“I think you guys just hit it right…” was the phrase that was said the most in all the conversations during Saturday night dinner at the lodge. As the river level was rising, the expectations for a good week of fishing were high.
Week 4 at Estancia Las Buitreras was set under the hospitality of John, our host from the USA. John brought with him a group of familiar faces, seasoned anglers who have explored the Buitreras waters before. Some of them with more than ten trips under their belt!
This week we also welcomed three unique family constellations in the lodge. Among them were our Canadian friends Jack, Jamie, and their mother Susan, as well as two father-son duos: Angus and Rory from Scotland as well as Jorn and Fredrik from Denmark.
The week began with the river at a high +10 cm level on Sunday, a perfect push of water to start with! During the evening session we noticed several clumps of “weeds” flowing downstream with the current, giving us a hint that the river was still rising. The river reached a level of +40 cm overnight. However, as the days progressed, the river dropped and started to clear, ending up with an ideal level around zero for the last two days, displaying the characteristic “tea color” of the Río Gallegos.
Fredrik and Jorn, both on their first trip to Buitreras were advised by their friends Lars and Erling who came here last season and experienced high water conditions just like they did during this week. On the first day after our usual briefing before the start of the week Jorn told us that they borrowed Erling’s and Lars’s fly boxes from last year and brought with them a special fly… the size 4 Yellow yummy that Erling stuck on his cheek due to an “unorthodox” cast! Their lucky charm actually worked and Fred had an incredible week with eight fish landed and three of them being over 12 lbs.
As the high water and faster current conditions approached, sink 3 tips were favored for the initial days paired with short 4-6 foot leaders. This set-up was ideal to keep the fly in the fishing zone for a longer time. As the river cleared, we transitioned to our preferred setup, floating lines with intermediate tips as well as longer leaders.
During the first day of high water we faced calm weather with almost no wind, something we experience more regularly than people think. These conditions were the ideal scenario to fish dry flies. Jamie showcased his steelhead dry fly skating skills in the famous “Zoller’s” pool under the careful watch of his family who were fascinated with the exciting scene. He managed to rise 3 fish out of it but none of them took the fly hard enough to set the hook. It was a heart stopping scene to watch them chase it for several meters! During the rest of the week other fish were caught in that same pool highlighting Rory’s fantastic 13 lbs fish caught with a Poisson fly. Susan, Jamie and Jack had an amazing time here together and also ended their trip with a banger, when they landed 6 sea trout on their last day of fishing with the two biggest weighing in at 16 lbs.
Consecrated ornithologists, wildlife photographers, and long time friends Jamie and Tim from the US, joined us for another week of adventures at Las Buitreras. With them enjoying our rich wildlife as much as fishing, it is really hard not to have a great time on the river bank! Jamie got lucky in our famous renowned pool “Puesto” in zone 4 and landed a beautiful 14 lbs fresh fish that took several jumps before it got into the net. On the other hand, fishing “Little Corner” earlier in the week, Tim caught another 14 pounder making it his best catch of the trip.
The fly selection was crucial throughout the week. The “Poisson” pattern (Chartreuse green wooly bugger with a fl. pink beadhead) outfished anything else during the darker water days. As the river started dropping EMB-style flies did the trick and Sunray Shadows continued to produce fish during the evenings and overcast conditions.
Unpredictable as always, the Patagonian weather played its part during the week adding a hint of adversity to the anglers fishing. Warm and bright mornings with breezes from the north and east characterized most days, while the evenings took on colder temperatures with west winds and cloud cover—creating the ideal setting for sea trout fishing.
With these challenging conditions the guides had to get creative and seek the places where the upstream wind wouldn’t create a “belly” on our fly lines and cause the fly to swim perpendicularly to the pool. Pools where the anglers had a perfect tail-wind to cast with were key to success in these conditions.
In general, we can say that despite the challenging conditions with the high water our group managed to land a good number of fish throughout the week, with a very good average weight. We saw new fresh schools of fish in many pools and can’t wait for next week. Thank you all and stay tuned!
Stats of the week
Biggest sea-run brown trout landed: 16 lbs by Jack and Jamie from Canada
Average size: 10,3 lbs