• Week 12: March 21- 26, 2015

    The week began with high, off-color, and cold water due to snowmelt in the Andes. And we fished slow and deep using heavy sink-tips and large flies to wake up the lethargic fish.

    Despite the freshet-like flows, weather was generally nice: windless and warm. By midweek, water temps improved and the river dropped fast. All these whirlwind changes made the fishing unpredictable. Good casts, better presentations, and perfect swings were absolute musts.

    While honing our on-the-water skills, we also experimented with myriad lines, tips, and flies. Tips varied from 3 to 12 feet long and from intermediate to T14, depending on water temp, pool depth, and fish activity. Rubber-legged nymphs, leeches, and Intruders in varying colors were top producers.

    I’d like to extend a BIG “thank you very much” to Jim, Jean, Charlie, and Matt for their patience and persistence. Way to go!

    Largest fish of the week: 23 lbs
    Fish over 20 lbs: 1
    Fish over 15 lbs: 13

    Alejandro Martello
    Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager

  • Week 11: March 16 – 23, 2015

    Another Rio Grande season has come to a close, leaving us with a lot to learn from—as usual. Drought was a major factor in 2015. December marked the last rains of summer and what followed was a long (more than two months) dry spell. Some of Villa Maria’s pools were almost motionless due to low water. And water temperatures shot up on the warmest days… which is never good, considering sub-Antarctic fish don’t enjoy sub-tropical temperatures!

    These conditions forced us to fish smarter, paying even closer attention to things like wind, sunlight, time of the day, cloud cover, water speed, and an angler’s overall skill level. One main difference from the 2014 season, was that the fish would get active during the last, last moments of the fishing day, or even very early in the morning. Daytime activity was far less prevalent.

    Despite tricky scenarios, the river delivered and everybody enjoyed their fishing time in Rio Grande. And as for monster fish, we caught 70 weighing 20 or more pounds, and almost 300 over 15lbs! Pretty respectable.

    Skinny water conditions pushed us to use lighter tackle than usual for this lower stretch of the river. Shorter, lighter sink-tips were the norm. And instead of the classic 14-foot 8- and 9-wt double-hand rods, we were able to get away with some smaller 12’6” 8-weights. Flies remained the same, with nymphs and rubber-legs being the first choice during harsh midday light. Streamers and leeches, on the other hand, ruled when night was approaching.

    Special thanks to our 2015 guide team: Jason Jagger, Alejandro Bianchetti, Gaston Guglielminetti, Kristján “Diddi” Gunnarsson, and Pablo Brusa. Great job guys!! Hope to see you all next year.

    I also want to thank Claudio, Alejandra, Emiliano, Rosalía, Gabriela, and Joaquin for making our lives easier and doing a terrific job with all the guests.

    Tight lines and see you all at VM in 2016.

    Alejandro Martello

    Villa María Lodge Fishing Manager

  • Week 10: March 14-19, 2015

    Another wet week has come and gone on the Rio Grande! We started with standard conditions, but by the middle of the week it poured hard in the Andes. River levels climbed by about 6 inches and it was unfishable for a day due to poor water clarity and 100km/h winds.

    The good news is the murky water didn’t linger long. And higher water prompted fish to move upstream—fast—while some new, ocean-fresh sea-runs entered our constantly changing pools.

    Similar to last week, we fished short and heavy sinking-tips with small flies. After the river spiked, we adjusted by using long, heavy tips and bigger and brighter flies. Intruders and leeches were the top producers.

    Of course, fishing those heavy tips and flies in combination required a powerful line—so Skagits remained the best option.

    Largest fish of the week: 22 pounds.
    Fish over 20 lbs: 5
    Fish over 15 lbs: 14

    Alejandro Martello
    Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager

  • Week 8: March 7 – 12, 2015

    Finally the rain has arrived! The week started with the usual low-water conditions we’ve seen through Jan. and Feb., but by midweek it poured. In the headwaters it rained hard and the river swelled a couple of inches, got murky, and sent a pile of debris drifting toward the ocean. The mainstem eventually came up another 4 to 6 inches before clearing, while the spike sent fish moving upstream—fast.

    Our wind situation was also notable… for its nuclear qualities. One day, in particular, we got pummeled with 80-mph (120-km/h) gusts. The wise thing to do was to avoid it until evening time, when it dropped and we ventured out to catch fish.

    Even with all this weather madness, fishing has been excellent and the river continues to deliver formidable sea trout. The usual setups of short, heavy sinking-tips with small flies produced early on. But we changed to longer tips and bigger, starkly silhouetted flies when the water clarity diminished. Of course, we stuck with Skagit heads because they’re best for throwing those long, heavy tips and leech-style flies.

    We had three first timers at the lodge and they did great. Tony landed 22- and 23-pound fish. Dave had a 21 and 23 pounder. And John caught a cracking 25-pound hen! Congratulations guys, well done.

    Largest fish of the week: 25 lbs.
    Fish over 20 lbs: 6
    Fish over 15 lbs: 25

    Alejandro Martello
    Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager

  • Week 7: February 28- March 5, 2015

    A great group of long-time Villa Maria Lodge guests, hosted by Jim Curry, joined us for another week of technical fishing on the Rio Grande. The water is as clear as I’ve ever seen it, and choosing the appropriate lines, sinking tips, flies and, very often, tippet diameter all make for careful considerations.

    Winds have remained strong, but dropping air temperatures have made for pleasant evenings. Depending on light, temperature, and time of the day, Green Machines and small weighted Prince Nymphs have been the best flies during daylight. Intruder type streamers, on the other hand, continue to catch some big fish in the last casts of the day.

