Pirá Lodge

Pirá Lodge: Oct – Nov, 2017

A Stellar Start at Pira Lodge  We began the season with relatively high water levels in both the Corrientes River and the Ibera Marsh headwaters. Ample flows gave us the ability to re-explore many of the channels that had for years been too low to maneuver into. Little by little, water levels, however, have dropped. And we’re now finding most fish in the main channels and the lagoons. The dorado we’ve so far caught have been identified as resident fish. The migration has been somewhat delayed, but we’re expecting it to ramp up soon—which will mean an influx of fresh fish. Baitfish are currently hustling up the Corrientes River. That means the dorado aren’t far behind. In the marsh, top-water flies have been working very well, especially mini-poppers and mouse patterns. In the Corrientes, as per usual, the Andino Deceiver continues to kill it. Poppers and divers have also moved some nice fish. But really, any kind of deceiver—in black/yellow or orange/chartreuse—is a good choice. Lighter color combos such as white/yellow and white/green have worked well, too. What lines? It’s been a matter of floating varieties for the marsh, and floating and sinking lines for the river. Water clarity is crystal right now, so we’re recommending long leaders—between 8 and 10 feet. -Fabian Anastasio

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Dorado Fishing Resources

Ever thought of going Golden Dorado fishing? The season is just getting started at Pira Lodge. Here are some great resources to learn more about dorado fishing:  

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Those new to freshwater dorado fishing are sometimes intimidated by the bigger flies we use for these fish, and are oftentimes unsure about how to cast them. Don’t panic. Those 2/0 streamers that are the all-rounders for the species, and even larger flies, can be as enjoyable to cast as smaller flies with lighter tackle. The key is to fish a balanced rig. With the right balance between rod, line, and leader, casting becomes less daunting. In fact, a well-balanced rig is empowering, helping make you a better caster. The most common mistake we see is anglers using a tippet or leader material that’s too thin or light for the weight of the fly, plus the wire. Unless you’re looking for small dorado, or using a light or ultralight approach (which by the way can be really cool), you shouldn’t use mono or fluorocarbon that is less than 20-pound test. Except for those special situations when dorado may become leader shy, 30-pound test is the standard. Another “trick” is to fish a line one size bigger than the rod weight. Most modern, fast-action rod designs cast well with the heavier line. And this kind of setup helps you load the rod more quickly and turnover a larger streamer more effectively. If you’re unsure of your casting ability, it’s also a good idea to start practicing during the lead up to your trip. You don’t even need water. Lawn casting in your backyard, or at a local park, is great for perfecting your stroke and tightening those loops. Use pliers to pinch off the whole hook bend to prevent accidents or snagging, then tie on the fly. Use your whole arm when casting rods from 7-weight on up. Bring your back-cast skyward, wait for the line to go straight, then punch it forward. And be sure to learn both the double-haul and the strip set. […]

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Iberá Marshlands, Argentina: Freshwater Dorado Fly Fishing.

  Morphology: The Iberá Marshland, located in Corrientes Province in northeastern Argentina, is the world’s second largest wetlands system after Brazil’s Pantanal. Difficult access makes it a celebrated wilderness stronghold. In 1983, it was designated a Provincial Natural Reservoir, making it Argentina’s largest protected area. Its headwaters slowly flow in a southwesterly direction, eventually merging to become the Corriente River, an important tributary of the Paraná River. The system is a dorado fishing sanctuary, defined by its natural beauty. Species: There are numerous fish species swimming through the Ibera. But in terms of angling, the dorado is the most heralded. For those who enjoy stepping out of the mainstream experience, there are other interesting opportunities. Pira pita, tararira, surubi, to name a few—plus a long list of smaller exotic species for ultralight fishing enthusiasts. Size: In recent years, the Ibera system is where most 8- to 15-pound dorado have been landed on flies. Most of them with floating fly lines. There have also been good numbers of larger fish caught, reaching upwards of 15 to 20+ pounds. Privacy: Although there are technically no “private waters” in the system, tough access provides shelter from human impact. It’s highly likely that guests will not see another boat during their visit. Encounters with other anglers, from other lodges, are not an issue here. Fishing Techniques: From Pirá Lodge, we can fish two different types of waters: the Ibera Marsh, and the Corriente River and its headwaters. Fishing in the marsh is always from our Hells Bay flats skiffs, quietly drifting through clear water streams and channels while your guide uses a push pole to put you in casting range. This is an all floating-line experience. Sometimes even floating flies. And oftentimes, with good chances for sight-casting. At the river and headwaters, if the […]

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10 Truths About Dorado Fishing

