Information Central (c) Larry Larsen
The Amazon's Fishing Season
The very best locations providing the top action
often change from one year to the next, or even one month to the next, depending on weather (rains). That's why it is important to keep in touch with the fishing tour operators that offer trips to South America.
The movement and behavior of the fish varies in different habitats and water types. Much of the knowledge of such is based on actual experience fishing for the peacock in a vast assortment
of locations and habitat. Very few biological studies on the species have been conducted, and it is fair to say that the fishery database is years behind all North American game fish. Sport fishing in South
America is a relatively new concept, one that is however, taking giant leaps forward each year.
Temperatures vary little in the tropics, so seasons are generally based on rainfall. There
are two so-called "seasons" in Brazil's Amazonia Region:
the wet season and the dry season (or fishing season). The two seasons affect all fisheries in the rainforest, but the timing of those seasons vary depending on where the watershed is precisely located.
Some areas may be in the midst of their rainy season while others are enjoying dry times.
The nature of the runoff, the length of its tributaries, the distance from the Equator and
the surrounding land masses all influence the cycling of the seasons and add to the complexity of determining the best time
for fishing. The wet season usually starts with occasional afternoon showers for a few weeks and then heavy downpours occur most days for at least a couple of months before they
subside. The rivers and lakes rise and overflow from the torrential rains into the surrounding floodplain. Inundated areas attract feeding baitfish.
High water is bad news for peacock bass fishermen, so knowing the water levels prior to the trip can make a big difference in enjoying a productive adventure or wisely canceling an
undoubtedly unsuccessful trip. During high water, peacock bass move into the flooded forest or "iguapos" to feed on the forage fish and to live.
Most waters fluctuate substantially over the year. Larger tributaries may rise 50 feet and
spread out 50 miles or more during the maximum rainfall. In the wet seasons, water levels can rise 10 or 12 feet in a week on some tributaries blowing away any fishing opportunity. An
increase of 3 or 4 feet in a day or two during the dry season might do the same.
The Dry Season
The best possible conditions usually occur in the dry seasons, since the water is low and
stable. This is when there is less rain, and when most fish are in places where you can catch them. In a river or in a lake, it is important to have stable water levels. These conditions occur
at different times throughout South America.
For example, in the southernmost regions of Brazil's Amazonas, this dry season is in the
months of May through October, generally. In the central part of Brazil's Amazon region, the dry fishing season is around the months of September through mid-December. In Northern
Brazil and southern Venezuela, this season occurs from mid-November to mid-April, generally.
For a map of the Amazon Region, click here. Fishing seasons in man-made reservoirs located
in these regions may vary because of power-pool drawdowns, but the wet season, dry season pattern will be roughly the same.
At the end of the wet season, it normally takes a few months of dry weather for the water levels to fall to productive heights. As the water levels drop, first in the headwaters and then
downstream, peacock bass forage are forced out of the jungles and into the lagoons and rivers. The peacock follow and are then accessible to the sportfisherman. The dry season typically
means waters within their banks and peacock bass in habitat that can be fished.
An angler typically has 3 or 4 months of fishable water levels but El Nino and/or other factors
can affect that. Even in the dry season, an occasional shower in the "rain" forest may soak you while on the water. Remember it rains in the rainforest.
Daily downpours may occur up to half the year. Late rains during the beginning of the dry season or "off-year" rains in the middle of the dry season can cause problems. Peacocks may
scatter into the flooded jungle timber and again become difficult to catch.
In a "normal" dry season, larger peacocks may take up residence in deeper water away from
the shallow shoreline. They often will move into the thin water to feed.
Mid-size to smaller peacocks will generally cavort around the shallows and submerged structures near deep water in the dry season.