    Even in these low-water conditions, skagit lines remain the most versatile option for delivering heavy tips into strong winds—with effortless accuracy. They can be a little “splashy” in still conditions but the advantages outweigh the shortcomings.

    Session of the Week went to Richard W., who landed a 19-pounder and two 20-pound sea trout in the same afternoon! Phil W. also did an impressive job landing 25- and 23-pound fish on separate occasions. Overall, we had a ton of fun and went through some red wine this week. Hope to see you guys again next year!

    Largest fish of the week: 25 pounds
    Fish over 20 pounds: 5
    Fish over 15 pounds: 25

    Alejandro Martello
    Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager

  • Week 6: February 21 – 26, 2015

    The group that our friend Jim C. put together has been coming to Villa Maria Lodge for a few seasons already, so it was great to see them again and easier to adapt the fishing techniques and tackle to the conditions. As said, the river was low this week, while the wind remained strong and temperatures dropped all the way to 3 degrees C. in the evenings.

    A variety of flies were used depending on light conditions, river temperature, and the time of the day. And like last week, small weighted nymphs and green machines performed a little better than others. Leeches, on the other hand, remain the almighty option in lower-light conditions. Skagits with short but heavy sinking tips were the best line options, and we’re still finishing 10- to 12-pound leaders/tippet. This group enjoyed using ultralight switch rods, so it was lots of fun dealing with the monsters they hooked and landed!

    The “Moment of the Week” was when Mike and Mark had a double hook-up that

    ended with the simultaneous release of 26- and 24-pound hens! But those were not the only big fish. Our group of six fishermen each landed at least one fish over 20 pounds, with Dave McC getting his 10 minutes before he left for home!

    Largest fish of the week: 26 lbs

    Fish over 20 lbs: 9

    Fish over 15 lbs: 31

    Alejandro Martello
    Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager


  • Week 5: February 14 – 19, 2015

    Like the week prior, we started with some rain in the lower stretch of the Rio Grande but there were heavy storms serious storms of rain and snow in the headwaters and in the Andes. How impressive to drive to the river and see the mountains dressed in white in the middle of the summer.

    While the rain bumped up the level of the river around an inch, it remained totally clear and fishable with small flies. Along the week part of the snow reached the river and while it didn’t change the level at all, we noticed a significative drop in the temperature of the water making the fish react ore slowly to flies, specially during the earlier morninghours. But around noon each day, as the sun was heating up the water, the fish started to roll on the surface and reacted more enthusiastically to the flies.

    Most of the fisherman this week had at least several season fishing Rio Grande, then there was Gilbert who was fishing for the 15th time here. He has learned that it helps a lot to be patient in the slow ties and aggressive when the fish are cooperative.

    The Best Entry Award was for Graeme, who in his first tour on the Rio Grande managed to land three 20 pound fish!! Congratulations Mr G!

    Again, a variety of flies were successful depending on the light, temperature, and time of the day. But if i have to choose a couple, small weighted nymphs and green machines were performing a little better than others. Leeches remain the best options in lower light conditions.

    Regarding lines, skaggit lines with short sink tips were the best option, finishing in tippets around 10/12 lbs.

    Alejandro Martello
    Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager

  • Week 3: January 23 – 30

    This past week we welcomed return guests from Iceland, Switzerland, USA, and the UK. The whole crew boasted plenty of experience on the Rio Grande, which helped us succeed day-to-day.

    Early in the week rain in the lower stretches and the headwaters gave us our first real bump—by about two to three inches—in a long time. The river thankfully remained clear and the fishing didn’t suffer. In fact we had some fantastic outings! On our best day, we landed 44 fish and 33 of them were caught during the evening session. Wind, on the other hand, was very strong and steady through the whole week, peaking at 50 miles/hr (+75km/H).

    Again, a variety of flies were successful without a clear overall winner. But smaller nymphs and Green Machines were the preference of both fish and fishermen. Skagit lines with short, heavy sinking-tips were the best options with 10- to 12-pound leaders.

    All in all, it was another good week. Let’s hope the favorable conditions prevail as we continue into mid-February.

    Largest fish of the week: 24 pounds
    Fish over 20 pounds: 9
    Fish over 15 pounds: 27

    Alejandro Martello
    Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager

  • Week 2: January 16 – 23, 2015

    Weather was cooperative. It wasn’t as hot as the previous week and cloudy skies helped cool the water. And in addition to prime morning and evening fishing, we found active fish through the daylight hours.

    A variety of flies proved successful without a clear overall winner. Some days all fish were landed on different patterns. As usual, much depended on HOW the fly was fished, not what was used. There was an exception, however, and the Innovator of the Week award went to Christoph from Team Germany, who during a slow, clam day tied on a shrimp pattern. It worked! Kudos to him.

    As for lines and sinking-tips, guests fished everything from intermediate to heavy, and there was no clear winner in this category either. They all had their moments in the right circumstances. Tied to the end of the line, most small flies worked fine as noted, but rubber-legged nymphs were the best options during the day. Leeches, on the other hand, continued to produce in low-light hours.

    Tight Lines,
    Alejandro Martello
    Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager

  • Week 1: January 10 – 16, 2015

    Timing, thus, has been key. And adapting to the fast-changing circumstances has called for a mixed-bag of presentations: everything from Type-8 sinking tips and weighted Rubber-legs flies to delicately swinging Prince Nymphs on intermediate tips.

    The river has also been dropping daily, by about 6-8 inches last week alone. But that’s normal in January, which is typically a dry month. During sunny and bright days the twilight hour has fished well with leeches.

    Most flies worked fine, but leeches and Rubber-legs were the best options coming out the fly boxes.

    Largest fish of the week: 20 pounds.

    Fish over 15 pounds: 5

    by Alejandro Martello

2015 Fishing Reports

Fishing Reports by Year