Kau Tapen Lodge is as famous as the Rio Grande river on which it sits, considering it was also the first Sea Trout lodge on this river initially set up back in 1984. Kau Tapen translates to ‘House of Fishing’ in the local language, and over the years, it certainly has lived up to its name. So many customers have visited this stunning lodge, fished the river and relaxed, chatting about the monsters they both caught and the ones that got away, all over a few nice glasses of Malbec Wine. What makes Kau Tapen so unique as a fishing lodge? Apart from it has over 32 years of experience and has set a level of excellence that other lodges are measured. It offers the most pools per angler per day, only two anglers and their guide per beat and four to eight pools per beat, different beats every morning and evening. That’s a lot of water to cover each day! The lodge has managed to put 5 world records for Sea Trout, fish in the 27lb to 35lb mark are caught each season, and the lodge can boast that 20lb Sea Trout is standard every week of the season.
Kau Tapen Lodge only typically hosts 10 anglers per week but occasionally 12, and it is a real testament to just how good the operation is when we have an 80% return rate. If you are looking for first-class Sea Trout fishing on the famous Rio Grande River and wish for serious opportunities to catch 20lb Sea Trout, you will fall in love with this destination.
Kau Tapen lodge can is found nestled in the Rio Grande Valley in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. This great river flows from west to east, from the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean, through approximately 60 miles of Argentine territory. Tierra del Fuego’s rugged landscape is like something more found in Scotland’s lowlands, with them being very stark but remaining stunning on the eye. The population in this area is very sparse. Still, you will come across many sheep farming estancias, large herds of Llama like Guanacos, and a large population of Condors will soar above while you peacefully go about your business. It is easy to get to Kau Tapen it’s only a short 3-hour flight from Buenos Aries followed by a 50 min car transfer where our hosts will be awaiting your arrival with some very welcoming cocktails.
There’s no more inviting destination on earth for chasing large Sea Run Brown Trout than on the Rio Grande. The success of the fishery is a modern-day fisherman’s Cinderella story. In just a decade, through access control and catch and release regulations, average catch rates have risen from less than a fish a day in the early ’80s to multiple fish per day, per person, today.
The massive Rio Grande meanders across the landscape, creating undercut banks where large Sea trout just love to lie to keep out of the sunlight. Generally, the Rio Grande’s Sea 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 early morning, evening, and nighttime hours. A good rule is, “Tails in the morning and heads at night.” This often means the best fishing is found in the mornings and evenings; therefore, expect your days to begin early and end at the last light.
While fly fishing the Rio Grande for Sea Trout, you can, and it is best to fish with a wide range of techniques. Sea Trout are moody creatures, so a large Sea trout might demand that a fly be fed to it on the bottom one hour but rise to a skating fly the next. One thing to remember is water levels do affect fishing, and they tend to drop week by week as the season progresses slowly. As you fish, the different beats and pools vary your presentations in each pool fished until you find the right formula of fly, line, drift or swing, and retrieve. Also, heed your guide’s advice, whose primary aim is to recommend methods that will help you hook and bring more fish to the net.
Remember, Sea Trout in the Rio Grande are big, where the average-sized brown is around 12lb to 20lb. This is a place where catching a trophy-sized Sea Trout could happen any day of the week. Watch some of our YouTube Videos about Kau Tapen
Unlike many stories you may have been told about fly fishing in Patagonia, the fishing is easily manageable. At Kau Tapen, they have access to over 13 miles of the middle section of the river, which provides accessible wading opportunities on both banks. The wind when Sea Trout fishing is your friend; it disturbs the water and makes the Sea Trout more settled and willing to take your fly. Remember, the waves’ noise on the water helps to disguise heavy wading or a bad cast, and with access to both banks, we can position you with the wind on your back. Access to rivers is everything. With Kau Tapens well-maintained vehicles, you will get to spend more time fishing with only, on average, a 15-minute drive to some of the furthest away beats.
Each day you can expect to fish around 9 hours split into two sessions; there is the morning session taking you up to midday, then there will the late afternoon session fishing into the dark. The fishing is split like this to avoid the midday sun and take advantage of the most productive feeding times. In the morning session, after a good hearty breakfast, you will depart around 9 am fishing up to midday, where you will then return to the lodge for lunch, drinks and an afternoon siesta. Late in the afternoon, you will be taken back out, and then you will fish into the dark hours, taking full advantage of the more productive feeding spells.
The Rio Grande season starts in late December as the Sea Trout begin to enter the river in small numbers. However, for the travelling angler, fishing starts typically at the beginning of January. This is when considerable and reliable numbers of Sea Trout begin to enter the system. January, February and March are peak months for fresh, bright chrome Sea Trout. We open for customers to fish right up to the middle of April.
All the guides at Kau Tapen Lodge are first-class professional guides from Argentina and other international locations. Each guide has its unique approach to fishing and guiding on a rotational basis. You will get to benefit from each guides knowledge. They will be equipped with nets and will assist guests with weighing and releasing their catches. All the guides at Kau Tapen Lodge are available for casting instructions for both single and double-handed casting.
