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.
Parana on the Fly, a signature lodge from Andes Drifters was my home away from home. Andres and Marcello, the co-owners do a fantastic job with their lodge. The boats are an outstanding craft to fish the varied waters of the Parana and its tributaries. The lodge is comfortable, food terrific and the guides very good at what they do. This old estancia on the river is quaint and comfortable. In addition WiFi, air-conditioning and great service are all included.
Forming the border between Argentina and Paraguay the Parana River is a huge river system. As a result it almost seems like a lake until you toss a fly into a log jam and see how fast the water is moving. The Parana is considered to have the largest dorado in the world. That’s due to their preferred food item, a fish known as a sabalo. I saw millions of these 6 to 16-inch-long fish. That abundance helps to grow these large dorado. Hence, I estimate that 8 pounds is average, 12-15 pounds very common and 20-40 pounds possible!
In addition to dorado there are other species to catch with both dry flies, nymphs and streamers. These include but are not limited to Pacu, Pira Pita, Boga and Piranhas. Almost everything has teeth! Howler
monkeys in the background, an occasional alligator sighting and beautiful sunsets all combine to make this a very exciting fishing experience.
Preferred tackle are 7 and 8 weight rods loaded with floating or intermediate saltwater lines. As a result of so much wood in the water you need to stay high in the water column.The typical dorado set up for me was an 8 weight Helios loaded with an SA Saltwater Intermediate Titan line. To that Andres attached a 9- foot leader that was 50 lb. test at the end. In addition he added 12-18 inches of 40# wire as a bite guard.
The flies we used were between 6 and 8 inches long. Eli at Great Lakes Flies tied up a bunch for me that were outstanding, Dorado especially found the Optimus Swine JR to their liking . In addition, the guides all had their favorites. Black, black and chartreuse and black and yellowwere the dorados favorite colors. The flies were generally light weight, consequently they were not that difficult to cast once you got used to the leader. Many of the hits were on flies that were very close to the surface. The hits were all followed immediatly by multiple jumps and short runs. Most of all, it’s great fun!
Finally, if you are looking for a destination in winter that provides exceptional angling opportunities, a great lodge and a new fishing environment, Dorado fishing at Parana on the Fly should be at the top of your list.
Andes Drifters and Parana on the Fly are represented in the Midwest by Hawkins Outfitters. Due to the extensive experience I have in Argentina I will help you plan your next winter fishing trip to Argentina. Check out our Travel page for additional trips we offer. Also I will help with travel, equipment, flies and the nuances of traveling in Argentina. Visit either lodge or both, you’ll have the trip of a lifetime.
For more information contact Chuck or give us a call 231-228-7135!