On sunny days, one theory holds that sea-run browns take best if they don’t have the sun in their eyes, although this theory, like others, is often affected by the number of fish in a particular pool and the number of “takers.”

Fishing the Rio Grande

Although most of their lives are spent in the ocean, sea-run brown trout seem to retain more of the eccentricities of resident browns than, for instance, steelhead do of resident rainbows. Moody fish, they must be shown flies the way they want to see them. The Rio Grande is a large river. Thus, it’s compatible with a wide range of techniques; critical since a large sea-run brown trout may demand that a fly be fed to it on the bottom one hour but rise to a skating fly the next. Water levels can change from week to week, and they generally drop as the season progresses.

Vary your presentations in each pool fished until you find the right formula of fly, line, drift or swing, and retrieve. Also heed the advice of your guide, whose primary aim is to help you hook and bring more fish to the net. Generally, the Rio Grande’s sea-run brown trout seem to lie near cut banks during the middle of the day, though in low water they will also lie in the faster necks of pools. They typically move into these areas during the early morning, evening, and nighttime hours. A good rule is, “Tails in the morning and heads at night.” Also look for fish distributed throughout pools on calm, overcast days.

On sunny days, one theory holds that sea-run browns take best if they don’t have the sun in their eyes, although this theory, like others, is often affected by the number of fish in a particular pool and the number of “takers.”


The Daily Program

Guests will leave the lodge around 9 o’clock after breakfast, fishing till around 1 o’clock. Following lunch and a siesta (the duration depends on the season), guests return to the river in the late afternoon and fish until dark. Fishing hours will change slightly depending on the time of year.

Fly Fishing for Sea-Run Brown Trout

Sea-run browns are beloved by intrepid fly anglers everywhere. And of all the places we travel to target these formidable fish, Tierra del Fuego stands out as remarkable due to the size and power of its record-breaking fish.

Sea-run brown trout (Salmo trutta) was introduced to the rivers of Tierra del Fuego by British expat John Goodall in the 1930s. Long story short, those industrious imports eventually discovered the Atlantic, attracted by its abundant food supply. They packed on the pounds during their oceanic sabbaticals, and upon re-entering freshwater to propagate the next generation, they had reached otherworldly proportions. Fly fishers have rejoiced ever since.

Tierra del Fuego has been described as the end of the earth, which for the most part an accurate description. The island archipelago marks the southernmost extreme of the Americas; where human development has come at a glacial pace, mostly thanks to its utter remoteness. Area rivers are formed in the Andes, where they are propelled by mountain gradient toward the flat rolling steppes, finally fanning out into the brackish estuaries of the South Atlantic. And in the Río Grande, the largest watershed on Tierra del Fuego’s Isla Grande, today you will find the largest population of sea-run browns anywhere—an annual return of tens of thousands of wild trout.

Similar to steelhead in the northern hemisphere, the anadromous browns of Tierra del Fuego enjoy a cult-like following. And for a good reason. Savvy anglers build their fishing schedules around the run in an attempt to hit the migration during its peak. By January, chrome fish push into the river and through mid-March fly fishers are targeting—and catching—sea-run brown trout that average in the teens, but break the 20+ pound mark regularly. In fact, the Río Grande boasts more world record sea-run brown trout than any other river. And pioneering lodges such as Kau Tapen and Villa Maria have been quietly witnessing those special events for decades.

Kau Tapen is a sea-run brown trout institution that’s steeped in regional history. Located in the middle section of the Río Grande, and adjacent to the river’s best tributary, the Río Menendez, the lodge has been serving spectacular sea-run brown trout fishing since the early 1980s. In addition to exclusive access to unpressured beats, the atmosphere inside the lodge is unmatched. The great hall features a grand fireplace where anglers can kick back, sip Malbec, and add their stories to the aura. Fine dining is a breakfast, lunch, and dinner standard. And immaculately appointed rooms provide a cozy sanctuary for hardworking anglers at day’s end.

Anglers at Villa Maria, on the other hand, have the benefit of fishing the lower portions of the Río Grande, where its braided waters are home to some of the freshest, fiercest sea-run brown trout in the system. This section is ideal for spey casters due to its longer and broader pools that cater beautifully to the swing.

The quality of the service at Kau Tapen is unprecedented for a fishing lodge. Our seasoned guides are exceptional and considered the best in the business. Kau Tapen’s veteran wait staff is outstanding and makes for a memorable experience both on and off the water.

Tierra del Fuego may well be the end of the earth. It’s also a pilgrimage of holy land significance when it comes to brown trout fishing.


The pull of this place is equaled by the draw of its legendary fish. And on the Río Grande, you will find out why.

At Sweet Waters Adventure, every excursion is customized to your unique requirements.

There are no “canned” adventures. You wouldn’t want it any other way. Once we’ve designed the perfect getaway for you and your family or your fishing buddies, we’ll nail down every detail including pricing options. Your choice of accommodations and activities determine your final costs. We’ll work closely with you to meet your specific requirements and desires. Of course, every adventure varies according to your length of stay, types of activities, and the season.

You’ll be amazed that most of our quotes will be turned around in less than 24 hours. Few other adventure companies can back that claim up with real results. But here’s the most important benefit for you to remember – our services are completely free to our clients. At Sweet Waters Adventure, we have developed contacts around the globe that will offer the lone adventurer, family, or group action-packed days, some of the finest cuisine served up anywhere, and the assurance of comfortable nights. Not to mention enough life-affirming experiences to guarantee a future full of priceless memories. Tell us your dreams. We’ll help them come true.

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