The Bocón River
Although it is part of the Orinoco basin, the Bocón River is a jungle river that runs from the southwest of the department of Guainía and flows into the Inirida River. All its path runs through the forest and is inhabited by four Puinave ethnic communities who have made the river their home and livelihood for thousands of years.
The Bocón is a river where really large peacock bass lives, you may be able to catch some of more than 20 pounds but the average size is between 7 and 14 pounds. It is not a river where fishermen get large amounts of catch but they do have the ability to caught good-sized animals. Peacock bass on the Bocón are characterized by their exceptional strength during the fight.
Where it is and how to get there
The Bocón River flows into the Inírida River, it's mouth is found about two and a half hours away from the town of Puerto Inírida (capital of the Guainía department)
There is a two hour boat ride to the campsite beach where our visitors will find the campsite ready for them.
The River and its environment
The Bocon flows along the Inírida jungle, it's a medium height rain forest that is similar to the Amazon jungle instead of looking similar to the Orinoco system. Its weather is warm and humid, even in the dry season.
The daytime temperatures can reach 40 ° C (104 ° F). At night the temperature can drop to 15°C (59°F) in some cases, the nights are cool allowing the visitor to remain uncovered while sleeping. We encourage our visitors to bring a travel blanket for those eventual cold nights.
During the dry season it rains occasionally but the rains are short and soon the sun comes out again. We encourage our visitors to bring waterproof jacket to prevent a dramatic drop in body temperature while traveling on the boats.
The Bocón jungle is not a very high jungle but it is very difficult to walk through it because of the bushes that are around trees. We do not recommend that our visitors get walking into without a local guide because is very difficult to find out where are you and know the route back to the starting point.
The Bocón River, like the Inírida River, is a jungle river so its waters are red (also known as black waters) due to accumulation of tannins produced by the falling leaves of the trees. Despite the color of the water, it is quite clear as the river rises in the flat part of the jungle where the soil is sandy and does not contain clays or silts like rivers coming from the Andes that are quite bleary, especially in the rainy season. For the region is a medium-sized river, although compared to rivers in other parts of the world is a good size one. The river is very winding and is framed with the forest on its shores. Has some white sand beaches, cliffs of sand and many submerged woods on its shores.
The Bocón has a high number of oxbow lakes and lagoons that have arisen over the centuries by changes in the current, which is where the big peacocks are found. It has a soft but strong river current. We encourage our visitors with great caution when they get to their waters.
The forests of Bocón are an indigenous reserve of Puinave ethnicity. Along the river are four small communities which have their livelihood on the river and the surrounding rainforest. They are the local camp operators and fishing guides.
The campsite on the Bocón
Some beaches have been selected in the upper river for mobile camps with the aim of reducing fishing pressure in different areas. These three beaches are wide enough to comfortably accommodate a whole group of fishermen and logistics staff.
In our camps visitors will have a unique experience of contact with nature that will take you away from everyday stress in the city. We use large 4 people ventilated tents, equipped with very comfortable inflating mattresses with bed sheet and pillow. Each fisherman will have an exclusive tent so you can have the space to organize your gear and securely leave your belongings while fishing.
We have dedicated people working in the kitchen, and for the set up and maintenance of the campsite, also they will serve our visitors to have a pleasant stay with us. The campsite is equipped with an efficient kitchen, a covered dining area, electric plant at night for lighting and a portable refrigerator to find cold drinks at any time.
Breakfast usually consists of eggs cooked to order, bread or arepas, fruit or juice. If you like to try local dishes, we highly recommend the fish soup made by our cooks, this is a traditional breakfast for the indigenous, it's an amazing dish and you will want to even lick your fingers. Lunch is usually prepared in the morning, packed in plastic or glass containers and it is taken in each boat for fishermen to take it on a beach and do not waste time traveling at noon to the camp. Dinner is made on the camp and it includes meat, chicken or fish, and side dishes with local products like rice, cassava or plantain.
We have laundry services included in the fishing package, looking that the visitors can take fewer clothes and save space in their luggage for a more complete fishing equipment.
In the campsite you will find a closed toilet and shower in each camp to provide privacy to visitors. The bath in the river in the prevailing conditions recommended by the guides remains a special attraction of these camps.
The fishing season in the Bocón runs from January until late March when the rains return. The river waters drop dramatically from the time when the rainy season ends, and reach down as far as 12 meters from its highest point. There are changing conditions on the first three months of the year due to the dropping water level, but there will always be places to make a good catch and these variations are perfectly known by our local guides.
At arrival on Puerto Inirida, the boaters designated by the Puinave community will pick up our visitors and take them to the base camp.
For our visitors we count with 26 feet aluminum boats where they will be able to fly cast without having any line crossed with the fishing partner.
The special appeal of the Bocón River is peacock bass fishing, this means that fishing activity will be mainly in the river pools that are calm and deep additional to the many lagoons and oxbow lakes connected to it. Fishing is mainly done from the boats. Our boaters have experience to put you in the right spot for an easy cast showing you the targets. Upon entering the lagoons, boaters will off the engine and continue paddling to go quietly and at a pace that allows fishermen to cast their flies and stripe it without inconvenience. Eventually fishermen can get off the boat and fish from shore when circumstances are adequate.
