Las Buitreras Lodge 2023 Fishing Reports
Las Buitreras Lodge
Dec 30-Jan 7, 2023 Week 1
We have liftoff! Season 21 here at Las Buitreras has started and with one week down we already have over 100 fish in the books. Not a bad start to a new year.
Per usual, our first group of the season arrived on a thursday, a couple days before the new year started, to enjoy this extended opening week of the season. On New Years eve, guests, staff, and friends from neighboring estancias came together for some proper New Year celebrations, where we enjoyed tapas and typical Argentinian food accompanied by our new Las Buitreras Selection wines, and “one off” dance performances from some of our guests.
Our first group saw a mix of Buitreras veterans and first time visitors from Sweden, Luxembourg, the USA, Germany, New Zealand, and Norway. It’s safe to say that they all got along very well, enjoying some long nights with vino Tinto, good music, and plenty of laughs around the table and on the water. The week started off with slightly cooler temperatures than usual. During the day we averaged 14-18 degrees Celsius (57-64 Fahrenheit), coupled with rather strong winds for the first few days. The water level was on the lower side when we arrived, similar to last years opening week. But for those of you who followed us back then, you know that this did not affect the fishing much at all last year so we were quite confident from the get go. However, the low water situation didn’t last long as heavy rains in the mountains a couple days earlier helped the river rise to near perfect levels on day two. Come mid week the river had dropped down to just below zero when a new push of water from the mountains left us with a river sitting at 15 cm above zero.
With higher water we resorted to fishing bigger flies such as green/chartreuse, yellow, and black woolly buggers. Steelhead intruders worked great, and of course our beloved sunray shadow in various forms. The recommended general set up for these type of water conditions here at Las Buittreras is a floating scandi shooting head, slow sink tip, and a 20 lbs tippet.
Steinar (El Gordito) and Thor from Norway have been here many times before and came well prepared as always. They both know what it takes to be successful around here and were constantly hooking into fish. Both caught their biggest fish in Barranca Blanca. Thor with a beautiful 15 lbs fish, and Steinar with a superb, american footbal shaped chromer, weighing in at 17 lbs. Las Buitreras regular Jordan, “Jordy”, was, as always, floatiing around the lodge spreading good vibes, making everyone feel good. Pontus, who was hosting a group of clients and friends here at Las Buitreras, teamed up with Jordan for a few sessions and landed some nice fish. A strong believer in the power of the Sunray shadow, Pontus kept racking them up with a stand out fish from Cantera during an evening session. Jordan, a firm believer in quality over quantity, spent as much time watching the river from the sidelines as actually fishing it. Whenever he thought it was time to make an effort he made the most of it, with 6 fish landed in one session.
After a three year, covid enforced hiatus, our good friend Lech from New Zealand was finally back at the lodge. Lech, perhaps one of the most positive and optimistic anglers that ever set his foot on the shoreline of Rio Gallegos, picked up right where he left off last time he was here, catching fish. We will never forget a session with Lech a couple years ago, when he waded out neck deep in Old Bridge and landed 5 fish in less than 30 minutes in the exact same spot. This on a day when there were perhaps one more fish landed that whole day. His quote back then to the other anglers in the lodge when asked how he could catch 5 fish in what seemed to be abysmal conditions: “ I always believe i will catch a fish. Every cast I believe I will catch a fish”. Back to more current episodes: on day one this time around, Lech fishing a big nymph with an orange bead head, landed a beautiful, coloured, 16 lbs cockfish in Lawson pool. The fish took the fly in the fast water above the deeper spot at the bottom of the pool, and offered up some classic seatrout headshakes, before taking off down the river. We did get a few colored fish this past week that most likley entered the river already in October/November. Lech’s best session of the week came on day 6, when he landed 4 fish with the two biggest weighing in at 16 and 18 lbs.
Lech’s fishing partner for the week and nowadays regular Las Buitreras guest Alex, didn’t miss a beat the whole week. Ending his week with 20 sea trout landed and the biggest hitting the scale at 16 lbs, he earned the “top rod of the week” title. Congrats Alex!
