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Quest for El Dorado
La Zona vs. Los Gringos
Word spread quickly and the resulting stampede of anglers resembled Christmas shoppers fighting over the latest Elmo doll. With fishing restricted to just two boats, La Zona’s wait-list grew longer and longer. Anglers were even snapping up space during cold months when dorado are seasonally sluggish. With all the size-matters brouhaha, few anglers were paying much attention other great dorado fishing holes around the country.
In early April, La Zona veteran Drew Gregg visited one of the “sleeper” spots, Los Gringos Lodge in Corrientes Province. Here are Drew’s impressions:
"LA ZONA: Three Sisters Lodge houses four anglers fishing the tailrace of a hydro-electric dam on the Uruguay River. The half-mile square area is restricted to just two boats, fishing with artificial or flies lures from Monday to Thursday only.
The dorado average 15 pounds and a 50+ pound fish is possible. My best was 30 pounds, along with a 38-pound surubi catfish. You must wear a life-vest at all times due to the turbulent discharge from the dam. Each day is basically the same as the day before. We missed 1-1/2 of the four days of fishing due to violent thunderstorms. I mention this due to the high daily expense and the long wait time to reserve a space to fish. Cold weather can make this a tough trip also.
LOS GRINGOS: The lodge is located about 75 miles northwest of La Zona. Its three owners are English-speaking dual Argentine/US citizens, who are now my friends. They have several cottages for their guests and went to extreme lengths to make us feel at home.
We fished on the Parana and Corrientes Rivers, the Delta, and the "14," using three different guides and their boats. We fished with mostly live baits due to a severe cold front and muddy water in three of the four places. I caught six different species: dorado, boga, piranha, ray, surubi and duck-mouthed catfish. The dorado went to six pounds and the catfish to nine pounds. We would have fished at night for big catfish except for the cold and a full moon.
The food at both lodges was great -- gourmet quality. Los Gringos prepared the best steaks I’ve ever had, along with surubi empanadas and fried fillets.
If you have the money and time to wait to go to LaZona, you’ll have the chance to catch a giant Dorado. If you want to catch a variety of species and see rural Argentina with guys that love to fish and have a good time, Los Gringos is far more affordable and probably a lot more fun overall."
Los Gringos Lodge also provides excursions to the Iberá marshes and Itá Ibaté where much larger trophy Dorado can be found for the fisherman who’s looking for that “big fish” photo opportunity.
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