Las Buitreras Lodge 2022 Fishing Reports
By: Felix Hansvencl
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Photos at the bottom!
Las Buitreras Lodge
Jan 29-Feb 5, 2022 Week 5
February has arrived and we are very pleased with how the season is developing. Although the water level has been on the low side for a long time now, the fishing remains good, producing consistent numbers. So far we’ve mostly been sticking to our proven tactics in these conditions, mixed up with some methods and flies that we normally don’t try on these water levels. For week 5 we welcomed a group of primarily Swedish anglers, topped off with some American and British flavour. Most of the anglers this week were here for the first time but we also had some returning clients ready to show off some old tricks they learned here in the past. As many Scandinavian groups we have here, almost every guest had at least some experience from Salmon fishing and spey casting.
The group came out guns blazing and had 13 fish landed the first day, the biggest weighing in at 15 lbs. What a start! The river was low but fishing felt really hot with wind from the right direction, helping to create cover for the fish which always helps us to present the fly in the right way. Being able to straighten the leader in a 45 or so degree angle makes a big difference when fishing here and having some wind in the back definitely helps with that. These favorable conditions were also key when Alex, on his first attempt at fly fishing, managed to land a dream fish in pool 75. Alex, here with his uncle Paul who’s been fishing with us many times before, learned to cast quickly and on his second day hooked a real chunker. After some nervous moments and two aborted attempts at netting the fish, Alex managed to get the fish back to the bank a third time and could finally celebrate a stunning 17,5 lbs fish. Paul was obviously happy for his nephew but after some serious interrogations over a bottle of Malbec later that night, admitted he felt a slight sting of jealousy towards his young adept, there as his guest and complete rookie, all of a sudden holding the family record. We feel you Paul, we really do. Jokes aside, Paul was over the moon for Alex and the following day he went out and managed to land a 15 lbs fish in little corner, his biggest for the week. A strong start for this week’s Team USA.
By mid-week everyone in the group had hooked and landed at least one seatrout. First time guest Tony from the UK had a great session on his second day fishing here at Las Buitreras, when he managed to land 2 fish in quick succession, the biggest a solid 14 lbs fish. Stefan from Sweden had a very pleasant “big fish” streak in the middle of the week when he landed a 15, 16,5, and 17 pounder. Not a bad trio of fish to add to his account that also consisted of a good number of fish between 6 and 12 lbs. Stefan, also known as el professore, a nickname he’s earned for analyzing every bit of his fishing in great detail, said it right: “you learn something on every trip you are coming to Las Buitreras and you usually get rewarded for using these new skills”.
Top rod of the week went to our good friend Pontus. After coming here to Las Buitreras several times, he knows what it takes to be successful and this week turned out very well for him. He landed 18 seatrout during his week with Zone 1 being his favourite one as he landed 4 fish each during two sessions over there. As we all know, a four fish session requires a celebratory G&T and Pontus did not disappoint on that part either!
The rest of the Scandis were picking up the fishing technique lightning fast, catching fish after fish. One of the highlights of this week was probably the sighting of a big Puma in Zone 3. The huge animal had been resting behind a couple bushes next to the pool called Cojones for those familiar with this place, and decided to cross the shallow riverbed towards Norwegian Bank, right in front of Carlos, Mats and Anders. A Puma sighting in the midst of a Patagonian sunset isn’t too shabby if you are a wildlife enthusiast. Mats however wanted more out of his evening session and went on to hook no less than three fish after that sighting. Unfortunately they all came loose but perhaps it’s understandable that your nerves are a little on edge after that Puma sighting. We definitely saw an increased amount of looking over the left shoulder from both Mats and Anders during the rest of that session. Nevertheless, an evening not short of excitement here on the Rio Gallegos.
The week started off with cooler temperatures around 8-12 C mark but then slowly climbed its way up 17-18 C by the end of the week. The water level was low at the beginning of the week and decreased even more as the days passed. And when the wind decided to take a break we found ourselves doing some serious stealth mode fishing. Nymphs in size 8-12 were the key most of the time but we also found a few fish that were very happy to smash a fast-stripped sunray shadow on the surface, even during the day. As a gift from the weather gods we did get a nice push of water on the last day so hopes are high for the coming week as the river is in great condition, and dare we say it, yes we do, full of fish!
