Golden Dorado (salminus braziliensis) is one of the most rare and exciting gamefish in the world. For many years one of Latin America’s most exciting game fish was kept a secret. Not only was it very difficult to travel to the region, but once there lodging options were limited.
Now, it’s been discovered by a limited cadre of fishermen who are in on the secret. Found only in the remote area of central South America, Golden Dorado that can get as large as 45 lbs, provide an unique and exciting experience for the fishermen who visit the area.
Today there are several lodges that cater to the Golden Dorado fisherman, and we at Kiene's Fly Fishing Travel think that Pira Lodge is the best. Built in 2000, Pira Lodge was the first lodge to provide 1st class accommodations and fishing program.
The lodge is located in the Corrientes Province, of northern Argentina in the middle of the 500,000 acre Ibera Marshlands natural reserve which is twice the size of the Florida Everglades,.
The Ibera (means crystal clear in the local parlance) Marshlands consist of a spider web of sparkling clear waterways, many of which are unexplored; so much of the fishing for these monsters is by sight. The electric grabs and dazzling fights of the Dorado bring fishermen back year after year.
At a Glance
Target Fish: Golden Dorado
Location: Corrientes Province, northern Argentina
Seasons: October through April
Lodge Capacity: 10 guests
Electricity: 220 volts
Documents Needed: Passport (no visa needed for travelers from USA and most western European countries. Also the reciprocity fee is no longer needed.
Imagine what it would be like trying to land a pitbull and you will know what it is like to land a Golden Dorado, otherwise known by the locals as the “River Tiger”. They are arguably one of the most tenacious game fish in the world, and they earned that reputation because the water literally explodes when they strike a fly near the surface . . . and then once hooked they never want to give up!
Their mouths are packed full of teeth that are so sharp that only titanium leaders are up to the task. Obviously the only way to get one in the boat is with a Boga Grip, that your guide will provide. They range in size between 5 lbs to 20 lbs with anything over 10 lbs considered a trophy.
Dorados, which can grow to over 50lb, have enormous heads and they generally roam in groups, feeding on schools of sabalos and other baitfish which is why fly patterns are generally traditional salt water streamers with deceivers in black, purple, chartreuse and white being very productive. 6 wt 9 ft rods with floating lines and sink tips are all you need as most fishing will be stripping streamers.
A typical fishing day will begin at 8 AM and when you will meet your guide (they all speak fluent English) who will boat you to the morning’s fishing location. At 12:30 PM you will return to the lodge.
After a sumptuous lunch you will have time to relax or nap during Argentina’s traditional siesta time, then at about 3:30PM you will meet your guide and resume fishing until 7:30 PM when you will return to the lodge for a hot shower and that evening’s gourmet dinner.
Traveling to such a remote outpost as Pira Lodge is an adventure in itself and requires some effort that can take a couple of days just in travel time, but it is worth it once you arrive and discover the pot of gold awaiting you.
Spending a week catching these rare and amazing fish should be on any fishermen’s bucket list, particularly for those seasoned fishermen who think they’ve done it all. You really haven’t done it all until you’ve hooked one of these golden monsters.
Best Fly Fishing Seasons:
During the initial planning of the lodge in 1999 the owners specifically specified that the architecture of the lodge would be of a style that reflected the local architecture.
The Pira Lodge consists of two buildings; one that is comprised of five spacious air conditioned rooms with two double size beds and bath that houses the guests.
French doors of each room open out to a covered veranda and swimming pool. Right next door is the location of the dining room with bar and a comfortable living room that includes a fly tying table.
The cuisine is traditional Argentine which means you will have a choice of some of the finest beef dishes known plus a selection of excellent international and regional dishes.
World famous Argentine wines are offered at lunch and dinner. The bar serves traditional and local spirits and is where guests get together to tell about the days adventures. A maximum of only 10 guests are present at the lodge at any one time so you will have time over your week’s stay to get to know them all. A fully stocked fly shop is also on the premises. Phone and internet access are available too.
On Site Amenities and Activities Include
Satellite TV and VCR
Most guests arrive in Buenos Aires a day before they travel to the lodge and spend a day touring what is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
The following morning you can reach the lodge by means of a 1st class overnight sleeper bus that will take you to Mercedes that will arrive at 7am. Once at Mercedes a lodge representative will meet you and drive you 1 ½ hours to the lodge. You can also take a charter plane from Mercedes to the lodge’s landing strip.
Rates are based on double occupancy and include Lodging, Fishing License, meals, all wines, beer and local spirits at the lodge, professional guide services, transfers to/from Mercedes and the lodge.
Season 2019 – 2020: October 2019 – April 2020
7 nights / 6 days fishing$ 6,300
6 nights / 5 days fishing$ 5,550
5 nights / 4 days fishing$ 4,750
4 nights / 3 days fishing$ 3,800
3 nights / 2 days fishing$ 2,850