We had made an amazing exploration trip for fly fishing Dorado up on the north of Argentina. There is 2 main rivers running from north to south to the Rio de la Plata, one is the Uruguay River, border in between Argentina and Brazil and Uruguay; and the second river is the very well know Parana River and its delta.
Esquina is located in Corrientes province, in the border with Entre Rios Province; it is about 550 miles from Buenos Aires and about 400 miles from Cordoba.
We need to realize how important is the Parana River in South America, it is not one more river in the country, it is an amazing and unique River
The Parana River
Paraná River, Portuguese Rio Paraná, Spanish Río Paraná , Paraná River river of South America, the second longest after the Amazon, rising on the plateau of southeast-central Brazil and flowing generally south to the point where, after a course of 3,032 miles (4,880 km), it joins the Uruguay River to form the extensive Río de la Plata estuary of the Atlantic Ocean.
From its confluence with the Iguaçu River to its junction with the Paraguay River, the Alto Paraná continues as the frontier between Paraguay and Argentina. When it is joined by the Paraguay, it becomes the lower Paraná and commences to flow only through Argentine territory. Near Santa Fé, the lower Paraná receives its last considerable tributary, the Salado River. Between Santa Fé and Rosario the delta of the Paraná begins to form, being 11 miles (18 km) wide at its upper end and roughly 40 miles (65 km) wide at its lower end. Within the delta the river divides again and again into distributary branches, the most important being the last two channels formed, the Paraná Guazú and the Paraná de las Palmas.
The basin of the Alto Paraná has a hot and humid climate year round, with dry winters and rainy summers. The climate of the middle and lower basins ranges from subtropical in the north to temperate humid in the south, with less plentiful rainfall.
The Paraná River has a rich and varied animal life that includes many species of edible fish.
Golden Dorado in the Parana
The Paraná River is the mandatory destination for lovers of fly-fishing in search for catching some dorado specimen. Salminus brasiliensis (dorado, golden dorado or jaw characin) is a large river fish found in central and east-central South America. Despite having Salminus in its name, the dorado is not related to any species of salmon, nor to the saltwater fish also called dorado. It is very popular among recreational anglers and supports large commercial fisheries.
Dorado is exceptionally strong and range in size from 6 to 45 pounds. The record has being 70 pounds.
The Dorado is the most beautiful fish that dwells in the waters of the Paraná River. Baptized as the tiger of the rivers, its mood and hunting voracity at the time of getting food are the perfect base for its well-deserved nickname.
The exploration tour – 2 anglers and a camera man
We woke up early in Cordoba Argentina and drove from 5am till 11am till we got to Esquina, Corrientes, we had cross, Santa Fe province and Entre Rios province to get there, it is not an easy ride but we are used to long distance driving.
We were getting ansious every mile we were closer to the lodge, and we were talking and drinking coffee like crazy just killing the time in between the present and the time when we will be ready in the boat.
We had cross the great agriculture area from Cordoba and Santa fe till the farmer area for cattle in northern Entre Rios and Corrientes. The driving was safe and nobody slept in the car, we know we had to be there for lunch (they were waiting for us with an asado / barbeque)and ready to jump on a boat to go fishing.
There is no many good guides for fly fishing dorado, so excellent guides is a rare situation, we had contact some of the best in the area, we have been in touch with Matute, Guillermo and Nacho. Nacho ended up being our guide the 2 days we have been in the water.
It was late October when we got there, for me was the first time in the area, but my friend Lucas had been several times, and he is a prolific and professional fly caster, he had a lot of experience and he had been around the world with his fly rods.
The Best months for dorado fishing on the Parana is January through May and September and October. By the time fall arrives in late May and early June, the water cools down and the fish are less active.
Weather was hot but not terrible hot if you think that could be 110F in the worst time of the year with humidity.
We had met Nacho and made some jokes for camaraderie, and 20 minutes later Nacho had told us: “fishing is dead to Cero”
“what?, cant be dead to cero” we said, there is always a chance. We were surprise and suddenly I had felt stupid for driving 400 miles and get there for this bad news.
He said the last 3 days were amazing and the weather had change 24 hours ago and the last hours in the water were really bad. He had shown us some pictures from the weekend fishing, and told us: “it is a pity you couldn’t come 2 days ago”. We couldn’t believe it. Suddenly the weather was hotter than some minutes ago.
But we are going fishing he said, and we should fly fish the Corrientes river. The Corrientes river gets into the Parana just there in Esquina. The Corriente River is a river in the Argentine province of Corrientes, in the Mesopotamia. It flows from the Itatí Lagoon, in the center-north of the province, and drains the large basin of the Iberá Wetlands, about 13,000 square kilometres (5,000 sq mi). It flows southwest, across marshes (bañados), and empties into the flood plain of the Paraná River near the city of Esquina.
Warm up afternoon and not to bad
We had set our rods, all #8wt. with floating lines. We had used some sages Z-Axis, some TFO and Loops rods, with Rio lines for salt and sweet water. Our leaders and tippets were also Rio.
We had dress with quick dry and light pants and some Columbia quick dry shirts. It is important to have light neck cover and gloves as well and sun glasses and caps or hats, the sun is really strong in this area. We highly recommend sunblock over 50 protections, and drinking a lot of water for hidratation.
We had made a ride by boat for about 30 minutes into the Corrientes river, we could see some banks and a lot of forest close by to the coast. We could feel it, the action was there. We had tried different areas, always casting close by to the banks, were the water was running, close by to the trees in the water and different formations with bushes into the water.
After 30 minutes of casting we were doing very well and most of the cast had been accuracy. We could feel fish coming, even in bad weather conditions and in a bad luck day.
The day was not that good, it took us like 3 or 4 hours to get our first fish, and nacho was searching different areas, trying to find the right place for us, as a guide he works really hard to get fish on the boat, what is the most important condition to be a good guide.
I lost the first one, and I was blaming myself in silence, nobody say anything about it. And we went to the next area. Shit! Yes, shit happens!
But some minutes later I had been able to get our first fish, that was very aggressive with the fly and also with the fight, the water current had helped him to be a strong soldier! It was a 7 pound nice Dorado, and we had taken some nice pictures and release him again in the water.
We had a couple of fish that afternoon, but we were worry about the following day, the fishing was fun but poor compare with then Famous Parana River, and as Nacho said, it was not our fault, the flies were in the right place.
You should read the second part of this report, because the following morning start raining at 6am and the unexpected had happened!!!
Ps, read our next report Golden Dorados in Esquina II and checked what had happened
Pointer Fly Fishing Exploration