La Zona Lodge
Golden Dorada Sport Fishing Vacation in Argentina
|Destination||La Zona, Concordia, Argentine-Uruguayan border on the Uruguay River|
|Season||High: Jan to April | Mid: May & Sept to Dec | Low: June to Aug|
|Species||Giant Golden Dorado|
|Description||A fishing trip of a lifetime to South America for guaranteed sport angling to catch the largest Dorado in the world. Downstream from the Salto Grande dam project|
|Cost||from $3750 per angler (all costs are in US dollars)|
|Duration||8 Day Trip with 4 Days’ Fishing|
View The La Zona Video
This new fishing treasure, gleaming in gold, awaits adventurous anglers at the Argentine-Uruguayan border. We reckon its the the best Golden Dorado fishing on the planet!
The freshwater Dorado is causing “gold fever” for the anglers who have had the fortunate opportunity to fish for them and have others clamouring to ‘prospect’ for them under the Salto Grande dam.
From its inception, the fantastic sportfish destination referred to as La Zona has earned the deserved reputation of being home to some of the largest freshwater Golden Dorado found anywhere in the world. This statement has been widely endorsed by hundreds of anglers from throughout the globe who have been fortunate to experience this splendid tailrace fishery.
La Zona is an almost mystical or legendary fishery, a protected and exclusive area on the Uruguay River, downstream from the Salto Grande Dam project.
The prime fishing waters are contained within a very restricted half-mile section of river downstream from the Salto Grande Dam. The section extends from the Argentina riverbank to the Uruguay riverbank. The huge dorados of La Zona concentrate near the dam and feed on baitfish being washed down from the spillway, especially the sabalo. The waters near the dam can produce turbulent currents that fluctuate to very torrid when the dam turbines are open. When the turbines are not open, often large boulders are seen protruding away from the dam.
The best fishing usually occurs when the turbines are open producing the very fast currents. The fishing day will be eight hours long. There are only a few privileged people who have encountered the size of Dorado found at La Zona. This is an area where 20lb fish are becoming commonplace and many of La Zona’s visiting anglers will experience the thrill of fighting a dorado of over 40lb.
Depending on the depth of the water and current flow, the ferocious dorado can be taken on surface lures, ranging from poppers to propeller baits; to subsurface jerkbaits, spoons and jigs and even will aggressively take flies.
The boats our anglers fish from are new 21-foot centre console, stabile, crafts with 70-HP outboards and 15-HP kicker motors. The guides are some of the finest in South America and know how to handle these fish. Lures are available at the lodge to buy.
The Golden Dorado, often called the ‘River Tiger’, (Salminus maxillosus) is rapidly becoming one of the most prized fresh water sport fish species in the world.
This aggressive and powerful migratory gamefish is constantly on the prowl for schools of baitfish to ravage and this makes them susceptible to both plug and fly angler alike. Its scientific name is broken down as follows: Salminus refers to trout-like and brasiliensis makes reference to the country where the first scientist found and described this species, on the Parana River basin.
The Dorado is primarily a pescavore, meaning that its primary diet is other fish. One of the Dorado’s favorite prey species is the sabalo, a schooling fish weighing two to six pounds. It is also cannibalistic and will attack smaller dorados as well. The Dorado, therefore, will readily attack an assortment of lures and flies that resemble large, fleeing forage species.
The aggressive nature of the Dorado, its spectacular leaping ability, fantastic strength and stamina has created the ultimate freshwater gamefish. Although the Dorado is not actually a member of the trout family, it behaves similar to the trout in that it lurks behind boulders, rock piles and other underwater obstructions ready to pounce on other, unsuspecting, smaller fish species in the river.
The prestigious Angling Report, an unbiased publication detailing trip experiences of its publisher and its subscribing anglers recently reported: “La Zona is a place where the normal rules don’t apply. These awesome fish are so huge and numerous it is like something out of prehistory….”
