Villa Maria Lodge 2022 Fishing Reports
By Alejandro Martello – Villa María Lodge Fishing Manager
To book your week in 2023 just Email or Call 434-249-1783
Photos at the bottom!
Villa Maria Lodge
Jan 28-Feb 4, 2022 Week 5
Another successful week is over at Villa María Lodge and we had the pleasure to receive some old house friends and a couple of newcomers.
The weather was a typical midsummer week in the Rio Grande and that means dry, with days of hard winds (we had a day of 90km/h+ West wind) but usually warmer than the prior weeks and with some days of really calm wind and breathtaking sunsets.
The major change this week came from the river. In a week its level dropped around 30cm with really clear water. This was the biggest change we have seen from the river in the whole season and we had to act according to it.
Of course, in this kind of situation, the steps to do are: reduce the size of the flies, lift those heavy sinking tips and change them for light ones, be extremely quiet wading into fish and choose casting techniques that are the least aggressive noise-wise.
With all this put together, we changed leeches for nymphs and T14 tips for full floaters or slow sinkers. So, small nymphs and rubber legs, and long leaders were the best solutions. Of course, the leeches remained used successfully, especially on those windy days and late evenings.
Single-handed rods and switch double-handed started to be used more often in these conditions as the casts are much shorter than 2 weeks ago and the presentation and stealthiness of the casts were a priority on those calm and sunny days.
Among all the great guests we have last week, we want to mention to Alan S. that with his 86 years of life decided to visit us for the first time, dealing with the conditions, accepted our suggestions, and ended the week with a beautiful 15lbs spanking fresh sea trout in his last session of the week.
Let’s hope the upcoming weeks are as good as this one!
Largest fish of the week: 21lbs Fish over 15lbs: 28
Villa Maria Lodge
Feb 4-11, 2022 Week 6
In our Midseason week, the weather presented stable and predictable and very similar to the previous week. No rain, a day or two of hard winds but warm and pleasant evenings.
The river remained at the same level as the week before with no significant changes in temperature or clarity. We have to remember that the week before the river dropped 30cm.
With these stable conditions, the fishing was nothing but superlative and we closed the fishing week with the highest number of catches of the season (so far) with a whooping 110 fish landed. And it was not just good in the number of fish landed but also in the size. 5 out of the 6 guests got a 20+ fish and the 6th-rod fell once short with 19.5lbs a highlight was during the last session of the last day when Sandy landed a fantastic 25+lbs fresh cock fish hanging from a stone fly nymph.
The fishing setup was almost unchanged from last week. So, small nymphs and rubber legs, and long leaders were the best choices. Of course, the leeches remained used successfully, especially on the windy days and late evenings.
Single-handed rods and switch double-handed saw a lot of action again as shorter and well-presented casts were mandatory to succeed.
Looking forward to the upcoming week being as good as this one!
Largest fish of the week: 25lbs Fish over 15lbs: 32
Villa Maria Lodge
Feb 11-18, 2022 Week 7
Another week went through at Villa Maria with the lodge full of old friends of the house. A great week, full of stories and memories from decades of visiting the Rio Grande.
Weather-wise we were punished by the wind as it did set a new season’s record when last Sunday it reached an incredible 130km/h speed (80 mph), turning that day almost unfishable as the waves and the gusts made difficult to get in the river even in shallow stretches. We had a couple of days with 90km/h winds but compared to that Sunday, they felt kind of pleasant.
Those windy conditions influenced the water condition as the intense wind and big waves stirred muddy banks and lifted a great number of sediments causing cloudiness and reducing drastically the visibility in it. We have to add to the mix a 10-15cm raise in the water due to early snow in the headwaters that along the week melted fast. This pulse of water went through very fast and within a day the river raised and dropped again to its level.
With all that taken into account, we had to make obvious choices in regards to the fishing setups. Long and heavy sink tips, short and thicker than usual leaders, and leeches were the go-to rigs to fish every pool. When the conditions get that extreme we choose to use high visibility flies and you can choose between big silhouette flies (like intruders) and/or smaller colorful patterns (like leeches). Chartreuse, orange, black, purple, or pink, or combinations of them, are colors that become obvious to use when you step into a brown-colored river. Its also commendable to use weighted patterns, either with dumbbell eyes or cone-heads as they usually fly better into the wind and break the surface faster to reach the desired depth, especially in these extreme conditions where you cast and fish “as you can” and not “as you want”.
Even with these conditions, the fishing was fine with days averaging up to 13.7lbs per fish. One of the highlights of the week belonged to Bob S., who, at his 84 years of life, caught the biggest of the week (21lbs) following his long-time tradition. Bob is in the Wall of Fame of both Villa Maria and Kau Tapen Lodge for catching the biggest fish of the season. Kudos Bob!
As stated before, most of the time we choose sinking tips ranging 10 to 15 feet in length with sinking rates from a classic Sink 6 (6 inches per second) to the most modern T lines, especially T11 and T14 but these tips, as they have a higher sinking rate, were shorter in a range of 10 to 12 ft. depending on the pool, speed of the water and size/weight of the fly.
Weather forecasts state that in the upcoming weeks we won’t have strong winds anymore but some showers, low temperatures, and east wind will show up. Probably that would be the beginning of the autumn weather.
Largest fish of the week: 21 lbs.
Villa Maria Lodge
Feb 20-27, 2022 Week 8
The 8th week of 2022 Season at Villa Maria Lodge was a little different from the others. Not because of the fishing, which was great in fact, but some of our friends couldn’t arrive due to Covid related issues leaving the house half full.
Another major difference with prior weeks was the weather. Coming from a week that topped 130km/h wind’s gusts, having a full fishing week of pleasant weather was very welcome for both the fishermen and the guides who had been being challenged since the beginning of the season.
With this calm weather and the river with low water, we had to go as fine as we could to induce the fish to take the flies. That open the chance to try almost everything we had in the box having takes with almost every technique used, but dry or skated flies. Single hand rods rigged with floating lines and tiny nymphs were as effective as more traditional setups when they were used in the right spot.
Aside from the use of light setups, we did use more traditional systems (for Rio grande fishing) like sinking tips ranging 10 to 15 feet of length with sinking rates from a classic Sink 3 (3 inches per second) to the most modern T lines, especially T11 in a range of 10 to 12 ft. depending on the pool, speed of the water and size/weight of the fly. Another substitution we made was to change the ever-ready Skaggit lines for the more subtle and lighter Scandi lines.
March is around the corner and autumn weather is about to come. Probably next week we will see some scattered rains and, hopefully, some of that water will reach the river system and raise the level of it, speeding up the pools and waking up some of the lurkers that are hiding in deep and dark stretches.
Largest fish of the week: 21 lbs. Total Average Weight: 10,75lbs.