TSIMANE PLUMA LODGE
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Tsimane Pluma Lodge - Host Kevin Bell Oct 5-12, 2019

Tsimane Pluma Lodge

Destination Overview

Tsimane is undoubtedly the best golden dorado fishery on earth.

It is located within the Isiboro Sécure Indigenous Territory & National Park, Bolivia, where the Amazon jungle meets the Andes mountains. The landscape is stunning and its rivers are run clear through the jungle and the mountains, with wading and sight-fishing opportunities that exceed most anglers’ imaginations. The surrounding jungle remains in an absolute virgin state and is one of the most sensual natural expressions of wilderness in the world. 

The rivers are inhabited by the golden dorado and other sport fish from the Amazon basin, such as the pirapitinga or Amazon pacú and the yatorana (pound by pound, one of the strongest fresh-water species). 

Each year a massive migration of golden dorados occurs which can only be compared to the annual runs of Pacific Salmon. Some experts equate it to the great migration of plains game on the African plains. The golden dorado migration follows the upstream movement of the sabalo, a baitfish that spawns in huge numbers in the Amazon basin.

Tsimane blends, like no other jungle destination, the best aspects of a fly fishing experience: sight casting, freestone wet wading, floating lines, majestic vistas, Amazon mountain rivers with clear, virgin waters, and wild big golden dorados everywhere.

Map Coordinates: 16° 1.381‘S / 66° 14.797‘W

 

At a Glance
  • Target Fish: Golden Dorado, Yatorana, Pacu

  • Location: Santa Cruz, Bolivia

  • Seasons: June through October

  • Lodge Capacity: 8 guests per week 

  • Nearest Airport:  Viru Viru International Airport in Santa Cruz, Bolivia (VVI) 

  • Documents Needed: All visitors to Bolivia should carry a Yellow Fever Vaccine certification. A valid passport is mandatory for entry into Bolivia. You passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of proposed entry into Bolivia is required to enter and depart Bolivia. For most European countries no visa is required. American Citizens: U.S. citizens seeking to enter Bolivia as tourists must have an entry visa. Bolivian tourist visas can be applied for by mail or in person at Bolivian consulates in the U.S., as well as at Bolivian ports of entry, such as at Bolivia's international airports and at land border crossings. Bolivian tourist visas are valid for five years from the date of issuance. The cost of the tourist visa is $165 U.S. dollars. The $165 fee can be paid in cash, by deposit to the Bolivian Consulate's bank account or by money order.

  • Electricity: Generators provide electricity, 220-volts, so be sure to bring the proper adapters depending on your electronic device and country of origin. 

Fishing Program

Based out of the comforts of the main Pluma Lodge and the chance of doing headwater out-camps, anglers have access to three different rivers, each different and unique: the Pluma River, Itirizama River, and the lower Secure River. This broad variety of waters and pools allow groups to fish fresh water every day, and rarely, if ever, repeat the same fishing beat. The water types

very from deep pools to rugged terraced pocket water.

 

The Pluma River

The Pluma River is a moderately sized crystal clear freestone river, with an incredibly rich and beautiful topography. It runs from south to north, parallel to the Mosetenes Mountain Range, and is therefore slightly broader and more open than some of the other rivers we fish at Tsimane. The Pluma is easier to wade due to its wide banks, mostly composed of round smooth gravel and rock. Further upstream, it does get steeper and more rugged. This river is home to all

four of them main species we target in Tsimane: Dorado, pirapitinga, yatorana and surubí. Omnivorous species such as yatoranas and pirapitingas are more and more frequent in the high sectors; the super-aggressive, carnivorous dorados are the dominant kings of the low sector.

In order to keep the Pluma River as untouchable and virgin as it is possible, motors are restricted – except for a small sector where the Pluma joins the Secure River – and all fishing is done either by wading or poling in the new aluminum skiffs or dugout canoes.

 

Pluma River – Higher Sector

This sector is upstream from the confluence of the Pluma and Itirizama Rivers. It is reminiscent of many familiar trout freestone rivers, as it is full of boulders, shallow runs and riffles, and well-defined deep pools, all characterized by gin-clear water. In this sector, the fishing is done almost entirely on foot, walking and wading upstream. A Chiman canoe is used to carry additional gear and coolers and is very useful to row/pole back down to the Lodge at the end of the day. The high sector of the Pluma River is home to large number of resident dorados. These powerful fish are seen holding in most of the pools and pocket water, and are caught by sight casting using surface flies such as Titanic Slider, Poppers, Divers or using mice imitations (an exclusive bite for Salminus). The further upstream one goes, the more pirapitingas and bigger yatoranas are seen. Thishigh sector of the Pluma has the type of water in Tsimane that gives anglers more chances to get a Grand Slam or Super Gland Slam, landing all of the primary Tsimane species. As an added bonus, we sometimes find paleta, an extremely rare and beautiful species of catfish.

