I just returned from a wonderful trip to the Rio
Grande. While the river is quite low, there are fish to be had in some of the pools and the 'feast days' were true feasts - and the same can be said of the famine days.
There were five of us at La Villa Maria Behety and three were returning anglers. We bonded from the start and enjoyed every minute of our week together at the lodge and on the river. We all vowed to come back the same week next year and fish together again. I sincerely hope we do. I know I'll be there.
As a newcomer to the Rio
Grande, I'll make a few observations; none I'm sure will be particularly profound, especially for those who've been there before or have fished for sea trout elsewhere.
First, the wind is everything they say it is. But in true Nietzschean fashion I came away a far better caster because that which does not destroy us makes us stronger. I was cach-handed when I arrived; I was a fairly strong left-hand-up caster when I left. You just can't cast properly or accurately cach-handed with a 50 MPH wind bearing downstream on you from river left -well at least I couldn't. If I never caught a fish I would have benefited from this trip just by learning how to be a more versatile and creative caster out of necessity. My hat is off to the excellent guides at La Villa for all the advice and help in this regard.
Second, I had never thought of brown trout as being especially acrobatic when trout fishing for them. They always seemed like dog-down tuggers to me; not the wild, jumping, reel screaming fish that rainbows/steelhead are. I have a whole new respect for the sea run version of salmo trutta. These babies can make your reel scream and smoke while heading for the Atlantic and they jump regularly - and not just when they are hooked. I saw BIG fish clear the water by three or four feet just for giggles in several pools.
Third, these fish can give you buck fever like you wouldn't believe. We had pools where there were giants rolling, jumping and thrashing about until you were convinced that there were hundreds in the pool, and yet they wouldn't take a fly for love or money. You could make great presentations, avoid spooking them and change flies regularly to no avail. These scenarios were maddening.
Fourth, jigging with small nymphs on an eight or nine weight with 15' of T-14 is, well, different. I had to question some of my prejudices and assumptions about fishing with the long rod. But sometimes that is what it took. One of my biggest fish came on a prince nymph. There were times I wanted to say "Hey, I didn't come here to fish like this. I want to swing, that's what I know and love." But in the end it's all just a big tool box, right? And we need to learn how to be versatile craftsmen.
And all of this made the fishing exactly what we all dream of and pray for on those special trips: challenging, a little frustrating, and always exciting.
Here's a link to the start of a photobucket album for this trip. I hope it gives you a sense of this special place.