As mentioned in the previous week’s report we started this week with a huge push of water coming down from the mountains, leaving the river at a level we haven’t seen in years at this time of the season. It was a most welcomed sight for the rest of the season although it did make fishing a bit challenging for a day or two.
When the water raises this fast in this river, especially when it’s the first real flood of the season, the color of the water tends to turn to a dark chocolate color and bring with it weed and dirt that gets picked up from the banks. The speed of the water also increases dramatically, and all these factors combined make most of our normal pools more or less unfishable.
As anyone who’s ever visited us knows, we usually don’t recommend fishing Skagit lines here because of how loud it is in a shallow river like this. In situations like these however, it’s time to bring out the heavy tips. We also try to fish closer to the bank where the fish usually tend to hold in high water.
Making the most of the very tricky conditions all anglers spent the first two days getting their casting dialed in while waiting for the river to clear up just enough to get some action. It took until day three before the river cleared up enough to make us believe that we could start catching some fish. Rigged with big streamers, tube flies, and even intruders, the group hit the river more than ready to finally fight a fish or two. Luckily the second part of the week turned out to be exceptional and more than made up for missing a couple of days at the start. With the water still significantly colored and moving really fast in most pools, this week was all about swinging flies, hoping for that deep thug at some stage during the swing.
Our friend Glenda on her first of two weeks this year, brought with her a group of excited anglers, all new to Las Buitreras and this type of fishery for sea-run brown trout. Francis being one of them was paired with Leif who visited us last year for the first time. A great pairing that experienced some great days together on the water. One standout session for this pair happened on Tuesday, right when the river had started to clear up enough for everyone to believe. Joined by their host Glenda, the trio was fishing Old Bridge, covering all sections from the most upper part, all the way down to the bottom of Old Bridge run. Glenda was the first one to strike when she hooked a fish at the bottom of the pool, below the rocks on the far side of the run. A couple of minutes later she landed her first fish for the week, a 9 lbs bright chromer. You could see the glow in everyone’s eyes after this fish had been landed. The belief was back. After releasing the fish, Glenda walked back to the car for a quick coffee and to enjoy her moment. Sitting at the back of the car, she watched on as Leif was making his way down the pool. As he reached the exact same spot where Glenda had her fish minutes earlier his line went tight. A nice fight followed and after a bit of drama where he had to chase the fish down the current, Leif was able to land his first of the week. This one also fresh and weighing in at 11 lbs. Following Glenda’s lead he also decided to walk back to the truck for a coffee and shared celebrations with Glenda. Sitting there chatting away about finally landing their first fish, they watched on as Francis now made his way toward the apparent hot spot. As he did so Francis had everyone’s full attention, wondering and hoping that the seemingly impossible would happen and that there would be a third fish ready to bite in the same spot. Feeling everyone’s eyes staring at him, Francis kept casting and moving as he’d been told by the guides to do. Suddenly the line went tight and a silver bar went straight up in the air. A roar from the bank as no less than 5 people jumped to their feet cheering and scrambling for cameras, flipping coffee cups on their heads in the chaos. A seemingly nervous Francis, fighting his first Argentinian sea-run brown ever, kept his emotions in check and was able to land a nice 12 lbs fish in front of a cheering crowd.
The following day Leif and Francis were fishing in Zone U-1 and the now well-known pool La Curva, when Leif saw a fish roll in the middle of the channel. Leif, being a very cool and collected person, turned to the guide and said “did you see that fish rolling? It was the biggest fish I have seen in my life”. With almost no wind and sunny conditions, they decided to leave the pool for now and come back at the end of the session. A good tactic it turned out. A couple of hours later and they are back at La Curva. Francis is balancing along the weed bank, trying to find a good footing before making his next cast. As the fly starts coming around there in the channel, there is a big thug and Francis’s rod suddenly bends to the cork. As the fish took to the air, displaying its full size, the world went silent. Leif who had seen a monster rolling a couple of hours earlier at the exact same spot as Francis now had hooked up, instantly knew that this must be the same fish. Landing any size fish in this pool is usually a nightmare as the channel is full of big, sharp rocks and a deep weed bank right at your feet where the fish can swim under never to be seen again. A nerve-wracking battle followed with the fish going up and down the channel for 20 minutes, hugging the weed bank at all times. Suddenly, the fish turned and came straight for Francis, aiming for the weed bank. A short window of opportunity presented itself for Francis to carefully lift the rod tip just as the fish reached the weeds, and he managed to guide it up and over instead of seeing it dive under and most likely disappear for good. The guide was on his toes and had the fish in the net the same second its head was on top of the weeds. A second of silence followed as Francis hurried towards the net to get a better look at the fish. He was met by wild jubilations as the guide had his first real look at the fish. “It’s a monster!!!”. After first measuring the fish it was time to put it on the scale. A whopping 24.7 lbs. The biggest fish of the season so far and the fish of a lifetime for Francis. Leif and Francis had several more crazy sessions during the week, including one where they landed 5 fish in Kitchen and the biggest was a 16 lb fish that took a Sunray fished by Leif.
