• Villa Maria Lodge – Week 11: March 8st to 15th, 2024

    Our penultimate week unfolded just as we had anticipated according to the weather forecasts. We experienced heavy rains, not lasting for several days but rather just a few hours, yet with enough intensity to alter the fishing scene for the week. In the early days of the week, the fishing beats at Villa Maria Lodge found the river at a very high level, although not overflowing. Additionally, tributaries such as the Rio Ona and Rio Menendez were flowing heavily, carrying a lot of sediment from the mountains, leaving the lower Rio Grande completely turbid and the river very fast-flowing, making it almost unfishable.

    Fortunately, our sister operation, Kau Tapen Lodge, is located in the middle section of the Rio Grande, upstream from these tributaries. Although the river there was also swollen and turbid, its reduced size and lower flow made it entirely suitable for fishing. So, we headed there to fish for three days while waiting for the water from the rains to pass and for us to return to our sector of the river.

    Under these conditions, fishing wasn’t easy, and we had to work hard to achieve the catches we were all aiming for. Fortunately, from the first day, we were able to succeed, and the fishing remained stable throughout the week to such an extent that all the anglers landed catches exceeding 16 lbs, with a spectacular 20 lbs male caught by Jack on the last day of fishing.

    Undoubtedly, we had to adjust our fishing setups to these extreme conditions. Short rods and light lines were left behind, and we opted for long and powerful rods that allowed us to comfortably fish deep wading and cast long and fast or extra-fast sinking tips. So, rods ranging from 13 to 14 feet, Skagit floating or sinking lines, and heavy tips ranging from 12 to 15 feet were the most successful setups. Obviously, the flies also increased in size. Large leeches and intruders were the most productive, and most of the time, we opted to combine two flies (tube + fly) to achieve a larger silhouette and a more attractive color combination. Unusual colors under normal conditions such as pink, orange, or purple took the prizes.

    By midweek, the rains ceased, and the forecast promises a week without precipitation, so the river should soon return to its normal clarity, although the accumulated snow in the nearby Andes guarantees that the high water level could persist and perhaps even lower the river temperatures by a few degrees.

    We want to extend our gratitude to the staff and guides at Kau Tapen Lodge for welcoming and serving us exceptionally, making it possible for our guests to enjoy an extraordinary week of fishing.

  • Villa Maria Lodge – Week 10: March 1st to 8th, 2024

    We’ve wrapped up week 10 at Villa María Lodge, and what a wild ride it was! Just as we anticipated from the weather forecasts, we faced quite a challenging week. Unfavorable winds made casting a real struggle, coupled with low temperatures and scattered showers throughout the week. While the rain didn’t cause the river to rise significantly, it did add a touch of murkiness to the water on some days.

    Given these conditions, we had to gear up with heavy-duty equipment and tackle. Think rods ranging from 13 to 14 feet, skaggit lines (some sinking), and long, heavy sink tips proved to be the winning setups. And let’s talk flies – out with the nymphs, green machines, and other tried-and-true patterns, and in with larger, more vibrant flies. Leeches and intruders stole the show, although the biggest catch of the week came from a wonder bug, a tiny but mighty nymph straight out of the Rio Grande tradition.

    Now, let’s give a round of applause to Imran, all the way from Australia, who made his first-ever trip here and kicked things off with a bang! He reeled in two sea trout weighing in at 14 and 15 pounds each earlier in the week. But during the final session on the last day, he landed an impressive male that topped the scale at 21 pounds. Well done, mate!

    Looking ahead, we’re bracing ourselves for some heavy rainfall forecasted for the upcoming week. It’s sure to shake things up on the river and push us to get even more creative in our quest to hook that elusive sea trout of the Rio Grande. Stay tuned for more adventures on the water!


  • Villa Maria Lodge – Week 9: Feb 23rd to Mar 2nd, 2024

    The ninth week has unfolded in Villa Maria, marking the graceful entrance of autumn with changing weather patterns. While substantial rainfall and strong gusts were absent, both elements subtly made their presence known. Brief showers and variable winds from diverse directions became the norm during the past week.

