Iberá Marshlands, Argentina

For many years one of Latin America’s most exciting game fish was kept a secret in its heartland. For over a decade now, the Golden Dorado or ‘River Tiger’ as it is affectionately known, has been discovered and has quickly become a one-of-a-kind fly-fishing experience.

Pira Lodge is located in Northern Argentina’s Iberá Marshlands and is protected by a natural preserve more than twice the size of the Florida Everglades. Fishing for Golden Dorado, one of the most voracious and beautiful species to swim the planet, takes place aboard a fleet of 16-foot Hell’s Bay flats skiffs. You’ll dodge caymans and catch freshwater Dorado in the 5-to 20- pound class on everything from dry flies to stripped streamers. When your fishing day’s done, decompress and take in a traditional asado at one of the finest lodges fishing has to offer. However, it is the electric take and dazzling fight of the Dorado that bring fishermen back year after year!


  • The world’s most exciting fresh water species: The Dorado or “River Tiger” has an international reputation for busting tackle.
  • Uniquely positioned and supremely comfortable lodge with direct access to the Esteros del Iberá – nearly three million acres of largely unexplored marshland, including creeks, rivers, lagoons and freshwater flats, all teeming with fish.
  • Crystal clear water throughout the entire fishery throughout the season, which leads to great opportunities for sight casting and sighted fishing.
  • Friendly, bilingual guides with knowledge about the Dorado and his habits, and years of experience boating in the vast Ibera. They’ll make your days on the water unique and productive.
  • The only featured freshwater Dorado destination in South America with state of the art Hell’s Bay flats skiffs, to deliver anglers quickly and safely to the most remote areas of the fishery.
  • Spectacular abundance of flora and fauna make for a naturalist and fisherman’s dream destination – over 350 bird species are seen regularly.
  • Unique non angling activities in a tropical paradise include horseback riding, a sparkling swimming pool and bird watching, which combine to make a vacation within a vacation.
  • Several transportation options exist for Pira Lodge. Arrive commercially or via a private charter directly to our private landing strip at the lodge.


Coordinates: 28°44’01.8″S 58°03’38.1″W

The lodge is located in the Corrientes Province, Northeast Argentina, in the middle of the Ibera Marshlands, within 1,300,000 hectares of Natural Reserve. This area is twice the size of the Florida Everglades. The lodge sits right on the edge of a channel providing direct access to the marsh system and to the Corrientes River, located 15 min south of the lodge.

The Ibera Marshland is a vast system of non-polluted crystal-clear creeks, flowing rivers, shallows and lakes. The Province of Corrientes borders Uruguay, and enjoys one of Argentina’s subtropical climate patterns, with temperatures in the mid-80s early and late in the season. The Ibera Marshland is almost completely unexplored and uninhabited. It is home to more than 350 species of birds (e.g parrots, southern screamers, kingfishers, ibis, herons), 85 mammals and almost 70 reptiles, apart from an incredible abundance of flora. During your stay you will have a chance to see species such as capybara, river otters, Yacare (cayman), howler monkeys and marsh deer. If you are interested in spending extra time spotting the wildlife or the unique birdlife of the Ibera, please let the head guide know on arrival

Getting There

Guests fly into Buenos Aires and typically overnight there having spent a day touring this wonderful city. The lodge can be accessed from Buenos Aires by: – An overnight 1st class sleeper bus from Buenos Aires to Mercedes, arriving at 7am.

Once at Mercedes, a lodge representative will meet you and drive you 1.15 hrs to the lodge in a four-wheel drive. This is a comfortable option that also makes the best use of you time. Day rooms in a hotel, an evening meal and transport to the terminal can all be arranged on request. – Charter plane from Buenos Aires to Mercedes airport or to the lodge’s landing strip (weather permitting). The drive from Mercedes to the lodge takes 1 hour and 15 min by four-wheel drive.



Facilities & Services

The Lodge

Built with exquisite Corrientes style and pride, Pirá Lodge enjoys a spectacular panoramic view of the vast wetlands. It accommodates up to 10 guests in five deluxe rooms, each with a private entrance, private bath, two double beds, ceiling fans and air conditioning. A separate building, attached by covered walkways and open-air patios, accommodates the spacious living room, bar, and dining room areas—each with tall doors that open to the wide veranda. Pirá Lodge was designed by award-winning architects to respect traditional regional elegance—offering all of the comforts and luxuries of a contemporary hotel. Relax and enjoy a cocktail at any hour, and cool off in the outdoor swimming pool after a rewarding day of fishing.

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.

Fishing Methods


Depending on the weather conditions and environment requires different presentations. For instance casting close quarters for Dorado in very calm water with little wind when the Dorados are less active requires a very different technique. The angler is required to present the fly with as little disturbance as possible. This means the cast should allow the fly and line to land without dissipating large volumes of water. During the retrieve the rod tip should be positioned under the water. This will allow the fly to be stripped without the line creating heavy disturbance on the water. However during times when the Dorado is active a heavy presentation on the surface of the water can attract the fish more. During times with high winds the presentation is not as important. This is due to water already having a lot of turbulence on the surface because of the wind. This therefore masks the disturbance made when the fly and line is presented on the water. The strip also doesn’t need to be as delicate as fishing with no wind.


