Another week with warm, Patagonian summer conditions and the water level is now lower than anything we’ve seen the last couple of seasons. Despite the very challenging conditions we still hooked several big fish this week, and even managed to land a few of them. Two days into the week we already had three fish landed in the 20 lbs range and several of similar size lost. Once again, the Sunray Shadow turned out to be the preferred fly of choice for both anglers and fish. The group was a nice mix of Las Buitreras veterans and first time guests, visiting us from the USA, Denmark, France, Sweden, and Russia.
The conditions are currently requiring absolute stealth mode fishing, with minimal wading and splashing. Set ups are mainly floating Scandi shooting heads paired with a simple tapered leader or an intermediate tip. For flies we have mainly been fishing small nymphs or sunray shadow in various sizes. Sunrays are still triggering lots of reactions in most pools at all hours of the day.
With the low water and warm weather we have seen shorter periods of activity than we normally do. As always, magic hour has been working ok but the most productive window this week were the first hours of the morning as the water cooled down over night but quickly warmed up once the sun came up.
Christer and Annakarin were back for one of their annual visits, meeting up with old friends and enjoying their favorite place on earth, Las Buitreras. Christer started his week very well when he stepped into C-Pool on day two with a sunray shadow tied to his leader. He saw a fish moving just at the beginning of the lower section where two streams come together and create a nice junction pool. Roll-casting less than half of his shooting head just above where he’d seen the fish roll and BAM, the water exploded right in front of Christer and the fish took of in lightning speed. It was clear from the get go that this was a serious fish, potentially hitting that sought after 20 lbs + mark. With the fish showing off its strength with bursts of incredible speed both up and down the river, Christer stayed focused and relaxed, knowing all too well that these fish never comes in easy. After an intense fight, where rod, reel, hook, and leader were all put to the test, guide Carlos finally decided it was ready and managed to net the fish at the first attempt. There it was, a stunning, silverbar hitting the scale at 20.7 lbs.
Not to be outdone that easy, Annakarin immeditaely wen’t to work. For those who haven’t fished with Annacarin, she’s an absolute machine and is always the last one out of the water nomatter the conditions. She also has an almost uncanny ability to find fish in all pools and situations. After Christer’s fish was landed in C-pool they went to a pool called Ochenta (80), a very nice pool that doesn’t get fished too often as the wind tend to be tricky and always right in your face. A couple minutes after arriving at the pool, Carlos saw a school of fish moving below the pool in a place we normally never fish. Annacarin who had started in the lower part of Ochenta, moved down further to where the fish had been moving and started covering water. Fishing a small nymph she was a couple cast in when she had stripped all her line back and started to lift the line out of the water to make a new cast when a fish crushed her fly and went airborne only meters in front of her. With the whole fish on display right in front of her face she was staring at an absolute monster. Carlos standing behind Annacarin on the bank had to pick his jaw up from the gravel before he could utter a single sound. For a couple of seconds everything was pure chaos with Annacaring trying to manage her line and rod and keep some sort of tension without pulling the hook out, an almost impossible task on such short line. The fish landed with a splash, spraying Annacarin with water, and took off. Unfortunately, the pressure on the fly was too much and the fish was gone. “What just happened” Annacaring was half screaming half laughing looking at Carlos, who was still standing with his mouth open just shaking his head. We’ll leave the size estimates out on this one but anyone visiting us later this season can ask Carlos what his estimate was.
After recovevering from seeing this beast they moved down to the famous pool 75 where Annacarin landed an 18 pounder and 9 pounder in a matter of minutes, almost as to prove a point. A close call but Christer managed to retain the biggest fish title for the rest of the week.
Our good friends Chris and John represented Team USA this week. Chris has always put a lot of effort into improving his casting and overall fishing skills during his visits here. After years of fishing this river he is now a full-blown spey geek, covering all pools with ease. This served him very well this week, earning him top rod of the week when conditions were tough and unforgiving to anyone that couldn’t cover water without splashing. Fishing pool 75 with a Sunray during Magic hour, Chris hooked a very special fish that tipped the scale at 19.7 lbs! A fantastic fish and o so close to that magic 20 lbs marker. Nevertheless, a stunning creature and after a few laughs at how close it was to 20, it was “Vino por favor” and celebrations all around for this special fish.
John was also fishing very well all week and landed his first big fish of the week in C-pool, when a 15 pounder took his Sunray Shadow. The fish put on a real fight and eventually ended up being landed in Shelf, one pool further down. Other stand out fish for John during the week was a 16 pounder that took a Marianne nymph size 10, an 11 lbs that took an EMB bugger size 8.
Jean-Luc, a Las Buitreras veteran who’s been with us every season for as far back as we can remember, also capitalized on the red hot C-pool. On one of his last casts for the pool he was swinging a Sunray across the surface when a fish came up and inhaled the fly right in front of him. After a phenomenal fight with the fish taking to the air over and over again Jean-Luc managed to land a nice 15 pounder.
Slava, here for the first time and fishing with Jean-Luc for the week, was having a great time on the river despite the tough conditions. Favoring his single hand rod which he mastered to perfection, he was constantly switching between targeting sea-runs in the main pools, and the resident browns in the smaller channels and side waters. Whenever we came across Jean-Luc and Slava during the week we were greeted with loud laughter and banter.
Sean and Tim are long time friends from the UK. They first booked their trip back in 2019 but due to Covid it took them almost 4 years until they finally set foot down here. They had already spent a week fishing in Argentina when they arrived at Las Buitreras and were ready to chase those monster trout they had heard and read so much about. Sean did not need much time before hooking into a dream fish at Little Corner. It was right at the end of the so-called magic hour, when it’s almost to dark to feel comfortable casting, when a 19 lbs fish took his fly. A nervewrecking fight followed before the fish was safely in the net and Sean could celebrate a new personal record. Mission accomplished on day one!
Tim waited until the very last session of the week to break his own personal record when he landed a 16.7 lbs fish, this one also landed in Little Corner.
From Denmark we had brothers Søren and Harald. Both extremely experienced seatrout anglers who’s travelled the world in pursuit of various species. They had been talking about Las Buiitreras for almost 9 years and now they were finally here. Preferring their single hand rods over bigger spey rods, they covered the water extremely well. With these types of conditions a single hand rod can be very effective, and in some pools to prefer over spey rods as you can cover water with no splashing at all. Both Søren and Harald landed a bunch of seatrout as well as resident browns on various dry flies, but unfortunately those trophy sized fish didn’t show up this time around.
Thank you so much to the whole group for an amazing week. We hope to see you all again.
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 20.7 lbs by Christer S from Sweden
Top rod of the week: Chris T from USA with 7 sea-run brown trout landed
Average size: 8,7 lbs