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 17,5 lbs by Alex W from USA
Top rod of the week: Pontus G from Sweden with 18 sea trout landed
Number of fish over 10 lbs: 22
Average size: 8.6 lbs
Las Buitreras Lodge
Feb 5-12, 2022 Week 6
Week 6 and it was finally time to welcome our good friend Peter and his Sportquest group from the UK. It’s so great to welcome our old friends that we haven’t been able to see for two years now and to meet new excited faces as well. Spending time down here really makes us realize how much we have missed this place and meeting all the wonderful people we are lucky to call our guests each week. And no matter if they are first time visitors or Las Buitreras veterans, the first questions are always the same: What’s the water level like? How many fish did they catch last week? What flies are working best right now? And the best part about it is that it never gets tiring answering these questions. It’s actually one of the best parts of being down here as it reminds us how excited each and every one of you walking through the doors at this estancia really is.
As mentioned in last week’s report, we had some good news regarding the water level for this new group as the river came up significantly friday and saturday and were now back to more normal summer conditions. As the rise didn’t affect the water color almost anything, we kept on with our proven tactics using mostly smaller nymphs with the occasional girdle bug and salmon double here and there.
The weather started off very warm for the week with temperatures up to 29 C (84 F), only to drop all the way to 12 C (54 F) later in the week. In a classical southern patagonian manner, one day to the next we went from wearing only t-shirts and sweating, to wearing six layers and freezing.
Fishing wise the first day started off with a bang when first time visitor Philip caught his biggest fish ever on the first morning. Philip started his session by landing a 9 pounder in Little corner before moving down to Old bridge pool. A well placed cast later and all hell broke loose. Philip was just about to make his second strip when the line was ripped out of his hand and all of a sudden his neatly tied yuk bug was on its way back towards the Atlantic ocean. Backing was flying out of Phillips reel who at this stage was holding on for dear life, still not sure about what was going on. A stunned crowd was watching from the bank as Phillips reel was getting decimated quickly. Luckily the fish decided to turn and run upstreams, and at this stage Phillip was back in the game and on point with his handling of reel and line, keeping enough pressure while the fish was moving up river fast. A few stressful jumps, rushes, and head shakes later, and Phillip was finally able to get the fish close enough to be netted. Staring back at him from the net was a perfect 18 pounder waiting to be released again.
And while high fives and hugs were flying all around at Old Bridge, celebrating Phillips new record, Las Buitreras veteran Big John was battling an even bigger fish down in Cantera in Zone 4. Using all his skill and years of experience he’d managed to hook the fish of a lifetime and was now running around on the bank trying to keep calm and avoiding making any mistakes which is so easy to do when you are fighting a dream fish. “Stay calm, stay calm, don’t force it John”, was repeated in his head as minutes passed and the fish was sitting in the current. 25 minutes later, yes, 25 minutes later, John managed to get the fish close enough to be netted. The reward, a stunning 23 lbs cockfish!
Chris and his son William were on their first big father and son fishing trip together and had decided that Las Buitreras was the place to go. Chris of course has been here before and knew what they were in for. We are not sure however that he had anticipated how quickly Will was going to pick up spey casting and it didn’t take long before Will had a beautiful 14 pounder in the books. What a way to start your spey fishing career. It’s great to see so many young anglers mixing it up with the old guard this season. Will continued by landing two more fish in the 15 lbs range early in the week, putting some real pressure on dad. Chris however has been around this game for years and knows that if you put in the work and stay focused you will eventually be rewarded. And so he was. On the last session of the week, fishing Kitchen, Chris’ highlight came in the form of a proper dream fish that went completely crazy on Chris Green Machine fly. Anyone who has ever fished Kitchen pool knows that catching a big fish in that pool on a light wind day is an absolute dream. A proper way to end a week at Las Buitreras. We hope to see this friendly father and son duel continue in the future.
Neil and John, childhood friends and fishing buddies since the beginning of times, experienced several highlights during the week. One of course being John’s monster fish, but apart from that there was one particular session that stood out a little extra. They had decided to give the pool called Turning bank a go and Neil was in position to make his first cast. Strip strip boom! Fish on but quickly lost. Second cast: strip strip boom! Another fish and unfortunately another fish lost. Third cast: strip strip strip Boom! This time Neil was as sharp as you can ever be and landed a perfect 15 pounder. John, thus far a spectator in this particular pool, figured that well if there are three fish in three casts, why wouldn’t there be four. He went down to the bottom of the pool, made one long cast and Bang! Fish was on and taking line but just as the fish stopped it’s run downstream the fly came loose. One landed and three lost in four casts may not be the best landing ratio but it makes for a hell of a story and we’re sure they will never pass turning bank again without making at least one cast. As a side note they finished that session with four fish landed between them.
