Welcome to Pirá Lodge!
Isolated in the center of a Natural Reserve over twine the size of Florida Everglades, Pirá Lodge resides in the Iberá Marshlands of Corrientes Province, far North in Argentina. The Iberá Marshland is a vast system of crystal clear creeks, flowing rivers, shallows and lakes. Here, Dorado is King!
Reasons to choose Pirá Lodge
- The world’s most exciting fresh water species: The Dorado or “River Tiger” has an international reputation for busting tackle.
- Uniquely positioned and supremely comfortable lodge with direct access to the Esteros del Ibera- nearly three million acres of largely unexplored marshland, including creeks, rivers, lagoons and freshwater flats, all teeming with fish.
- Diversity of fishing scenarios: the Marsh, the Headwaters and the Corriente River each offers different fishing experiences.
- Crystal clear water throughout the entire fishery throughout the season, which leads to great opportunities for sight casting and sighted fishing.
- Friendly, bilingual guides with knowledge about the Dorado and his habits, and years of experience boating in the vast Ibera. They’ll make your days on the water unique and productive.
- The only featured freshwater Dorado destination in South America with state of the art Hell’s Bay flats skiffs, to deliver anglers quickly and safely to the most remote areas of the fishery.
- Spectacular abundance of flora and fauna make for a naturalist and fisherman’s dream destination – over 350 bird species are seen regularly.
- Unique non angling activities in a tropical paradise include horseback riding, a sparkling swimming pool and bird watching, which combine to make a vacation within a vacation.
The lodge is located in the Corrientes Province, Northeast Argentina, in the middle of the Ibera Marshlands, within 1,300,000 hectares of Natural Reserve. This area is twice the size of the Florida Everglades.
The lodge sits right on the edge of a channel providing direct access to the marsh system and to the Corrientes River, located 15 min south of the lodge.
The Ibera Marshland is a vast system of non-polluted crystal-clear creeks, flowing rivers, shallows and lakes.
The Province of Corrientes borders Uruguay, and enjoys one of Argentina’s subtropical climate patterns, with temperatures in the mid-80s early and late in the season.
The Ibera Marshland is almost completely unexplored and uninhabited. It is home to more than 350 species of birds (parrots, southern screamers, kingfishers, ibis, herons…), 85 mammals and almost 70 reptiles, and an incredible abundance of flora.
During your stay you will have a chance to see species such as capybara, river otters, Yacare (cayman), howler monkeys and marsh deer. If you are interested in spending extra time spotting the wildlife or the unique birdlife of the Ibera, please let the head guide know on arrival.
There is little written on Dorado fishing on the fly making the species an exciting species in a new fishing frontier.
Our guides have been exploring the area and Dorado fishing itself for more years than most. Do follow their advice, designed to maximize your enjoyment of this incredible fighting fish.
The Dorado, (salminus maxillosus), is an aggressive fish, and once hooked makes impressive and acrobatic multiple jumps.
This complex and challenging fish can be found near confluences, on edges of eddies, riffles, sharp bends in the current, and close to overhanging carpets of water hyacinth. It can be fished in narrow runs, on skinny water, large fish are hooked in a multitude of differing locations, so let your guide show you the multitude of ever-changing locations where you can make contact with these fish.
Dorado fishing requires casting large flies in high temperatures. If you think your casting abilities are not up to it or want to take a break during the day, we suggest you bring a casting or spinning rod. Double-hauling is an easily learnt technique which will pay dividends when you’re fishing for Dorado and elsewhere. Why not get a refresher course from your guide before you get out on the water?
It’s important to remember that the fly you present to a Dorado must be stripped from the moment it touches the surface of the water. Fast Stripping of the fly is the key to more fish in the boat but it can be tiring after a long day, another reason to bring your casting rods.
We recommend bringing 2 different single-handed rods. An 8ft. 9wt. rod, with reels carrying tropical floating lines and other carrying sink tips (teeny 200 / 250 works fine or shooting heads that sink fast) to cover most fishing conditions, as well as to approach bigger fish in the 8+ lb. range. A 6wt 9 footer’ with a reel carrying a floating tropical will work perfect to fish smaller flies in the dense marsh, where most of the fishing is done with floating lines and smaller flies in clear crystal water.
Open-face spinning reels are the easiest to use but, in experienced hands, baitcasters are the easiest to use accurately and they give you the best chance to place your lure where you want it. Baitcasters should feature a high-speed retrieval ratio, as lures are normally worked very rapidly. Whichever style is your favorite, it will need to be loaded with 10-20 lb monofilament line. Don’t plan to fish with braided lines; they tend to cut themselves and weak spots are hard to detect.
