Fly fishing for Dorado on the High Parana River, Argentina.
Golden Dorado and Pacu – The High Parana is a large system that is a tailwater about 70 kilometers below the Yacireta Dam. Because it is a tailwater, unlike other large Argentine rivers, the water is generally clear. The nature of the river and fish requires skill, so the better, more experienced casters are rewarded. The reason is that much of the fishing is site casting to fish you see, or have seen, near tree stumps, behind rocks, or under overhangs and along cut banks. Accurate casts are rewarded. You will be fishing for Dorado up to about 25 pounds, but most will be 5 to 10 pounds. Pacu is considered the permit of Argentina, and is the attraction for the best anglers because of its size and power. Pacu in the 14 to 25 pound range are caught, but most will be 8 to 12 pounds.
The Parana is a huge river, several miles wide in some places, and you will mostly be fishing side channels that are 50 to 150 yards wide. Most of the fishing is done from boats, but it is possible to wade the small side channels, much like you would wade a stream for trout, or the larger extensive sand flats, much like saltwater flats fishing.
With low water levels predominating over the last few years, Pinti and the other guides now utilize flats skiffs for much of the fishing. Poling the crystal clear waters of a sand flat and sight casting to a 20 pound dorado can’t be beat.
Fly fishing Argentina’s High Parana River for other species. Other species include Dentuda (a small barracuda looking fish) Palometa, the largest of the piranha, and most importantly, Pira Pita.
The Pira Pita is a smaller fish, to about 15 pounds, and acts basically like a trout. It is called the Parana Salmon only because of its red meat. It looks nothing like a trout or salmon. It is a hard fighter with good jumps and can be skittish and sometimes hard to hook. There are two species of this fish, white and yellow. Many fishermen go to the High Parana just to fish for Pira Pita. It is unique to this type of river system. Pacu and Pira Pita take dry flies, often dead drifted, just like fishing for Montana trout. It is an incredible experience to see one of these big bruisers slowly come to the surface and sip in your bumble bee imitation.
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