The characiformes order, found in Central and South America, as well as Africa, consists of more than 2,000 individual fish species. Most are small—less than an inch long. But some reach much larger sizes, including golden dorado and the goliath tigerfish. Probably the most well known species within characiformes is the piranha. At least among the non-angling set.
In exceptional cases, dorado (Salminus maxillosus or brasiliensis) can weigh up to—or more than—30 kg. Generally speaking, however, a 4 to 5 kg dorado is considered a great fish on the fly. Golden dorado should not be confused with saltwater dorado, also called mahi-mahi and dolphin. The two species are unrelated. Golden dorado have also been grouped with salmonids over the years due to the spread of misinformation. This too is simply untrue.
Small dorado populations are found in select parts of the Amazon Basin, but the sprawling Rio de la Plata shines as a massive, multifaceted stronghold for the species. Flowing through parts of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay, the basin is the second largest drainage system in South America, and one of the biggest in the world. Its diverse ecosystem envelops freestone rivers in the mountains, as well as marshes and lagoons in the lowlands—a system that goes from freshwater to freshwater, as opposed to the sea.
The Rio de la Plata was once called “The Sweet Sea”—a reference to its oceanic size. And today, dorado rule this diverse environment; an apex predator with a wide range of behaviors and moods influenced by seasons and habitat. Dorado can be complex, and deciphering the challenges is what keeps anglers coming back. That, and of course, the dorado’s beauty, ferocity and acrobatic tendencies. Combined, these prized attributes make freshwater dorado one of most distinguished gamefish you’ll find anywhere.
Today we specialize in providing expert guides, premier accommodations, and great dorado fishing at these three world-class operations.