Our favourite Golden Dorado fishery is the Parana River, Argentina. The second longest river in South America only to the Amazon.
The Parana changes characteristics as it makes its way through Argentina. From the clearer single channel meandering river up North, gathering size and attitude as it makes its way towards the junction of the Uruguay River creating huge braided systems and ultimately the Parana Delta before discharging into the Atlantic. This last couple of hundred km around the town of Rosario and conveniently a pleasant 3 hour drive from the bustle of Buenos Aires, is a myriad of split channels, back waters and shallow lagoons that, without the help of GPS and a good guide, one could be lost in forever. The water here is that of a typical lowland river, fairly heavily laden with sediment. Visibility is not great, but the nutrient load is overwhelming and the shallows alive with baitfish. With the complexity of channels there is no way this system could be fished out of a lodge. Bait concentrations and hence the Dorado move huge distances and what better way to keep up with them, than with a Live aboard operation.
The Golden Dorado River Cruiser (GDRC) is the first of its kind in Argentina and the brain child of Luciano Alba and his head guide Dario Arrieta. Owning Estancia Laguna Verde, the best lodge on the legendary Jurassic Lake. Running a slick, world class fishing operations in ultra remote areas, for these guys is a piece of old hat! Collection point is the marina in the town of Rosario and then a run in a comfortable fast boat anything from half an hour to two depending upon where the Houseboat is moored.
Guests sleep in extensive cabins downstairs and enjoy a luxurious bar and dining room upstairs that has breathtaking views over the pampas and floodplains. Fishing is in Carolina Skiffs, undoubtedly one of the most versatile and angler friendly boats in the world, super fast, super roomy and so stable that if your Super sized boat partner makes an unexpected lunge for the cooler box, you don’t even know he is there! Two anglers to a boat the guide holds in the current and off structure with a GPS enabled trolling motor operated by a remote control leaving him hands free to wire trace your fly and excitedly point in the direction of fish holding structure. One day you will be swinging pigeon sized Andino Deceivers on a shooting head in the hope of dredging a 10 pound plus fish from the depths on a 9 weight. Another guide enjoys more delicate presentation of poppers and frogs stalking fish in shallower lagoons on a six weight. The fishing timetable is very relaxed, returning to the mothership for a three course gourmet lunch and siesta or a picnic style table and chairs on a picturesque island out on the river.
If the novelty of catching dorado all day on every method from streamers to skipping frogs off lily pads wears thin then the pursuit of a Parana Grandslam can be undertaken. This is something I am sure the guides made up only last year ( the operation is only in its second full season! ) This entails a fly caught Dorado, Tararira ( Wolf fish ) and Chafalote ( sort of a mini Vampire fish ) the latter requiring super light leader and thin piano wire with a tiny fry imitation swung smoothly in the current with no retrieve, all in one day.