Even though this was a week full of action throughout, perhaps the most memorable stories were created on the first and the last day. We’ve already told you about Phillips’ first day with landing his personal best 18 lbs fish. Well the last day is a story about his fishing partner, 84 year young Ross, who was casting and fishing like a machine all week but somehow had very little to show for it. He lost a nice fish in Lawson pool early in the week and had a few bites here and there but nothing landed as he came into the friday afternoon session. Back in zone 2 and Little Corner where he began the week six days earlier Ross was fishing the upper section of the pool and covering the water as well as anyone could. About halfway down the pool, on a perfect swing the line came tight followed by a big swirl. Everyone watching could tell this was a big fish, and so could Ross seconds later as the fish went airborne before taking off down the river. Ross, standing on a gravel bank with a high cut bank behind him had very little space to maneuver but played the fish perfectly from his tight quarters. Especially considering he had no less than 4 people constantly giving him directions on what to do and not to do. With over 70 years of fishing experience you would think he probably knows how to fight a fish but in the midst of the excitement it’s sometimes hard to stay calm even for the guides. Ten minutes later the fish was in the net. A perfect 15 pounder and wild celebrations took place on the bank. That was probably the most well deserved fish of the week and really made the week for the whole group.
Fishing buddies David and Greg were a force to be reckoned with and the banter between them never stopped. Being good casters they fished really well all week and after missing several strikes and eventually losing a couple fish as well, they both managed to land some nice fish. David especially managed to miss fish almost every session until he finally landed a really nice 11 pounder in Barranca Blanca. Greg claimed David caught his fish using a bobber and worm but the guide said differently. In this case we’ll give David the benefit of the doubt and add it to the catch book.
Niall who’s no stranger to the Las Buitreras beats came in hot from the get go and started racking up fish from the first session. He eventually ended up with 19 landed and several fish in the 14 to 16 lbs range. A very impressive number and a good challenge for him to beat next year.
Our friends from Sweden, Pontus, Stefan, and Patrik had extended their week in Buitreras with three days in Zone Zero and were catching both brown trout and seatrout on a regular basis. Patrik managed to end his 9 day trip the way everyone hopes to, by landing a 14 pounder on his last cast of the trip. Coming back to the lodge for a last lunch before flying back to Sweden his smile from ear to ear said it all. Another highlight from Zone Zero this week was Pontus 18 lbs hen fish caught in the last light on a sunray shadow on the exact same spot as he lost an even bigger cock fish the night before. As happy and relieved as he was after landing that beautiful fish he still couldn’t stop thinking about the fish he lost the night before. Somehow in fishing it’s always about the ones that got away and perhaps that’s why we all keep coming back to the river.
A huge thanks to Peter C for bringing such a great group of people yet again! We are really looking forward to seeing all of you next season.
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 23 lbs by John D from UK
Top rod of the week: Niall M and John D from UK with 19 sea-run brown trout landed each
Number of fish over 10 lbs: 34
Number of fish over 15 lbs: 8
Average size: 9.8 lbs
Las Buitreras Lodge
Feb 12-19, 2022 Week 7
It feels like the weeks are flying by and here we are, week 7, and already at the midpoint of the season. This week was hosted by Mr Solid himself, Christer Sjöberg and his wife Annacarin who were accompanied by a group of dear friends from all over the world such as Sweden, Iceland, France, USA, UK and Germany. This week has always been an entertaining one with spectacular stories around the dinner table and we are happy to report that 2022 did not disappoint. Apart from the storytelling we had a very productive fishing week with every guest catching as well as losing their fair share of fish.
The water level had dropped back a bit for the start of this week but was still good enough for most pools to work fine. By the end of the week however we saw a nice rise again which has been an occurring theme throughout the season so far. We also had good wind for most of our sessions which created some good conditions to cover water. Along with the wind came some stable weather with temperatures around 14-18 C (57-64 F) and mostly cloud covered skies which we of course always like to see here at Las Buitreras as it gives us and the fish a better cover. Our last hour of fishing was also this week a very productive one, bringing us a good bunch of fish to the net on a regular basis. This was also the case for the two biggest seatrouts of this week. First it was Jean Luc who hooked up to a crazy hen fish that immediately after being hooked ran in lightning speed upriver, over weed lines when it suddenly swam zickzack through the whole river with a great run downstream at the end. Same place during magic hour got our good friend Chris T, an amazing cock fish that hammered his Sunray Shadow a during full moon session. Both fish hit the scale at 18 lbs and were landed in the lower part of Island Stream. Chris and his fishing partner John were both showing that they learned a lot of small details over the years and were landing big fish during the week. John was successful in our honey hole, 75, with a great 15 lbs seatrout as well as in Heavy Weight landing a beautiful 16 lbs seatrout.
