Those stopping over in Buenos Aires with a day or two to spare must see and fish the nearby Paraná River Delta, just 45-minutes from the city. Dorado specialist Noel Pollak will be your host at the first fly-fishing lodge operation in the region. The unique fishery allows you to cast within view of city skyscrapers or tuck inside braided wetlands teeming with Golden Dorado and Tarariras (the Wolf Fish). You’ll also see spectacular wildlife amid the lush indigenous vegetation. Top-shelf fly-fishing equipment is included, as well as the delicious Argentine meals and all-inclusive drinks Nervous Waters is known for. Delta Fishing trips deliver an exquisite natural experience, located just a short double-haul from the cultural epicenter of Buenos Aires. Let us show you this special getaway.
The lodge was constructed in the “Delta” style, a traditional wood construction built on stilts. The maximum capacity is 8 guests and 6 anglers (3 skiffs available) which ensures intimacy and personalized attention. Each of the 4 rooms has two beds and a private bathroom. Single rooms are available if requested. If you would like one, please make the request prior to your trip.
In the angling front, the area of the lower section of the Paraná Delta and the inner sector of the Rio de la Plata estuary offers two very different seasons and two transitional ones with hints of both.
By late August, the first signs of rebirth start to show in the willows. Cold fronts still around, but, in between them, you can hear at night those creatures that remained quiet for a few months. Frogs, bugs, and birds that have been out of sight for a while, play their part as, in the waters, some sporadic rings and splashes are distinctly not being produced by carp or winter species. The greedy Bogas are usually one of the first warm-water species that show up in the scene, reminding us why their fighting skills are so appreciated. Some Dorados that remained in the area year-round instead of migrating up north during the mid-fall in search of warmer waters, start coming out intermittently from their lethargic mood, when they barely feed and with minimum effort, not very interested in chasing a swimming creature, much less an artificial one. The Tarariras, although still a bit drowsy, leave the bed they’ve made in the muddy bottoms of the streams and lagoons and, while being too lazy yet to come and eat in the surface for a few more weeks, they might attack without hesitation anything that swims nearby them in the depths. Some sunny afternoons you might even spot the first ones of the season in the shallow banks, like trying to get as close as they can to the sun to get some warmth in their bodies. Even so, it’s still, until late September, the time of the year when one of the most popular gamefish in Argentina – and practically unknown outside the country- is the center of attention for devote anglers: The Pejerrey. The area is, without question, the meca for this migratory species that represents like no other the art of fishing with floats.
Winter-time angling in this waters has always been a pleasure only known by the local enthusiasts. The reasons are many and come from different sources, but I suspect that more than anything else, they lie in the combination of lack of exposure and the general decreasing inclination towards the most Waltonian ways to enjoy fishing. A most truthful and real path indeed. Pejerrey fishing with floats in the mighty Río de la Plata can bring us anglers down to earth in style, and shake off all that patina of superficiality and emptiness that modern times are so capable to shower on us through an endless army of websites, magazines, social media, and silly “influencers”. That’s a lot to say about a species that very seldom reaches 4 or 5 pounds. It only takes a true angler, seasoned or novice, to understand why. The subtle charms and fascination that fishing with a float can produce in many of its versions quite often take us to that care-free limbo where the adult and the child are not so distant. In the utter absorption that this gentle art involves, staring at those gracefully shaped silhouettes and the waters around them, its sometimes easier to find that wealth of romance that is often taken for granted in the higher forms of angling but, in reality, it’s not always there – to say the least-. As a fly-fishing angler and guide for most of my life, it still surprises me when I find fly fishermen acting with certain superiority to the fisherman who delights even a proper approach to this quintessential branch of the sport. Some of the finest anglers I´ve met through the years are beyond that limited view and measure their appreciation in terms of how “Complete” a fisherman can be. There is a reason why Isaac Walton´s masterpiece title is probably the most powerful title in fishing literature since it was first published in 1653.
Back to the fishing in the area through the year, in September, early or late depending on the weather conditions, those floating lines might attract dorados too, and not only the bait on the hooks, but the floats themselves. They, every once in a while, take them for an injured minnow drifting helplessly on the surface and show no mercy on them, leaving their teeth marks and even breaking those beautiful balsa floats in half. A scene that you want to avoid and enjoy at the same time.
