Las Buitreras Lodge 2022 Fishing Reports
See all photos at the very bottom.
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Las Buitreras Lodge
Jan 1-8, 2022 Week 1
We can’t express how happy we are to write these lines, reporting about our first week of the Las Buitreras season in 2022. It feels good to finally be back, seeing clients and friends again after missing the entire 2021 season due to the pandemic. Although travelling currently requires a bit more paperwork than pre-covid, we’re happy to report that once you land in Argentina the entry process is as smooth as it could possibly be. Very good news after some challenging times and the excitement level couldn’t be higher. We are now finally looking forward to a new season at our favorite place on this planet.
The first group celebrating the start of this season with us was a team with great fishermen from Norway. The group was a mix of people that have visited Las Buitreras several times in the past and a few newcomers who were excited to get to know the Las Buitreras experience and see Patagonia in all its beauty. In addition to that, they were able to celebrate New Years at the lodge which is not a bad way to start the year! The water level was quite low the first few days but it didn’t affect the fishing too much as we saw plenty of fish in the system, especially in our holding pools, and as the week went by we also saw a few pushes of water which encouraged even more fish to move up the river from the estuary.
To find success at Las Buitreras during low water conditions requires delicate presentations and gentle wading. Elements which this group mastered to a tee.
During the daytime we mainly fished different versions of the popular Copper John nymphs in size 8 and 10, mixed with the occasional girdle bug. Once the light started to fade and we approached the so-called Magic Hour, nymphs were dumped and replaced by leeches and sunray shadows. As is often the case the last hour of fishing produced some magnificent fish in the 15 – 20 lbs range. The first day already started off great with a few fish in the double digit range. Just to mention a few of them: Jörgen S landed a beautiful 13,5 lbs fish in Barranca Blanca, Björn Hugo H got a 17 lbs and 13 lbs in pool 75 and Steinar S hooked into a 15 lbs seatrout in good old Bridge pool.
The biggest fish of the week was landed by Anders B (“El pensativo”), the only Swede in the group. Anders was covering Barranca Blanca, fishing a black leech as we often do in the evenings when the light starts to fade, when he ran into what would turn out to be the biggest landed fish of the week; a super fresh 20,5 pounder coming straight from the ocean and still having that blueish shine we love so much.
A few days later Marcus G (Rey de la noche) decided to give his 7 wt single hand rod a workout in Old Bridge pool. After fishing the pool through once without any luck Markus guide Santiago convinced him to start at the top of the pool again and it took him only 3 casts to justify this decision when he hooked into a stunning 20 lbs seatrout. Anyone who knows how it is to be connected with such a fish on the single hander will agree that this is probably one of the most special experiences there is. Well done Marcus!
Our Norwegian friends did an amazing job hooking into fish over 10 lbs. Due to the conditions and requirement to fish very small flies we unfortunately also lost quite a lot of fish which just shows that we had a great amount of seatrout in the river and the run is on! The prospects for next week are looking good as we have just yesterday seen even more, mostly good-sized fish, moving in the lower beats.
Top rod of the week was a split family affair between “El Frijol”, Bjorn Hugo, and Marius, both with 12 sea-run browns landed.
A big thank you to Steinar S for bringing such a great group of anglers over to Las Buitreras. We enjoyed every minute of this week, a special one indeed!
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 20,5 lbs by Anders B from Norway
Top rod of the week: Bjorn Hugo H with 12 sea-run brown trout landed
Number of fish over 10 lbs: 35
Number of fish with 15 lbs or bigger: 13
Number of fish with 20 lbs or bigger: 2
Average size: 10,6 lbs
Las Buitreras Lodge
Jan 8-15, 2022 Week 2
Week 2 started off with good news for our group. We again saw a small rise of water on Saturday which is always a good sign as it on the one hand encourages more fish to enter the system and also keeps them being active. This obviously got everyone quite excited, and after our welcome dinner where guests were served Bife de Lomo (beef tenderloin) and Malbec wine, rods and reels where rigged up immediately. Floating Scandi shooting heads were the main choice with the occasional intermediate tip rigged as a back up.
Weather wise we experienced temperatures in the 10-15 C range during what we call peak summer down here. This was combined with a few days of rather strong wind, which fortunately came from the right direction in order for us to easily cover the pools properly. Down here the wind is your friend (most of the time), and with the low water conditions the wind gives the fish that extra sense of protection as well as giving us anglers a tiny more room for splashing around. The approach didn’t change in comparison to last week and we mainly fished nymphs in size 8 to 10, sometimes being replaced by the good old girdle or yuk bug when the wind got stronger, allowing us to fish bigger patterns.