Casting in the Iberá marshlands requires different approaches. When casting in the small channels it is important to cast as close to the weed/bank as possible. Casts should be placed in to every hole and opening in the weed to cover as much water as possible. Anglers should be looking for areas and casting to places where weed in not able to be picked up by the hook to allow the fly to fish more efficiently for longer. This consists of areas in and around weed. When fishing extreme close quarters a small roll or overhead cast can be placed into small pockets and retrieved with the rod tip. Casting to small channels located over weed beds can be fished effectively by casting into taking a couple of strips before recasting the fly. When fishing the Corriente river, we use both floating and sinking lines. Normally when fishing floating lines we normally cast to the edges of the river where Dorado hang out to feed. When casting sinking lines while fishing the river, we normally cast 45 grades down river and across to the other side; we work full swings and strip right across.


Stripping speed can vary depending on the speed of the current and the type of water an angler is fishing. The strip must always be a long and consistent strip. However in some areas with a faster current a swung fly can sometimes be an effective approach. In areas with slow current a fast retrieve is most productive.

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. Snorkeling and Night expeditions into the Marsh are also exciting options.


There is little written on Dorado fishing on the fly. Our guides have been exploring the area and Dorado fishing itself for more years than most. Do follow their advice, designed to maximize your enjoyment of this incredible fighting fish. The Dorado, (Salminus Brasiliensis), is an aggressive fish, and once hooked makes impressive and acrobatic multiple jumps. This complex and challenging fish 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, so let your guide show you the multitude of ever-changing locations where you can make contact with these fish.


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
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 spinning rod setup. Double-hauling is an easily learnt technique which pay dividends when you’re fishing for dorado and other saltwater species. Our veteran guides are happy to provide instruction before you get out on the water. It’s important to remember that the fly you present to a Dorado must be stripped from the moment it touches the water. Fast-stripping of the fly is the key to more fish in the boat.

Rods: We recommend 9-foot 8-weight rods, with reels carrying tropical floating lines and a second carrying integrated sinking-tip lines in 200-350 grain weights to cover most fishing conditions, as well as to approach bigger fish in the 8+ pound range. A 9-ft 7-wt, with a floating tropical is perfect for fishing smaller flies in the dense marsh. Sage makes some of the best dorado rods available. In addition to a lifetime warranty, the company engineers several highperformance options perfectly suited for fishing at Pira. We recommend rods from Sage.

Reels: A quality fly reel is important. A strong, smooth drag is a must, as larger Dorado are both strong and fast. Reels (and spare spools) should have capacity for the fly line and 100 yards of 20-pound backing. We reccomend reels by 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. 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, 50lbs, 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 (26lbs and 40 lbs test) in camo brown is a favorite among our guides.

Flies: The Lodge has a 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, Cock-Roaches 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 1/0 and 2/0)

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: 2/0 to 3/0 Keep your hooks razor sharp. Pira Lodge strongly encourages the use of barbless hooks. Rods: An 8-foot

Dorado Fly Patterns

In most cases, golden dorado prefer dark 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 than a water-soaked piece of bunny strip. In order to make your flies more durable, add glue or epoxy throughout the tying process. For more details on a few of our favorite, deadly dorado flies—including how to properly tie and fish them—follow the link.

Spinning and Casting Equipments

  • 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 which we normally use. A 6-foot single-handed rod is also good for fishing pockets and smaller waters.
  • Reels: Open-face spinning reels are the easiest to use but, in experienced hands, baitcasters 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 25-30 lb monofilament line. Open-face spinning reels are the easiest to use but, in experiencedmhands, baitcasters can be even more accurate. Use ones with a highspeed retrieval ratio, as lures should be worked rapidly.
  • Leaders: Steel leaders are a must. Dorado have sharp teeth and a 5 to 10 inch, 25-35 lb test (Sampo) steel leader is needed. Don’t buy cheap leaders. We also recommend 10-20 pound monofilament line. Don’t plan to fish with braided lines; they tend to nick easily and weak spots are hard to detect.
  • Lures: The list is never-ending. Don’t be afraid to take your own and experiment. There’s always a chance that the lure you bring will change our way of fishing forever. § 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 § 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


There is little written on Dorado fishing on the fly. Our guides have been exploring the area and Dorado fishing itself for more years than most. Do follow their advice, designed to maximize your enjoyment of this incredible fighting fish. The Dorado, (Salminus Brasiliensis), is an aggressive fish, and once hooked makes impressive and acrobatic multiple jumps. This complex and challenging fish 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, so let your guide show you the multitude of ever-changing locations where you can make contact with these fish.

Pirá Lodge


Season 2017 – 2018: October 2017 – April 2018

7 nights / 6 days fishing $ 5,565
6 nights / 5 days fishing $ 4,770
5 nights / 4 days fishing $ 4,250
4 nights / 3 days fishing $ 3,400
3 nights / 2 days fishing $ 2,500


* Single room and boat: 60% surcharge.

* Non-fisher: $450 per night depending on availability.

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

  • Included: Lodging, Meals, all wines, beer, and local spirits at the Lodge, Professional guide services & loaner fishing equipment (Rods, reels & Lines).
  • Not included: Transfer from Mercedes 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.


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