You’ve seen them in the fly-fishing film tours, all over the web, and splashed across brochures advertising far-flung adventures to exotic locales. And although you may think you know dorado by now, there are numerous idiosyncrasies—from misleading information on concepts to debates over knots, habitat preferences and handling practices—that make this moody fish difficult to master. Noel Pollak is considered Argentina’s preeminent dorado expert. Today he shares with all of us some of his knowledge. Taking into consideration these 10 essential elements will not only make you a better dorado fisher, it’ll make you a better angler in general. So let’s get started. One trait that makes dorado a perfect gamefish is its exceptionally wide range of moods. Keep your mind open and sharp while you fish for them. Especially when darker water makes sight-fishing a non-option, and where “reading water” is the only way to go. Some anglers underestimate how cool (and educational) reading water can be. Understanding it—in terms of structure and where fish will hold—can take you on a great ride through your powers of observation that’ll ultimately make you a better angler. Even better, with dorado you can oftentimes have the best of both experiences: sight-fishing and reading water. Despite their many moods, dorado demonstrate two very distinctive behavioral patterns: migratory dorado moving in larger groups and fish that become resident to an area for X amount of time and move in smaller groups, or as solo predators. Generally, these singles represent the benchmark for dorado fishing in terms of challenge and merit. In certain situations, smaller “resident” dorado might be much more difficult to fool than a larger migratory dorado in a school. Dorado fishing is not always about catching the biggest fish. Egos, business, and ignorance are responsible for a lot of the nonsense […]

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Fly Fishing Trip

Pirá Lodge – End of Season Report 2017

A Year in Review Pira Lodge’s season began with great weather, ideal water conditions, and a remarkable push of dorado. Expectations were understandably high and on the Corriente River they would soon be met and even exceeded. Mixing it up between throwing streams and skating mouse patterns we prospected for players and found consistent hookups with both sinking and floating-line presentations. As the season progressed, water levels dropped and temperatures climbed. So we ventured into the marsh for a little shade. The fishing remained good, using mainly floating lines and targeting deer-hair loving, surface-oriented dorado. In addition to goldens, we found pira pita paradise—a surprise considering how few we typically catch in the marsh. A number of fun-timing guests joined us this season, including a few first-timers. Mark from the UK, for instance, landed a 15-pounder during his initial outing. Peter and Sheryl, on the other hand, joined us for the fourth time, which turned out to be their best time yet. Another memorable guest was Wayne H., who caught the biggest fish of the summer: 17 pounds. That was until our friend Hernan bested him with a beastly 20-pounder to close the year. In addition to those two big fish, we landed many in the 12- to 15-pound range all season long. Linda N., who traveled from Alaska to Pira by herself, had a wonderful time playing with these double-digit dorado. Rain season came late in the summer. During January and February, water levels consistently dropped… and the fishing was consistently great. But by the beginning of March, storms rolled in raising the water-table and effectively cooling it down. The weather brought some changes to the fishing, too: baitfish flooded into the side-channels and lagoons. The dorado followed. And so did we, finding success in the margins. Overall, guests […]

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Brown Trout Fly Fishing Services

Pira Lodge – February 2017

February began with good water conditions. The result was 60 golden dorado caught between 3 boats during the first week. Most of the fish were in the 6-10 pound range, but we also found a few 12-13 pounders. Justin S. landed a beauty 14-pounder while Daniel, who shared the boat with him, found an 11-pounder the same day. As the month progressed the number of fish caught remained stable. Weather and water levels were on our side, too. Throughout the month we visited the upper part of the marsh, exploring a branch of the Hilton Chanel, and using floating lines and drys. Some clients, including Pablo S. and Sebastian C., experimented with ultralight 2- and 4-weight rods. When a dorado felt the sting of the hook, it wasn’t easy to stop them. But we still managed to land a few. In addition to the upper, we swung the Corriente River with the standard streamers, but we also had success fishing Dalberg Divers and mouse patterns on floating lines. Alfredo A. took home Big Fish Honors for his 17-pound powerhouse. The biggest of the season. Congrats, Alfredo! Near month’s end the dorado began spreading out, but the population in the marsh is stable. A few storms rolled through, cooling the water by a couple degrees. Fishing remains hot. February ends with a total of 614 fish landed. —Jose Caparrós Fishing Manager, Pira Lodge

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Fishing Trip in Chile

Pirá Lodge: January Report 2017

This year marks one of the best seasons I’ve experienced in the Ibera wetlands. And we couldn’t have asked for a better start. Water conditions are lower than last summer, which has meant great fishing in both marsh and Corriente River zones. Water temperatures have been a fish-friendly 25 to 30 degrees C. And day by day we’ve been seeing more and more fish caught. Spawning last year was highly successful. All along the river edges and shallow side-channels we’re finding juvenile dorado. These smaller fish are fun to target with floating lines and dry flies such as mouse patterns and skaters. In addition to dorado, we’re using the same techniques for pira pita. Areas upstream of the lodge, deep in the marsh, have fished well. Here were finding good flows, plenty of forage, and piles of dorado in the 3- to 7-pound range. Downstream on the Corriente River we’re finding bigger dorado on streamers, using both floating and sinking lines (250-300 grains). These fish have ranged from 6 to 20+ pounds. And they’re abundant. We’ve been finding big schools of larger fish, for instance, in areas of faster water. Last week we saw impressive numbers of sabalo in the river and the marsh. We also caught lighter-colored dorado, with worn fins that look like they came from Parana River. Weather for now remains stable—hot and humid as to be expected for this time of year. Total number of dorado caught from Jan. 7-31: 612   —Jose Caparros, Pira Lodge Fishing Manager

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2017 Fishing Reports

Fishing Reports by Year