Travel Install #4: Tsimane Lodge, Bolivia

tstmane bolivia fly fishing

In terms of the all around ultimate fly fishing adventure, Tsimane, more than most any other place, has it all. Located in a remote indigenous territory of Bolivia where the Andes meet the upper Amazon, the freestone rivers of the region are both familiar and foreign to the well traveled angler. Each season hundreds of thousands of baitfish migrate up the greater Secure system and with them come thousands of large, aggressively feeding dorado. Here it is common to see packs of fierce dorado herding baitfish into the shallows and mercilessly ripping through them. From a great distance you can see the frothing commotion as the bait leaps into the air in a desperate effort to escape. From a quarter mile away the raining down of eight inch baitfish sounds like a dump truck dropping 20 yards of gravel. Here, anglers wet wade a jade green river and cast six inch flies on wire leaders through an endless array of pristine water types. Their reward; consistent catches of pugnacious, aerial dorado in the 8 – 35 pound class as well as additional jungle species like the fickle pacu and the elusive surubi.

bolivia fly fishing

Tsimane is operated by an Argentine outfitter with exclusive rights to the region. They offer two separate programs, the Secure/Agua Negra combination trip and Pluma Lodge. Both trips will begin with an overnight in Santa Cruz followed by a charter flight to a remote jungle airstrip. The hardest part of planning the trip is deciding which of the two options to select as they are both highly desirable and productive. The main lodges for both programs feature cabins made from hand hewn local timber, rooms with private bathrooms and hot showers, satellite telephone and internet as well as fine cuisine. While anglers access the rivers by boat, considerable walking and wading is essential to success. This trip into the heart of the Bolivian jungle is best suited to adventuresome, fit travelers. The rewards include incredible flora and fauna, the opportunity to interact with indigenous people and what we consider to be one of the ultimate fly fishing experiences.

bolivia fly fishing

golden dorado bolivia fly fishing

Location:
Tsimane Lodge is located in the Amazonian headwaters of Bolivia, 1.5 hours northwest of Santa Cruz by small plane.

We suggest the combo trip below.

Secure/Agua Negra Combo Trip:
This is a remarkable and diverse fishing trip where anglers will fish out of two newly constructed jungle safari camps during the course of their week. Both camps have handsome hardwood main lodge buildings where meals are served. At both camps anglers have double accommodation safari tents. Each week four anglers will begin at the Agua Negra Camp and a separate charter flight of four anglers will head into the Secure Camp. On the morning of the third fishing day, all anglers will pack their gear into motorized boats and fish their way to the other lodge for the remainder of their trip. Both lodges offer a primitive overnight out-camp option that can take two anglers. The Secure is a beautiful mid-sized system with significant bedrock structure. It is a very productive system that has countless water types. The Agua Negra is much smaller and offers not only big dorado but the region’s most forgiving terrain as well as the greatest diversity of species including large pacu, pira pita and the elusive striped catfish known as surubi. This combination trip is as good as it gets and a natural for parties of four keen on seeing a wide range of what the region has to offer.

bolivia fly fishing

For more info on this trip please click here: More info about Bolivia fly fishing

Fishing Program:
Anglers participating in the Secure/Agua Negra program will fish two main river systems as well as optional tributaries accessing more than 35 km of pristine water out of two base camps. On Saturday morning eight anglers will depart San Jose by charter flight with four flying into Secure Camp and four flying into Agua Negra Camp. Secure anglers will fish two anglers per motorized dugout with an Argentine fly fishing guide as well as one or two native boatmen. They will fish beats both up and downstream of the lodge. Agua Negra anglers will also fish two anglers per Argentine guide. On days when they fish the main Secure by motorized dugout they will also be accompanied by a native boatman. On the days that they 4×4 up the primitive jungle road that parallels the Agua Negra they will often just be with an Argentine guide. After driving into the area of their specific beat they will leave the vehicle for the day and hike through the jungle until reaching the river. The rest of the day will be spent walk and wade fishing. In addition to the main-stem Agua Negra guests can also fish the smaller Chimoro Creek that has a strong population of yatorana and smaller dorado that respond well to natural drifted dry flies on 4-5 wt outfits.

bolivia fly fishing

All Tsimane anglers will spend a portion of their time blind casting and a portion of their time sight casting. Although boats are used to motor up through the longer pools most of the travel and angling is done while wading the freestone terrain. Due to the overall distances that need to be covered and the hot weather, this trip is best suited for reasonably fit anglers who are comfortable with multiple stream crossings and semi-rocky terrain.

Accommodations and Meals:
The Secure/Agua Negra program has two newly built main lodges. Both locations have been carved out of the jungle and built using a combination of site-milled hardwood and material shipped up the river. The lodges are in spectacular settings and are best described as both rustic and elegant. Each has a main lodge where anglers enjoy meals and cocktails and at each camp guests will share a double occupancy safari style tent with a comfortable beds, full linens and private bathrooms with showers. The lodges are also equipped with generator power with battery back-up, on demand hot water, and wireless internet service. Both lodges have chefs from Argentina who serve a variety of local and Argentine meals prepared with a wonderful flair.

Secure/Agua Negra Lodge Sample Itinerary:
Day 1: Depart Home.
Day 2: Arrive Santa Cruz, Bolivia. In Bolivia you will be met by a member of the Tsimane team and transferred to your hotel.
Day 3: Charter flight to Tsimane’s Tsimane’s Secure Lodge landing strip. At landing strip you will be met by your guides who will transfer you to Seceure Lodge or Agua Negra Lodge. At the lodge you will be shown to your tents and get ready for the next week of fishing.
Days 4 – 9: 6 days of guided fishing at Secure Lodge and Agua Negra Camp. Mid-week you will transfer between locations.
Day 10: In the morning, guest will pack up and transfer to air strip where you will meet your charter flight back to Santa Cruz. In Santa Cruz you will be met by a member of the Tsimane staff who will take you to your hotel (included in package).
Day 11: Depart for Home.

bolivia fly fishing

For more information booking this incredible trip click: Book Bolivia Fly Fishing

You can also email me at caddiseug@yahoo.com. We are excited to be going to Bolivia this September!

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