Welcome to week report Nr. 3 from Estancia Las Buitreras! This week we had a mix of old friends that have been coming here for more than 15 years, and some fresh faces here for the first time. Nationalities included Norway, Scotland, the US, England, Sweden and Northern Ireland.
Our guests arrived with a river in great conditions, at -5 cm water level and cooler water temps. A bit on the clear side perhaps but with a cautious approach and light wading this is usually not a problem. But as all of us that have fished in Patagonia are acutely aware of, the weather is always there to throw you a curveball, and this week was no different. If the river was in good condition on arrival day, this changed with 2 full days of heavy, unexpected rains. In general not bad as the level rose by about 2 cm and we had some extra color to the water which usually benefits the fishing.
Our standard go-to flies proved their worth once again, like the trusty “Girdle bug” in sizes 6-8, Copper Johns in 8-10, and bigger Sunray Shadows. These are all must have patterns in your box down here.
On the first morning out on the river, Marianne from Norway demonstrated some special Norwegian technique, immediately hooking into a nice fish in Upper Limits pool. A great start to the week for Marianne and her lifelong friend and fishing partner Kjersti. These two ladies have a bond and friendship that is truly inspiring and something you wish everyone would experience. Later in the week Kjersti landed a fantastic 14 lbs fish in Kitchen pool, up in Zone 1. It’s strangely satisfying to see Marianne and Kjersti navigate and appreciate a week here together, landing fish and enjoying the surroundings, environment, and the whole experience on offer here at Las Buitreras.
Derek from the UK, and Sten from Norway, have added up more than 30 seasons between the two of them here at Buitreras. With that type of experience you can rest assured there was some storytelling going on over meals and Malbec. Fortunately they were able to add a few stories to next year’s trip from this week’s events. One would be the huge fish in Little Corner that we all thought were landed, when the fish managed to perform a stunt and jumped out of the net, snapped the leader, and sayonara, leaving a few stunned faces on the bank. Later Derek and Sten managed to land two 11 lb fish almost at the same time in Old Bridge. Sten’s personal highlight on the river this week was probably when he landed a perfect, 15 lbs sea-run chromer in Puesto.
Las Buitreras all-star Nick G from the USA brought along his friend Craig, to experience a week at Las Buitreras. After a three day warm-up session in Zone Zero they were all set and ready to start the regular week at Las Buitreras! During their first morning session in Zone 4 Craig hooked, fought and landed a gorgeous 14 lbs female sea trout in Puesto that really tested his nerves with several spectacular jumps and long runs.
Nick hooked into a nice 12 lb fish in Old Bridge while fishing a black leech, a classic fly which can be fished in various variations, e.g. with a little bit of color in it. Keith, another Buitreras veteran that’s been with us for many years already, had a special connection with Barranca Negra this week where he had plenty of action and managed to land two nice 10 lbs sea trout throughout the week. One fell for a classic Copper John, and the other for a Girdle Bug.
Our good friend Justin from WhereWhiseMenFish, who knows the river from many years of fishing here, brought along a nice group of guests for this week. In the last days Frank from the UK took the group by surprise by successfully landing the biggest fish of the week weighing in at an impressive 16 lbs in “Zollers” run, located in Zone 5. It was a super fun fight in this faster water which is covered by two weed lines on each side, usually a great place at the beginning of the season. He also managed to land another 13 lbs fresh fish in “Bridge pool”, our home pool located only a hundred meters away from the lodge. The fish took a size 6 yellow yummy and relentlessly fought for a couple minutes until he managed to get stuck in one of the weed lines. After a patient move by the guide who carefully removed the weeds from the leader, the fish was set free again and was landed a couple minutes later. Frank’s heart stopped for a minute but started pumping again when the fish was in the net!
Long time fishing buddies Krister from Sweden and Gary from Northern Ireland, both here for the first time, amazed us with their expertise in anadromous fish. With both of them being well traveled anglers we loved to see them quickly adapt to the Las Buitreras style of fishing. Gary had a beautiful 11 lbs fish from Little Corner, one of our all-time favorite pools. Krister on his hand was lucky enough to have one of those magic Sunray shadow takes, one evening fishing Barranca Blanca.
There is something special about fishing a Sunray over a holding pool full of fish. When a super nice 13,5 lbs sea trout decided it had had enough and went ballistic on the escaping Sunray, Krister’s face turned into a satisfactory grin, a grin anyone guilty of the pleasure of hooking a big anadromous fish on a sunray is all too familiar with. .
As tradition has it, the last night of the week is “Pizza party”, where the guides and guests all hang out for a good time and to share the stories from the week. Nick and Derek delighted us with their usual repertoire of songs and guitar playing, but surprised us all with a new hit song called “A casting lesson from Lawson (with apologies to the Rolling Stones)”. A banger that will keep playing in our heads long after the season is over.
As the week concluded, the last day brought windy conditions, and we noticed a slight push of water. This usually is a sign for more water coming down from the mountains. More next week!
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 16,3 lbs by Frank from the UK
Average size: 8,8 lbs