Given the conditions on the River and its lagoons, the fishing is mainly done "blind casting" to water structure where the peacock bass could be holding off. However, occasionally you can sight fish the moving peacock bass, allowing a much more precise and exciting fishing. In Fly Fishing Colombia we will advise our visitors about fishing spots and how to fish them making their fishing experience the best possible.
Peacock bass is the main targeted fish in the Bocón River. In those waters you can catch good size Speckled Peacock Bass (Cichla Temensis) while in their two phases, Speckled and ‘Lapa’ (Paca). On the shallow shores of the rivers and lagoons, and close to the trees and submerged branches the fishing for Orinoco Peacock Bass (Cichla orinocensis) is done, they are small in size but great fighters.
Is possible to catch Butterfly Peacocks (C. Ocellaris) which are the same ones found in Florida state channels, but they are not common on the river.
There are many species of fish that are not the targeted species for the trip. There is several genders of catfish that grow to massive sizes and are susceptible to be caught with fly and lures when in their youth. We’ll also find in the Bocón several Pacú types (Colossoma, Piaractus) that eventually will go after your fly. Some minor species like the colorful ‘mataguaro’ (crenicichla), Oscars (astronotus Ocellaris) or the ‘bocones’ (Brycon sp) will attack small sized flies.
There is the possibility of catching Payara (Hydrolycus armatus and Hidrolycus scomberoides) in the river at certain times of the fishing season. If the schedule of the flight back to Bogota allows, the day of departure from the Bocón to Puerto Inírida visitors can fish large Payaras in two or three spots on the Guaviare River, in which flows the Inírida River really close to Puerto Inírida. Payaras are migratory and have unpredictable eating habits, so that their catch is not stable throughout the day or at certain times of the season. It is normal to see payara and sardinata activity on the surface and the will not attack the lures or flies, but when they are feeding is very easy to get them to get your flies.
Equipment and flies
Due to the extraordinary strength of Peacock Bass in the Bocon River and the size of the flies used, we recommend 8wt, 9wt or 10wt fly outfits. Personally we use 8wt equipment most of the time and sometimes we overload it with 9wt line as this fishing requires that the angler fly cast most of the day, and a 9wt or 10wt fly rod will be quite heavy to do this every single day of your trip. Some anglers bring fly rods in these two or three weights to alternate them during the day according to the fishing conditions. When you are fishing for smaller peacock bass, a 6wt or 7wt fly rod is more than enough; a medium sized peacock bass will be a whole trophy on that rod.
Another suggested option is to bring a 4wt or 5wt fly rod for certain times of the day when fishing for Peacock Bass is low. There are plenty of smaller species that chase and attack small streamers, hopper imitations, chernobyl ants or poppers and can offer a unique fishing experience.
We highly recommend the use of tropical fly lines that are specially designed and manufactured for big game fish and high temperature environments. These kind of lines will run with ease through the guides of your fly rod in the hottest day of your trip. We also suggest fly lines designed to throw big flies because a neat presentation is not required so these will be paired with leaders not longer than 3’ or 4’. We suggest longer leaders when using poppers. The leaders must be strong and must have a shock tippet of at least 50lb to prevent a cutting because of the peacock bass small teeth.
In Fly Fishing Colombia we will advise you about your gear. We will also advise about clothing and other equipment that you may want to bring to make this trip a real pleasure.
- Transport airport to hotel in Bogota
- Hotel in Bogota the previous night before the trip to the Bocón
- Transport from the hotel to the airport
- Air transportation between Bogota and Puerto Inírida. Round trip
- Transport to the base camp
- Three daily meals and snacks
- Six fishing days
- Cold drinks
- Laundry service
- International or national airfare to Bogota
- Additional hotel nights in Bogota and Puerto Inirida
- Meals and other activities while in Bogota
- Alcoholic beverages
- Gratuities and Tips for guides, camp and hotel staff
- Personal items
- Prescription medications
- Fishing gear
All visitors to fishing camps, fishing tours or exploration trips of Fly Fishing Colombia must get a medical insurance that will cover you in case something unfortunate happens. However, all our staff is ready of taking you to the nearest medical center in the shorter possible time.
We suggest our visitors to get an insurance through https://globalrescue.com, there you will be able to find the most adequate insurance for you.
Day 1: Flight to Bogota, we suggest getting there at night.
Day 2: Flight from Bogota to Puerto Inírida with Satena. Boat ride to the base campsite
Day 3 to 8: Six guided fishing days
Day 9: Return to Puerto Inirida. Flight to Bogotá and then final international or national destination.
Reservation and payments
If you are interested in coming with us to the Bocón river, please reach us to either one of the following email and we will share additional information and make the necessary arrangements to make your reservation.
The trip between Bogota and Puerto Inírida is a one hour flight in an Brazilian made Embraer airplane, which is widely used around the world. The airline used is Satena, which is the commercial airline of the Colombian Air Force. Satena allows that each passenger carry a maximum of 15 kilos (30 pounds) and a carry-on maximum of 5 kilos (10 pounds). It's necessary to pack accordingly. In this local flight, it's restricted to carry-on the fly rods, for which is strongly suggested the use of a heavy duty fly rod tube.