The Parana river delta is suffering from the lowest water levels in 50 years. While the Parana is a gigantic river delta, (one of the largest in the world) the rivers that bleed out of the Parana are 4-7 feet lower than normal.
Our 7 night 6.5 day fishing trip for the freshwater Golden Dorado of Argentina begins with a flight from Beunos Aires to Sante Fe City, about a one hour flight. Our hosts from Timbo Lodge then transport us 3 and 1/2 hours to Romang Town on the San Javierto river. The San Javierto is one of the thousands of rivers that flow in and out of the Parana river. From the lodge on the San Javierto we were about an hour by boat from the Parana. In high water we would have been about 20 minutes. The typical day, under normal water circumstances, begins around 6am where after breakfast you walk out of the lodge door and down the boat ramp and begin fishing about 10 minutes up or down the San Javierto.
The strategy for catching the Dorados is to cast big streamers, baitfish muddlers and the like towards cover, current edges and busting fish. The fishing is casting intensive. A combination of pounding the banks like you were streamer fishing for browns or snook fishing in the mangroves. Literally thousands of casts are made, each cast is followed by a couple strips then pick it up and pound it back in towards another likely holding spot. The low water we encountered reduced current, took most of the cut banks out of play and made the fish extremely wary. In addition the low water reduced the amount of water travelling through the massive wetlands of the Parana. The filtration of the sediment laden water was non-existent. The water throughout most of the Parana river delta and we are talking about hundreds of thousands of miles of streams, rivers and side channels was very turbid.
We did find fish, but we worked our asses off to get them. Mornings and evenings were best as the mid-day sun made temps around 91 degrees.
Around 11am we would head back to the lodge for lunch. One of the great things about staying at Timbo is how great the service and food is start to finish. Victor the “cooker” as the folks at Timbo call him is really an amazing chef. Every meal we ate fantastic local meats, cheeses, breads, fruits and salads. Of course wine is served at lunch and dinner, and if you want a really nice siesta before the evening fishing begins you want to over eat and drink. I am pretty sure the reason they Argentines don’t have much of an obesity issue country wide is the fact that they sleep off their meals. This replaces exercise and seems to work for them. Evening fishing begins around 5pm and ends when you can’t see anymore around 10pm. Cocktail hour begins when you get back, and dinner is served around 11pm, seriously 11pm. If you want to take a swim during the mid day heat there is a nice pool on site.
Our guides worked their butts off to scratch and scrape for fish. They clearly knew where to find the fish and the flies that would work. The boats were in good shape and ran well. As a result of the San Javierto being so low we decided to expand our fishing territory taking some very long boat rides to find more water. We travelled to the Parana river itself, a huge river that container ships utilize. Again the river was super dirty and fishing was tough. Our second trip to the Parana led us to some cleaner water and we had our best fishing. It took us two hours to get to clear moving water with really aggressive fish. The boat ride was and experience itself. We literally bushwhacked by boat down small channels to get to another drainage. That day the fish were on the grab as I had hoped. I was able to do some wading and caught better numbers of fish. Both Dorado and Pallometta a cousin of the Pirana. The Pallometta is a one fly one fish species, like the Dorado they require Toothy Critter.
Overall we had a great time, the lodge provided a high level of service and if the fish had cooperated we would probably still be there.
A few more shots from the trip.
Bad motor day
Breakfast of champions, Mate high powered South American tea, Brahma high powered South American beer and OFF just in case you get stuck out in the delta.
Sunset on the San Javierto
Dink in a ditch
Jacare not feeling so well
For more information on booking this trip or trout, wine, and Dorado fishing in Argentina please feel free to contact me at email@example.com–cd