Mats and Tun, both first time guests here at Las Buitreras as well as on their first sea trout mission to Argentina. Based on the smiles on their faces during the week, we don’t think it was their last. Tun landed his first sea trout on the very first morning in Old Bridge pool, fishing a chartreuse woolly bugger. His biggest fish of the week came the last day of the week when he landed a fresh 17 lbs fish in Puesto that took one of our all time favorite flies, the Yellow Yummie. Mats landed several fish in the 12 lbs range during the week, fishing the pools and runs in a very focused and quiet manner which is one of the keys to success here on the Gallegos river.
Another Swede, Fredrik, on a dream tour across Patagonia, started his great journey with a week here with us. Fredrik brought what might have been the most comprehensive and beautifully tied fly assortment we have ever seen here at the lodge. His highlight of the week was probably a session in Outer Limits in Zone 3, when a 15,5 lbs fish inhaled his black woolly bugger. A new personal best so far. Our good friend Stefan from Sweden, fishing together with Mats for the week, unfortunately had to skip most of the fishing sessions due to illness. The one time he finally managed to get out for a short session he was awarded with two nice fish in Limits and Cohones. Both fish took a swung black streamer. The fishing gods will be with you next time Stefan and we can’t wait to have you back to enjoy a real fishing week here at Las Buitreras.
What a start to the season! The river is in perfect shape and is already holding huge amounts of fish. We want to thank the whole group and staff for this incredible New Years week! Stay tuned for weekly reports all through mid April.
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 18 lbs by Steinar S. from Norway and Lech O. from New Zealand
Top rod of the week: Alex B. from Germany with 20 sea-run brown trout landed
Number of fish over 10 lbs: 31
Average size: 9 lbs
Las Buitreras Lodge
Jan 7-14, 2023 Week 2
Week 2 started much like we left off last week with water levels at around 15 above zero and overall excellent conditions. With this type of water, we expect more fish to push up the river, something that was confirmed during the week by several sightings of schools of fish moving upstream. With a second straight week with over 100 fish landed and several new personal records we can’t be anything but thrilled about how the season has started.
The week started with a very warm day where we saw temperatures up to 30 C (86 F). Luckily this heatwave was of the shorter kind and on day 2 we were back to cooler temperatures again. With the water level remaining high we continued fishing slightly bigger flies like girdle bugs and different streamer patterns in green, yellow, and black. During the first half of the week, slow sink tips were the go-to choice, but as the water started dropping towards the end of the week, we switched the slow sink tips to intermediate tips.
Our group this week, consisting of a nice mix of guests from the USA, Canada, Sweden, the UK, and Poland, couldn’t wait to see the river and to make their first casts. Among many Las Buitreras regulars this week, we also welcomed three first-time visitors to our lodge. Susan and her son Jack from Canada had fished the Rio Grande a few years back but were now ready to try Rio Gallegos for the first time.
After finishing our weekly intro, explaining the river, how we fish it, recommended tackle for the current conditions, and a few things around the lodge, Susan and Jack went to work, setting up their gear. Jack took the lead and within 5 minutes the lawn in front of the lodge looked like a tackle shop. We love when people come prepared, but to call Jack with his arsenal of gear well-prepared would be a gross understatement. At some stage, we had to check his bag to see if he was pulling some magic trick on us as he just kept pulling more rods and reels out of this seemingly bottomless bag. It’s great to see such enthusiasm and excitement.
When it finally came time to fish, both Susan and Jack started at a good pace, landing fish on a regular basis, adding size to each landed fish. Zone 2 turned out to be the most productive part of the river for them both this week. Susan had four double-digit fish in Machaca pool, the biggest tipping the scale at 14 lbs. This is a fantastic pool with faster water and we usually swing the fly like one would for Atlantic salmon. The shallow water is the perfect setup for some intense runs and jumps, a great spectacle for onlooking fishing partners and guides but often nerve-wracking for the one holding the rod.
Jack ran into his most intense battle partner of the week a couple of hundred meters downstream in La Recta. Fishing a Yuk Bug near the middle of the run, his swing was suddenly interrupted by a 17 lb seatrout crushing his fly. A great fight followed and Jack got a proper test of his favorite switch rod before he could land this stunning fish.
Jack and Susan will be with us for a couple more days next week so stay tuned for more from them. At the time of writing this, we can already say that there has been some real excitement and heartbreak (fishing related of course) going down.
