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Bolivia: Pluma, Secure and Agua Negra Client Testimonials and Reports

May 03, 23
We’ve known for years the exciting wilderness fly fishing opportunities in Bolivia and can tell you from personal experience that the fishing adventure trips with Tsimane’s lodges are some of the most incredible, unique and one-of-a-kind fishing trips in existence.

But, you don’t have to take our word for it. Here are some recent client testimonials. Craig P. I have just returned from two weeks at Tsimane’s Pluma and Agua Negra camps and wanted to THANK YOU for all of the hard work you’ve put in to make experiences like I had available. In short, my trip was excellent! The environment, the natives, the staff at the lodges—both the “front end” people like the guides and the “behind the scenes” people like the maintenance staff—and of course the fish themselves were all awesome! I know that venues like Tsimane are not “accidental.” They’re the result of lots of detailed and hard work on your part and that work often goes unrecognized. Well, I recognize and appreciate it. Thanks Again!!

Brian H. and Brooke H. Once at Pluma Lodge Chucky insured comforts that couldn't have been expected. The cleanliness of the lodge was absolutely impeccable and the hot water was something we have NEVER experienced outside of a major city in all our trips to Central and South America.

These items were just the handshake of our week. Chucky has invested great amounts of thought into the details on how he runs the lodge. The turn down of the beds nightly, the greeting of a personal snack the moment you get off the water, the appetizers and drinks, the fact we never ate the same meal twice the entire week, the presentation of the dinner table, and the list goes on and on. The time on the water probably deserves a lot more than I will be able to provide in this email.

Initially an aspect in most lodges that usually isn’t addressed adequately is the time spent each day on the water. We were pleasantly surprised when we were fishing almost all available light in the day. We understand how difficult it is to guide clients this long every day, thankfully this endurance removes any post trip regret about wishing we fished longer. Juan, Lucas, Lucas, Alejandro, and Franco create a team of guides that Chucky and Marcelo should be proud of. Learning about each of their passions above fishing created friendships that I hope carry on long after our trip ended. All the knowledge and suggestions presented us with high yield and high- quality days that will insure our return.

Finally, the preservation of the land, water, and most importantly the native culture was another aspect that was greatly above our expectation. It was truly amazing to see our locals hunt for their food each day. We knew this wasn't a "tourist attraction" and it was their day to day activity to insure everyone had food for the night. Learning the history of the interaction with the tribes and the work that had to be done to even allow us on these waters was an eye opener that furthered our appreciation for what we were allowed to do.

Understanding the impact of guiding on water everyday causes on a beat allows me to know this is something that is thought about and is planned around and should be acknowledged. Even with locals and around each trail felt like we were the first to travel it. All the items above require attention to detail that is unprecedented in the fish lodging experience that sets Tsimane at the top of the list, not just for fishing but the complete experience. Thank you for everything that has been done to ensure an experience of a lifetime and the memories we will carry for the rest of our lives.

Dax M. (a well-known fly-fishing guide from California) Thanks so much, we had such an amazing trip. I am coming back next year with another group to Pluma!

Gabe N. Thanks for thinking of me and working in a week at your special Jungle paradise! Everyone had an amazing time at Pluma. Your operation was absolutely first class in every aspect and exceeded my exceptions!

In looking forward to 2020, here’s a look back at fishing reports from June and July 2019. Pluma Lodge Fishing Report June 15-22, 2019 Here we are — It’s the start of the 11th season at Pluma Lodge. It’s hard to believe it’s been so long, and we are always pleased to have return and new guests joining us. This week we had Juanjo and Joan from Spain. This was Juanjo’s fourth trip with us. We also had Luke and Steven from the U.S. and Oliver from England — all joining us for the first time. The conditions were great.

As is typical at the start of the season, we had great conditions, baitfish runs, chilly mornings, and warm afternoons. We had some muddy water conditions due to rains at the headwaters for about a day and a half, but we managed this and then enjoyed very clear water for the rest of the week. We landed about 12 fish over 20 pounds during the week with more jumped or just lost for typical reasons. The Lower Pluma and the Secure had the best water conditions, especially during the first two days of low water after the rains. Juanjo caught four fish over 20 pounds in a single morning as well as many other nice fish throughout the week. After the first half of the week, the Pluma was very productive overall.

Luke also caught four fish over 20 pounds, and he caught them all in one day on the surface. We also had opportunities to sight fish to more than 10 feeding frenzies of huge packs of dorado killing sábalo. Awesome to say at least! The Itirizama was still with cold water and, as smaller water, demanded very technical fishing. Steven sight casted and landed a fish over 20 pounds on Monday. With the most beautiful scenery in the entire national park, this made for an especially nice moment. We are excited and looking forward to another great season.

Agua Negra Lodge Fishing Report June 22-29, 2019 This incredible jungle amazed us all this week, just as it had the previous few years. With the biggest sabalo and dorado migration of the season, the fishing was something you had to see to believe.