    The river maintained continuity from the preceding week, experiencing subtle pulses of water causing slight fluctuations in the river level on a near-daily basis. Consequently, we periodically adjusted our equipment, opting for slightly stronger rods ranging between 13 and 14 feet. This adjustment allowed for longer casts with denser sink tips and flies with a more pronounced silhouette when the water exhibited slight turbidity. Conversely, we reverted to lighter tips, longer leaders, and smaller flies when the water clarified, receded, and the sun emerged from behind the clouds.

    Much like the river, our fishing experiences had their ups and downs, moments requiring extreme patience and concentration, contrasting with instances of fervent battles, acrobatic leaps, photographs, and omnipresent joy. One such joyous moment starred Neil, who, on his inaugural day casting into the Rio Grande, managed to quadruple his personal sea trout record, elevating it from 5 to 19 pounds! Well done, mate!

    Just as we adapted our equipment, we also diversified the flies used based on the time of day and water clarity, capturing fish on patterns as large as an Intruder to diminutive micro-streamers. It was a matter of experimentation, guided by the ever-changing conditions.

    These fishing methods are likely to be revisited in the upcoming week, as the forecast hints at additional rainfall and the first cool nights of summer, though not quite frosty. Until next time, tight lines and best wishes!

  • Villa Maria Lodge – Week 8: Febuary 16th to 22th, 2024

    Another week has passed at Villa Maria Lodge, filled with friends, laughter, and plenty of stories. As predicted, the weather played tricks on us. While we didn’t face strong winds or low temperatures, the winds came from all cardinal points, and the week unfolded with intermittent rain in the valley and even snow in the mountains.

    These rains didn’t cause major rises, but there were several water pulses throughout the week. Though not overly murky, these pulses carried small algae and various debris like grass, feathers, and tiny sticks found scattered on the shores.

    Naturally, these weather fluctuations led to ups and downs in fishing, but the team stood strong and did an excellent job. Among several sizable catches, I want to highlight Ed (who made it to Villa Maria Lodge’s Wall of Fame with the largest catch of the 2023 season) and this year, once again, landed a 20+ pounder. Also, kudos to Alan, in his first sea run brown trout experience, who hooked an impressive 21-pounder.

    Due to these rises, we had to adjust our gear. Short and light sink tips gave way to longer, faster sink tips, including T17’s due to the speed of some pools. Fly size adjustments were inevitable during rising water days. Leeches and intruders showcased their profiles in sunny hours for the first time this season. However, as these were water pulses and not a constant rise, smaller flies also saw action at different times.

    The upcoming week promises more stable weather, so we’ll likely see the river on the drop, with cleaner waters and new challenges ahead. Cheers!


  • Villa Maria Lodge – Week 7: Febuary 9th to 17th, 2024

    Another eventful week unfolds at Villa Maria Lodge, with plenty to recount! The week commenced with a balmy 28 degrees and calm winds, yielding a decent catch despite the conditions. Subsequently, mild weather prevailed, with occasional drizzles and no strong winds.

    The river maintained its clarity while steadily descending, likely reaching its seasonal low. Fishing experienced fluctuations but certainly had moments of triumph. Notably, it marked the week with the highest number of catches of fish over 20 lbs. Special acknowledgement to Mika and Juha, who set new records for the season with impressive catches weighing 27 and 24 pounds, respectively. Bravo, Team Finland!

    With favorable weather conditions and stable river levels, there was no need to alter our fishing gear. Once again, short sink tips with medium to medium-fast sinking rates and long, thin leaders were the preferred tools. Green machines and small nymphs thrived during sunny hours, while larger silhouetted flies excelled when shadows lengthened.

    Mid-February poses technical challenges, but the potential reward of capturing a trophy fish for Villa Maria Lodge’s Wall of Fame is ever-present. The forthcoming week anticipates more variable weather, with changing winds and intermittent rain – not intense, yet sufficient to impact fishing dynamics.

