April 1 – 15, 2018: End of the season report
This season has flown by, probably because it’s been the busiest we’ve ever had at Pira. It will also been one of the best seasons I’ve ever seen in the Ibera Marsh. The fishing was simply spectacular. We explored a huge slice of geography throughout the Marsh, as well as up and down the Corriente River, which gave us a wonderful January. One day we landed 106 dorado between three skiffs! That same month we caught some large fish, too. Stephan from France, for instance, landed an 18-pounder in Corriente during his morning session, followed by a 17-pounder in the afternoon. He ended the day with a 15-pounder that throttled his top-water fly in Laguna Sucia. Not bad.
The Marsh also shined this season. This year we made it a point to push farther and deeper into the jungle. And ducking into those untouched areas proved to be highly productive. Chad and Earl from Hatch Magazine can attest to that awesomeness. During an extended morning session they boated 60 dorado, mixing it up with mouse patterns, streamers and sinking lines. Roger from the U.S. also struck gold in the outer reaches thanks to the 16-pounder we found lurking in an ultraslim side-channel. John S., also from the U.S., had his b-day wishes come true in the form of a stacked 12-pounder that just couldn’t resist his 1/0 Peanut Bunker streamer.
The rainy season came later this summer than usual. But by the beginning of March nature crashed fair-weather party with fanged lightning storms and ferocious winds. Water level started rising. Water temperatures began dropping. And little by little the fishing became more challenging. Although we still had decent action at times, there were a few complete write-off days. And when the weather prevented us from heading out, we organized dorado fly-tying clinics, which turned out to be a hit with the guests.
Speaking of guests, this year we had the pleasure of introducing many non-angling friends to the wonders that surround Pira. Horseback riding, bird watching, and nature tours were all on the agenda. One group even enjoyed cooking classes with our esteemed chef. Of course, lesson number one involved preparing traditional Argentine empanadas. What else do you need?
Visitors, both fishing and non-, brought an international vibe to our dorado fishing mecca. Fishing enthusiasts from Japan, Norway, France, Russia, Scotland, England, Germany and America, at one point or another, were all represented. Some new faces, alongside many familiar faces. It was a please to fish with you all, in this special place we call home. Until next year, my friends.
Fishing Manager Pira Lodge
March 15-31, 2018
The second half of March began with late-summer storms that brought rain and cooler temperatures to the Marsh. The water clarity in some channels turned peaty. As the storms subsided and the water began to drop, the fishing for big dorado turned on.
During this timeframe we hooked two grande fish in the Corriente River; an 18-pounder one morning, followed by a 17-pounder later that evening. A couple days later, at Hilton Channel in the Marsh, Preston from U.S. found another 18-pounder!
From that point on, fishing on the Corriente became challenging. However, good fishing in the side-channels of the Marsh held steady. We also explored some water that been untouched for years. Historically, this zone has held large populations of willing dorado. It didn’t disappoint. These fish crushed our surface flies, mostly mouse patterns and poppers.
Toward month’s end, we welcomed an international group of anglers. These awesome friends included Padi from Ireland, Yesuke Saraya and his crew from Japan, Stephan from France, Enrique from Argentina, and Ron M. and Brett N. from the U.S. Finally, Earl and Chad from HATCH MAGAZINE visited us. They had a tough start, but they ultimately prevailed and caught some great fish, which should make for a fun article on dorado fishing in the Marsh.
Now with the onset of fall, we’re seeing flocks of ducks nesting in the area, as well as various types of Ibis joined by other species of migrating birds. The wildlife in the Marsh is well protected, and most of the capybara, caiman and Marsh deer are not afraid of people.
As for the fishing, it’s been a month to remember. Dorado numbers remain high. And there are enough big ones around to keep things very exciting.
Fly Fishing Manager Pira Lodge.
March 1- 15, 2018
March is prime-time in the Marsh, and this year it began with warm weather and optimal water conditions. We couldn’t wait to get out and to re-explore some of our newly scouted areas. One of these spots holds an incredible number of dorado. When we got there… let’s just say that it didn’t disappoint. Small streamers, as well as top-water flies such as mouse and popper patterns, produced nonstop action, including a few doubles.
The “Hilton” channel, near the headwaters of the marsh, also fished well in recent weeks. Stephan U. from France, for instance, found a 15-pounder there that couldn’t resist his surface pattern. And that was only the start of some unreal fishing for Stephan, who went on to catch fish ranging from 12 pounds to a nearly backing-emptying 18-pounder during his stay.
Clark S. from Wyoming has become a Pira regular in recent years, and his youthful crew of six anglers brought some great energy to the lodge. They also found some spectacular fish using mouse patterns and experimenting with other new flies. Additionally, we had some great fishing with Jean Loui and Gerard from France, Alex from England, and Matt from the U.S.
A few storms passed through around the middle of the month. And water levels throughout the system came up a little. The rain also brought a fresh push of sabalo (baitfish), which will inevitably put the dorado on the feed.
The wildlife in the Marsh has been nothing short of awesome lately. The other night we took a moonlight cruise with the Butler party to see what we could find. It got a little exciting when a 10-pound dorado jumped right into the Hell’s Bay skiff. After returning the fish to the water, we saw a handful of marsh deer, and, when we turned off the motor and peered into the sky, the universe came to life, in this surreal spot that is the Ibera Marshlands.