This weeks group consisted of clients from USA and the UK, several visiting us here at Las Buitreras for the first time. And then of course we had had some Las Buitreras regulars such as Michael B, who most of you probably know from our video The Blakely Testimonial ADD LINK along with father and son duo Bill and Will. To top of the list of Las Buitreras veterans we had the pleasure of hosting Jamie from Scotland. Our guests from the US changed their Steelhead Skagit rigs to a lighter Scandi style setup and quickly got successful with Tom T experiencing an absolute amazing evening in Zone 1 on the second day. He made it look easy when he first landed a stunning 18,5 lbs fish in Turning Bank, only to move on down to Molino and land a 19 lbs seatrout just 20 minutes later. The second fish remained the biggest fish landed of the week. Both fish were caught on the same EMB fly from Salar flies. Certainly an evening to remember for Tom.
In terms of numbers, Jamie M from Scotland had a good week and managed to land 20 seatrout, giving him the top rod of the week honors. Jamie has been coming here for many years and his skills and experience of fishing this river in different types of conditions really paid off this week.
Mid week we experienced one day with very strong winds which gave our guests a good casting workout to cover the water. Saying this, we usually experience a decreasing wind in the evenings which was also the case on that particular day. Bill and Will, father and son from the USA, for example used this time wisely hooking into fish at the same time. Bill unfortunately lost a nice fish in Raquel while his son Will was a bit luckier landing a perfectly shaped 13 lbs fresh fish in Tiura after he was taken way into his backing on the initial run downstream
The week went by and we had a blast every evening hearing stories from around the world always combined with a good laugh. Definitely a week that created a lot of jokes and moments that probably go into the books for the next decades.
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 19 lbs by Tom T from USA
Top rod of the week: Jamie M from Scotland with 20 sea-run brown trout landed
Number of fish over 10 lbs: 14
Average size: 9,1 lbs
Las Buitreras Lodge
Jan 15-22, 2022 Week 3
Week 3 and we had the pleasure of welcoming a multinational group of guests from the UK, US, and Norway. Half the group consisted of old friends who’ve been here more than 10 times, and half the group were made up first time guests. For the veterans nothing was new in terms of weather and conditions but for the first timers the extreme changes in weather was a bit of a surprise when they got to experience temperatures ranging from 29 C (84f) mid day, dropping all the way down to around 6 C (42f) in the mornings. That’s why we always emphasize to bring several layers of clothes so that you can easily adapt to the quick changes. We did get a small rise of water early in the week but towards the end of the week we were pretty much back to where we started. Despite these changing conditions, we can already say at this point that this week has been a really good one.
We saw a huge number of fish especially on those sunny days in really clear low water. Without exaggerating we can say with certainty that we saw several schools of 50 to 100 fish moving up the river during the week. A truly spectacular sight that made the whole group fish with great enthusiasm.
The number of fish running up this river each year still amazes us and we feel privileged being able to offer our clients the most productive water on this river, showing them that there are still places on this planet where we have a healthy anadromous fish population.
With the amount of fish we saw during the week, we were obviously optimistic for some great fishing, even though the river was fairly low with several low and no wind days. Keith and Nick as an example experienced a crazy last day where they landed 6 fish and lost 9. Two of those fish were caught on a single hander and the biggest of those two was 15 lbs. Nick lost a monster that snapped his line, yes line, when it got snagged around a rock near the bank. We normally don’t have a lot of obstacles in the water here but this fish found one and made use of it.
David and Derek, who have been coming here since we first opened the doors almost 20 years ago, had some great fishing and landed a good number of fish throughout their 9 days of fishing. Starting off with 3 days in our new Zone Zero program where they already got into a few really good seatrout, getting warmed up for their week to follow. Even though they fished perfectly all week, landing some super nice fish, their reason for being here is just as much about enjoying the whole experience from the fishing to the food, the lodge, the surroundings and the feeling of escaping the world for a week. We are so happy that you keep choosing to come back to visit us every season.