  • Villa Maria Lodge – Week 6: Febuary 2nd to 9th, 2024

    What a week it’s been, filled with unexpected twists and turns! Despite the forecast predicting heavy rains, Mother Nature decided to throw us a curveball – a couple of mild showers that barely ruffled our fishing plans. The river, however, did get a bit of a makeover, rising about 6-8 inches. Fortunately, it wasn’t a debris-filled catastrophe, and the water retained its clarity, making it a challenging yet fishable playground. The increase in river level worked its magic, breathing new life into some pools that had been seemingly dormant since the season’s kick-off.

    And oh boy, the big fish decided to join the party! We hooked into a good number of sea-run brown trout weighing over 20 pounds! A special shoutout to Sandy, an old friend from the house, who reeled in an outstanding 23lbs. male. Congratulations, Sandy – you truly aced it! The beauty of it all? We didn’t have to overhaul our fishing setups. Those short sink tips with medium to fast sink rates and long leaders continued to be the stars of the show. When the water got a tad murky, we stuck to the tried-and-true larger patterns, flaunting bigger silhouettes and vibrant color combos to entice the elusive ones.

    Looking ahead, next week is going to be a different game. The river is expected to gracefully bow out, allowing its waters to regain that crystal-clear charm. Smaller flies might once again take the spotlight as we anticipate cleaner conditions. Until next week, tight lines and fish on!


  • Villa María Lodge – Week 4: January 26th to Feb 2nd, 2024

    Another week has passed at Villa María Lodge, amidst old friends and countless tales. The weather? A typical week of stable conditions with no rain but a few chilly nights initially causing icy waters. However, the consistent weather turned fishing into a constant delight throughout the week.

    Without rain, the river remains unchanged, steadily decreasing, with water crystal clear and pristine. Our gear hasn’t seen much change in recent weeks – short rods, light sinking tips, and long leaders. The fly selection followed suit, with a diverse range of nymphs and small tubes dominating, only occasionally swapping for larger flies in specific moments.

    Looking ahead, the forecast for the upcoming week hints at light rain. We’ll see if it influences the water level, clarity, and consequently, the fishing. Stay tuned for more tales from the river!


  • Villa María Lodge – Week 4: January 18th to 25th, 2024

    At Villa Maria Lodge, the fourth week of the season showcased the
    extremes of Patagonian weather. The initial half of the week greeted
    anglers with a wild dance of a 90km/h gusty wind, accompanied by
    relentless sunshine. Despite the challenging conditions, some fish were
    landed, yet it was evident that the river held the promise of much more.

    The latter part of the week witnessed a favorable turn as the weather
    settled, bringing a welcome relief from the furious winds. The clouds
    painted the sky, and with this change, the river came alive. Catches
    became more consistent throughout the day, and the elusive big fish
    began to make their appearances.

    Despite a forecast that hinted at rain, the drops never materialized,
    leaving everything surprisingly dry. The river – steadily receding each
    day – maintained crystal-clear visibility. These conditions called for
    finesse with lighter setups, longer leaders, and diminutive flies proving
    most effective.

    Switch rods and light double handers proved to be invaluable tools,
    especially on calmer, less windy days. Short and light sink tips paired
    with small flies reigned supreme for most of the week. However, when
    the wind howled or the sun dipped below the horizon, anglers found
    success with leech or intruder patterns—enticing the sea trout with a
    larger silhouette.

    Looking ahead to the next week, a semblance of the same conditions is
    expected, though a potential twist looms as heavy rain might make an
    appearance towards the week's end. Until then, the strategy remains
    clear—go thinner, go lighter, and stay poised for that thrilling connection
    with a trophy Rio Grande sea trout. Tight lines!


