Golden Dorado River Cruiser - TRIP REPORT
March 24 - April 1, 2023
Fly or Lure Fishing the Lower Parana River
by Brad Staples
I just returned from another successful fishing trip aboard the Golden Dorado River Cruiser on the lower Parana River in Argentina. The Parana River is South America’s second largest river system, just behind the Amazon River. Most of South America has been in a significant drought, which has affected the Parana, which runs for over 3,000 miles through Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. As a result, the river has had low water conditions for the last few years.
I spent almost a month on the Cruiser in 2022. Due to low water conditions, the fishing was poor for two of the 3.5 weeks I was there. This year, the fishing was considerably better! The water levels were high, which can cause other issues, but the excellent guide team found clear water for us. Many dorados, vampire fish, and a few piranhas were caught during the week.
Hosted Group: I hosted seven anglers—Steve, Zeek, Clay, Dave, and Torsten arrived in time for a tour and dinner in Buenos Aires. Keith and Cleo arrived a day early but stayed close to the airport for an easy pick-up the next morning. Keith and Cleo have fished with us for years at different locations, such as Christmas Island, Mexico, and Brazil. They joined me last season on the Cruiser and enjoyed their trip so much that they returned for another year. Next year they’ll pursue peacock bass with me in Colombia. Keith also celebrated his 81st birthday on the Cruiser, as did Zeek, who is about half his age.
The group mostly fished with lures or flies attached to spinning rods with an inline 3/8 to 1/2oz. lead weight, which is VERY effective. I cast flies using an 8 and 9-weight rod. Some of our anglers occasionally cast flies, but most of the fish on this trip were caught on spinning rods. The fishing was tough the first couple of days, the GDRC team decided to move the Cruiser downstream, and we fished in smaller braids of the main Parana.
Clay Haddock with his First Dorado
Good Numbers: Most of the dorado we caught were not very big, 12 to 16 inches, but there were many of them! This is very good to see, as those dorados should be at least 3 to 5 pounds next year. A few of dorados were 3 to 6 pounds and a couple more that were close to 12 pounds in the mix. As the water levels increase and spread out into the wetland areas and braids, the larger dorado from the main river will move into those locations to feed on the resident smaller fish inhabiting those locations.
I can’t say enough good things about the guide team and staff! Two of the four guides that were with us last year, Fabi and Toby, were back again. They both guide at other locations in Argentina throughout the year, and Fabi was my guide at Tsimane in Bolivia this past July. Martin, the new guide, has experience on the Parana River and in Brazil. Max (Chiquito) was back this year. He was my main guide when I first visited the Cruiser in 2017. Max took a break from guiding on the Cruiser, but it was special to see him again.
Then there is the amazing staff that cared for our every need—Bones, Maugi, and Chef Alan. Those of you who have read my past reports from the Cruiser have heard me say that the food on the Cruiser is the best of any of the destinations I have been to. I believe the guests on this trip would say that Chef Alan and the staff prepared fantastic meals! Lucho Alba, one of the owners, took a few days from his busy schedule to spend a couple of days with us. He brought and shared bottles of his special wine with us, and as always, he shared stories about the area, along with his thoughts regarding the current economic and political situation in Argentina.
I live in The Dalles, Oregon, at the east end of the Columbia River Gorge. I flew on United Airlines from Portland to Houston, then to Buenos Aires. My routine is to get to Buenos Aires a couple of days early to rest up and enjoy the city. During my last two trips, I have scheduled a city tour for my groups; it's a nice way to spend the afternoon.
I have two weeks scheduled next year, March 16-23 and March 23-30, 2024. You will need to leave your home city at least a day prior so that you are in Buenos Aires early on Saturday morning. As I said prior, I like to get there a day before so that I can rest from the travel, and in case of delayed luggage, it also gives you an extra day for your bags to show up. The outfitter arranges a shuttle van to pick you up from the airport or your hotel for the three to five-hour drive to the cruiser, depending on where it is moored.
With the water levels returning to normal for 2024, we hope to be fishing the Arroyo Seco area, about three hours from Buenos Aires. We have detailed information describing the trip that we can send out; I also have a Dropbox folder with many photos from my past trips.
You are not limited to our hosted weeks. Book anytime.
2024 Hosted Weeks:
2024 marks Brad's 7th year hosting trips here.
7-nights and 6.5-days guided fishing
$5,200.00 per person
• March 15-23, 2024: Brad Staples hosts
• March 22-30, 2024: Brad Staples hosts
2025 Hosted Weeks:
2025 will be Brad's 8th year hosting trips here.
7-nights and 6.5-days guided fishing
$5,400.00 per person
• March 14-22, 2025: Brad Staples hosts
• March 21-29, 2025: Brad Staples hosts
Click here for main page for Golden Dorado River Cruiser. Please contact Guy Schoenborn or myself with any questions about this liveaboard fishing adventure.
1-800-205-3474 ext. 3
Cell (503) 250-0558
1-800-205-3474 ext. 1
Zeek Szidon with one of his finer dorados
Toby, a Longtime GDRC guide, and Zeek
Vampirefish that ate a Fly
Steve Leeb with a nice Dorado
North Carolina Boats with Yamaha Motors
The Golden Dorado River Cruiser with Solar Panels
Spacious Air-Conditioned Bedrooms on Cruiser
2023 Hosted Week - Cruiser Dining Area
Click here for Golden Dorado River Cruiser Main Page.