Our good friend Michael, who’s been coming here since forever it seems, brought a few friends this time around. You might know Michael from our video “The Blakely Testimonial” that you can find on our website. A must-watch if you’re thinking about visiting us at some stage. Apart from making a cast or two here and there, Michael usually enjoys the social side of these trips, chatting with the guides about their lives, and Argentinian culture, or just enjoying a vino Tinto next to the river.
This week Michael was fishing together with Pontus, here for his second week of the season. Pontus has also been here several times and last season he stayed for three straight weeks. Although he’s seemingly always finding fish, being exceptional angler as he is, that one trophy fish over 20 lbs was still eluding him. Until now that is. We can’t count the number of fish Pontus has landed between 17-19 lbs over the years, always coming in just shy of that dream mark. Last year we remember him losing an absolute tank up in Zone Zero that would have most likely been the fish of the season. On day one of the week, Pontus and Michael were up in Zone 1. We had seen quite a few big fish moving and jumping in Turning bank so far and thought one of them would take a fly eventually.
Fishing this pool in good water conditions always gives you that feeling that you’re about to get interrupted mid-swing or on the first strip. Pontus, fishing a big leech, had reached the lower section of the pool without a bite when suddenly the pool exploded. As soon as the line got tight we knew this was a proper fish and Pontus realized quickly he was nothing but a passenger at this stage. Several minutes later after a couple of crazy runs, some intense headshakes, and for Pontus a roller coaster of emotions, the fish was within reach. As a bystander that last move, when the fish is just about to be landed, is definitely the worst to watch. It just feels like you have everything to lose at that stage so it was with great relief we saw the fish being scooped up and resting firmly in the net. Pontus, knowing how precious these fish are, let out a roar that is still ringing in our ears five days later. Now, the big question was of course: Would it break the 20 lb barrier, or was this going to be another incredibly close call for Pontus? After weighing the fish three times it was confirmed that Pontus finally can call himself a member of the 20 lbs club with the fish weighing in at 20.1 lbs. Huge congrats Pontus, well deserved!
Our Polish team, Maciej and Rafal, have been fishing with us many times in the past and it was great to see both of them again. As mentioned earlier, Turning Bank was holding some big fish this week and Maciej and Rafal were two of the anglers that got to experience this, both hooking into some absolute monsters within minutes of each other. Unfortunately, none of these fish were landed but we got to see enough of the fish during the fights to know that there could have been more than one 20 lbs fish landed this week.
After the initial disappointment of losing what could have been the fish of a lifetime, they got on very well and enjoyed every minute on the water. Maciej, a big fan of fishing sunray shadows, had great results with it all week. One standout session for Maciej and Rafal came in Zone 4 when they came across a huge school of fish moving through the pool, pushing water, and creating wakes, like a school of dolphins moving up the river. Maciej was quick to react and got his sunray in the water. In quick succession, he landed a 16 and a 14 lbs fish. Rafa also did his part and landed a nice 10 lbs fish. All this in a matter of minutes. How fortunate are we to get to experience these types of moments on the water! Amazing times.
Thomas from Sweden and Colin from the UK were fishing together this week and to no-ones surprise, they were on point from day one. Thomas is another regular guest here at Buitreras and knows his way around the water very well. Colin quickly nicknamed Thomas “The Machine”, due to his consistency and machine-like movement through each pool. There probably wasn’t a seatrout in the river that didn’t Thomas Girdle bug swinging by at least once. With a high of six fish landed in one session, and 18 for the week, Thomas ended up “top rod” of the week.
Colin, visiting us for the first time had never tried fishing for sea-run brown trout before and enjoyed every minute of it. So much so that he rebooked for 2024 on day two of the week already. As for most avid salmon anglers, it takes a little time to adapt to the way we fish here but Colin quickly picked it up. After a nice session on day two where he landed 3 fish, the biggest caught in Machaca on a Sunray and weighing in at 12 lbs, Colin is now a full-feathered Rio Gallegos fan.
Another new pairing this week was Jordan, a regular for many years, and Evan, a first-time visitor here at Buitreras. We first met Evan when he came to fish with us in Kangia, Greenland, this past summer. Evan came in hot and landed his first Argentinian seatrout in his first session on the water. Evan was swinging a sunray across the lower part of C-pool when a football-shaped, chromer, decided he’d had enough and went full destruction mode on that poor Sunray.