Father and son team Sten and Chris, had a great week hooking fish on a constant basis, ending the week with 10 fish landed each. How about that for keeping the family peace. Sten, who was here for the 13th time started the week strong and was way ahead in terms of numbers halfway throughout the week but after one of our guides taught Chris (here for the second time) how to utilize a snake roll cast in certain conditions he started catching up quickly. We can’t wait to see how this unfolds next year. First time visitor Paul, perhaps the most appreciative guest we have ever had the pleasure of hosting here, had a strong start to the week and managed to hook no less than 3 really big seatrout the first two days. Unfortunately all of them came off in different ways, but he was grinning ear to ear due to the fact that he had managed to hook that type of fish on his first time trying spey fishing in this type of environment. He was eager to learn each day, went out during siesta to practice his casting and got rewarded during the week with his first seatrout.
Justin and Craig couldn’t have spent a better week here on the Rio Gallegos. After hooking a bunch of fish on his spey rod Justin decided to work his single hander when the wind died down. He immediately hooked into a 15 lbs fish in the pool called Flats, a fish he 15 minutes later ended up landing at the bottom of light weight, appr. 500 meters downstream. Landing this sized fish on single handers in low clear water is the pinnacle of seatrout fishing in this river. It’s what we all hope to experience one day when the conditions align and we are happy to see several clients achieving it the same week. His fishing partner and first-time spey fisher Craig skipped the whole learning process and went straight to catching fish, landing three fish the first day, biggest weighing 16 lbs. Then on their last evening session the stars aligned for Justin while fishing Cantera. He first hooked into a fish after 10 min, that fish came off immediately and we changed to a slightly bigger fly and hook, size 8 Copper John, which turned out to be a good decision. A few casts later and he was on again, a huge swirl in the water, followed by a tank-sized seatrout coming out of the water crashing down on the water sideways. The big gravel bank at Cantera and just a light breeze made this one sound like someone dropped a three story house into the water. Heart rates went up and Justin was playing the fish perfectly, keeping his cool when the fish went deep into his backing. You just realize that a fish this size is a different game and there is only so much you can do other than keeping the tension and praying. We got it close to the bank 2-3 times until finally picking our moment to try and net it. The reward: A whopping 21 lbs fish, the biggest fish of the season so far and also the biggest fish for Justin here at Las Buitreras! What a fish and experience. Big congrats Justin! Just as a side note, Justin and Craig landed another five fish up to 15 lbs the next morning before their departure, serious mojo going on here.
Ed and Laurence, also here for the first time fished like total veterans and hooked fish after fish on both single and double handed rods. These two friends weren’t short of joking around all day long and the fun part was definitely on the high side during their fishing sessions. Laurence in the end also turned out to be top rod of the week with 12 fish landed, on his first trip! What a great team and we already look forward to seeing you two again soon!
David, here for the third time from the USA, landed 6 sea trout in his first two days of fishing Zone Zero, ending his add-on trip, before his actual Las Buitreras week coming up now, with his biggest fish ever so far. An amazing 15,5 lbs chromerr. Not a bad start for getting into your regular fishing week. The go-to flies were nymphs in size 8-10, as well as small salmon doubles like the green or red butt. Exciting times, we can’t wait to see what the next weeks will bring!
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 21 lbs by Justin M S from UK
Top rod of the week: Laurence from UK with 12 sea-run brown trout landed
Number of fish over 15 lbs: 10
Number of fish over 10 lbs: 26
Average size: 10 lbs
Las Buitreras Lodge
Jan 22-29, 2022 Week 4
Another week in the books at Las Buitreras as we head into the last days of January. Despite the low water level we still see big numbers of fish in the river. With the river being relatively shallow one would expect almost all fish to take shelter in the many holding pools along the Las Buitreras beats. And while those pools do hold plenty of fish, we still catch really good numbers in the shallow, faster runs and spots that one would speculate would only work with higher water levels.
The group this week was a team from the USA, brought over by our good friend John Bilotta. Apart from John, David and Tom, who’ve all been here before, the group consisted of first time visitors. What made the week even more interesting and exciting was that several of the guests had very little experience fishing with spey rods, some none whatsoever, which always makes it a fun challenge. What better place to try out Spey fishing for the first time than in southern Patagonia! At least as long as the wind is in your back. Looking back now we have to say that all of them did exceptionally well and by the end of the week everyone was able to cover the water well. Best of all, everyone was able to both land and lose several sea trout and resident browns during the week.
