2020 Season End Report
These past months have been the most productive season we have experienced since I started guiding at Pira Lodge. Absolutely amazing doesn’t come close to describing it, and words can´t explain what a great summer it was, and I went by in a blink of eyes.
We enjoyed some of the finest water and weather conditions we have ever had, with the Ibera Marsh sitting right at the perfect water temperature and level to keep all the fish concentrated in the channels, as they should be! We welcomed new guests, made new friends and visited with old friends who came back to share in the experience of fishing in our pristine environment.
By the end of January, we had already smashed the lodge record for largest Dorado, which was landed by Jim visiting from Ennis, Montana. His trophy tipped the scales at 33-pound of pure gold. The big girl ate while he was swinging his fly on a sink-tip line in the Corriente River. Some other remarkable fish from this season were Olech’s 20-pounder landed in a tiny pond surrounded by cattail grass using a streamer and floating line, and another 20-lb fish for John S., caught in the deepwater of the Corriente River. Besides those, we landed 3 fish over 18 lbs for three lucky anglers, Michael, Jason, Peter W. On top of landing some of the largest dorados in the march, we landed numerous double-digit fish in the 10-to-15 pound range in different fishing situations.
The true beauty of this fishery is that it allows us to use a variety of techniques and different types of lines and flies depending on what our anglers are feeling. We can use dry flies like mouse patterns; streamers on floating, intermediate and sinking lines; divers, and poppers, and fish all of these effectively. We’ve taken plenty of fish around all of the diverse structure available. We took plenty of fish while swinging 2-handed rods, stalked dorado on foot in skinny water, and hunted gold in the lagoons. Hiding in those lagoons, where the weeds flow like green hair and water lilies float on the surface, live some of the highest quality double-digit dorado we caught this summer. Recently, in one of our lagoons we had a dorado snap 40-lb bite wire like it was nothing, in the eat alone. All we saw was boiling water and a flash. The whole show ended in about two-seconds, something we have never witnessed on the marsh to date!
By the end of the season, the rain never arrived, water level started to become lower and lower. But, somehow, our migratory fish decided to hang around in our system, especially in Corriente River and the braided section in the North part of the marsh. These zones are home to incredible structure in fast-flowing creeks, just large enough to sneak a skiff through. It was amazing to see how well our fish held in those fast bends and seams.
As the summer progressed, the weather continued to stun us with unbelievably sunny days and cool breezes. Aside from the insane quality of the fishing, we were surrounded, as always, by the untouched natural beauty of our region. Large flocks of migratory storks and ducks arrived to nest in the marsh. Our usual cast of caimans and capybaras lined the green banks, and in some areas, we were graced with sighting local marsh deer, a very rare occurrence.
Sadly this season was cut short due to the current global situation, and many around the world are suffering or doing their best to prevent the spread of the virus going around the world. We hope that everything will carry-on normally for everyone in the near future. Just like the optimism we feel at the start of a new season, we are equally hopeful that all of our friends and family will stay strong and healthy in these coming weeks.
Our Season by the Numbers:
Total Fish Landed: 2,968
Fish over 30 lbs: 1
Fish between 16-20 lbs: 8
Fish between 10-15 lbs: 115
Jose Caparrós. Pirá Lodge Head Guide
February came to a close with some truly spectacular fishing throughout the Ibera Marsh. Plenty of large and healthy Golden Dorado were landed and more are entering the system. This month the weather conditions were on our side, making each and every session on the water memorable and action-packed!
We welcomed a wonderful group of anglers from Seattle, who all got into to a strong number of dorados, but it took them a few tries to master the strong strip-set needed to hook an aggressive dorado. But by the end of the week, everyone figured the game out and were bringing fish to the skiffs with ease. For most of the group, this was their first time chasing Golden Dorado on the fly.
While sight fishing in the shallows, Hunter B. managed to hook a powerful 12-pound dorado on his EP streamer. Hunter got a little anxious during the battle, and flexed his rod a bit too much, resulting in a broken rod, and a beautiful fish!
Another memorable fish from this past month was for the organizer of our Seattle group, Ben, who fooled a 10-pound dorado while slowly skating a mouse fly in the braided section of the marsh just above the headwaters of the Corriente River.
Rounding out the end of the month, we welcomed filmmakers Ben P. and Brian H. who joined Santi Seeber for a week of exploratory fishing in the unexplored depths of the Marsh. They dragged boats deeper than we have gone before, and their efforts were rewarded with Dorado who have never encountered a fly, and happily slurped down countless mouse flies. Santi capped of this excursion landing a strong 16 lb fish skating a mouse and the whole encounter was captured on video!
Aside from the fishing, the wonderful aesthetics of the marsh have been in full form. Beautiful weather has afforded us some other-worldly sunsets and excellent bird watching opportunities. Our local Capybara and Caiman, who are well habituated to our skiffs, patiently watch as we fish, unperturbed by human presence.
All in all, February was an amazing month on the Ibera Marsh, and we are looking forward to what March will hold for our next month’s guests!
Jose Caparros. Pira Lodge Fishing Manager
The 2020 season is going as smoothly as can be, in the past two weeks, we’ve battled and landed a phenomenal number of Golden Dorados throughout our section of the Ibera Marshland.
The weather has been in our favor this summer, lots of sunny days and clear skies in the evenings have granted us wonderful fishing conditions in the channels of the Marsh and the Corriente River.
