed after a few strong runs and spectacular jumps. Once these big males sit in the current it can be very difficult to turn them, yet a lifetime of playing large sea-trout and salmon gave Didrik the upper hand this time. These trophy fish are no doubt here and any cast in this river can produce a memory to last a lifetime.
There was a slight 10cm rise in the water on day three, although it quickly dropped to its previous level. Despite the low water, mid-way through the week, it was evident that the fish were here. Every day more and more were seen showing themselves in both the upper and lower sections of our waters. Catches that evening skyrocketed including three fish for Hans in one of the upper beats and two for Helge. This included three fish over the 10b mark. Francisco landed a beautiful bright 19lb hen in the lower river. This fish was extra special because it had barely spent any time in the river at all, as its girth was 50cm. Only here can one find a fish of these proportions! Mark had a fish just over 17lbs as well, capping off a great evening with 8 fish over 10lbs brought to the net between the group.
As the week continued on, the water continued to drop below its pre-rain level, leaving us in need of a bit of rain. Catches for the last few days were still consistent and many smaller fish were brought to hand. Now, a “smaller” fish here is still a sea-trout of 5-8lbs, well above the average anywhere else and these fresh “rugby balls” do not fail to put a smile on the face of any angler. Fish were still seen in all beats, including over 20 showing in some pools, proving that the bulk of the first run is here. As far as techniques, low water tactics prevailed in the latter part of the week, necessitating a bit softer presentation when the wind decided to drop.
Regarding wind, throughout it week it blew from every possible direction, creating challenging conditions at times. Paired with the low water, this did not make for easy fishing, but the payoff was sweet in bright silver. Some fish were landed on the Menendez in the lower section as well, as this is an excellent option when added to our lower beats. The water on this small tributary also continued to drop throughout the week, but fish were caught before it had cleared too much. Roberto landed a fantastic bright male of 15lbs here and other fish of the same size were seen and hooked as well.
All in all, it was a fantastic week with a great group of anglers who were willing to battle tough conditions and put the time in for a strong result. As you can see by the photos below, trophy fish were landed all around, but what is not shown is the persistence and rod time required to tangle with them. Our guides are always here to help with that and all worked hard this week to get the most out of the river. It is truly a team effort to pick apart the Rio Grande and coax the trout of dreams into taking. While the water is still very low, there is no doubt that the fish are here and we are all excited to see what develops in the weeks to come.