|Joined: 28 Dec 2004|
|Location: Lakeland, FL||
Predicting water levels in the Amazon basin two or three weeks out is tough, even for the most experienced locals. Remember the dire hurricane predictions for this fall (one or our worst years ever with at least 6 majors and another 6 or 7 smaller hurricanes). Well, the Hurricane Center and their crack scientific forecasters totally missed on their expert warnings (Thank God). The hurricanes never showed up.
The water levels of the past 6 or 7 years in the Amazon have been anything but consistent. They have been affected, we are told, by El Nino, La Nina, global warming, natural 7 year cycles of weather, un-natural phenomena and other things. The water levels are up one December and down the next, up one October and down the next or the third year. I was told by an old timer that the Rio Negro "almost always" experienced a rapid rise in water during the first 3 weeks of December. Then it would "normally" go back down in late December to early November levels and continue on down. That no longer seems to be the case in terms of predictability. Of course, some tributaries may be high and others may be perfect. The main Rio Negro may be very high and some tributaries of it may be perfect. It is just impossible to predict, even by locals with 20 years of living in the area.
I get calls and emails all the time asking when the best time to go would be. If I only knew, then all my trips would be great! My best advice is to keep in close contact with your fishing tour agent/operator. Many PBA members also contact each other via email or phone to get a handle on recent water levels, and our members are using willing to share such info.
What high water levels do is make it tough on everyone. The peacock bass (finding forage), the anglers (catching them) and the operators (trying to run a business). Our Supporting Members have had a couple of tough seasons and they certainly deserve a few good ones. They cannot continue to provide a good operation and service, if angler traffic is severly dimenished. They have fixed costs and overhead expenses and they really don't want to cancel trips.
Don't panic yet with a few reports of higher water. Do try to be informed on your projected trip though. This season could yet continue to offer some of the best fishing you or I have ever had. We pray for decent water levels and perhaps a drought. We all need that!