Wonderful Region

Rio Grande | Argentina

Through the

Caught by the Rio Grande fever, I'm on my way to South America once again. The only downside is the long journey. However, as they say, experience makes you wiser – and this time, I'm taking a Lufthansa direct flight from Frankfurt to Buenos Aires. A significant relief!

Furthermore, I managed to convince Georg Marberger to join me on this trip. We naturally crossed paths while fishing: I have an annual pass for his stretch on the Ötztaler Ache, which is a fantastic river with a strong population of brown trout and rainbow trout. We're meeting on January 25th in Buenos Aires; Georg is flying to Argentina with Air France. We'll spend the afternoon exploring the city, and in the evening, of course, we'll treat ourselves to a delicious Argentine steak with a few glasses of good Malbec to welcome ourselves. The next day, we'll fly on to Rio Grande. At the airport, we'll be met by the guides and taken to the Maria Behety Lodge.

Rio Grande | Argentina
27. January - 01. February 2013

Our Accommodation

The Arrival

Bad news: Fishing in the days leading up to our arrival, despite good water levels, was quite challenging. An unusual heatwave with temperatures reaching up to 30 degrees had rapidly warmed the water, which had not been favorable for the Sea Runs. They didn't seem particularly motivated to attack the flies.

The water is nearly clear, and the water levels are slightly higher than the previous year. At first glance, the conditions don't seem bad. What we need most of all is a consistent water temperature.

In the lodge, we meet our fellow anglers for this week. Besides Georg and me, there are mostly Americans, two Irish, and two English anglers.

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    Lodge Impressions
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    Great Catch
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    Having a break
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    Great landscape
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    Wonderful Accommodation
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    Tierra del Fuego
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    What a view
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    Cozy Times

Good Times

January 27, 2013

Sunday morning! Finally, after the long journey, it's time. At 7:30 AM, we head out with guide Andrew to Pool 25 Theresa, where there's a lot of action; fish are rolling everywhere you look. The wind is estimated to be around 70 km/h, not exactly comfortable.

It takes an hour, and then I catch the first one, a Sea Run, not particularly large at 6 pounds, but still something. Shortly after, I lose one. Georg also loses a better fish just before landing it.

In the evening, we head upstream to Pool 5 Gringa and Pool 6 Record. The upper spots are shared by the EMB Lodge and the Kau Tapen Lodge.

From last year, I don't have good memories of the upstream pools. The river is quite narrow there, about 30 meters, so I decide to fish with a single-handed rod. It turns out to be the right decision: I catch five Sea Trouts, and Georg manages to land one. However, the fish are on the smaller side, ranging from 5 to 7 pounds, which is somewhat modest for the Rio Grande.

January 28, 2013

In the morning, we are greeted by Miguel, a new guide who is in his first year at the Behety Lodge but has previous experience in other lodges along the Rio Grande.

In the morning, we are assigned to Pools 11 Nirvana and 12 Barda. Nirvana has a reputation as a great pool, but we have no luck today. We see no activity and get no bites. It seems like the fish have left the pool and moved further upstream.

In the evening, we fish Pool 15 Castor and Pecera. Georg catches a small Sea Run, but I have a "Potato Day" – in other words, a score of zero.

January 29, 2013

Today, we fish with Gabi at Spot 22, Pool Andrew. I have fond memories of Andrew: last year, I landed an incredible 11 fish here one morning, including a 26.5-pound Sea Run. I love this pool and can recall the top spots.

And as suspected, it's just like before! The bites come in as they did a year ago, even though the water level is higher.

The wind is strong and blowing sideways to the casting direction. It takes a bit, but I find a solution to reach the right spot: I have to cut through the wind to reach the steep edge on the opposite bank with an overhead cast at a strong angle toward the water. Then, it's a flurry of action! I catch five Sea Runs, with weights up to 17 pounds, and lose 3 more during the fight.

Georg, who has less experience with two-handed rods, struggles with the conditions and falls short. He can't reach the good spots on the other side and can't hook anything.

In the evening, we head to Spot 26, Pool Largo, where the river is slow. However, the fish are rolling on the other side of the bank. It doesn't seem to work for me, but Georg catches a Sea Run. That's it for this evening.

