Jungle Recovery

Jungle Recovery
Marcelo Pérez (left) and Mike Michalak with a large dorado from the Secure River.

While floods have ravaged the two best-known fly-fishing lodges in the golden dorado waters of Bolivia's Tsimane Rainforest, local aboriginal tribes and the Argentina-based company Untamed Angling have proven that the jungle people (and jungle dorado) are incredibly resilient.

In February 2014 the largest flood in recorded history (and local memory) destroyed the Secure River Lodge (built in 2010) forcing a complete rebuild that was finished in just 70 days, and right in time for the 2014 season. The next year, a March flood in the same region wiped out Pluma Lodge, and this time Untamed Angling and the local tribal community built a new lodgerelocated to higher ground downstreamin just 60 days.

The lodges (both originally built in 2010) represent one of the first cooperative efforts between a fly-fishing outfitter and aboriginal tribes in South America. The land and the lodges themselves are owned by the local Indian Association. The furniture and all the equipment were brought in and owned by Untamed Angling. The Indian Association is made up of three different ethnic groups: the Chimanes, Yuracarés, and Moxeños.

The founding agreement between the tribes, the Bolivia government, and the outfitter preserves the land, the cultures, and ensures only catch-and-release fishing for dorado (and sustainable harvest only for other species).


After each flood, Marcelo Pérez, CEO and founder of Untamed Angling, knew the facilities could be rebuilt but wondered how the dorado fishing would stand up after the devastating scouring. As it turns out, the fishery is just as healthy as ever.


"When I came I expected a lot, and it was a lot more than I expected," said Mike Michalak, owner of The Fly Shop at Redding, California. In his post-flood week on the Secure River, there were 31 dorado between 15 and 30 pounds landed, and 16 fish that were over 30 poundsincluding a 32-pound fish landed by Michalak.


"I personally think that these 100-year floods happen a lot more frequently than we think," said Patrick Pendergast, director of travel at The Fly Shop. He fished the Secure River for 18 days after the 2014 flood. "It's part of the ecology of the rainforest. I think the rivers need a good flush once in a while to move the gravel around, push some rocks around, take out some of the dead trees, bring in new trees, and to scour the riverbank. The fish are used to it, and within four to six weeks the river was already reclaiming the riverbank."

Pérez has sponsored a short film showing the rebuild of the facilities, and some highlights of Bolivia's greatest gamefish.


Recommended for You

Lines

8 New Fly Lines for 2019

Fly-Fisherman

Here's a look at 8 new fly lines for 2019.

United States

Saving the Chattahoochee River

Ross Purnell - April 23, 2019

How an Atlanta craft brewery is helping to save Georgia's most important trout stream.

Industry

Fly Fishing Community Stunned by Twin Slayings on Belize Saltwater Flat

Fly Fisherman Online Staff - June 27, 2019

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Bank Sipper

Jim McLennan catches a big Red Deer River brown trout rising in 10 inches of water.

Basic Fly Tying Tools

Vises, scissors, hackle pliers, stackers, bucktail, gauges and more. Dave Bloom lays out the basic tools you need to start tying flies.

Beadhead Hare's-ear Nymph

Learn to tie one of the word's most versatile and productive fly patterns.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Fly Tying

Best Panfish Flies

Skip Morris - October 17, 2016

Best Panfish Flies

Trout

Alpine Lakes for Remote Monsters

Landon Mayer - April 18, 2018

You don't always catch large trout in these alpine lakes and streams, but even the small ones...

Industry

Fly Fishing Community Stunned by Twin Slayings on Belize Saltwater Flat

Fly Fisherman Online Staff - June 27, 2019

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that...

See More Stories

More Editor's Notebook

Editor's Notebook

Remembering Umpqua Community College Victim Lawrence Levine

Ross Purnell, Editor - October 03, 2015

Mass Shotting Victim Lawrence Levine Remembered as FLY FISHERMAN writer and North Umpqua Guide

Editor's Notebook

Olympic Pole Vaulter May be the Perfect Fishing Partner

Ross Purnell, Editor - June 10, 2016

Olympic Pole Vaulter May be the Perfect Fishing Partner

Editor's Notebook

55'12'08.6"S 67'24'58.1"'W

Ross Purnell, Editor - October 02, 2015

55'12'08.6"S 67'24'58.1'W

See More Editor's Notebook

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.