We were also lucky to have our very good friends Kim, Brian, Tim and Sonya back at the lodge for not just one, but two weeks. Having that second week booked is a nice cushion for events like this when the river rises and you miss a day or two. This group has been with us since the very early days, with Tim and Sonya visiting us all the way back in 2003 for the first time. Once the river started clearing up they started dialing in and catching fish. On day four Sonya landed a beautiful 15 lbs fish on a Yellow Yummie in Heavy Weight. Tim had one absolute blow out session in Zone 1, late in the week, where he landed 5 fish in a row, weighing in at 18, 13, 12, 9, and 4. Not too shabby of an evening.
Kim and Brian, two top notch human beings and experienced anglers, are always good for a laugh and just good to be around. They had an exceptional morning session in Upper 1 when they landed 6 sea-runs between them, all of them caught swinging a Sunray. This all happened on a morning with no wind, blue skies and bright sunshine. Everything we normally not wish for, but with these water conditions it can be really good with sunshine and no wind. They had plenty more fish during the last couple days of the week, including a 16 lbs in Cantera.
John and Andrea visited us for the first time almost 10 years ago and hadn’t been back since. Now they had finally fished their way around the globe and were back at Buitreras again. After starting their trip with three days in Glencross they were warmed up and ready to go. John and Andrea are both dedicated single hand anglers and it was impressive to see them cover the water so well with sink tips, big flies, and with the wind coming from all angles during the week. Both caught plenty of fish but one that stood out were Andrea’s 16 lbs fish in El Henrik, a pool made for single hand rods as long as the wind is in your favor. John caught several double digit fish during the week, with a particular session at La Curva where he landed a 14 lb and a 17,7 lb within an hour as a stand out.
did visit us some years ago and it took almost 10 years until we finally could catch up with them again. After spending three days in Glencross they were with us a week at Las Buitreras and already informed and used to the water conditions as they basically brought the water down with them when leaving Glencross. John and Andrea are both dedicated single handed fishers and it was impressive to see how they did fight through these conditions with a sink tip and a big fly, plus landing some great fish. Andrea caught a great 16 lbs in El Henrik, a pool made for the single hand. John landed several double-digit fish throughout the week with a 17,7 lbs being his biggest fish caught in La Curva where he also landed another 14 lbs sea-run an hour earlier.
We also had a Dutch/Irish fishing team this week, Paul and Rudy, who fished together most of the time, sometimes accompanied by Glenda who was rotating with her clients. Paul is a famous Irish singer and songwriter who just started spey casting and did very well during his first week with us. Paul caught several nice fish and was sharing some great stories throughout the week, thank you for that, Paul. Rudy was also on his first-ever trip to Argentina and he quickly adjusted to the way of fishing, being an experienced fisherman and fishing journalist. He landed a beautiful 13 lbs sea-run on his light switch rod which was a lot of fun, as well as hooking a fish in C-Pool with one of the most beautiful sunsets we have ever seen as backdrop. During that same session Glenda herself had an amazing experience at Wagon Wheel when a fresh 16 lbs fish took her Sunray Shadow and went absolutely bananas, tailwalking across the whole pool, making the water look more like a foam party at Ibiza, than a trout river.
Last but certainly not least we had Connor and Pierce, both first time guests and new to Spey casting. Both learned really fast and landed fish before mid week. By the end of the trip the were covering water well and looked more like seasoned spey casters than first timers. Coming here for the first time, or even for the tenth time, there is so much to take in, with everything from how we fish and approach the river, to the surroundings, all the animals, theweather, food, and on it goes. It’s always nice to guests precessing all of it and having an amazing time in and out of the water. We are very happy that all of our new guests managed to land their first Argentinian seatrout and hopefully there are many more to come.
Thank you all for a truly wonderful week. We are now approaching the last month of fishing here at Las Buitreras and quite frankly, conditions couldn’t be any better for a great ending to the season. Stay tuned.
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 24,7 lbs by Francis from UK
Average size: 9,5 lbs
Fish over 10 lbs: 30