Dorado & Dove Report
Starting our Golden Dorado fishing and dove shooting operation in Esquina, Corrientes was one of the best (and easiest) decisions we’ve ever made. As much as we love Patagonia and it’s trout, Esquina is magical, and this past December reminded us of just how awesome it can be.
Steady air temps, water levels and barometric pressure have made for excellent fishing this spring for Dorado and other species. Our catch rates have been around 30-50 fish per angler per day and our average weight was 10lbs, an increase of roughly 3 pounds from last year. We’ve been using mostly our standard 150-250 grain sink tip lines and bushy flies tied on beefy hooks. One group used bait casting rods all week with great success, throwing sub-surface and deep diving plugs.
While the vast majority of our fish have been Dorado, we also a landed a few Chafalotes, (Rhaphiodon Vulpinus.) This intimidating creature has two fangs on it’s front lower jaw that protrude out from the top of it’s head. Other common names are Biara, Machete or Vampire Barracuda. These aggressors can grow to 30 inches and are as acrobatic as Dorado. On a couple occasions even caught some Surubi Catfish on plugs.
Good fishing is always attributed to having the right conditions and since our rivers got replenished with rain in 2009, we’ve had 2.5 years of the right water levels that are a key player in having good fishing. These favorable conditions and strict catch and release laws have contributed to a noticeable improvement in our fishing each year.
The doves have been more active as well but this is a normal occurrence in December and January when a good number of fields 45 minutes south of our lodge are freshly seeded. How frustrating it must be for farmers who have to buy more seed then they need to compensate for huge dove populations that home in on newly sowed fields. For our shooters, however, its pure dove hunting bliss and the opportunity to shoot 1000 plus shells a day. In our area, crops are sowed and harvested throughout the year, so there are always dove swarming like locusts somewhere.