Concordia became famous for being one of the best fisheries for dorados in the Uruguay River. Today, the Salto Grande dam has represented a little help. A prize almost divine.
Dam, Wall and Afterwards… Concordia
lies in front of a group of waterfalls where the famous Salto Grande Dam
, one of the most important in the Uruguay River basin, was built.
The dorado is a fish that must go upstream and downstream in order to fulfill its life cycle and spawn. It used to do so until man interfered and placed one of his most ambitious projects in this part of the river: Salto Grande.
Unlike what was thought when the project was carried out, the dorados did not go upstream. Even if special elevators were designed for the fish to cross onto the other side, the truth is that when the fish feels the danger, it instantly interrupts its journey.
Downstream from the dam, up to a place called Salto Chico, the river takes the shape of a huge field of clear waters, sometimes still, that then turn into rapids with much oxygenation when man opens the gates. Good fishing starts there. As Mystic as the Dorados
La Tortuga Alegre is one of the most typical institutions in the City of Concordia. It is a camping site on the banks of the Uruguay River and it works as an operations center for all anglers who come along on their motorboats, rafts or other crafts in search for the tiger of the rivers.
Cacho Marcogiuseppe and his son, Francisco, two professional guides from this city, were expecting us to takes us around the nice nooks of this beautiful river.
It is known that the dorado gets to the dam due to natural questions and stays there, disoriented. Therefore, an exclusion zone has been established where only authorized anglers may fish the dorado using the fly-casting method and following the catch and release policy.
Thus, real treasures weighing over twenty kilos have been caught. Unfortunately, this is something only a few privileged fishermen can experience. The rest of us must be pleased with fishing below the thousand meters marked by the dam and tempt our trophy.
But the dorado is everywhere -this is worth mentioning- in spite of the presence of Uruguayan poachers, who cast their nets in the daylight, usually jeopardizes sport fishing.
A Paradise for the Angler
Concordia, just like all cities developed on the Paraná River banks, has marvelous myths and legends about huge dorados which have never been caught, but which have left track of their existence.
Half a day was enough for us to unveil part of the mystery hidden under these waters. We caught three beautiful dorados weighing seven, ten and two kilos, approximately. All of them were released into the water once the corresponding photographs had been taken, the same photographs that satisfy our ego and our friends’. But it is good for the fish to come back to the water.
Mottos like “Catch and Release” have begun to be practiced in order to stop not only the decrease in the sizes of the fish but also their number.
And Concordia is listening to this advice consciously. The Boga National Festival, which is held every January, is a clear example of this. During the last few years, only the specimens needed to win a tournament have reached port. The rest of them remain in the river for future generations.