The stunning, world-renowned Kau Tapen lodge built in 1984, Kau Tapen Lodge was designed to offer rods maximum comfort during their fishing trips and easy access to the best pools on the world-famous Rio Grande. It accommodates ten guests (and occasionally 12) in en-suite single rooms to ensure privacy and comfort. The lodge has ten en-suite single rooms; some offer a king bed, while some have one queen, and others furnished with two doubles. A large living room opens up to peaceful vistas of the Menendez and Rio Grande valleys and includes a roaring fire and a well-stocked bar. The lodge also boasts a tackle shop with an excellent selection of Sage rods, quality fly reels, flies, lines, Patagonia clothing, and other fishing essentials. Also, guests have full use of the lodge’s fly-tying table and equipment. Additional Kau Tapen highlights include two wading/fly gear rooms, a full spa with a jacuzzi, a sauna and a Finnish steam bath.
At Kau Tapen lodge, the kitchens come to life by using fresh and regionally representative meats and produce. By combining these elements, we create delicious flavours and varied textures that harbour hidden stories and package traditions on each plate. A top-notch team of experienced national and international chefs, trained in both classic and avant-garde culinary techniques, execute our food. With an artisan’s touch, chefs prepare every dish from scratch to be served at a minute’s notice. At Kau Tapen lodge, you’ll enjoy fresh pasta and fire-roasted meats like our famous Patagonian lamb, roasted gaucho-style over charcoal embers, alongside ocean-fresh flavours such as King crab. And don’t forget to save room for dessert. From homemade ice creams to classic sweets and pastries, we have you covered. Finally, we feel that the food we serve and the wines we pour should mirror the sporting opportunities we offer. And wines from Bodega Catena Zapata blend perfectly. These are renowned wines that compete on the world stage. They hold a special place in the local culture, and they are proud to serve them to you.
Although the fishing days are fixed, the below itinerary is still flexible should you require additional free days to explore at the beginning or end of your holiday; we can tailor this itinerary to suit you personally. Feel free to talk to our travel consultants who can explain all options available.
Depart UK (alternative routes available)
Arrive in Buenos Aires.
Once you have arrived and collected your bags make your way out of the terminal building and arrange a taxi to take you to Jorge Newbery airport for your small flight to Rio Grande. (Taxi not included)
Depart Jorge Newbery, Arrive Rio Grande
Once you arrive at Rio Grande you’ll need to transfer to the Rio Grande Hotel. Once there you’ll be free to enjoy the local area, grab some food and generally rest before your week of fishing.
Overnight accommodation: Rio Grande Hotel (Single Rooms) F/B
After breakfast, you’ll be picked up at approximately 12.30 by a representative from Kau Tapen. They will then transfer you to the lodge, where you will be welcomed with cocktails and the entire Kau Tapen team. (Transfer approx. 30-minutes)
Overnight accommodation: Kau Tapen Lodge (Single Rooms) F/B
Over the next 6 days, your guides will drive you to and from the river in comfortable 4-wheel drive vehicles fitted with rod racks and VHF radios. Most of the fishing pools are only a short 15-minute drive away. Almost all the pools can be covered well with a single-handed rod although the use of a double-handed rod can be an advantage. The fishing hours are normally, leave the lodge around 9 am after breakfast, fishing until around 1 pm. Following lunch and a siesta, (the hours of which will depend on the season) you will return to the river between 5 pm and 6 pm and fish through till dusk.
Overnight accommodation: Kau Tapen Lodge (Single Rooms) F/B
At around 8.00 am will be transferred back to Ushuaia airport for your journey home.
The journey time to Ushuaia airport is around 4 hours.
Depart Ushuaia, Arrive Jorge Newbery
Once you have arrived back at Jorge Newbery, collect your bags and take a taxi to your overnight hotel. (Taxi not included)
Overnight Accommodation: Buenos Aires Hotel (Twin Rooms) B/B
At some point during the day, you will need to arrange a Taxi back to Buenos Aires airport. This can be booked by asking the hotel reception. (Taxi not included)
Depart Buenos Aires
Average Customer Satisfaction Score 82%
"All aspects of my Kau Tapen experience were excellent. Just spending time by a river like Rio Grande with true fly fishing enthusiasts like the guides I had the pleasure to meet.... and if you then add the monster trout and the atmosphere of the "House of fishing" I could not get closer to my fly fishing heaven."
"I was part of a group of 6 anglers from the UK and our visit to Kau Tapen was one to be remember for a very long time. Our guides and the lodge staff took such good care of everyone. First class lodge, fist class operation Should be on every anglers bucket list."
"A huge thank you to all the staff and guides, amazing food and fishing. Already saving the pennies"
The season runs from November to March.
Season: November to April
Peak: January to March
Weight: 5lb to 35lb
Average Weight: 8.5lb
Season: November to April
Peak: January to March
Weight: 1lb to 6lb
Average Weight: 2.5lb
Remember that Sportquest Holidays' services are completely FREE! When you book a trip with Sportquest Holidays, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge and flights independently.
Prices are based on two adults sharing transfers, fishing and accommodation (unless otherwise stated) and are correct at the time of going to press. Subject to time of year or date and currency fluctuations, these prices may fluctuate slightly due to flight price increases or fuel surcharge.
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