Jordan, always relaxed and covering water perfectly, had his best session on day two when he landed 3 fish in quick succession.
Last but not least, we were fortunate enough to have father and son duo Bill and Will from Maine, back at the lodge again. They have also been visiting us here for years and it’s always great to have them at the lodge. As most regulars that come back year after year, they both have their own rhythm when they fish Rio Gallegos which works very well. The talk in the lodge before each session this week was centered around who was going to be lucky and run into one of those big schools of fish moving up the river. Bill and Will had a few of those encounters, both in Zone 5 and Zone 3, and managed to land a couple of really nice fish. One of the standout fish was a 14 lbs seatrout that took a black Woolly Bugger, an all-time favorite fly here at Buitreras.
As always, we would like to thank all of you that visited us for this phenomenal week, we can’t wait to see you all again!
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 20,1 lbs by Pontus G from Sweden
Top rod of the week: Thomas L from Sweden with 18 sea-run brown trout landed
Number of fish over 10 lbs: 27
Average size: 8,5 lbs
Las Buitreras Lodge
Jan 14-21, 2023 Week 3
What a difference a day makes. After two weeks of nearly perfect conditions, meaning cooler temperatures, clouds, and a bit of wind, we were suddenly hit by tropical summer conditions. With temperatures of up to 30 °C (86 °F), scorching sunshine, and almost no wind, it would have been perfect if we were chasing Bonefish in the Bahamas, but not so much for seatrout fishing in Patagonia. An interesting challenge says the optimist, and luckily this week’s group was full of them. At the end of the day, enjoying a cold beer, or a glass of wine in the sun on a beautiful river, still full of fish, is a pretty good deal compared to the snow and darkness back home.
This week we welcomed friends that have been visiting us for years, coupled with a few first-timers. We also had Susan and Jack from the previous week who had decided to stay a couple of days longer to fish in Zone Zero.
Thanks to the high water levels at the start of the season we’ve had several pushes of huge schools moving up the river into our upper beats. A potentially good setup for Jack and Susan who were spending three days fishing in Zone Zero, a big stretch of river located above Zone 1. They began their experience in this upper section by landing a couple of smaller fish each before Susan hooked a nice 13-pounder in Channels pool that took a classic Girdle Bug. Once released it was Jack’s turn to hook into a decent fish. This one substantially bigger again. Jack was fishing a well-known big fish pool, Green Bush, in the evening when a very and we mean very, big fish took his fly and went absolutely bonkers. At times like this all you can really do is hang on to your rod, pray that your real is up for the test, be ready to run, and hope for the best. Jack did exactly that while watching his backing fly out from his reel time and time again. Like an engine revving up and down. It’s not every time a fish this size takes to the air, but this fish just kept jumping, over and over again, putting its size on display. Jack, just like most other anglers when fighting a fish this size, was hit with the big fish jitters and was visibly shaking while trying to maintain his cool. The fish made a final devastating run all the way to the bank across the river, followed by a couple of vicious headshakes, and the tension on the line was gone. Brutal. When jack came back to the lodge you could see on his face he was absolutely gutted. Trying to encourage him we all tried to be positive, telling him there will be another one out there for him, but we all know how rare these real monster fish experiences can be. Little did we know that there actually was another one waiting for Jack already the following day. Here Jack is, swinging a fly in Valhalla pool, still devastated about losing the fish of a lifetime the day before, probably thinking he will never see a fish like that again when suddenly: Schmack! A deep, hard pull at the end of the line and a rod bend that said it all. Jack’s face turned from disbelief to a smile, to pure anxiety. Although this fish didn’t jump as much it went on the same long runs, almost emptying the reel from time to time, followed by a moment of standstill and then those nasty headshakes that you feel all the way up the cork in your hands. On top of that Valhalla has a quite strong current to navigate as well. Jack played it all to perfection and after a long fight, we stared at the fish getting closer and closer to the net. Carlos, normally calmness personified, waiting with the net was trying to get further and further out to ensure this wasn’t coming off. We could see his arms extending like the arms of Mr gadget. When the fish was no more than a meter at most from the net, pop, and then there was silence. We will leave what happened after that to your imagination but unfortunately, this happens quite often with really big fish down here. They know every trick in the book and more often than not they win. Both these fish had the potential of being the biggest fish of the season.
