Travel & Destination Fishing: Bolivia

In the vast wilderness areas of Bolivia, there are still places untouched by man, places that hold unthinkable beauty. It is in places like this that biodiversity is at its highest expression. The Casare’ River is located in an indigenous territory that boasts an unbroken expanse of jungle and incredible biodiversity. Found nestled in the meeting point between the Bolivian Amazon and the Eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains of Bolivia, it is, to say the least, one of the most isolated and remote places in the world. Its inaccessibility has granted its protection for millennia.

The Fishery.  There are few places in the world that have so many good things going on at the same time, as it happens in these Bolivian rivers. The landscape is undoubtedly breathtaking, with its lush jungle covering the hills and mountains that choke the banks of this clear water river. The isolation and remoteness of this area has kept it pristine, holding healthy populations of fish in quantities seldom seen nowadays in any river. The structure of the river itself allows for this particular fishery to be fished by wading or drifting, and even offer opportunities to sight cast at fish. The most unique characteristic of this fishery though, is the ability to catch trophy golden dorado (and an array of other species) on the fly, in a small mountain-stream-type river. In addition, you are surrounded by jungle that is alive with a seemingly infinite collection of plants, and the wildlife that interacts with it. The opportunity to become a part of such a wonderful setting, is what makes this fishery so special.

The type of terrain found in this region of the Bolivian Amazon is not easy to traverse. As you can expect, the going will not be easy. After all, this is wilderness in its highest expression. Most of the fishing is done by wading in the river, through slippery rocks and boulders, and often times steep banks or fast moving water. Sometimes a jungle hike will be necessary in order to cut through to some areas, therefore requiring us to negotiate tough up and down hill jungle. The jungle floor has a lot of uneven ground, rocks, and the occasional drainage creek. For those of you who have experience exploring the wilderness in search of that trophy catch, you know half of what to expect. The other half are the unexpected and often times rough things the jungle throws at you. The terrain itself, coupled with these external factors (rain, beating sun, insects, cold south winds), can sometimes make this adventure quite challenging, mentally and physically. Winning the mental battle during a day out fishing is more than half the win already. The staff will be there at all times to help you through the physical part, and making sure to the best of their ability, that you will have a safe and successful expedition.

The Fish
Salminus maxillosus or the Golden Dorado, from the Characidae family, are the number one predator in these waters. The Golden Dorado posses a bright golden coloration, accented by rows of tiny small back dots running along their powerful streamlined bodies. Their massive heads and matching jaws are equipped with rows of razor sharp pointy teeth. Golden Dorado can reach upwards of 100cm in length and weigh as much as 45lbs (20.5kgs), making it the worst nightmare of pretty much every single sabalo and small to medium fish or animal that happens to be in the water at the wrong place and time. This fish is a force to be reckoned with, and is the single most important species in this river system. They attack flies with tremendous power and ferocity and break water thrashing violently several times in efforts to break off. The aggression in its fight and awe-inspiring beauty is the reason for the project and its success in protecting this area. The Golden Dorado are considered guardians of the river according to the indigenous Tsimane folklore, and for the first time in this river, sport fishing eco-tourism has allowed them to really show their worth.

Other fish species that roam these rivers: Tabarana (Silver Dorado), Yatorana, Pacu (Pirapitinga), Surubi (Striped Catfish), Muturo (Jau), Sabalo.

The Quest for Gold. Nobody ever said it would be easy. Most of the fishing is done by wading in the river, through slippery rocks and boulders. The jungle has a lot of tricky ground and there are always things to look out for in this wild landscape. The insects and the elements can pose a challenge. However, no place worth seeing, is easy to get to, and nothing worth doing, is easy to do. This place represents just that, and is the epitome of wilderness, likely one of the most remote and wild places you will ever visit. It is an experience most believe has been lost to development decades ago.

Accommodations:
Casare Camp The Main Campis quite comfortable, fully equipped and will serve as our HQ. The use of large safari tents with comfortable beds and a meshed in dining room will help our anglers feel at home in the jungle, with minimum impact. Guests will have the use of fully functional bathrooms, which include showers, flushable toilets, sinks, and power/lighting. Electricity is provided by a combination of solar batteries/panels, and gasoline powered generators. Comforts in Casare Camp are plenty, and there is a full service crew attentive to all of our clients’ needs, 24/7.

Expedition Camps Expedition fly camps are made on the spot, but are well equipped and comfortable. The staff is very experienced in setting these up quickly and efficiently. These camps are needed during extensive explorations that take us far away from our main camp, so that we do not have a need to return to camp. These have a slightly more rustic style, but still have solar shower bags set up and out-house style toilets. These fly camps not only allow us to fish more remote waters, but also more of the outdoors wilderness experience is enjoyed: bathing in the river (if you so choose), sleep closer to the jungle, hear more sounds all around your tent, and wake up to the chorus of a diversity of bird calls at sunrise. Animal tracks can be seen around the campsites and monkeys and other fauna will come check you out! Feel the excitement of the jungle from the expedition camps, yet still have a comfortable camp to eat, sleep and rest in.

Jaap Kalkman from Skeena River Fly Supply and Jerome Wohe from Skeena River Lodge will host some trips for adventurous fly fishermen to this unique destination. If you are interested to join us on one of these expeditions please contact us for details.

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