We started the week with pretty strong winds, which can be a bit overwhelming when you are new to spey fishing or just aren’t used to these types of weather. For David, John and Tom however, who’ve all been here before, we don’t even think they noticed the wind. As everyone who’s ever fished in these waters knows, the wind is your friend, and after a session or two everyone got used to it and started using the wind to their advantage. As one should and need when fishing down here. As the week passed the wind calmed down quite a bit and we got to experience real summer days too with high temperatures and almost no wind at all. The “no wind” days are usually quite humbling when you realize that casting without the help from the wind can be somewhat challenging and that your leader doesn’t really straighten out the way it did with some wind in the back.
With the water remaining low we stuck to the same tactics as previous weeks, mostly fishing small nymphs like the copper john size 10 or 8 during the day, and switched to leeches and sunray shadows during last light. As far as fishing experiences goes, it’s hard to beat a violent seatrout take in the surface.
We had many reasons to celebrate during the week, keeping the Malbec flowing until the early hours each night accompanied by some great stories from the river. Susan, for example, had an exceptional experience on day 3 when she landed her first ever seatrout in Little Corner, only to follow it up by landing three more fish that same evening. A four fish day here on your first visit is nothing less than spectacular and very impressive. An exceptional day for her and a reward for being so positive and staying focused at all times while fishing. Susan and her fishing partner for the week, Tom, formed a great team and improved both casting and fishing throughout the week. For that they were rewarded with hooking some really nice fish. Some that they landed, and some that got away.
Another great example of positiveness and optimism being rewarded was George, choosing to visit Las Buitreras for his first fishing trip ever. Yes, ever! Take away 3 or 4 sessions with a spinning rod spread out over a period of 50 years and you have what we would classify as a beginner. He explained to us that after telling his father he had booked a trip to Argentina to go fishing, his fathers only reply was: “Well, I’m not worried about the fish”! Maybe he should have been, as George, after figuring out how to use his brand new rod, reel, line combo, managed to land not only his first seatrout ever, but was also inches away from landing an absolute pig that he hooked in pool 75. After fighting the fish perfectly for almost 10 minutes and having the fish on the bank, the fish used up his last energy reserves and bolted out again, snapping the leader and never looking back. George however didn’t seem to be bothered at all and came back to the lodge all smiles and laughs, just as he did every day, explaining that his poor guide was crying in the car after George had lost 3 fish that afternoon in less than an hour.
David, calmness personified, had a good story to tell after fishing Zone 1 in the evening. He was fishing Turning bank which is one of our faster runs, when on the last cast he hooked into an absolute beast of a seatrout. This fish, as so many of the big guys do, moved into the deep pool below the run and decided to just sit in the current for what seemed like ages. When David finally managed to move him and after what felt like an eternity got him close to the weedbank at the bottom of the pool, our guide got a first close look at the fish and momentarily frose. This was a solid 10 kg plus fish sitting a little too deep and far away for the net. After sitting there for a few seconds David managed to get him closer and just when it was about to be netted it did one of those dreadful headshakes and the fly came loose. While our guide was sitting down on his knees, net in hands shaking his head David just laughed it off, stating: you can’t catch them all!
Lovely couple both in life as well as on the river, Mary and Burr, representing the trout unlimited fishing club, were also enjoying their first stay at Las Buitreras. Burr, keen to get going from the moment he arrived, didn’t waste any time on his first day, immediately landing an amazing 16 lbs chrome cock fish. No warm up needed apparently. This fish ended up being the second biggest fish of the week, only a couple lbs shy of the number one spot. But Burr had no reason to be sad about missing the number 1 spot, not that he cared anyway, because after a late night discussion with George we decided to add some Swedish flavor to this all US week and handed out participation trophies to everyone involved. “Everyone’s a winner”, something that is actually true when fishing. And with that, we transition back to top rod of the week, which was shared between John B and Mark R, both with 8 seatrout landed. Mark R was another first timer at Las Buitreras that came here with the intent of learning how to spey cast. Even though he stayed dedicated to the spey casting most of the week, and with great success at that, he did make the most out of the calmer days and used his great single hand casting skills to land some really nice fish in the double digit range. An impressive feat during those no wind sessions in this clear and low water.
A big thank you to John for bringing such an amazing group of people. We can’t wait until we see you next year.
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 18 lbs
Top rod of the week: John B and Mark R from USA with 8 sea-run brown trout landed
Number of fish over 10 lbs: 17
Average size: 9.8 lbs