It was an amazing experience. Throughout the week we enjoyed many nice moments with a group of wonderful guests. Rodrigo from Chile, Michele from Colombia, and Rick and Carl from the U.S., were our first guests of the season. The mix of countries, cultures, abilities, and techniques was fun to experience, especially with so much action happening on the water throughout the week.

The weather was very good at the beginning of the week with high temperatures during the day and cool nights. By the end of the week, we had some rainy days but nothing that negatively impacted the fishing. From the beginning of the week, Michele and Rick got things started with numerous small and medium-sized dorados on the Main Secure River. Rodrigo and Carl, experienced anglers who never met each other before, enjoyed the Agua Negra and found lots of feeding frenzies.

They caught some very nice dorado, yatorana, and a 20-pound catfish for Carl's 75th birthday! The biggest fish of the week was a 22-pound dorado caught by Michele on the Main Secure River on the first day of fishing and second time ever fishing with a fly rod.

Secure Lodge Fishing Report June 21-28, 2019 We had been counting the days until we could head back to the Secure River. As is the case every June, tons of sabalo started to migrate a long way up to the headwaters of the Amazon Basin.

Along with them, the dorado arrived and the feeding frenzies returned to the Secure River. These fish didn’t even give us a chance to breathe on the lower part of the river, as we caught many big fish throughout the week. A 22-pounder landed by Tapani was the largest fish of the week. Due to the high water, we got to some of our favorite water without any issues.

The upper part of the river gave us the chance to catch big pacu on fruit imitations, and the tributaries, as always, allowed us to look for big resident fish with countless sight fishing opportunities. Tapani and Julian went far upstream, during a two-night camp, and enjoying the untouched clear water of the system. Chris and Francis had great fishing in the small streams. It was an outstanding first week!


Pluma Lodge Fishing Report June 22-29, 2019 This week we welcomed four guests — Tomi and Jorge (first time fly fishing) from Bolivia for their second trip with us; Randy from the U.S. for his fourth trip with us; and Rodolfo from Argentina.

We had a variety of weather throughout the week, including some cloudy days with some rain and even a cold front that came from the south mid-week. Water levels remained very low and extremely clear. We landed 10 fish over 20 pounds and caught many others in the 10- to 15-pound range. The Lower Pluma and Lower Secure were very productive. Big black deer streamers and big topwater patterns were the key.

The fishing on the upper sections is very technical right now due to the extremely clear water conditions. Smaller EP-style flies and accurate casts are the key to success. We want to give special recognition to Jorge. It was his first time grabbing a fly rod, and thanks to the help of our guides, he landed nice fish on his very first day! He also caught an amazing 22-pound fish on Friday, ending his first, but surely not his last, dorado fly fishing trip. All the sections are showing a healthy population of baitfish and dorado, so we are looking forward to what’s ahead.


Agua Negra Fishing Report June 29 – July 6, 2019 The second week was everything we dream about when it comes to this destination. We welcomed four really good anglers from U.S.: Rex and his son Rio, Sergio, and Francisco. At the beginning of the week, our fishing star, Rio (9 years old) showed us how to catch a 20-pound dorado!

This put all the pressure on the rest of the experienced anglers. The Agua Negra was as good as always this time of the year with many feeding frenzies, but with low water we had to be really careful with the presentation of the fly and use longer leaders while also being as quiet as possible while walking along the river. Mid-week the rains appeared, making the rivers dirtier and higher, but that gave us the chance to get closer to the fish and an amazing end to the week.

Sergio and Francisco, two stellar anglers,, hiked the Agua Negra and spent one night in the middle of the jungle with a great camp and excellent fishing. Amazing people, dorados eating everywhere, and lots of incredible experiences made for an amazing week. During the week we landed more than 10 fish over 15 pounds, two fish over 20 pounds, and many small- and medium-sized dorado in the Chimoro — a small, gin clear water tributary that you can enjoy with lighter tackle.

The biggest fish of the week was a giant 30-pound dorado caught by Francisco on a feeding frenzy on the Upper Agua Negra. We mostly used dark weighted streamers with a muddler head as well as streamers with synthetic fibers for the head. The second week of the season brought us a couple of experienced Argentinian anglers — Calchi and Carlos. Naturally, Argentinian fishermen know better than most how marvelous dorado are, due to the high population of dorado in their rivers.

But here the game changes completely. The behavior of this fish is totally different in this system, and it was Calchi’s and Carlos’s first time in front of these killing machines. It was amazing to watch these dorado destroy sabalo in a foot of water. The first day was just an initiation. We spotted some pacu and dorado in the upper section of the river and had many shots at fish.

Despite this warm up, nothing could prepare our guests for the massive run of dorado that were waiting for them in the lower part of the river, giving Calchi the biggest fish of the week — a 17 pounder. The week couldn’t have been any better. We planned for two overnight camps, but with such good fishing, they decided to stay one more night at the headwaters.

The days up there are never enough. Fishing in crystal clear water with small pockets and narrow structures provided for amazing sight fishing for our black and golden trophies. We also caught 13 pacu in three days, completing an unforgettable week in this unique place.


