Alto Paraná
Lodge

Ituzaingó, Argentina
Dorado, Pacú & Pira Pitá

 

Alto Parana LodgeDorado are simply one of the most exciting and complete gamefish you’ll find anywhere. By complete we mean a perfect mixture of things we appreciate as anglers: beauty and ferocity, complex behavior, elegant jumps, and mystery. Although Dorado exist only in South America their environments are diverse—from big rivers to small streams, freestones, marshes, and deltas. The clear waters of upper Parana River, where Alto Parana lodge is located, are legendary for its dorado population.

Being one of the main arteries of a vast basin, they exist in both numbers and good size. That being said, these fish are tricky, moody, smart, and sensitive. But prepare to be rewarded for the challenge with thrilling, adrenaline-laced fishing. Compared to other fresh and saltwater pursuits dorado stand stall as one of the best. In addition to dorado, this region of the Upper Paraná also boasts two other great freshwater game species: pirá pita (Brycon Orbignyanus) and pacú (Colossoma Mitrei).

Why Choose Alto Paraná Lodge?

  • Located on the upper Parana basin home to some of the best clear water environments where to catch the freshwater grand slam – Dorado – Pirá Pitá with dries and Pacú.
  • Comfortable, well appointed lodge houses 6-8 anglers.
  • Professional guides specialize in fly fishing techniques, as well as gear fishing, on the upper Paraná.
  • A multispecies program designed for anglers in search of thrilling fishing.
  • Situated on the most pristine section of the legendary Paraná River—the main artery in the basin.
  • Double-digit dorado are a possibility… All season long.
  • The most productive section for exotic Pacú and hard-charging Pira Pitá on the Paraná, two superstar species that take dry flies and make up our freshwater grand-slam program when combined with dorado.
  • Featuring custom, comfort-enhanced skiffs specifically designed for fishing the Paraná.
  • High-quality loaner equipment.
  • Nature in abundance. The River delta ranks as one of the world’s top bird-watching destinations.
  • À la carte menu, with delicious indigenous and international cuisine.

Location

Coordinates: 27° 38´2.67” S 56° 52´1.91” W

Alto Paraná lodge is based out of a traditional northern Argentinean tropical estancia located in Corrientes province by the legendary Paraná River. The river marks the border between Argentina and Paraguay. This section of the Paraná flows clear along beautiful fishy banks, sand bars, and islands that create deltas and smaller “riachos” (streams). The Parana river, and its delta is the main system in the Rio de la Plata basin, the biggest in the country, and the main home of the Dorado (salminus brasiliensis). The lodge is only 10 minutes from the boat ramp at the shore of the river. The area offers two other great gamefish: pira pita and pacu.

Getting There

Guests fly into Buenos Aires and typically overnight there having spent a day touring this wonderful city. There are daily flights available from Buenos Aires (Aeroparque domestic airport AEP) to Posadas (PSS). The flight is non-stop and takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes. Once at Posadas airport, a transfer will take you to Alto Paraná Lodge (1 hour drive).

screenshot-2016-09-30-at-3-56-56-pm

 

Facilities & Services

The Lodge

Built in 1800 and recently refurbished, Alto Paraná Lodge is one of the oldest estancias in Corrientes Province. The estancia extends from the Paraná River all the way down to the Iberá Marshlands surrounded by exuberant vegetation and fauna. The main house has four fully air conditioned-single bedrooms, each with a private bathroom. There’s also a large living room, a dining area, a fully stocked bar and a flytying table. A veranda, with swimming pool, surrounds the whole house providing a spectacular view of an immense park. The lodge hosts up to 6 anglers and 4 non-anglers.

Food and Drink

At Nervous Waters, our kitchens come to life through the use of fresh and regionally representative meats and produce. By combining these elements, we create delicious flavors and varied textures that harbor hidden stories and package traditions on each plate. A top-notch team of experienced national and international chefs, trained in both classic and avant-garde culinary techniques, execute our food. With an artisan’s touch, chefs prepare every dish by scratch to be served at a minute’s notice. In addition, our inspired lunch and dinner menus are paired with some of Argentina’s—and the world’s—best wines, Bodega Catena Zapata.

In addition to our focus on fresh food with organic origins, we also celebrate our Argentine heritage with a wine partnership that brings truly world class wines to our lodges. We feel that the food we present and the wines we serve should mirror the sporting opportunities we offer—and be the very best available. While our vast country offers many options for traditional activities such as riding, hunting, eating good meats, and drinking good wines, we have chosen to blend fine food and outdoor activity at an even higher level. We feel our offerings from Bodega Catena Zapata blend perfectly into our harmonious niche in the sporting environment. Boasting many accolades from the wine community at large, a Bodega Catena Zapata wine recently received a “number four in the world” icon ranking from Wine Advocate. These are truly great wines that compete on the world stage and in addition to enjoying your sporting holiday and our excellent menus, we also hope you will also take note of our wines. They hold a special place in our culture and we are proud to serve them to you. Our Northern Argentina kitchens specialize in diverse dishes that pair prime cuts of local meats with the freshest fruits and vegetables. Beyond traditional asados, salads and sides, enjoy exotic appetizers such as yacaré meat, savory cheeses, and homemade breads such as our classic chipá rolls. Desserts tantalize guests with multiple textures and flavors designed to provide an unforgettably delicious final touch.

