I’ve recently returned from three weeks of fishing in Argentina, my favorite place in the world to fish. Due to adding 8 days of fishing in northern Argentina, I’ve added another reason to spend time in Argentina with a fly rod, Dorado!!
They are beautiful, ferocious jumpers that take a fly readily. Consequently dorado are a fly anglers dream. Dorado are one of the most bad ass fish I’ve caught. Another plus is the fishing reminds me of trout fishing, hitting structure, running seams etc. Most of all imagine trout that average 8 pounds, can reach 40 pounds and you have dorado.
Chuck Hawkins is hosting a Dorado trip to Parana on the Fly Lodge in Corrientes, Argentina, April 1-7, 2017
Dorado are considered by many knowledgeable anglers to be the fiercest fresh water fish in the world. The Upper Parana River has the biggest Dorados in the world! We are fishing the Upper Parana River In Correntes Province. Were we fish is a section of the river known as Alto Parana, which is the tail water of Yacyreta Dam.
Floating line streamer fishing is the most effective method for catching dorado. They are an ambush predator, so much like trout fishing here in Michigan you are casting to structure created by rocks and wood. Fantastic fights follow when you hook up. These fish run and jump with the best of them. Average fish run 5-10 pounds, most anglers will land a fish around 20 pounds and most weeks behemoth 40 pounders are caught.
In addition to dorado the Parana River system holds good numbers of Pacu (8 to 12 pounds) and Pira Pita (to 10 pounds). These fish are caught on dry flies mimicking fruits and flowers. Both species are highly sought after gamefish. The large size of these fish coupled with a dry fly rise situation makes them a very fun quarry.
An average week (if there is such a thing) will see an angler land 15-30 Dorado per angler plus 10-20 Pira-Pitas, and 2-3 Pacu. Big mean fish on streamers and dry flies, warm weather and a great lodge, what a trip!
The cost is $4450 per week all-inclusive except gratuities and flights. This price is based on two anglers to a room and a boat. You will fly into Buenos Aries Saturday morning arriving by noon. You will catch a connecting flight to Corrientes at 4:00 Pm arriving there at 5:30. You will fish all day for 6 days and then depart Corrientes Saturday morning April 8th for your flight home.
On my recent tip to Rio Manso Lodge in Patagonia near San Carlos de Bariloche, I had some eye opening experiences. I learned a lot about the dragonfly hatch. I learned some tips and techniques from the guides there that showed me ways to catch trout unlike anything I’ve seen in Michigan. Fishing the dragonfly hatch in Patagonia will blow your mind!
Those of you that know me realize that I’m an unapologetic streamer junky. If I go fishing I throw streamers unless I see good fish rising to dry flies. Fly fishing in Patagonia I’ve always brought my streamer staples, Nutcrackers, Hat Tricks, Triple Doubles and Lapdancers. These streamers, along with some simpler, bugger kind of stuff, has yielded me many large fish all over Patagonia.
On this, my most recent trip to Fly fish in Patagonia, dry flies were king. We left Michigan a couple days after Christmas on the advice of John Bleh. He’s the marketing director for Rio Manso Lodge near Bariloche. John advised that we would hit the dragonfly hatch. This hatch is like having an all day hex hatch. We caught brookies to 22 inches, rainbows to 24 and brown trout to 25 inches.
Fishing dragonflies is different then most other dry fly fishing I’ve done. The dragonflies are hatching mostly near the reed beds so that’s were the majority of the action happened. We were fishing mostly 2X, 9 foot leaders. You would cast as close to or even into the reed areas and twitch the fly. If you were in the reeds a very light touch would allow you to work the fly through the reeds and clear it before casting again. If you pulled you hooked the reeds, which were very unforgiving, you had to row in to retreive your fly. That alerted the fish to your presence and “blew” that area for awhile.
The other different thing to learn was the set. Most of the time the fish blew up on the dragonfly imitation, many times going straight up in the air with it in their mouths. So you set on fish flying through the air. A different method, but very cool.
It’s hard to describe the excitement of the dragonfly hatch and its importance in fly fishing Patagonia. One of the best patterns was a staple in our boxes here in Michigan, it’s our Damsel Pattern (see video below) , invented by Jon Ray. In this video I will show you how to tie this dragon fly, damsel fly pattern. We tie it in three colors, black, blue and green. The black variation was dynamite for the dragonfly hatch recently.
If you love dry fly fishing, big trout and explosive takes, fly fishing in Patagonia for the dragonfly hatch is for you. Join us next year!
I’ve been lucky enough to fly fish many lakes for trout in Patagonia. Lago Tromen, Fonck, Hess, and Rocca to name a few. All three species, Brook, Rainbow and Brown Trout are available is these lakes in Patagonia. The trout, in spring and fall, are in the shallows hunting edibles to help them put on weight. Fly fishing lakes in Patagonia often will produce some of the largest fish of your trip.
The equipment you bring to a lake trip should be a six weight, fast action rod with a floating line and a seven weight rod loaded with a 250 grain sink tip. Depending on the time of year and where the fish are concentrated you will use one or the other. In late spring, early summer the fish will be in the shallow water, often near reeds looking to eat the hatching dragonflies. Explosive takes from large trout are common! As the water warms look for trout to concentrate closer to inlets and outlets looking for food near these coldwater sources.
As in river fishing, fly placement in crucial. Close to structure is key. Longer casts at times will be necessary especially if winds are light and the water is calm and glassy. In Patagonia if the lake is calm throw smaller flies with longer leaders. If the wind is up, common in Argentina, bigger flies like Chernobyl Ants, Fat Albert’s and other foam creations will get attention.
The most important ingredient in your arsenal to fly fish lakes in Patagonia is animation. Twitch your fly! Many times I’ve seen fish cruising, looking for a meal. A little movement will attract fish and often result in hook ups. A little used tactic, often overlooked by north american fly anglers fly fishing for trout in Patagonia is to fish a big foam imitation like a bass popper. Many times I’ve had large fish attack a fly being popped back to the boat.
Streamers may also play a roll when fishing lakes in Patagonia. I have lit them up on a wide variety of offerings. Conehead woolly buggers, Nutcrackers, Hat Tricks and different pancora patterns have resulted in fish landed that have weighed in excess of 7 pounds.
Fly fishing lakes in Patagonia can be very productive at times. If you guide suggests it, happily go along. You may catch the biggest trout of your life.
http://hawkinsoutfitters.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/fly_fishing_lakes.jpg480720Chuck Hawkinshttp://hawkinsoutfitters.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/hawkins-large2.jpgChuck Hawkins2016-01-11 10:33:272017-02-07 14:42:37Fly Fishing lakes in Patagonia