Alex S, being at Las Buitreras for the first time and also on his first real proper fishing trip for an anadromous species, had an amazing week. It started off with the first day being the windiest of the season so far. Some people might think there is no way to hook a fish or even cast a line in 130 km/h of wind. Well, Alex managed to land three fish in these conditions, being a Spey casting beginner! Nothing is impossible. We switched to Green Lanterns and Yellow Yummy streamers on that day as the wind obviously brought up a lot of sediments from the river bottom. It was good to finally be able to fish bigger flies again. Furthermore, he was able to land two 14 lbs seatrouts during his week, a great achievement and probably something he will remember forever as he also finished the week as top rod, sharing it with Chris who both landed 12 seatrouts during their week. Alex’s fishing partner for the week, Kevin from the US, visited Las Buitreras for the second time. He finished the week very strong by landing two fish on the last day, the second a mean 14 lb henfish landed in Lawson pool, one of the trickier pools to fish. Both caught on his new favorite fly, an olive flashback nymph in size 10.
Hans and Claes, close friends from Sweden, kept the group entertained with a constant friendly banter between them. Claes, known for his dinner time stories kept the tradition alive and even managed to inspire other members of the group to share some great stories. Claes visited us as early as 2003 for the first time and knows the river as the back of his hand. Fishing wise his highlight came when he landed a gorgeous 15 pounder in Little Corner.
Our second Swedish Team, Frank and Pontus, were enjoying their time away from a cold Scandinavia to the fullest, switching between catching fish and drinking Quilmes on the riverbank. One of many highlights for them was when both landed a double digit fish from 75 during the same session.
Annakarin was on fire as always and started catching fish as soon as she hit the water. Christer and Jean Luc couldn’t stop laughing when discussing how she was constantly catching fish both behind and in front of them. Even though she only fished for 2 days in Las Buitreras before going up to our new program Glencross, she managed to land several fish and lost a couple really nice ones right by the net. One of her highlights was landing a fresh 15 lbs chromer at Cogedero.
Team Iceland, Tryggvi/Heizi/Sigpor, traveled from one dream destination to another in order to see how we do it down in Argentina. A great small group of friends that are just as fishy as one would expect from guys that spend most of their time on the water chasing trout and other sea run species. After getting used to the wind, which usually takes a day or two when you have never fished in Southern Patagonia, they all did very well and landed some really nice seatrout both on single and double handed rods. Tryggvi really found his groove in Zone 1 and ended up landing a 13, 14, 15 and 17 lbs fish up there. Heizi, inspired by Claes constant storytelling decided to share a real jaw dropper of his own one night around the dinner table, causing a few guys to swallow their locally brewed draft beer or Malbec in the wrong pipe. There certainly was no shortage of entertainment this week! Thank you guys.
Last but not least, we had two other newcomers in our week. Peter from the UK and Michael from Germany, who both came mid-week to start their trip with three days in Zone Zero to get into the rhythm before doing their full week at the classic Las Buitreras beats. They both experienced some exceptional fishing in Zone Zero and Michael caught his first ever seatrout on a single handed rod, and what a fish it was. A fresh 13 lbs fish that took him way into his backing several times over. For people who never experienced this type of fishing it is pretty exciting to see your backing for the first time in your life. Peter, an experienced salmon and trout angler, was fishing like a machine from day one landing 4 seatrout up to 12 lbs, one of them on a dry fly! Apart from that they both caught numerous big brownies. A great start for them. Their story will continue next week.
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 18 lbs by Chris T from USA and Jean Luc from France
Top rod of the week: Chris T from USA and Alex S from Germany with 12 sea-run brown trout landed each
Number of fish over 10 lbs: 31
Average size: 9.2 lbs
Las Buitreras Lodge
Feb 19-26, 2022 Week 8
Week 8 saw some good old friends coming back to the lodge during the regular FlyNature hosted week from Felix Hansvencl. Accompanied by some first-timers the whole group has been here now for the last 7 years and we don’t have to mention that all of them were more than happy being able to set their foot into the lodge again after such a long break due to the pandemic. This week’s nationality mix consisted of Germany, UK, Italy and Sweden. It is always a pleasure to see how friendships are created during those trips and this group is a good example as we feel, despite always having different characters and age groups around, at the end of the week everyone enjoys having shared some special moments on and off the water. In addition to that, the group experienced some exceptional fishing throughout the week with 108 seatrout landed, although we were experiencing changing wind directions and warm/sunny days.
