The Fish

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.

Because it is a tailwater, it is not susceptible to low water. 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. The boats are designed so two fishermen are casting at the same time. The ecosystem of the Parana is essentially a jungle environment. There are monkeys in the trees, toucans , and an array of other birds and animals.

Other Species

Fly fishing Argentina’s High Parana River for other species. Other species include Dentuda (a small barracuda looking fish) and Palometa, the largest of the piranha. Most of the fishing is done from boats, but when the dam releases a lot of water, it is possible to wade the small side channels, much like you would wade a stream for trout.

Fishing is generally arranged for 3 to 6 day trips, and it is often combined with another Argentine Fishery; typically Laguna Larga.

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 fisherman go to the High Parana just to fish for Pira Pita. It is unique to this area. 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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