The marsh’s water levels have been slowly dropping, and our dorado are mostly concentrated in the gin-clear channels. All of the fish we’ve encountered were in very good shape, with some still showing signs of recent spawning. Heavy and strong females put our tackle to the test!
Some regions of the marsh have been slightly more productive than others, especially in sections that we are just beginning to explore with clients, rarely frequented by other boats and still pristine from outside pollution. In the northern reaches of the Ibera Marshland, we have found lagoons containing dorado who have likely never seen a fly, let alone felt the tug of an angler’s hook set.
Guest, Andy B, along with his guide witnessed a 14-pound dorado take his streamer so delicately, it felt like a trout taking a dry fly. But once Andy, buried his hook in the corner of its mouth, all hell broke loose. The fish ran all over the lagoon, never once breaking the surface, odd behavior for a hooked dorado, but thanks to expert guide advice and a strong leader, the fish made it into the net! The beautiful fish, darker still than our usual dark green and gold resident dorado.
In recent weeks, we’ve welcomed new and returning guests. Oliver White joined us with a crew of clients in tow. Padi joined us all the way from Ireland, landing a whopping 22 dorado in one day on the Corriente River, casting sinking lines and large streamers.
Our returning friends, John and Andy arrived for their second Pira adventure, and they did very well, one casting from the skiff, while the other stalked the bank in search of holding dorado.
I’m at a loss of words trying to properly describe how truly pure and pristine the Ibera Marshland is. Packed with life, above and below the water, the sights and sounds of our bountiful flora and fauna are simply stunning. All along the banks, flowers, caiman, and capybaras abound, not to mention the hundreds of migratory and native bird species that fill the air above the second-largest wetland in the world.
Jose Caparrós. FF Manager Pirá Lodge.
As we wrap up the second week of January, our fishing has been phenomenal! These last two weeks have been filled with Dorado action, new faces and plenty of familiar returning clients.
Our weather has been stellar with blue skies nearly every day and some of the most spectacular sunsets we have ever seen.
The Corriente River has been one of the most productive and active fishing zones for us lately. Especially in the headwaters of the river, which gave us a huge surprise, producing a massive Dorado, the size of which we hadn’t seen before. The lucky angler was Jim from the USA, guided by Jose Insa. Jim was using a 300 gr line, casting across the river with a dark-colored streamer pattern, when suddenly the line went tight. After a legendary acrobatic, head-shaking battle, the fish was in the net and weighed in on the scale at a whopping 33 lbs, setting a new record for our Lodge! That same week, another lucky angler Lech O., landed a 15 pounder during his morning session and capped off his afternoon session with a beastly 20 lb dorado, in one of our newly explored fishing sectors.
In the upstream reaches of the marsh, 5-9 lb dorado have been on the feed, and the section has produced a few unexpected larger dorado. In the mornings and evenings, mousing has been highly productive. Watching dorado crush Morrish Mice and other articulated mice patterns on the surface is always well worth the effort. Streamers are working very well too, especially Andino Deceivers and EP flies tied on 2/0 and 3/0 hooks. In many areas of the Ibera Marsh, visual takes are almost guaranteed. Watching an apex predator head wake off the bank in gin clear water to brutally inhale your fly is enough to get anyone excited. But once the fight begins, there is nothing like watching that beautiful golden fish leap out of the pristine water of the Marsh.
Our fishery is one of the most unspoiled natural regions I have ever seen, without a doubt. Our days are filled with flocks of birds and animals filling the marsh with sound, as they fly and swim close to the boat with little to no fear. Hundreds of fish species dance above the verdant green underwater gardens lining the channel bottom. All the while, the legendary Golden Dorado hunts below the water’s surface. Combined, this creates one the most unique angling experiences in a truly pristine and wild natural wonder, the Ibera Marshland.
Jose Caparrós. Pirá Lodge Fishing Manager
Start of the season – 2020
The start of our 2020 season has kicked off with great water conditions, both in terms of water level and temperature. All of the channels are in great fishing shape, allowing the dorado to take full advantage and spread out in the marsh. The water temperature is at the perfect level for dorado to get active and aggressively feed.
Throughout the Ibera Marsh and the main river, we’ve seen an amazing population of dorado move in. In the upstream reaches of the marsh our resident dorado with their classic dark colors and picture-perfect shape, have been active, happily taking streamers and mouse patterns.
During the off-season, our guides explored new sections of the marsh and struck gold! Finding some large resident dorado who have never seen a fly.
Our anglers had phenomenal success fishing streamers on floating and sinking lines, along with several beautiful fish taken on skated mouse flies. Mouse flies usually elicit one of two reactions from Dorado, either they explode from the surface on the take, or they will sip the mouse like a trout slowly taking it below the surface. One guest, Sean M., experienced the latter, with a take so delicate he and his guide had no idea he had a 12-pound dorado on the line until they landed the fish. Another beautiful 15-pound fish was caught by Lech O, using a sinking line to swing streamers in the headwaters of the Corriente River.
The season is off to a great start with consistent fish action throughout our opening days.
Aside from the fishing action, the natural wonder of the Ibera Marsh is in full bloom. Capybaras and caiman line the channel banks. We’ve spotted Marsh Deer in some places, and hundreds of birds species are singing and chattering in the trees and reeds. The water is gin clear, offering a wonderful view of the marsh’s beautiful subsurface vegetation and fish species.
José Caparrós. Pirá Lodge Head Guide.