Since La Zona became available to anglers, literally scores of fish exceeding the largest caught IGFA record have been caught. A La Zona fish caught recently by Angling Report subscriber Darden Daniel weighed a mind-boggling 61.6lb. However, amazon-angler.com’s own client Andrei Bylchynski caught a fish in December 2013 estimated by three separate La Zona guides as exceeding this and weighing between 63-65lbs. The gigantic fish bottomed out the 60lb boga grip, but was released at the boat immediately.
“What keeps things exciting is the surface behaviour of the Dorado. There is almost always something happening on the surface, if not on the part of large fish, then on the part of school after school of small fish that slam the surface near the dam. The feeding frenzy is reminiscent of that displayed by bluefish in the open Atlantic.”
Not only does the Dorado possess teeth sharp enough to puncture through plastic lures, strike a lure or fly with a ferocity of a much larger saltwater gamefish, but also performs aerial gyrations that are more reminiscent of acrobatic saltwater species. Interspersed between these high flying leaps are long, drag-screeching runs.
Currently, more than 10 fly fishing world records have been broken in these waters and an estimated 300+ fish over 40 pounds have been landed in the last three seasons on fly and artificial lure.
The lodge, based from an estancia just minutes from the water, is nestled in idyllic surroundings draped in palm and eucalyptus trees, making it the perfect place to unwind, rest and recap “fish tales” after an enjoyable day on the water.
The lodge boasts a private pool to shed the day’s heat and to relax sore muscles before a lavish and hearty supper is served. La Zona Lodge is a newly refurbished lodge on a ranch very close to the fishery.
There are six air-conditioned private rooms, each with its own private bathroom and twin beds. Included in the package are delicious home cooked meals, cocktails and excellent Argentine wines.
Food at La Zona is as good as it gets. Breakfast consists of eggs, bacon, home-made bread, fruit, juice, tea and coffee. Lunch is at the Lodge with cooked meals of fish, or meats and open bar. The evening meals here are unbelievable. A three-course dinner will be served with all the trimmings and on the last evening a huge feast from the BBQ will be prepared.
Drinks are available 24/7 and include all soft drinks, bottled water, beer and all spirits. A cool box will be on the boat with a constant supply of drinks at your disposal. There is also daily laundry service, so packing can be kept to a minimum.
December to March are the warmest months. Expect around 75-90º F during the day. April through November are typically cooler. Expect 68-85º F during the day.
DAY 1: (Wednesday): Anglers generally fly directly to Argentina and overnight in a hotel in downtown Buenos Aires.
DAY 2: (Thursday): Anglers meet at Jorge Newbery Airport at 1.00-2.00pm and taken by airconditioned van to Concordia and the lodge.
DAY 3-6: (Friday – Monday): Breakfast followed by fishing 8.00 until lunchtime. After a short siesta, afternoon fishing until 6.00pm.
DAY 7: (Tuesday): Anglers will return to Buenos Aires and onwards journey home.
What Does it Cost?
|DURATION||8 Day Trip with 4 Days’ Fishing|
|COST||from $3750 per angler (all costs are in US dollars)|
|OCCUPANCY||Cost based on Double Occupancy|
|INCLUDED||Return transfers by car/van Buenas Aires/Lodge/Buenos Aires; 4 days guided fishing with 21ft boat for two – three anglers; five nights at the lodge, based double occupancy; all meals and drinks; daily laundry; open bar; national transfers; fishing licenses.|
|NOT INCLUDED||Any tackle, international air transportation to and from Buenos Aires, hotel stay and transfers before and after La Zona trip when not arriving with or departing with party; tipping; meals in Buenas Aires; costs associated with medical advice and medications for your trip; hotel stays (if necessary) elsewhere; Visas; insurance.|
PRICE BREAKDOWN for 4 days fishing in La Zona Reserve:
High Season – January to April
Mid Season – May and September to December
Low Season – June to August