 

Pluma River – Lower Sector

This section of river extends from the confluence with the Itirizama River to itsvmouth in the Secure River. The structure of this sector is similar to the upper sector, but the water volume is 50 or 60% higher making for wider, deeper pools in general, and more powerful runs. With more water to work in, the fish have more room to fight and aerial acrobatics are commonplace events whenever a large dorado is hooked. The jungle is less dense, and the shorelines can at

times be marshy. The lower Pluma River beats are very accessible. Fishing is carried out on

canoes (without engines) running downstream. Anglers come back to the Lodge traveling by land on 4x4 vehicles through a jungle path. In fact, the home pool is an excellent fishing spot where one can often sight fish for dorados as you watch the fish hunt sabalo in packs. The confluence with the Itirizama, which is just 300 meters on foot, has similar characteristics, and both of these pools regularly provide evening entertainment for anglers who just can’t get enough during the long angling days. The Lower Pluma sector features a wide variety of water types. There are steep dropoffs, long runs, sand-covered flats, islands with braided channels, and deep pools. Dorados are the undisputed kings in this section of river; however, very

large pirapitingas can be caught fishing the deep pools, which are natural food traps. These fish are often seen slurping nuts and fruit from the river’s surface.

There are basically four types of fishing strategies when hunting dorado:

1.) Prospect for fish in runs (sight casting and blind casting)

2.) Precise casts to ambush points such as logs or submerged trees

3.) Sight cast into feeding frenzies in the pools where dorados hunt the sabalos.

4.) Sight cast in pocket water behind rocks or in shallow pools, runs and flats.

 

The biggest pools, which are near the confluence with the Secure River, have low sandy areas where one can sight cast to cruising and feeding dorado, similar to bonefishing on the shallow saltwater flats. The largest dorado we have ever landed at Tsimane came from this section of river, a 38 pound beast landed (and released) in Ramiro’s pool.

 

The Itirizama River

The Itirizama is considered by many anglers “the jewel in the crown” of the Tsimane programs. It is similar in size and volume to the high sector of the Pluma River, but it has a steeper gradient and more rugged terrain, giving it a very different look and feel. The Itirizama runs from west to east through rugged canyons, making it a typical mountain stream with many runs, rapids, waterfalls and large boulders. Cascading boulder gardens give way to deep pools flanked by exposed canyon walls. This is the most physically intense section of river to hike, wade and fish, but the rewards of incredibly scenic beauty – and some of the largest dorados anywhere – makes it worth the extra effort. These sections are only recommended for anglers in very good physical condition. The water is the coldest and the clearest in all of Tsimane, so the fishing is more technical, and often more rewarding. Anglers are less likely on the Itirizama to catch large number of dorado, but they are very likely to catch the best dorado of their trip here. It is a true trophy fishery. This sector has the lowest populations, and highest average size of dorados. In fact, some of them are really huge but tricking them in the small clear water can at times be extremely demanding. Fish are often caught drifting smaller flies to individual fish in the deep pools, orstripping streamers in the faster pocket water and runs. Sometimes using big dry flies can even attract these sometimes selective fish. To see a 20 pound dorado taking a surface pattern as gently as a trout eating a mayfly is a truly amazing moment. In some of the far upstream pools, we also find large numbers of big pirapitingas (pacu), which can be caught using fruits imitations, streamers and big dry flies.

Secure River – Lower Sector

This is the sector that goes from the confluence with the Pluma River to the Oromomo community. Here the Secure River is much broader and similar in nature to a valley or plains river. Its bottom is lined with fine sediment and there are a lot of sunken logs along its banks.

Partway downstream from the mouth of the Pluma, we find the Delta region. This is a sector where the river has very little gradient, and is widened so as to form several branches and islands. This is ideal to enjoy a shore lunch and wade the easy, flat and expansive sandbars and shallow flats. When the sabalos are here in numbers, this delta turns into a Roman Colosseum where savage dorados are always hunting their prey. There is much competition, so the fish are extremely aggressive to the extent that cannibalism is a very common scene. Here it is very

common to use surface flies such as Poppers, Pole Dancers or Titanic Sliders. Below the Delta region is one of the most active fishing beats in Tsimane, called Coruya, due to the large number and the size of dorados that live and migrate through here. The river in this section has limestone cliffs and countless submerged logjams and wooded structure, all ideal habitat for ambushing dorados. Currents here can be powerful – as can the fish – and heavier equipment is often recommended here (rods to 9 or 10 weight, and tippets to 40 pounds).