A quality reel is important. A strong, smooth drag is a must, as many fish will take very strong, fast runs. Reels (and spare spools) should have capacity for the fly line and 100 yards of 20 pound backing. Reels such as: Abel, Tibor, Hardy, Lamson, Scientific Anglers, and Ross have proven quite successful.
You should bring Weight Forward Floating lines for warm water (saltwater, tarpon, bonefish or tropic) or intermediate tip lines. Lines such as: Scientific Anglers Ultra 3 Bonefish Taper, Tarpon Taper, Cortland Tropic Plus, or comparable warm water lines will prove invaluable. Do not bring conventional coldwater floating lines, as the hot weather makes the lines “soft and gummy” and therefore very difficult to cast. Also bring a fast sinking shooting taper like Teeny’s T-200 or T-300 or comparable sinking line for the Corrientes River fishing. The Rio “slime line” intermediate sinking line has also proved very effective.
The Freshwater Dorado isn’t particularly leader shy. While reasonable stealth should be exercised, the leaders should be heavy enough to turn over big wind resistant flies, so heavy-strong butts are important.
Spools of mono should include 8, 12, 16, 20, 40lbs, test weights, for tippets. For floating lines you should have 6 to 9 foot long tapered leaders (Knotted or Knotless, depending on your personal preference). For sinking lines, 4-7 feet of 20 lb. mono with a piece of 16 lb. tippet should work well. The most important thing to consider in a Dorado leader is the shock, or bite tippet. These fish have very sharp teeth that will cut even the strongest mono. We recommend using a 15 to 30 lb. wire section at the end of your leader. American Fishing Wire and Malin BOA wire are both good selections. Bring plenty 20 to 30 lb test steel leader for your stay.
The Lodge provides a wide selection of fly patterns as well as a modest supply of backup tackle at very competitive prices. This notwithstanding, we recommend you bring a good supply of your own flies to get you through your stay.
Big Saltwater Streamers are usually the norm.
Colors: Black, Black and Chartreuse/Red/Yellow, Red/Black, Purple and Black with plenty of flashabou.
Deceivers traditionally work very well. Other well-known patterns such as: Lefty’s Half and Half, Whistlers, Cock-Roaches and Clouser Minnows are excellent choices as well. Poppers & Divers in similar color patterns have proven very effective in certain conditions.
All flies should have a generous quantity of flat, wide holographic flashabou. Weed guards, though not a must, have proven to be quite useful.
Size: from 1/0 to 3/0 (mostly 1/0 and 2/0)
Large Bombers, frogs, soft foam poppers, pencil poppers, deer hair poppers, Chernobyl ants and large bass or pike bugs. Bring a selection of different colors as shade is often more important than style.
Size: 2/0 to 3/0
Keep your hooks razor sharp. Pira Lodge strongly encourages the use of barbless hooks.
Spinning & Casting Equipment
An 8-foot 6-inch, two-handed medium- to heavy-action rod for 8- to 20-lb line will let you cast the 1/4 to 1 1/2 oz lures we normally use here. A 6-foot single-handed rod is also good to have to fish pockets and smaller waters. Take 2- or 3-piece rods for ease of transport.
Open-face spinning reels are the easiest to use but, in experienced hands, bait casters are the easiest to use accurately and they give you the best chance to place your lure where you want it. Bait casters should feature a high-speed retrieval ratio, as lures are normally worked very rapidly. Whichever style is your favorite, it will need to be loaded with 10-20 lb monofilament line. Don’t plan to fish with braided lines; they tend to cut themselves and weak spots are hard to detect.
Steel leaders are a must. Dorado have sharp teeth and a 5 to 10 inch, 20-30 lb test (Sampo) steel leader is needed. Don’t buy cheap leaders.
Of course, the list available is never-ending. Don’t be afraid to take your own and experiment. There is a good possibility that a lure you bring will change our way of fishing forever.
Below is a sampling of those we have tried that have worked:
- Spoons, all colors; 1/4 to 2 oz silver and gold are very effective
- Rat-L-Trap, 1/4-3/4 oz
- Rapala Husky Jerk, 3/4 oz
- Rapala Jointed Minnow (very effective)
- Rapala Original Floating, 3/4 oz
- Rapala Rattlin Rap, 3/8 oz
- Daredevil Spoons, 2 oz
- Mepps Spinners, 1/2 oz
- Zara Spook
- Slugg-O Plastic Baits
- 1/4 to 3/4 oz Jigs with varied plastic bodies
- Any topwater prop bait
Note: All sinking lures are better with weed guards.
The summer climate in the northeast of Argentina is very hot. Normal “flatsgear” is ideal, keeping in mind that long days in the sun are common, thus lightweight and light color pants and shirts are best.
