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WHAT IS KNOWN about the Iriri is that there are more than 10 different sportfish in a crystal clear, fast-moving river. Most of it is shallow, coursing over a huge granite base, and ideal for wet wading and sight casting.
The main stem of the Iriri is 800 miles long, with three large tributaries. Its totally unexplored headwaters begin inside a nearly impenetrable jungle near the border of the Mato Grosso and runs along the northeast side of the Brazilian Amazon for more than 480 miles (all of it within the confines of the Kendjam/Kayapó Nation) before joining the mystic Xingu River, famous for its phenomenal angling. The grass airstrip in the Kayapó village of Kendjam is only an hour distant from the rendezvous airport used by anglers at Marié, and it will be a simple, time-efficient combination of cultures, destinations, and fishing experiences.
Mataveni River
FORGET ABOUT DRUG CARTELS and guerilla warfare, visiting Colombia is now a wade in the Central American park since its government has settled polit- ical unrest problems (FARC) and driven the druglords from the once-famous sportfishing rivers in Latin America.
Mike Mercer, Terry Jepsen, and Mike Michalak (all from The Fly Shop) tested the waters of Columbia’s Mataveni River this past January and then again in March, return- ing with rave reviews and reports that would be difficult to swallow if they’d come out of someone else’s mouth.
Crystal clear Iriri is a veritable mountain stream in the tropics. Shallow, intimate, and easily waded
The water was a bit
high, but clear dur-
ing the dry season
(Jan. to mid-April)
visits and perfect weather set the tone
for both fly fishing holidays.
The first angling day a diminutive Piaroa guide lifted one more of a series of Temensis monsters out of the tea-colored river for a hero shot and told Michalak in his Indian-accented Spanish, “You’ve got to come back when the fishing’s good!”
In the way of background, this leg- endary river was once home to virtually every world record peacock bass. Forty years ago, the region became a “No Go” zone because of guerilla activity in the area, and anglers understandably lost interest in the Mataveni. At one time six of the top ten IGFA all-tackle, and many of the fly caught Peacock Bass world records came from this jungle hotspot and other fisheries nearby.
The insurgent group, FARC, has now been pacified and enthusiasm among anglers has quickly returned for the Mataveni and several other terrific regional rivers. The two Mataveni native villages near the Orinoco confluence are the only inhabitants on the entire 400 mile-long river and, with government help and military support they restrict access aggressively.
near-airport hotel, before continuing on to the pueblo of Inirida. It’s a short morning flight that arrives early enough in the day to allow for a swift, downriv- er Orinoco boat ride and short ren- dezvous with the fish-savvy team of native Piaroa guides
In late January, Michalak held hands with long-time angling pal, Bill Douglas and the first group of North Americans allowed to fish this legendary peacock bass river in four
decades. The peacock bass of the Mataveni held a welcome back reception for the Gringos and the fish went ballistic.
This package is hosted by Alex Zapata of Orinoco Anglers. Groups of no more than eight fly fishermen overnight in the capital city of Bogota at a fine,
Not a Giant, but a fine bass!
near their Mataveni village.
These tent camps are no-frills affairs,
perfect for those of us who need no more luxury than a cold beer at the end of the day or ice for our cocktails. In fact, everyone in our groups found the comfortable, spartan camp atmos- phere refreshing.
The native villagers strictly limit the number of weeks they allow the river to be fished each season (two weeks a month), resting the river and themselves every other week each month. Only a few wealthy Colombia nationals have been going there regularly during the years after the Yankee demand subsided. All this translates into only two weeks being available for the 2016 season.
mataveni river camp packages include the hotel on the night of arrival, all transfers, the fight to Inirida, 10% Indian Fee. Everything but your tackle and tip. It’s a great value and fine trip!  7-night 6-day package $4,495
 Dates: February and early April

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