David and Derek from the UK have been fishing with us here at Buitreras for over 20 years and most of that time as a team, a friendship that goes a long way back. It’s always special to welcome them back and to share a few moments with them on the river. To quote David from last week: “You know, there are only two places in the world that I have fished every season through all these years, and Las Buitreras is one of them. It is always very emotional coming back down here, I love this place.” Strong words that means everything to us. Derek and David have been part of naming pools here at Las Buitreras and have caught their fair share of fish through their many visits. This year they had to deal with very challenging conditions but it didn’t stop them from enjoying every cast, hoping and waiting for that hard tug at the end of the line. Derek experienced a great moment at El Henrik pool, when he saw a fish rolling near the cut bank on the other side. El Henrik is a pool where you are forced to wade quite far out towards the channel, meaning you are in for some real close-quarter battle once a fish takes. After placing the fly right on top of the rolling fish twice without getting any attention, the water finally exploded on the third try. After a super exciting fight, Derek was able to land a nice 13 lbs fish for a quick photo before sending it back on its way. Another great memory to add to the selection. And as tradition has it this particular week, Derek and Nick G performed their famous Las Buitreras version of Hotel California, with new lyrics every season. A masterpiece that keeps getting better.
Apart from Susan and Jack, we had two more family constellations visiting this week. Sten and Nick G who has been with us as long as Derek and David, brought their kids this time around. Sten with his two sons Chris and Nick, who have both been here several times, and Nick G who brought his daughter Sara for the first time to show her what the Las Buitreras experience is all about.
Sten, Chris, and Nick are all very comfortable fishing this river and don’t need many instructions. Even though conditions were incredibly challenging they managed to catch a few nice fish during the week. Apart from fishing, they made the most of the warm weather, always laughing and enjoying a cold beer or a bottle of wine along the river, and chasing down armadillos, skunks, and caracaras with their cameras.
Sara turned out to be natural and wasted no time showing dad how easy this fly fishing thing really is. Although Nick G landed a nice double-digit fish in Barranca Blanca in the first evening, he didn’t get to keep the family bragging rights for long. Day two and Sara is covering Lawson pool with ease when she’s interrupted by an aggressive take mid-swing. Being her first fish ever on a flyrod she quickly asked her Guide Franco “what do I do now”? Sara followed Franco’s instructions to perfection and 10 minutes later she landed a beautiful 14 lbs chromer. Big congrats to your first-ever seatrout Sara, what a way to start your fly fishing journey!
Our second Norwegian team this week, Svein and Arne, are both experienced Salmon anglers but new to the Sea-run brown trout game. Switching their salmon rods for the shorter and lighter spey rods we normally use down here, it didn’t take long for them to get accustomed to this style of fishing and they were both soon hooking fish. Sven had a great moment in Barranca Blanca, when on his last cast of the day hooked a fresh 14-pounder. After attacking the fly with full force, the fish took to the air several times, leaving Svein in disbelief at just how aggressive these fish can be. Coming back to the lodge Svein stated that “it is absolutely amazing how hard these fish take and how completely bananas they go once hooked”.
Arne caught his best fish of the week at the tail of C-pool a couple days later when he landed a very nice double-digit fish.
We were very happy to welcome back Kjersti and Marianne to the lodge. They have known each other since high school and since then share a passion for fishing. After a break from travel during the covid chaos they were finally back here at Las Buitreras to spend time together and celebrate their friendship. They were both catching fish during the week and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, nice weather, and surroundings.
Frank, another first-time guest this week, was paired up with our friend Keith who’s been with us for years and knows the river very well. With the conditions being what they were, they both kept trying hard all week. It was great to see them both get rewarded for their hard week and land a couple of fish towards the end of the week. Even though Keith has been down here many many times, it’s safe to say that this week was the most challenging he’s experienced in terms of fishing.
During a week like this when the seatrout fishing is really hard, it is the perfect opportunity to bring a 5-weight rod out and try some dry fly fishing for the resident brown trout we have here. Since most of our guests focus entirely on seatrout fishing, the brown trout fishing in this river doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it deserves. It is without exaggeration absolutely world-class. Just ask our guides what they do in their spare time.
We are keeping our fingers crossed for some cooler temperatures the next few days to cool down the water and get these fish more active. On a positive note, we’ve seen an incredible number of fish moving up the river even in these conditions which is a very promising sign for the following couple of weeks!