Fishing Manager Pira Lodge
February 16 – 28, 2018
We kicked off the second half of February with some storm activity. Not enough to blow the system out, but water levels came up slightly, making for some great fishing in the Marsh. Water clarity remained good in the side-channels, where we found big numbers of smaller 2- to 3-pound dorado. These fearless runts are some of the most fun, mostly because they consistently hammer mouse patterns and poppers.
Guest John S. got his birthday wish when he struck pay-dirt with a 12-pound resident dorado. The fish was stuffed inside a channel so tight it could barely fit a skiff. The small-quarters fight got serious when the dorado turned upstream, swam under the belly of the boat, then wedged its head into some gnarly weeds. I managed to pull it out and we landed the fish close the motor of the Hell’s Bay. Al M. and his buddy Dan had another memorable narrow-channel encounter when they doubled with 9- and 7-pounders. Great battle.
A couple of our new clients came with their non-angling spouses, who had no problem staying entertained, enjoying wildlife tours and exploring our local trials on horseback. We also had the pleasure/honor of welcoming back the legendary Wayne H., who’s been visiting the lodge since day one.
In short, the marsh remains in great fishing shape, with near-perfect water levels and clarity. It’s such an amazing place. But don’t just take my word for it. You need to come and see it for yourself—now, when the fishing’s hot!
Fishing Manager Pira Lodge.
February 1 – 15, 2018
We started our second month of the season at Pira Lodge with perfect weather and crystal clear water. River levels remain stable, but river temperatures have cooled down by a few degrees in the Corriente, making the dorado fishing there a little more challenging.
Higher up in the system, however, the top-water fishing, with floating lines, is very good. The pira pita bite has been consistent and, of course, we’re still seeing some great golden dorado come out of several of the channels in the marsh. Surubi catfish encounters have been another pleasant surprise. Although they don’t jump, they do fight brilliantly, with the larger fish typically pulling us into our backing.
It was a pleasure to share the water with some familiar guests this past month. Dick S. remembers being here when the lodge first opened. Chris D., on the other hand, visited us for the first time. The Montanan is a filmmaker for the TV show “RAM Outdoorsman”. We’re certain he got some excellent footage. Another experienced angler, Gary M. of Florida, had a blast in the marsh, where he caught a variety of species.
As favorable fishing conditions continue, we’re expecting more fun in our near future. Join us!
Pira Lodge Fishing Manager
January 15 – 31, 2018
Fishing conditions have been optimal, and with water levels continuing to drop, we’re finding fish concentrated in the main channels. We had a few thunderstorms last week, but they didn’t bring enough rain to significantly change the shape of the Marsh or the river. Water clarity is excellent. In fact, in some channels it’s like peering into a natural aquarium—full of catfish, sabalo, and other small baitfish.
Both the Marsh and the Corriente River are now holding good numbers of dorado. Hilton Channel, in the Marsh, recently produced the largest fish of the season to date, a stacked 18-pounder caught by our guest Yerkin. Roger, from that U.S., on the other hand, landed a 16-pounder in Butler Channel. The fish hit his fly as soon as it touched the water. A few other remarkable dorado were hooked, but managed to escape. Denis’s massive Surubi (catfish) wasn’t so lucky. At 38 pounds, it’s the biggest I’ve ever seen.
We’ve been busy clearing a couple new channels for anglers to explore in the Marsh. Now that they’re open, we’re finding that they’re loaded with resident dorado, fish that have likely never seen streamers pulled across their noses. Other areas of the marsh have been pira pita hotbeds. Oftentimes the pira pita mix and mingle with dorado in the same pool or channel. When this happens, get ready for surprises, as both species can turn savage on stripped mouse patterns.
In the lower river system, the fishing has been productive from the confluence downstream to Beat No. 3. Below that, we’re starting to lose some water clarity. This past week we had a great session with Meredith McCord and Stephan Dombaj, which included an exciting string of double hookups.
Flocks of Jabirus (a type of stork) have just arrived to our shorelines, and as always the wildlife watching has been spectacular.
Fishing Manager Pira Lodge
January 1 – 15, 2018
The year started with some excellent fishing, and we continue to see good numbers of dorado throughout the system.
Juvenile fish are concentrated in the upper marsh. These aggressive dorado will smash almost anything, including gurglers and skated mouse patterns. In the Corriente River, on the other hand, we’re finding more of the larger adults. Sinking line techniques in the deeper channels have produced some remarkable fish. Guests have also done well prospecting the banks with floating line presentations. Finally, don’t overlook the side-channels! There are several double-digit dorado currently lurking around these skinny water haunts.
So far this season, water levels are lower and clearer than average. And there are sections of the marsh where you feel like you’re fishing in an aquarium. In addition to some good dorado fishing, pira pita action—on both drys and streamers—has been great. We’re also picking up a few surubi; an exotic catfish with amazing colors and unique patterning.
Our guest Cheryl B. had a fun week, which began with her landing a supercharged 12-pound dorado. The fish made off with so much backing that we were forced to release the anchor and chase it downstream. Cheryl went on to cap her visit with a 16.5-pound beast. Michael’s stacked 14-pounder, all shoulders, is also worth noting. Congrats to you both.
Besides the great fishing, awesome wildlife watching abounds these days. We’re seeing large flocks of storks and egrets in the air, as well as marsh deer, capybara, and plenty of cayman prowling the banks.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Pira Lodge Fishing Manager