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 of page!)
Villa Maria Lodge – Week 9
Jan 27-Mar 6, 2022
As expected last week, this week the autumn showers appeared and changed slightly the scenario. By mid week we had and slight raise in the water but it stayed clean with very few debris floating in the water column and the same day we had a powerful overnight rain and that water will probably show up at the beginning of next fishing week.
Aside from that, the weather remained calm and friendly, with mild temperatures and soft winds. So with these fishing conditions and in line with last week’s conditions, we were able to try a big number of techniques. And again, single hand rods rigged with floating lines and tiny nymphs were as effective as more traditional setups when they were fished correctly and in the right spot.
Of course, we did use more traditional systems with sinking tips ranging 10 to 15 feet in length with sinking rates from a classic Sink 3 to the heavier T lines, like T11 in a range of 10 to 12 ft. depending on the pool, speed of the water and size/weight of the fly.
There are no big surprises in the flies used. nymphs, rubber legs, and green machines were the first options due to the water level, clarity, and mild weather.
The highlight of the week was the performance of Eric and Douglas, which made their first visit to the Rio Grande and they got their biggest trouts even with several fish in the range of 16 to 21lbs. Congratulations guys! We hope to see you next season.
Probably next week we will see some changes in the river level and water clarity and the game will be different
Villa Maria Lodge – Week 10
Mar 6-13, 2022
The 10th week of 2022 season started with higher and colored water. It was not a surprise as we were expecting some changes due to the rain, we had the prior week all along the Rio Grande valley and its headwaters. The bump in the level was quite substantial but we have to remember that the river was really low so it remained crossable (with care and knowing where to try) and it wasn’t out of bounds. The visibility was seriously compromised for a day or two, especially the last day of the fishing week when it started to carry an important number of debris, feathers, grass, and algae.
We received a group of Villa Maria old-timers, from Switzerland, the heart of Europe. With some of them, like Hugo, Uli and Thomas we met like 15 years ago in the old & beautiful Toon Ken Lodge. It’s great to sip a fine Islay’s single malt while remembering good stories for old fishing adventures together. Mike and Duff integrated the rest of the party and they added their share of fun!
According to the conditions we had to change and adapt the fishing setups. Single-handed rods and floating lines were put to a side and the big boys came into play. Big rods between 13 & 14 feet were the best option to deliver heavier lines and a big arrange of flies. Skagit lines (both in floating and sinking versions) were matched with long (12 to 15ft) and heavy sink tips to present the flies as deep as possible in a faster and murkier river.
The flies used were changing along the week. Started with big colorful and big silhouette streamers but along the week the water dropped and cleared to the point that we caught fish on green machines. But by the end of the week, the river colored again and we had to return to the big streamers.
The week ended with the river with a substantial color in it but still in a good shape and speed in most of the pools. We will wait for the next week which looks promising but always keep an eye on the forecast as rain is still present in it. Autumn is here and the chance of a big cock fish is present in every cast!
Villa Maria Lodge – Week 11
Mar 13-20, 2022
Villa Maria Lodge – Week 12
Mar 20-27, 2022
This was the last week of our fishing season and definitely the most challenging of all in 2022.
On the first day, we found the river was high and brown due to the different showers we had in the previous week plus the melting of the first snowfall on the Andes. So for a couple of days, we had to fish primarily the pools where the beach is on Villa Maria side as it was risky and almost impossible to cross over the river.
These water conditions led us to fish with different setups than the ones we used throughout the season. The big rods came out of the tubes and those nice 14’ rods replaced the single-handed and switch rods that we used most of the time with low water.
These 14 footers were matched with different types of lines like floating skagit, FLT/H/Intermediate sinking rate skagits, and full fast sinking scandi shooting heads. We can say that the sinking skagit was the most successful and it is a line that has a good balance between “castability” and fishing. We matched it with different T-tips depending on the clarity, level, and speed of the water. At the beginning of the fishing week, the best was to pair the sinking skagit with 12-15ft of T17, and by the end of the week, as the river dropped approx. 30cm and the water clarity improved greatly, we used lighter sinking tips all the way down to T8. These lighter tips makes casting and presenting the fly a much easier process.
When we had to choose flies, we had to apply the same line of reasoning used to choose rod/line setups. With muddy and fast water it was a must to find high visibility patterns. Colorful and with a good profile. Usually, sea trout patterns are not this big but being creative helped a lot. Staking tube flies is the best recipe to achieve the color and silhouette requirements. An example of this is combining a bright green tube in front of a black flashy intruder. With this all the boxes are checked and being feather-tied patterns, they cast relatively easier than a rabbit-based pattern.
As the water dropped and got clearer, we were reducing the size of the pattern and by the end of the week, Tracey was catching her best sea trout -which reached the 19 lbs- with a normal chartreuse leech and Will caught a beautiful 18lbs cock fish on a more traditional rubber-legged fly.
The whole group of anglers, all first-timers at Villa Maria Lodge, did great work in very demanding conditions. The rest of the guides and me want to thank them for their patience and for following our wildest recommendations in the quest of catching that dreamed fish in less than ideal conditions!
To book your week in 2023 just Email or Call 434-249-1783