Trip Report Golden Dorado in Bolivia

pbunbury

Tights Lines
This is about a month delayed, but back in July I traveled to the Tsimane Secure Lodge in Bolivia to chase Golden Dorado ( aka Salminus Brasiliensis) for a week. I came away with the realization that fly fishing for Golden Dorado is what at least I wish Steelheading was here in the states. The best way to describe these fish is the body of a King Salmon, with the mouth and attitude of a Piranha, and the aerial acrobatics of a Tarpon. Despite what we are told about the Amazon Jungle, the region around Tsimane is very safe. You are in the foothills of the Andes Mountains at around 1500 ft of elevation and still in the Amazon jungle. Definitely a type of transition zone. The water is gin clear (the last morning before we left I went out fishing barefoot (boots were packed up for the trip home) for a couple hours, completely safe), there are no mosquitos and the bugs are not bad at all (nothing like Alaska or the midwest in the summer). I applied sunscreen and bug spray everyday and I think I left with a single bug bite on my hand. I didn't see any snakes, they do a good job keeping them away from the lodge. The areas around the river are open and freestone akin the Western Washington rivers, the jungles are thick and you don't spend much time deep in the actual jungle. I did see a lot of large spiders, Caimen tracks, Jaguar tracks, Taiper tracks, and lots of amazing birds including tons of Macaw Parrots. I also saw some huge catfish and lots and lots of Dorado. Watching the Dorado hunt the Sabalo in the shallows was absolutely amazing!

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Landing in the jungle on a former Narcos air strip. The local villagers coming out to greet us

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Walking down to the river from the landing strip. We got into the dugouts and ran for about 10-15 minutes up river to the lodge

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Walking up to the lodge from the river

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Looking back down towards the river from the lodgeTsimane2.jpg
The flies - Big flies, 4/0 - 8/0 hooks. Black combined with bright colors is the standard go to. I actually had a lot of success with White Flies and natural colored flies. Big weighted streamers are what you want. I also primarily fished an intermediate line with a clear tip. 8 weights are the standard down here and the casting can be pretty technical. My favorite line was a Cortland Tropic Short 350 grain. I was able to bomb these big streamers from bank to bank with ease by overloading my Sage Salt 890-4 a bit. I also had some fun using a glass rod half of the time.
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Each day you set out with a professional guide and 2 native guides. For this section my guide and I would get out of the boat and fish the rapids while the natives ran the boat up or down them. Some sets of rapids we would stay in the boat for.
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These are the Sabalo, the preferred food source of the Dorado, and they are everywhere throughout the river and often times in large schools

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Hooked up to El Grande...my largest fish of trip 11.5 KG

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My biggest fish of the trip. El Grande
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This was an average sized Dorado in the 8-10 lb range. There were smaller fish but the average I would say is around 8 lbs with fish getting as large as 40 lbs. Anything over 20lbs is considered a trophy sized fish.

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The big one that got away from Bobby

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I can't say enough good things about Untamed Angling and the Tsimane Lodges. They run a fantastic operation in a truly amazing part of the world. I will definitely be going back, many times. I strongly recommend this trip to anyone. Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Tight lines,

Parker
 
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dflett68

Active Member
awesome report! every time i see these fish the same thoughts go through my head:

1. fucking awesome beast
2. ciscoes, whitefish, and grayling are salmonids, and this fish isn't? instead it is in an order with catfish and carp, amongst others. come on.
 

SilverFly

Active Member
awesome report! every time i see these fish the same thoughts go through my head:

1. fucking awesome beast
2. ciscoes, whitefish, and grayling are salmonids, and this fish isn't? instead it is in an order with catfish and carp, amongst others. come on.
I think it's basically a giant tetra. Not sure how close they are to salmonids but they sure look to have similar features.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
Good report with some excellent photos. You make the trip seem very doable for an amazing fish.
 

Chucker

Chucking a dead parrot on a piece of string!
Sweet!

The equivalent fish here in the PNW isn’t steelhead though, it’s bull trout!
 

pbunbury

Tights Lines
Sweet!

The equivalent fish here in the PNW isn’t steelhead though, it’s bull trout!
I wasn’t trying to make a comparison with my statement. Reread it. I said I wish that Steelhead fishing was like fishing for Dorado. Some additional info, these Dorado are migratory fish (not ocean going though). I think most people are unaware of that. They hold in the same spots in the river as steelhead. But again, not comparing fish.
 

Chucker

Chucking a dead parrot on a piece of string!
Didn’t mean to diss your comment, I also wish that we had something like dorado here! I think that the nearest ecological equivalent here is bull trout, so maybe we could keep the steelhead and just tweak those a little bit so that they grow to 40 pounds and require a wire leader! Time to retire to the secret genetics lab......
 

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