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 14 lbs by Sara G from USA and Svein E from Norway
Top rod of the week: Nick G from USA with 6 sea-run brown trout landed
Average size: 6,5 lbs
Las Buitreras Lodge
Jan 21-28, 2023 Week 4
During the last week of January we welcomed our good friend Ken Morrish from Flywater travel, USA. Ken brought a mixed group of first time visitors and regulars this time around. Luckily the conditions had approved slightly for their arrival and we saw temperatures in 15-20 C° along with some nice cloud cover. We also had quite a bit of that nice wind that helps you cover most of the pools with ease.
The water level remained on the low side as Patagonia is experiencing a very dry season so far. In these conditions we have mainly been focusing on fishing small nymph patterns during the day sessions and switching to leeches and Sunray shadows in the evenings. However, mixing it up with a Sunray Shadow during the daylight sessions keeps proving to be very efficient and we had some amazing action on these tactics during the week. More on that later in the report.
Magic hour continues to be the most productive part of the day in these conditions with the clear and low water. While morning sessions tended to be slower and quite tricky, it was a different story listening to the banter after the evening sessions. We still see new schools of fish moving through the river and catching them is all about hitting them at the right moment when they suddenly seem to switch on and get aggressive.
Tom has been to Las Buitreras before and has this big fish mojo about him when fishing the Rio Gallegos. This week was no different. Tom started by warming up with a 15 pounder from Seniors on day one, followed by a triple in Little Corner on day two, all in one run down the pool. The biggest, a stunning 18 lbs chromer. All landed on a green, ruberleg nymph.
Little Corner, one of our all time favorite pools, is an amazing little section of Rio Gallegos. It’s a narrow part of the river close to a big cliffside inhabited by eagles who normally comes out to check you out when you are fishing along. You normally hook fish very close to where you’re standing, calling for some very exciting fights.
Tom’s fishing partner for the week, Ned, was on his maiden quest in search for sea-run browns in Argentina. It started of really well when he hooked a nice fish on the first evening session. After a blistering run downstream, the fish unfortunately got the better of Ned this time around, but that’s the nature of fishing down here. You won’t always come out on top, far from it. Ned kept covering water really well and was eventually rewarded with a couple nice fish safely in the net.
After missing not one but two straight seasons here at Las Buitreras due to Covid, Tim and Jamie were finally back at the lodge and more than ready to battle some Argentinan chrome footballs. They had one particular morning session that stood out this week. Fishing Wagon Wheel, one of the most upper pools in zone 1, they both decided to try Sunray’s instead of the smaller nymph they had fished the previous morning. Jamie, starting at the top of the pool, carefully waded in position for his first cast. A nice presentation and we watched the fly swing down along the weed edge and BAM! First cast and the water exploded. Unfortunately the fish came off after a couple seconds but if the coffee hadn’t done it’s part, at least everyone was awake now. A couple more casts and the surface exploded again. Another strike and another lost fish. A quick check of the hook, all good, just bad luck, keep casting. Meanwhile, after watching his fishing buddy hook 2 fish in a matter of minutes, Tim had waded into position further downstream and started covering water with his Sunray. After a couple cast he managed to land the fly perfectly right at the hot spot. The fly swung downstream and suddenly the fly disappeared. Out of the water a monster came flying, fly in its mouth and tail straight up in the air, landing on its face. Tim quickly tried to set the hook and…..nothing. There was nothing there to set it in anymore. Fortunately Tim took it the right way, laughing hard and enjoying every bit of the surprise attack. Both Jame and Tim several nice fish during the week. Tim had a super nice 15 lbs in Barranca Blanca, and a 13 lbs fish in C-pool. Nowhere near the size of the fish he missed at Wagon Wheel but still very nice fish.
La Curva pool, an under the radar guide favorite, is perhaps one of the most interesting pools in zone 1. A deep channel with several big rocks scattered all over the bottom, and deep weed cutoffs on both sides, makes fishing here very interesting and sometimes challenging. Especially the landing part can be quite chaotic and we don’t know how many times we have ended up swimming with the net while trying to get the fish out from behind a rock or the weed overhang. Brad was fishing a Sunray Shadow during magic hour (last hour of light), when on his last cast of the day, a perfect 18 pounder, shaped like a torpedo, charged his fly and reminded Brad what seatrout fishing is all about. Brad managed to navigate all hurdles, included keeping the fish out of the weed when landing it, and after a great fight was able to land an absolute beauty.