The changes happen quite fast in September, and in a matter of days, the air gets thick with the smell of flowers as the Pejerreyes start to leave the estuary already spawned until next April or May. By early or mid-October, their absence is practically complete. Now the scenery reached a point of transition that open the gates for another game. A game of diversity. The whole system gets unleashed to receive an impressive number of warm water species. While Dorados, Tarariras, and Bogas are the classic springtime, summer, and early Autumn presences, there is a string of species that randomly might appear and vanish in their encrypted dances with the tides. Because, yes, although the brackish and salt waters appear almost 200 kilometers downstream in the system, there are four tides a day. And since the estuary where this delta flows into, it’s mostly relatively shallow and extremely wide, those tides are very affected by the wind direction and strength. In some cases, the water level can reach a difference of several feet in a day. This multifaceted display of conditions is, in my opinion, one of the highlights of this fishery. The whimsical factor of surprising appearances and changes. Surprise. As we evolve as anglers, the feeling that such a word describes, often becomes somehow a bit dull in comparison with the early and innocent fishing experiences, losing part of its magic.
Only this particular section of the whole basin has tides. It is as dynamic and pulsating as a place can be. And this goes directly way deep in the flow of fish and their behaviors. On top of that, the types of waters an angler can visit in a day goes from tiny to huge, deep and shallow, clearer and darker, sand bars, rocks, lagoons, jungle streams, open flats… except for a freestone you might find practically everything without covering long distances. Such eclecticism is probably the main reason why at a certain point of my guiding life I decided to drop the anchor here -where I started many years ago- and settle down for good. It has ups and downs, like any fishery (at least the interesting ones), but, as a place to guide, keeping the mind open enough, it’s by far the most dynamic, complete, and fun I’ve ever experienced.
In terms of dorados, you can hardly catch a giant one in the area, but their range of moods and behaviors is, in general, wider than anywhere else because of the characteristics of the area. Although they might appear, 20 plus lbs dorados are exceptional. The approach and fishing techniques are as fine as they get: all floating lines -and many times even floating flies, like poppers, divers, and mice imitations. For lure fishing enthusiasts, these sorts of waters, because of their diversity in terms of structure, present a most enjoyable scene.
On the flip-side, most of the other species get as big as they get. It is probably the most consistent place to catch the biggest Tarariras in the country, with the bonus that is one of the only outside Uruguay where you might be lucky enough to find the elusive and glorious Tararira Azul, a subspecies’ known for their impressive sizes and fighting capacity. The lower section of the Paraná Delta and the first kilometers of the Río de la Plata, are also where the chances for seriously big Chafalotes are higher than anywhere else. Seriously big meaning 3 plus feet. Occasional and rare, these ghosts randomly let us know they do exist. And what a dreamy scene they offer when they take a fly or a lure. Besides the mentioned species, from late November to mid-April, these waters are regularly visited by Manduva, Manduví real, Pirá Pitá, Surubí, Cabeza Amarga, Pico-Pato, Lacha, many different kinds of catfish… the list is long. Some of them can be caught on a fly, some with lures, others with bait. All of them are interesting. Many of our guests enjoy fishing for them right at the lodge, after the daily sessions. Our home pool and docks are literally a few meters away from the rooms and dining room, so at any time anybody can grab a rod and do some fishing while having a drink, smoking a cigar, or even having dinner right there in case the bite is on. My favorite approach at night is fishing with floats. With the dock lights on, you can see all-around easily. It’s really cool. For those who love coarse fishing, it can be quite amazing. A separate paragraph deserves one of the fine angling’s most underrated subtleties: ultralight fishing. Either with flies or spinning -personally, I enjoy spinning even more in this case-, It’s all about the beauty of a number of species that randomly can be found in the area. There is definitely some appeal about those species or juvenile fish that somehow looks like living pieces of jewelry, just like the items we can use to catch them.
That brings us to the Fall. Probably the most exciting time for this type of fishing on the side, alternating it during the search for dorados. Autumn is not only when more species might appear in the same session, but also a scenic pleasure hard to forget in the Paraná Delta. All the colors between yellow and red at the banks, the leaves quiet in the waters, that suddenly move in waves as a fish takes and starts fighting. Some of those scenes remain in my memory up there, with some biggies, and I wouldn’t be able to choose. That’s the secret about finding real pleasure in fishing when truly the full context is even more important than the size of a fish, and the endless desire of finding both accomplishments together. Those special occasions when fishing invades the body through the pulse. I have a good recollection of sharing moments like those with guests and friends through the years at Delta Lodge. The mist and fog on some nights and mornings of April let us know that winter is around the corner. And by the end of the month, we start playing around again with the winter-fishing bags that were inside a box, a piece of furniture, or even under the bed. Fouling around daydreaming as we play with floats and lines and hooks, craving for the return of the Pejerrey runs. The transition is kind and never left us with a blank period of no fish in between. The summer species only leave the scenery for good when the Flecha del Plata (Silver Arrow in Spanish, as we nicknamed them in Argentina for almost a Century) arrive in numbers to makes us anglers desire the winters too. Desire not only for the fishing itself but also for those returns at twilight time, craving for a drink by the woodstove, revisiting, and sharing moments of the day.