Alto Paraná Lodge is located in the best part of the Paraná River for large dorado, and pirá pitá and pacú on dry flies. There are also great opportunities to sight-fish for these three exotic species. Fishing methods include streamer fishing and plenty of dry-fly action. The hook-set for dorado is similar to that of many saltwater fish such as bonefish or tarpon. Simply raising the rod will not do the trick. A good, solid strip-strike is key in hooking this fish. The guides will be more than happy to instruct you on the most successful techniques.

The Daily Program

To avoid the midday heat, anglers generally leave the lodge early in the morning around 8 am or earlier. Guests return to the lodge for a swim, lunch and drinks at around 12.30 pm. After Lunch and a siesta boats will typically leave the dock around 4:30, returning at dusk. Fishing hours will change slightly depending on the time of year. Non-fishing activities such as horseback riding, or bird watching are available to allow our guests to enjoy the amazing wildlife in the area, and should be organized with the head guide. The swimming pool is the perfect place for relaxing and sunbathing.

alto-parana-7Dorado

Our guides have been exploring the area and its dorado fishing itself for more years than most. Do follow their advice.

The Dorado (salminus brasiliensis) is an aggressive, acrobatic fish. It 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 in the river.

alto-parana-8

Pira Pita

There are two species we target: Brycon Orbignianus and the commonly named in Brazil Piraputanga. Both are, pound for pound, two of the most combative freshwater species. Plus, they take surface flies.

 

 

alto-parana-10

Pacu

Incredibly strong and complex, this omnivorous round shaped fish can provide sight-casting opportunities and great dry-fly action. Not only that, they can get big: 15+ pounders have been caught.

Season

Lodge Specie Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
KAU TAPEN Sea-Run Brown Trout
VILLA MARÍA Sea-Run Brown Trout
CHIME Rainbow & Brown Trout
FUTA Rainbow & Brown Trout
PIRÁ Dorado
ALTO PARANÁ Dorado, Pacú, Pirá Pitá
DELTA FISHING TRIPS Dorado, Tararira
ABACO Bonefish
BAIR'S Bonefish

Fishing Equipments

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. It’s important to remember that your streamer fly 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.

  • Rods: We recommend bringing 2 different single-handed set of rods to approach the different species. An 9-ft. 8-wt rod to approach dorado with reels carrying tropical floating lines (Bnoefish – Tarpon or RedFish Tapers all work well). At Alto Paraná Lodge we mostly fish floating lines for dorado; although under certain water level conditions we could use a sinking line (250 to 350 grain) to fish some of the rocks that hold big fish. An 9-ft. 6 or even 7 weight rod is suggested for Pira Pitá dry fly fishing. Floating tropical lines are a must to cast smaller flies under this warm weather condition. We approach Pacu with both 8 and 7 weight rods and fruit patterns; also floating lines are used. We recommend rods from Sage.
  • Reels: A quality reel is important. And a strong, smooth drag is a must, as many fish will take long, fast runs. Reels (and spare spools) should have capacity for the fly line and 100 yards of 20-pound backing. We recommend reels from Sage.
  • Lines: Pack weight-forward tropical floating fly-lines (redfish, tarpon, and bonefish tapers all work). These lines are used to fish streamers and top-water flies. Also consider “over-lining” your rods. For example, we often use a 9-weight floating line on an 8-weight rod, which has dual benefits: 1) It makes it easier to load the rod with less line and 2) the heavier line makes casting larger flies easier.
    Additionally, we recommend bringing a fast-sinking line such as a RIO Leviathan (or similar), which has a 26-foot, 300- to 350-grain sinking tip. Intermediate tip lines are good options, too, including RIO’s General Purpose Tropical F/I.
    Note: DO NOT bring conventional cold-water floating lines. Our tropical weather makes them soft and gummy and therefore difficult to cast.
  • Leaders: Freshwater Dorado are not particularly leader shy. WhilFreshwater Dorado are not 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 15, 20, 30, 40, 50 lbs, test weights, for tippets. For floating lines you should have 8 to 9 foot long tapered leaders (Knotted or Knotless, depending on your personal preference). For sinking lines 4-6 feet of 20-30 lb. mono should work well. Maxima Ultragreen Mono is a good option for leader material. 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 26 to 40 lb. wire section at the end of your leader. American Fishing Wire and Malin BOA wire are both good options. Bring plenty 26 to 40 lb test steel leader for your stay. AFW (American Fishing wire) Surflon Micro Supreme 7×7 Stainless Leader wire in camo brown is a favorite among our guides. 26 and 40lb test for Dorado and Pacú; and 13lb test for Pirá Pitá.
  • Flies: 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.
  • Wet Flies: 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, CockRoaches 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 2-0 and 3-0)
  • Floating: 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: 1/0 to 2/0. For Pacú and Pirá Pita, we recommend fruit imitation flies. Keep your hooks razor sharp. Alto Paraná Lodge strongly encourages the use of barbless hooks.