Best Fly Fishing seasons:

Fishing is great throughout the relatively short season that runs between June thru October.

Accommodations

Despite the remote location of our lodges and extremely complicated and difficult logistics in supporting our ambitious programs, guest will enjoy world-class service and style. That’s our promise to you.

 

The Tsimane Pluma Lodge experience is based on one very comfortable jungle lodge, built entirely from sustainable wood cut from the nearby jungle. There’s also the option to do headwater out-camps for one night to the upper Pluma River and one on the upper Itirizama River, one of themain tributaries to the Pluma.

 

The main Pluma Lodge features four log cabins and sleeps up to eight anglers. Each cabin has spring box beds, private bathrooms with hot water and electric light. Every evening guest will be delighted by our delicious International Cuisine paired great Argentinean Varietals in a well fashioned living and dining room. We offer satellite internet wireless connection and phone service for all our guests.

Generators provide electricity, 220-volts, so be sure to bring the proper adapters, depending on your electronic device and country of origin. You can charge batteries and use an electric shavers or hair dryers if you like with the system we have in place. We are very sensitive and conscious about sustainability and we incorporate solar panels for hot water production. Electric Power is available from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 .am.

We provide laundry service at the lodge at no additional cost. Just leave your clothes on the bathroom floor, and they will be return washed and folded.

On Site Amenities and Activities include:
  • Phone Service

  • Satellite Internet 

  • Laundry Service

  • International Cuisine

 

The level of comfort experienced by the guests at Agua Boa Amazon Lodge is unrivaled among fishing lodges in the Amazon.  Each bungalow is air conditioned with two queen beds, a private bathroom and porch overlooking the river. The lodge also features a swimming pool and living room.  A private houseboat can be arranged too.   The lodge also includes a bar and satellite TV.  A full service fly shop is also on the premise. Non anglers have plenty to do as the area around the lodge offers unsurpassed bird watching and wildlife viewing. 

 

Besides the incredible fishing, the second best thing you will experience at the lodge is the food created by Francisco, the lodges chef who has been manning the kitchen for nine years.  He is adept at creating a combination of local cuisine and international dishes that you will rave about upon your return home.  

Getting There

Tsimane's operational area is about 125 miles (200km) from the Capital City La Paz and 270 miles (470 km) from Santa Cruz de la sierra Tsimane’s base point and the most important city in the Country.There are several different travel options to arrive to Santa Cruz’s Viru Viru International Airport with daily flights from Miami (American Airlines), San Pablo (Tam, Gol and Boliviana), Buenos Aires (Aerolineas Argentinas and Boliviana), Panama (Copa), Lima (Taca) and Europe (Air Europe). Most airlines offer direct connections to all major airports throughout the world.

2018 Rates

Pluma Lodge weekly program:

Season:  April/May through Mid October

Seven (7) nights/ six (6) days fishing:  $7,600. per person based on double occupancy. 

Non-Angler rate: $5,000

Single angler/occupancy: $13,900

Included:

Angling package at Pluma Lodge are two (2) nights at a 5 star hotel in Santa Cruz, ground transfers in Santa Cruz upon arrival, charter flights – Santa Cruz – Lodge – Santa Cruz, 6 and half full days fishing with one pro guide and two local guides per two anglers in fishing areas, 7 nights lodging at Pluma Lodge, and all-inclusive meals, beverages and spirits at the lodge. Winston Fly Fishing Rods to use.

Not included:

Not included in your angling package at Pluma Lodge are International Flights, Meals and Beverages in Santa Cruz Hotel, fly fishing leaders, wire and flies, tips and gratuities, and trip insurance, Airport taxes and US$550 Indian Communities Fee payable in Bolivia).

 

Native Community Tax: The Tipnis Natives (where Tsimane is located) have formed a board to protect their interests moving forward. This board includes representatives from all 22 Secure River Communities, as well as all the communities in State of Beni. The leaders of the association have made the decision to implement a significant user tax on all visiting anglers. The funds from the tax will primarily be used for social projects, infrastructure development, transportation, and medical and education projects.

 

To book any of our trips give us a call to start the process