It is mid-springtime as I write these words and I already miss that feeling, but, fortunately not too much, since I’m literally hearing dorados chasing minnows from my desk.
This intent for a rendezvous through the times of the year at this place ends almost where it began. A perpetual string of transitions in a most dynamic ecosystem, so pulsating in its core and character that affects all the fish that live in it to a point that makes them show a spectrum of behaviors rarely seen anywhere else. That is the essence of the tidal part of the basin, where the very same thing that represents a challenge is a major part of the attraction and what keeps it so wild being one step away from one of the largest cities in South America. A rare corner of the world outspread for us to learn and keep growing as anglers through the hypnotic rhythm of the flow.
Noel Pollak, Co-owner and manager.
In terms of dorados, you can hardly catch a giant one in the area, but their range of moods and behaviors is, in general, wider than anywhere else because of the characteristics of the area. Although they might appear, 20 plus lbs dorados are exceptional. The approach and fishing techniques are as fine as they get: all floating lines -and many times even floating flies, like poppers, divers, and mice imitations-. For lure fishing enthusiasts, these sorts of waters, because of their diversity in terms of structure, presents a most enjoyable scene.On the flip-side, most of the other species get as big as they get. It is probably the most consistent place to catch the biggest Tarariras in the country, with the bonus that is one of the only outside Uruguay where you might be lucky enough to find the elusive and glorious Tararira Azul, a subspecies’ known for their impressive sizes and fighting capacity. The lower section of the Paraná Delta and the first kilometers of the Río de la Plata, are also where the chances for seriously big Chafalotes are higher than anywhere else. Seriously big meaning 3 plus feet. Occasional and rare, these ghosts randomly let us know they do exist. And what a dreamy scene they offer when they take a fly or a lure. Besides the mentioned species, from late November to mid-April, these waters are regularly visited by Manduva, Manduví real, Pirá Pitá, Surubí, Cabeza Amarga, Pico-Pato, Lacha, many different kinds of catfish… the list is long. Some of them can be caught on a fly, some with lures, others with bait. All of them are interesting. Many of our guests enjoy fishing for them right at the lodge, after the daily sessions. Our home pool and docks are literally a few meters away from the rooms and dining room, so at any time anybody can grab a rod and do some fishing while having a drink, smoking a cigar, or even having dinner right there in case the bite is on. My favorite approach at night is fishing with floats. With the dock lights on, you can see all-around easily. It’s really cool. For those who love coarse fishing, it can be quite amazing.
Your Delta Day Trip will begin after breakfast, with a prearranged transfer from your hotel to the marina. After a morning fishing session, and depending on where the fishing took place, lunch will be held either at the lodge or full meals can be prepared in advance and taken onboard. All drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are included with lunch. The afternoon fishing session ends at 6 pm. Scheduled transfers return guests to hotels after fishing if you are not staying with us. Lodge options are also available for those interested in an overnighter coupled with more great dorado fishing.
For those staying overnight, appetizers and dinner are served at 8:30 p.m. and breakfast the following morning is pre-arranged with guests, followed by more exciting Dorado and Tararira fishing. Fishing hours will change slightly depending on the time of year. Canoeing around the lodge area is a pleasant side activity. Bird watching is fantastic as well. Other activities include exploring the cultural life at the Delta, visiting museums, ecological reservoirs, and restaurants, among others.
Noel Pollak—manager, guide, and co-owner of the operation—is considered Argentina’s preeminent Dorado expert. Although the Dorado is one of the most exciting gamefish to pursue, there is very little written about fly fishing for Dorado in this area. The species’ complex feeding regime and migratory nature ensure challenging and rewarding fishing opportunities for both expert and entry-level anglers.Dorado are strong and acrobatic—and their pursuit is often more about quality experiences than the numbers game. Our dorado range from 5-to-8 pounds, but guests have landed fish in the 15+ pound range.
