2 February 2022
KLONDIKE BROTHERS-TIERRA DEL FUEGO 2022
by Steve Symons
2 February 2022
by Steve Symons
Our time to go!
For many years, my brother and I have been watching videos and following accounts on social media showcasing the extraordinary fishing in Argentina for huge seatrout. Patagonia has always been a bucket list destination for us.
The mysterious seatrout has always been very special to us. Hiding during the day, very easy to scare and sometimes extremely picky. During darker hours they often change and become another animal, smashing the flies fiercely.
After a lot of “covid anxiety”, PCR-tests, paper work and hours on planes we finally arrived in Rio Grande, Tierra Del Fuego, in the very south of Argentina.
We were going to stay for 11 days on the Rio Grande starting with two days on Villa Maria Lodge and 9 days on Kau Tapen Lodge further up the system.
To counter the extremes of weather in Patagonia we decided to opt for the Driology layering system. Apparel choice is critical to fish with focus and comfort, so the Patagonia tried and tested Driology range was perfect.
As the guides had already been scouting the pools before we came, we knew a few fish had entered the river.
We woke on the first morning with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Fishing new places often demands local knowledge. Of course, we had got a lot of info before, but you always have the feeling you don’t have the right gear, flies, rods etc.I believe we had the double amount of fishing gear we actually required!
Fortunately, in both these amazing lodges (operated by Nervous Waters) they have great guides that will do everything they can to help you catch fish. Even loaning gear if something is missing.
We jumped into the SUV and headed to the river.
Rod at the ready, the guide pointed out where I should start fishing.
Only five casts in and something took my chartreuse leech fly. Being my first fish from the Rio Grande it was difficult to estimate it’s size. The guide arrived net ready, the fish broke surface exposing a huge tail, we realized it was big.
After a strong fight we managed to get her into shallow water and the waiting net. My happiness was indescribable. The scale showed 21,5 lbs. My PB by far and probably hard to beat this week. What a start.
We managed to land several more good sea trout on day one, but my brothers 18lb chrome fresh fish on day two was the most beautiful, probably of the whole trip. I have never seen anything like it.
The fish here are incredibly well conditioned and extremely strong. The takes and the fights are definitely something we are not used too. But it is not surprising when looking at the shape of the fish here.
Between the fishing sessions we spent time in the amazing river lodge for lunch and siesta. The fresh cooked food, amazing wines and great service of the staff was at another level.
The two days on Villa Maria went by very quickly as you can imagine. Saying farewell to the Villa Maria team, It was time to head up to Kau Tapen.
Kau Tapen is a beautiful fishing lodge that has hosted many a famous fly angler, the former president of the United States, George Bush Sr to name one!
The service of the staff is something else, perfect food and the best red wines one can imagine.
Kau Tapen lodge sits on the banks of the Rio Grande but also has water on a tributary, the Rio Menendez.
Rio Menendez holds just as big fish as the main river. Single hand rods are preferred here as the rivers run smaller higher up the system. The fish fights are nerve wracking here so we were both excited to try it out.
We started the first day in the main river with our Swedish guide Christian Lindström, a super nice guy. My bother managed to land a fish in the morning and that was proof the fish were there.
After siesta, my brother got another good fish, I felt my turn was coming. I fished hard and my perseverance finally paid off during the final casts of the evening. The take I had been hoping for eventually resulting in a nice 15 pounder. We both went back very happy.
Now we were in the fishing bubble. The life at home felt so incredibly distant. That’s when you don’t know what day it is, you breath fishing, dream fishing.
During the week we fished all the famous pools around wild Guanacos, Condors, Beavers and Foxes, along with many other wild and wonderful creatures unseen in normal life.
Being successful in Rio Grande it demands a stretched line and the fly landing 45 degrees just near bank, where it is deep. You rarely fish the middle of the river. The channel is almost always near the bank. Sometimes the fish will take the fly as it lands with a huge surface break.
The really strong wind (sometimes gale force) makes the casting very hard at times but also very easy when you have it in your back downstream. The water level was constantly dropping and made the fishing more difficult later in the trip, but there were still fresh fish running in to join the earlier arrivals.
We also spent some hours in Rio Menendez with single hand rods. We were both eager to catch a fish there. The fights can be crazy as the fish usually sets off down stream with the angler chasing after them.
All was quiet until the last session when I put my olive Woolly Bugger near the bank and boom, there is was. I almost lost my rod during the take, it felt like a very big fish. It set off downstream but seconds later threw the hook. You all know the feeling of emptiness…
The average catch was 1-3 fish per day with a few lost and of course, many good pulls.
My brother, who is a magnificent trout fisherman, got many fish and had an amazing average weight of around 11 lbs. I suffered many lost ones with good size that put my average around 9 lbs.
Looking back, the most memorable moment was when we got “the double”.
Being brothers and holding two beautiful seatrouts in the hands at the same time was something else. Pure joy and happiness!
The experience we had in Patagonia was addictive and we will definitely go back soon, again dressed in our top class Driology apparel which provided perfect protection for wind, water and cold, and most of all, was extremely comfortable when fishing and walking.
We are proud representing a brand you can count on!
Big thanks to Steve Symons @Driology, The staff and guides at Villa Maria & Kau Tapen lodges and of course the guys travelling with us on this expedition.
Wishing all a good year!
David BorkenhagenKlondike Brothers Flyfishing
1 October 2019
It was April and the all-too-familiar "ping" of modern life resonated as another email entered my inbox. This did not raise much interest at first but on reading the title it was immediately opened with a sense of intrigue. It simply read "Laerdal" and was delivered from Bjorn Torre Lokkebo.