Gold Rush, by Chris Dorsey

The hunt for the lost riches of the Iberá Swamp.

Published by Chris Dorsey, Sporting Classics on the 2022 issue. 

Argentina’s seemingly endless Iberá Wetlands span some 7,000 square miles, the second largest wetland in the world, behind only Brazil’s great Pantanal. It is a labyrinth of rivers, streams, marshes and pools that are the hidden lairs of notorious fly-stealing pirates. Meet the golden dorado, a ruthless fish descended from some malevolent piscatorial order that does not surrender its treasure without penance. 

Old friend Matt Connolly and I have come to the end of the earth to tango with these fish whose beauty belies their vicious nature. Aside from perhaps pike, I do not know of a freshwater fish that so behaves with the savageness of a saltwater species whose survival instincts have been forged in a food chain loaded with predators. 

My introduction to the golden dorado was a chance encounter that occurred more than a decade earlier between duck hunts. Our waterfowling lodge sat on the banks of a braided river in the north of the country where the surrounding rice culture made it a haven for scores of waterfowl species. After lunch one day, the lodge manager showed me a fly rod and pointed to the waters below the building and exhausted much of his English in one burst, “Fish there”…

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