Another species we target is the Tararira (a.k.a. The Wolf Fish). They are an aggressive, prehistoric-looking fish that takes poppers and surface flies like nothing else. Sight-fishing for them is our specialty. They are similar in size to our local Dorado. The biggest caught by our guests thus far was 11.5 pounds.
For those anglers who prefer using their own equipment, a 9-foot, 7 or 8-weight rod is a good all-rounder for this area.
Choose a quality reel with a powerful, adjustable drag. Reels should have enough capacity for your fly line and 100+ yards of 20-pound backing.
Sage & Loop make some of the best dorado rods available. In addition to a lifetime warranty, the company engineers several high-performance options perfectly suited for fishing at the Paraná Delta.
The lines used are warm water (Tropical) floating fly lines. Leaders are usually as long as the rod, finished with a piece of wire to avoid the Dorado’s sharp teeth. Dorado Leaders are usually 8-9’ long and are tapered down and finished off with a 12” bite tippet of 30lbs wire. (Dorado’s are very toothy). 20 and 26 lbs test American fishing wire in CAMO color is ideal. Fluorocarbon Leader Material in 20, 30 & 40lbs test.
Fast stripping is usually the way to present your fly: cloth finger covers are useful for those who are not so used to this kind of fishing. Polarized sunglasses are very important since there may be good opportunities for sight casting.
We will provide you with a selection of fly patterns. In most cases, Golden Dorado prefers dark streamers that produce visible silhouettes. Nevertheless, 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 1/0 to 3/0 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 really big stuff, we recommend hydrophobic materials that shed water and therefore cast farther than a water-soaked material. In order to make your flies more durable, add glue or epoxy throughout the tying process if necessary.
For more details on a few of our favorite, dorado flies— including how to properly tie and fish them—follow the link.
In both cases, spinning and bait-casting, 6 to 8 ft rods for light to medium action are recommended (6 to 15 lbs).
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. 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 a 25-30 lb line.
Steel leaders are a must. Dorado has sharp teeth and a 5-to-10 inch, 20-30 lb test steel leader is needed.
The list is never-ending. Don’t be afraid to bring your own and experiment. There’s always a chance that the lure you bring will change our way of fishing forever.
Note: for those who enjoy the pleasure of ultralight fishing the area has very good possibilities not only for Dorado and Tararira but for a number of interesting native species.
Our kitchens come to life through the use of fresh and regionally representative meats and products. By combining these elements, we create delicious flavors and varied textures that harbor hidden stories and share dining traditions with each plate. We have curated a top-notch team of experienced Argentine and international chefs, trained in both classic and avant-garde culinary techniques at each of our lodges.
Each meal is prepared with an artisan’s touch and influenced by the earthiness of the surrounding landscape. Sustainability is at the heart of our cuisine and a true connection to nature runs through every dish. To top it off, our guests enjoy each meal in our beautifully designed lodge dining rooms and outdoor lunch experiences. Chefs prepare every dish from scratch to be served at a minute’s notice. Freshness is paramount and perfecting the flavor is our key to success.
All our beef comes from Aberdeen Angus and Hereford steers. It is grass-fed cattle from our Pampas. We carefully select our suppliers, which guarantees the high quality, flavor, and tenderness of our meat. You will enjoy meat cooked on the fire and in several different ways in our lodges and in the field. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day in our lodges. Choices stretch from local free-range Eggs Benedict to organic and healthy breakfast options. We change our menu daily to keep things fresh. Later in the day, our superb 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 vintages to our lodges. Our wide selection of finest wines, the best Argentine Malbec from the Mendoza region, and a large variety of other grape selections, are served by a knowledgeable team. We feel that the food we present and the wines we serve should mirror the sporting opportunities we offer—and be the finest available.
Delta Lodge offers wonderful, authentic regional cuisine, as well as international favorites. Our proximity to Buenos Aires ensures the highest quality ingredients arrive fresh from across Argentina regularly. During your visit, you will find organic fresh fruit, vegetables for salads and side dishes, and of course delicious desserts.
Season 2022-23: All year round
Our research and experience tell us that over 65% of anglers are also actively interested in bird hunting and big game hunting. If you are a part of that majority and are interested in adding variety to your sporting life, look no further than David Denies Bird Hunting and Red Stag Patagonia. All three brands are owned and operated by the same company, The Kautapen Group, and each operation is dedicated to making your outdoor experience fun, memorable, and productive.