Enjoy Fishing


Last Days in Rio Grande

January 30, 2013

Today, we're fishing with Head Guide Federico – this can only be a good day! The wind is extreme and getting stronger. We're battling winds of up to 70 km/h, and the local weather report predicts a storm.

Nevertheless, I get a great bite and an extremely strong fight with long runs – which makes me suspicious. I land a 14-pound Sea Run, hooked on the side, and Georg catches one too. Sometimes, luck isn't on your side, and you only hook smaller fish.

At lunchtime, there's a big barbecue at Estancia Maria Behety with the guests from La Villa Lodge. The food is impressive: a large appetizer buffet, lamb, pork, beef, and chicken from the grill – excellent!

Everyone else is talking about their successful morning catches while we return with disappointing results for lunch. We're hoping for a better evening session. Hope is alive, but unfortunately, the prospects are modest: we don't have a particularly popular pool for the evening.

Our ace in the hole is Head Guide Federico. He changes the plan on a whim, and we head to the excellent evening spot 31, Pool Horseshoe. I remember my great successes at this spot and am confident I'll hook something here.

This place is extremely challenging to fish: the ground is very muddy and slippery, and there's a 90-degree steep drop-off at the bank. The water depth is three to five meters, and the current pushes strongly against the edge. It all reminds me of last year. I get my little streamer to the right depth, and I manage to hook two fish, losing one during the fight. The challenging conditions don't favor Georg, and Horseshoe denies him a bite.

Then, we move to Spot 32, Pool Banquero. Federico shows Georg the spot and how to fish it. Meanwhile, I change gear and switch to a lighter shooting head. On the second cast, I hook a 14-pound Sea Run with extreme bite marks from a sea lion. After sunset, when it's already dark, something amazing happens: Georg and I experience a double run! What a way to end this adventurous day.

January 31, 2013

Guide Patrick greets us today with the news that we'll have a storm, and the wind will really whip us around. And he's right. At Spot 20, Pool Cabbezoni and Bocca, Quieto, the wind reaches speeds of up to 80 km/h, with gusts of 100 km/h! However, the wind works in our favor, and the casting distances are enormous. At the same time, with the strong wind, it also gets colder. I get just one bite, and unfortunately, neither of us lands a fish. Our colleagues at the lodge have a similar story: except for Doug, no one catches a fish.

In the afternoon, the wind gets even stronger. Some in the group doubt whether we should go out again at all. But the fighting spirit prevails; nobody wants to leave the morning's poor results unchallenged, so everyone heads out in the afternoon.

At Spot 18, nothing happens at first. Georg calls it a day early, but I stay and catch a 6-pound Sea Run. So, it's not a zero-score day or a "Potato Day," as they say here, for me after all.

February 1, 2013

With Genaro, the Sunnyboy, we head to the promising Spot 30, Pool Moneta, which has produced plenty of fish all week. Right at the beginning, Georg hooks a great fish. I stop fishing and start filming, hoping he can land this beautiful fish. Unfortunately, he loses it just before landing, and shortly afterward, loses another one.

Then, it's a flurry of action for me! I've found the perfect spot: one after another, I catch fish weighing 7, 11, 14, 13, and 16 pounds and lose two more.

The evening session is at Spot 16. I hook a Sea Run, and another very good one slips away.

Georg continues to be plagued by bad luck. About 30 meters from me, he's really struggling with a superb fish that jumps completely out of the water three or four times, sometimes less than five meters in front of him. We get a close look at the fish – it's a Sea Run weighing over 20 pounds. Unfortunately, Georg loses the tenacious fish; during one jump, it shakes off the hook. What a pity – that would have been the biggest fish of the week for sure


Fishing First Class – that's what this week on the Rio Grande was all about; a truly fantastic experience. The strong wind is just part of the Rio Grande; otherwise, we were fortunate with the weather: there was hardly any rain, and it wasn't as cold as in 2012. Despite facing some bad luck, Georg developed admirable resilience. In the spring, he plans to take a two-handed casting course to return to the Rio Grande better prepared. He still has unfinished business.

It was a truly great time, also with our fellow anglers in the group. Rio Grande – I'll be back in 2014!


All images
of the trip