Where you can find Dorado fish
Ironically, while this powerful and beautiful freshwater fish is well-known in South America, it is almost completely unrecognized anywhere else in the world.
The Ibera Marsh, a beautiful, pristine wilderness in Argentina, is home to the largest Dorado known to man. Every year, these golden breeders travel along the Corrientes River, and they can be found there in abundance from December through March, the fishing season.
These fish are considered to be strong swimmers, and they normally weigh 5 to 10 pounds. Their deep golden colour contrasts with their black horizontal stripes, and in Argentina, this patterning, along with their razor-sharp teeth and powerful jaws, has earned them the unique nickname of “River Tiger.”
For the most part, these crafty hunters feed on sabalo, a fish that resembles a mullet, and a large Dorado will happily eat sabalo in the two-inch to two-pound range. Consequently, anglers generally get a good catch by using flies and lures that are similar to their favourite food. After being tricked by the bait, Dorado will retaliate with an arm-wrenching strike that shows their innate ferocity and aggressiveness, which is quite challenging.
What you can use to catch them
The usual gear for catching big Dorado closely resembles what is used for catching peacock bass, such as rattle-trap-type lures, 7-inch jerk baits, jigs and spoons, and a wire leader is needed. When fishing in the Ibera Marsh’s clear waters, one of the best lures you can use is a gold-coloured. 11/2 “Silver Minnow” from Johnson. In addition, with this relatively light bait, you will be able to fish with light to medium bait-casting or spinning tackle.
Fly fisherman will want to use an 8- 9-weight fly rod with a full-floating line or a 24-foot sink-tip line, based on water conditions. Note that Dorado will take a variety of sliders and streams, along with Atlantic salmon-style bombers attached to long-shank hooks if those conditions are ideal.
What you can expect
Due to the clarity of the Ibera Marsh’s waters and the way in which Dorado hunt for their food, as they travel upstream, they are often discovered feeding near the water’s edge, which provides fishermen with some great opportunities for sight-casting. By casting flashy lures or using big streamer flies, anglers are often rewarded with an intense and rapid encounter with a fish that is as obstinate as it is beautiful.
When the sparkling channels of the Corrientes River intermingle during the fishing season mentioned earlier, ripples and deep holes become the angler’s ideal venue for catching giant Dorado. This is equally true whether you plan on casting or fly fishing.