Brad landed a couple more really nice sea-runs, including a 15 lbs fish, during the week. His fishing partner Nils from Switzerland, here for the first time, was fishing very well during these challenging conditions. He ended the week with 8 landed searun’s. His biggest, a nice 12 pounder was caught in Island Stream on a, yes, you guessed it, Sunray Shadow.
Ken, back hosting a group here at Las Buitreras for the first time in a while, was mostly hanging out with his group, having a good time watching them hook fish and sharing time on the river. Ken managed to squeeze a few casts in here and there but was more interested in seeing his friends having a good time. Next time we promise to give El Henrik a few more runs Ken.
Randall and Clay have fished together many times for steelhead in BC, and had finally made the decision to give the sea-run browns in Argentina a try. It always take a while getting used to the different way of casting and fishing here at Rio Gallegos compared to most steelhead rivers. But after a few smaller adjustments to their fishing technique they started fishing very well, covering water perfectly.
Randall, who usually fishes only dry flies for steelhead, landed 9 sea trout over the course of the week which made him top rod – not bad for your first stay Randall, well done!
Then there was Scott and Rob, brothers from the US and totally new to spey fishing. It didn’t take long however, to see that they were both naturals and would pick this spey fishing game up in no time. Rob got his first taste of these fish on a rather slow morning session, when guide Charly suggested to give Little Corner a second quick try before heading back for lunch. Rigged with a Prince nymph Rob started covering water and after a couple casts he was on. After a great fight with several strong runs and jumps Rob landed his first Rio Gallegos seatrout. A very nice 14 lbs fish was photographed and quickly released. That feeling when you come back to the lodge after landing a special fish is pure magic.
Rob’s brother Scott waited until the last session of the week for his highlight. He was fishing really well all week, and continuously improved both distance and presentation, but was still waiting for that solid, double digit fish. On this last session he was covering the lower part of C-pool when out of the blue he was surprised by a hard take. Suddenly he is standing there with a deep bend in the rod and line flying out of the reel. The fish ran all the way up to the head of the pool before dong a 180 and runniing all the way down to the tail again. And on it went, the fish running into the weeds, then straight out in the fast current, then down the pool, then up again. It was more than 15 minutes later before he finally got the fish close enough to be safely netted. And so finally, there it was; a fresh, shiny, 15,5 lbs Argentinian sea-run brown trout. Rob and Scott headed straight back to the lodge to celebrate with a local favorite, Fernet and Coke (we will consider swapping the Fernet for a good Tequila next time Scott). What a way to finish off the week!
Last but not least, we had our friends Nick and Keith from last week who had added three days extra to their trip to get a chance to fish Zone Zero, which is our most upper beat. Apart from some great seatrout pools Zone Zero also has some amazing brown trout water. Nick decided to give the browns a go one morning, using his 5-weight rod a special dry fly given to him by Ken Morrish, called the Morrish Mouse”. It only took a few casts before the Morrish Mouse got inhaled by an angry, 8 lbs seatrout. Catching a seatrout on a dry fly and a 5-weight rod is a very special experience and one Nick can add to his accomplishments here at Las Buitreras.
Keith saved his best fish of the trip for the last day. Putting his faith in a proven and very popular choice among anglers here at Buitreras, the good ol Copper John, he was fishing Barranca Blanca as well as anyone can when he was rewarded with that grab we all hope for every cast we make in this river. A good fight followed before Keith was staring down at a superb 16 lbs fish, Keith smiling from ear to ear. A quick photo and release, and for a moment, everything was just as it should be in the world. It’s a unique feeling that you experience as an angler, right after releasing a special fish, and Keith was soaking up every bit of it.
A big thank you to all guests this week! You all did amazing in this challenging conditions and we are so happy we got share a week here at Las Buitreras with you. Thank you also to Ken for bringing such a nice group over, we hope to see you again soon!
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 18 lbs by Tom T and Brad F from USA
Top rod of the week: Randall S from USA with 9 sea-run brown trout landed
Average size: 8,3 lbs