Agua Negra Fishing Report July 6-13, 2019 The third week of the season gave us the chance to meet five really good anglers who have spent many, many years chasing fish around the world. Chris, Doug, Dennis, Jeff, and Dax are really good anglers and great people who shared an amazing week of hiking and fishing in this amazing jungle.

The weather was good for the whole week, with high temperatures during the day and cool nights. The levels of the main river were higher than normal, and the color of the water got better by the end of the week. For this reason, we hiked and spent most of our fishing days in the mountain tributaries. There was a huge number of big yatorana and a lot of medium-sized dorado.

We also caught some monster dorado in smaller water, which made for a great experience. The Chimoro and the Agua Negra had many feeding frenzies, and we caught a lot of fish on the surface. During the week we landed three fish over 20 pounds, many yatorana, and medium-sized dorado on the surface. A highlight was a 25-dorado caught by Chris on the crystal clear Chimoro. The third week started with a southern storm, making the fish less active due to the cold water.

The anglers who joined us included four Americans — Steffan and Wilder (who tied more than300 flies for the whole crew), Kipp and Hakoon (father and son), and two Argentinian friends Omar and Eduardo. For the first two days, everyone worked hard to find the dorado.

Ultimately, they did, catching some fish in the lower section. The anglers took the opportunity to make camp upstream and chase nice dorado and pacu. By mid-week the water started to warm up, and the fishing showed us once again that Secure River always produces. The rain from the previous week increased the levels of both creeks, the Ashahana and Maniquicito, which led fresh dorado into these waters. It’s always great to cast flies to new fish in the creeks.


Pluma Lodge Fishing Report July 6-13, 2019 Nick (a former guide and well-known photographer) and Richard visited us all the way from New Zealand for week three. This was their first trip here. The weather was okay the first half of the week, and we had constant rain and chilly weather the rest of the week.

The weather change did not impact the fishing, as the water remained crystal clear. The amount of fish we caught over 20 pounds was unbelievable. The first giant was landed by Richard 20 minutes into the very first morning on the Lower Pluma. Another memorable fish was caught by Nick on day three when he was sight fishing on the Upper Itirizama.

On the same day, Nick hooked and lost a giant catfish, spooling the reel and leaving him with 100 yards less of backing. Feeding frenzies were constant on the Lower Pluma and the Lower Secure, but the fish were less aggressive around mid-week when the cold front showed up.

Nick is leaving Pluma Lodge with tons of footage, video, and pictures of an awesome experience, and we look forward to having Nick and Richard again. After many changes and different levels in the water, we finally enjoyed a week with stable water levels in three of our rivers.

The fishing and weather for the whole week was really good. There was a little rain midweek, but it wasn’t enough to impact the water. We made a longer camp than the normal on the Agua Negra, as wewanted sight fish for some monsters, and it was worth the effort.

The lower section of the Agua Negra gave us the chance to enjoy a lot of feeding frenzies, and the upper part was as technical as always with amazing pocket fishing on water that might resemble a trout stream but hold giant dorado. During the week we landed more than 20 fish over 15 pounds, 10 fish over 20 pounds, two pacu. The biggest fish of the week was a 28-pound dorado caught by Dana.


Pluma Lodge Fishing Report July 6-13, 2019 This week we had five American anglers and one angler from Spain. Luis, a guide and fly shop ownerfrom Madrid, was joined by his American guests Michael and George,who were on their first trip with us. Matthew, Jeff, and Winola were also from the U.S. Weather and water conditions were perfect all week, and much of the water was gin clear.

Five fish over 20 pounds were landed, along with many smaller fish. And not one but two surubi (striped catfish) were landed by George and Michael in a double hookup after sight fishing for these incredible fish.

The upper sections were showing unbelievably clear water, so longer and lighter leaders were mandatory. Both Matthew and Luis got the chance to sight cast and land two beautiful 18- to 20- pound fish on the Upper Itirizama. Jeff landed his biggest fish on the Secure on day three — a fish that exceed the 20-pound mark. The main Pluma is showing a healthy population of 8 to 10 pounders, which makes for lots of fun with smaller flies and terrestrial.


Secure Lodge Fishing Report July 12-19, 2019 Week four started with very good conditions and warm water that improved the fish activity. Dorado and pacu were everywhere! We were joined by a group of three Americans — Ken, Terry, and Rose — and three Argentinians — Julian, Lucas, and Leo.

It was a very fun week, with dorado on the lower part of the river and sight fishing action for fish in almost every structure and ultimately completing the first grand slam of the season — a dorado, pacu, and yatorana in a single day.

The Argentinian friends went camping all week long and enjoyed four days at the headwaters and two days at Ashahana Creek, where the fishing put their skills to the test— it’s one cast, all or nothing. They were very lucky, catching dorado and pacu in a 20-foot wide creek. The biggest fish of the week was a 20-pound dorado caught by Ken.