We started the week with a good push of water and the river came up around 40 cm but remained clear all week. Hopes were high that with high tides and this rise we will see even more fish in the system as we already have had so far, the run has been exceptional. These hopes became reality as we did see a lot of smaller and medium-sized fishes which also stirred up fish that entered the Gallegos earlier. Therefore we hooked into some stunning fish during the week, with a mix of very fresh fish and some coloured seatrouts. Especially the most upper parts of our Las Buitreras beats produced some of the biggest ones, with C-Pool and Turning Bank working exceptionally well.
Toni found his holy grail in C-Pool already on day 3 when he hooked into a brute of a seatrout on the far out channel. The fish went way into the backing several times running both up and down the pool. Playing a fish of this size in such a small run is an amazing experience and really puts your nerves to the test. Toni managed to keep his cool throughout the fight however and after some tense moments during the netting he was staring down at a whopping 20 lbs cockfish. Memories for a lifetime, for sure! And to make it even better, a few days later he landed another 17,5 lbs there as well, he certainly did hit a jackpot this week. In another part of the river, first time visitor Willi found his momentum fishing the lower zones and managed to land a fresh 10 lbs seatrout in Barranca Negra. And with that that hole zone came alive with fish being hooked and landed every session.
Sven, here for the 6th time, landed a crazy kyped 14 lbs seatrout, Peter landed a beautiful 16 lbs fish in the dark over there and Eckhardt convinced a 13,5 lbs fish with our classic Copper John nymph in the run. Marco found a new favorite pool in Turning Bank and we almost had to drag him out of it after landing several fish in each of his two sessions there, not counting the fish he hooked and lost. His wife, Amanda, however was on for a run this week giving Marco a hard time on the water. Casting and covering the water like a champ, she basically just kept on catching fish. Highlight of her trip was probably a double hookup in La Recta, when we in the end had two fish in the net at the same time! Obviously, she caught the bigger one, an impressive 18 lbs seatrout. Well done Amanda!
Sven and Dirk already fished together the last few times and were a dialed in team from Day 1. First Sven got a hold of a nice 12 pounder with his last cast in the dark at Cantera then Dirk landed three fish during one session two days later. Combined with some great laughs in the car in between pools, this week was a great reunion and definitely not the last one for them.
Alex B had his moment on Day 3 while fishing upper 1 with Eckhardt. Felix and Rick just arrived and were joking that they wanted to see something, when a couple of casts later they experienced a spectacular fight. Alex made a nice cast in Coco´s when his small nymph got inhaled right away causing a huge swirl and a fish swimming upstream against the drag. That was a big fish for sure. One thing you learn quickly here at Las Buitreras, these big fish got that big for a reason, they know every dirty trick in the book. It swam over onto the shallow bank trying to scrub the hook and leader on the shallow gravel bank. This is a scene we have seen before with big fish and we knew we had to move the fish away from the shallows as soon as possible. Alex managed to put just enough pressure to not break the leader or pull the fly out while still moving the fish back into deeper water. Luckily the hook did stick and after seeing the fish standing in the current like a shark with its paddle and backfin looking out of the water we could finally net it. Relief for Alex and all of us around, what a moment. His fishing partner Ecki who had been fishing another pool several hundred meters down came up to congratulate and celebrate the beautiful fish. Eckhardt landed another beautiful 14 lbs sea run a day earlier in Kitchen pool.
First-timer Tim C from the UK was fishing with his good friend, Axel. 3 years after deciding to visit Las Buitreras Tim was finally able to set his feet on the banks of the Rio Gallegos. His first week was definitely a good one, writing down two 16 lbs, a 19,5 lbs and a 12 lbs fish into the book by the end of the week, just to mention a few. We are very happy that this week turned out this well for you together with Axel who as well landed a beautiful chrome 12 lbs sea run in LA Recta mid-week. Our first-timers Peter and Michael started their visit with 3 days in Zone Zero to get into the rhythm. They both started catching fish from day one and never looked back, catching fish on a daily basis throughout their trip! First Peter set a mark with landing three fish in Zone 1 the first evening, with a cracking 18 pounder in Kitchen which he could trick with his Vitamin Nymph. After that Michael also started his run with two fish over 15 lbs on Day 2, having in mind that he just started his spey casting and was on his first real fishing trip.
Pontus, Alex S and Nick W were enjoying some great brown trout fishing in Zone Zero with some windless and warm days offering good conditions to stalk them also with dry flies, such as mouse patterns or grasshoppers. Pontus was keen on the seatrout and was finding his spot at Weeds pool over the week where he landed several nice fish.A great week comes to an end, thank you all for making this one possible!
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 20 lbs by Toni from Germany
Top rod of the week: Alex B from Germany with 13 sea-run brown trout landed
Number of fish over 10 lbs: 43
Number of fish over 15 lbs: 17
Average size: 9,3 lbs