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  • Villa María Lodge – Week 3: January 12th to 18th, 2024

    By Alejandro Martello – Villa Maria Lodge Fishing Manager 

    In the third week of Villa María’s 2024 season, we hosted a group of seasoned fishermen assembled by Mark T., an old friend of the lodge. The crew comprised individuals from various nationalities, including South Africans, Britons, Norwegians, and Americans.

    Fishing conditions on the Rio Grande remained consistent with the previous week. The river continued to recede, offering exceptionally clear water. The initial days presented challenging weather with cold temperatures and gusty winds. However, the latter part of the week witnessed a welcome change – reduced wind, milder temperatures, and a noticeable uptick in fish activity.

    The team of anglers demonstrated exceptional skill, with an impressive 40% of the landed fish weighing over 15 lbs. Every angler successfully reeled in a fish over 18 lbs. Congratulations, guys – outstanding performance!

    The fishing gear mirrored that of previous weeks, featuring 12 to 13-foot rods, floating bellies, and a diverse array of sinking tips. The choice of flies was equally varied, adapting to the shifting conditions, ranging from chilly mornings and windy days to calm and serene moments towards the week’s end.


    As we anticipate a new week, the weather forecast hints at persistent wind. Tight lines to the upcoming adventures!

  • Week 2: Jan 6th to 12th, 2024

    At Villa María Lodge in Tierra del Fuego, our second week unfolded with welcoming winds. They were strong but remained at a manageable level, never exceeding 70 km/h. The river continued to recede, and the water remained exceptionally clear. A group of five anglers embraced the challenge, and everyone reeled in trophy fish weighing a solid 16 lbs or more. Special mention goes to two seasoned fishermen, Jamie and Ian, who achieved remarkable catches of 20 and 23 lbs. Noteworthy, too, were newcomers Ken and Tor, who rose to the challenge with impressive catches of 19 lbs each.

    Tackling the Rio Grande waters demanded the usual setup: 13 to 13’6 rods paired with floating Skagit bellies and slow-sinking tips, adapting to the dropping river levels. The fish, happy to come close to the surface, eagerly pursued a mix of nymphs, leggy patterns, and an assortment of streamers, from leeches to petite tubes.”

    Last week’s fishing expedition surpassed expectations, marking one of our best opening weeks in years. The camaraderie among anglers and the impressive catches set a high bar for the season ahead.

    As we reflect on the success, we look forward to the looming cold front from Antarctica and some showers in the forecast for next week. Despite the unpredictable weather, we’re optimistic that another memorable week awaits. Here’s to more thrilling adventures and extraordinary catches in the days ahead!


  • Week 1: December 30th to January 4th, 2024

    Finally, the wait is over! Villa María Lodge has kicked off its 2024 season.

    We have found the river in optimal fishing conditions, with a good water level (perhaps a little low for the beginning of the season), clear water, and temperatures ranging between 8 to 12 degrees Celsius. This temperature range is considered optimal for seeking the highly prized Sea Run Brown Trouts of the Rio Grande.

    In terms of fishing, we’ve observed that the run has started, and small groups of fish are moving quickly between pools. This indicates that a group of fish that just arrived from the sea in a pool during the morning may no longer be there in the afternoon. Therefore, we must move and cover as much water as possible.

    Jim and Duane visited us for the first time and made their Rio Grande debut impressively, achieving numerous catches with weights reaching up to 17 lbs!

    As the river is in good shape, we utilized our go-to setups for equipment. This means two-handed rods ranging from 12’6″ to 13’6″ with an 8wt, paired with floating Skagit lines and sink tips ranging from 10 to 12 ft in length and made of T10 to T14. The length and sinking speed of the tips depend on the pool, its speed, and depth.

    The fish showed a preference for streamers, particularly articulated leeches in various colors, but other patterns like Woolly Buggers, rubber legs, and the green machine were also effective.

    Looking ahead to the weather forecast for next week, it predicts some rain and quite a bit of wind—nothing surprising in these latitudes. However, this should encourage more fish to enter from the sea and begin spreading across the river.

2024 Fishing Reports

Fishing Reports by Year