Tropical shirts and pants such as: Ex-Offcio, Patagonia, Tarponware or Columbia.
A good hat and sunscreen are a must and many guests use sun-gloves and stripping guards.
A light rain jacket is also recommended as tropical showers do commonly pop up.
Laundry service is available at the lodge.
On the boat, comfortable tennis shoes, tevas or canvas deck shoes are ideal.
About the Dorado
Freshwater dorado or… Salminus maxillosus
The dorado is often described as a prehistoric salmon with the jaws of a pit bull terrier. You see that defenition a lot, because it is pretty accurate. The dorado are golden, they have a powerful set of jaws reminiscent of a dog, they are strong, and they jump. Pretty good recipe for a game fish isn’t it?
Dorado are hard-hitting, incredibly-strong, acrobatic fighters that has long been one of the most admired fish in South America; but it is almost completely unknown in the rest of the world. Outside of South America, the dorado suffers an identity crisis. Many anglers confuse this distinct gamefish with other species. Although the dorado’s body is reminiscent of the salmon, it is not at all related. The dorado does not die after spawning and never swims in the ocean. And while its common name is similar, the dorado is a freshwater gamefish and not to be confused with the saltwater “dolphin” fish (called ‘el dorado’ in many Spanish-speaking countries).
Dorado are exceptionally strong swimmers. They typically range in size from 5 to 10 pounds. In some fisheries, twenty pounders are common. The dorado’s intense, almost radiant, golden color is marked with holographic black horizontal stripes. This patterning, coupled with their powerful jaws and razor sharp teeth have earned the dorado the sobriquet “River Tiger” in Argentina. The dorado is a great jumper and a prodigious fighter. Once fooled with a fly or bait, their arm-wrenching strike is a testament to their aggressiveness and ferocity. As soon as an angler sets the hook, these wild leapers explode out of the water in a series of outrageous jumps.
Built in a typical Corrientes style, the lodge enjoys a spectacular panoramic view of the vast wetlands.
It accommodates up to 10 guests in five large rooms, each with a private entrance, private bath, two double beds and air conditioning.
A separate building, attached by covered galleries, accommodates the spacious living room, bar and dining room, each with tall doors which open up to the wide veranda.
The lodge was designed to respect the traditional local architecture while offering all of the comforts of a contemporary hotel.
Pira lodge offers wonderful cuisine based on local meats, fresh vegetable and delicious deserts.
A traditional Asado (BBQ) will be held once during your stay, and you can sample different cuts of meat and wonderful salads.
Breakfast is served al fresco during part of the season, and full cooked breakfast is available, together with fresh fruit, yogurts, home baked bread and jams and a selection of cereals.
Our well stocked bar is always open, and a wonderful selection of fine wines from the Luigi Bosca Bodega will be served during lunch and dinner.
“Now that we’re back in Oregon, Bob has many tales to tell. Actually, he did very well for himself in the fishing. Those fish really JUMP!!!!! We saw lots of birds and animals, and even had an afternoon for horseback riding with a nine-year-old “gaucho” who showed us all of the interesting things about the ranch. A parakeet belonging to the 90-plus-year-old lady who lives down the road visited us every afternoon. He would land in the tree and say “hola!” “hola!” and then sometimes he would tell us his name…. “Cielito”. The lodge was wonderful, and the staff were all superb! I can’t say enough good things about them! The food was good, too. All in all, an adventure that we will look back on years from now and laugh — and laugh. Thanks again for helping us with this very special adventure.”
Bob and Anne M., USA.
“The best lodge we have been to. First class accommodations, meals and extremely competent staff, guides and management. Noel was in charge of the fishing operations, professional in every way, made sure we caught fish and enjoyed the experience. I could go on, nothing but superlatives for Noel, Carolina, all the guides and staff, were all of the highest standards of professional standards.”
Joe C., UK.
“Despite my lack of Spanish housekeeping/dining staff were a warm presence. Carolina is a skillful and charming hostess. Noel runs a first class operation with meticulous attention to detail.”
Robert M., USA.
“A wonderful fishing trip on virgin waters in a unique location”.
- Larry F., Ireland.
“The best lodge we have been to in the most beautiful of places. The excitement of hooking my first Dorado is something I will never forget”.
Joe C., Texas, USA.
Please take a moment to download and read through the following information well in advance of your departure. It will help answer most questions concerning your stay.
NOTE TO GROUP LEADERS: Please make sure to share this information with the rest of your group. It is vital that everyone in your group is fully prepared, understands the trip cancellation policy on refunds, and have the opportunity to purchase travel protection insurance, (especially anyone with a health issue).