Spinning and Casting Equipment

  • Rods: 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.
  • Reels: 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 25-30 pound multifilament line.
  • Leaders: Steel leaders are a must. Dorado have sharp teeth and a 5 to 10 inch, 30-45 lb test (Sampo) steel leader is needed.
  • Lures: 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 Rapala Gliding Rap 12
  • Rapala Super Shad Rap 14
  • Rapala C Rap 8-10 & 12
  • 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.

Fly Patterns

Dorado Fly Patterns:

In most cases, golden dorado prefer dark fly patterns that produce great silhouettes in tannin-colored waters. But there are situations when carrying a mixture of brighter colors can be effective. So don’t be afraid to experiment across the color spectrum. All flies should be tied on stout 2/0 to 4/0 hooks. Streamers can be tied from 4 to 6 inches long, or longer. However, it’s important that they’re light enough to cast. For the real big stuff, we recommend hydrophobic materials that shed water and therefore cast farther and easier than a watersoaked piece of bunny strip. In order to make your flies more durable, add glue or epoxy throughout the tying process.

For more details on some of our favorite, deadly dorado flies—including how to properly tie and fish them— follow the link.

 

Pira Pitá Fly Patterns:

At Alto Parana lodge, anglers target resident Pira Pitá with lighter tackle than what is typically used for dorado. We recommend 6- to 7-weight rods for presenting assorted dry flies—similar to the foambodied, terrestrial-style flies that are used for trout. The difference is, fly patterns for Pira Pitá are bigger and use stronger (up to 1/0) hooks. In addition to drys, we also fish small, bright baitfish imitations and leech-style streamers.

For more details on some of our favorite, deadly Pira Pitá flies— including how to properly tie and fish them— follow the link.

Pacú Fly Patterns:

Pacú fishing at Alto Parana lodge is all about exciting sight-fishing opportunities. We use 8-weight rods, rigged with floating tropical lines, in order to pitch spun deer-hair “fruit patterns” tied on stout hooks, as well as foam, high-floating dry flies and smaller streamers, toward intended targets. Pacú are omnivores, so fooling them on the fruit, and on top, is sure to please all the purists in the group!

For more details on some of our favorite, deadly pacú flies—including how to properly tie and fish them— follow the link..

alto-parana-7Dorado

Our guides have been exploring the area and its dorado fishing itself for more years than most. Do follow their advice.

The Dorado (salminus brasiliensis) is an aggressive, acrobatic fish. It 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 in the river.

alto-parana-8

Pira Pita

There are two species we target: Brycon Orbignianus and the commonly named in Brazil Piraputanga. Both are, pound for pound, two of the most combative freshwater species. Plus, they take surface flies.

 

 

alto-parana-10

Pacu

Incredibly strong and complex, this omnivorous round shaped fish can provide sight-casting opportunities and great dry-fly action. Not only that, they can get big: 15+ pounders have been caught.

Alto Paraná Lodge

RATES

Season: October 2017 – April 30, 2018

7 nights / 6 days fishing $ 5,250
6 nights / 5 days fishing $ 4,500
5 nights / 4 days fishing $ 3,975
4 nights / 3 days fishing $ 3,180
3 nights / 2 days fishing $ 2,385

 

Rates are per person based on single occupancy and shared guide.

Single Boat: 60% surcharge.

Non-fisher rates: $ 450 per night subjected to availability.

  • Included: Lodging, Meals, all wine, beer, and local spirits at the Lodge. Professional guide services & loaner fishing equipment (Rods, reels & Lines).
  • Not included: Transfer from Posadas to the lodge, Fishing license, gratuities for guides and house staff, airfare and private charters, in-house laundry service.
  • Fishing license: $50 per person
  • Payment terms: 50% deposit to guarantee booking. Balance 60 days prior to departure.

Videos

  • Bait Casting @ Alto Paraná Lodge

    Bait Casting @ Alto Paraná Lodge
  • Alto Paraná 2015

    Alto Paraná 2015
  • Alto Paraná Lodge

    Alto Paraná Lodge
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