Tomo and Tuparro Rivers
These two rivers are part of El Tuparro National Park, a huge nature reserve of Orinoco plains that is home of many endemic species of animals and plants that has found there protection against extraction and the reduction of the habitat.
The Tomo is a long river born in the plains and like most of the rivers of the Orinoco basin in Colombia, this one also runs from west to east. The Tuparro River is shorter but share similar characteristics, runs en the same direction as the Tomo but to a southern point.
The Tomo river marks the northern border of the park. Its main characteristics are the pressence of long White beaches and big oxbow lakes and lagoons home of big peacock bass. In its gallery forests our visitors can see many endemic and migratory bird species and many terrestrial and acuatic mammals.
The Tomo has been selected for the liberation of some Orinoco Crocodiles (Crocodilus intermedius) in the last two years.
The Tuparro River is the backbone of El Tuparro National Park, a nature reserve with an area of 548,000 hectares (1,354,000 acres) that is home to unique species of flora and fauna, and contains floodplains and not prone to flooding savannah ecosystems. It also has five types of riparian and non riparian forests.
Another type of vegetation are wooded swamp morichales and “saladillales” (Saladillo is a common tree on those plains), gallery forests, rocky outcrops and a rich water resource created by the two major rivers and several smaller tributaries. The northern boundary of the park is set by the Tomo River.
These two rivers have amazing fishing because of its unique characteristics and also because they’re located on a protected area in the Tuparro Park, therefore they haven't been impacted by illegal commercial fishing.
Around the year 1800, standing in front of the imposing currents that the Indians of the region called Quituna, overcome with astonishment Alexander von Humboldt, calling it the "Eighth Wonder of the World" which is today known as the Raudal (waterfalls and rapids) of Maipures, one of the main attractions of the protected area.
In the park there are 12 lagoons that belongs to the Tomo River, 42 to the Tuparro and 45 of the Tuparrito, with an average area of 50 hectares. The Guaipe is the largest lagoon with approximate area of 150 hectares and its located 8 kilometers away from the Administrative Center Park on the Tomo River.
There is also a lagoon complex called Tres Lagunas in the southern zone of the park also on the Tomo river.
Within the protected area are identified indigenous semi-nomadic communities belonging to Sikuani-Guahibo and Cuiba ethnics, and towards the influence zone of the park, indigenous Curripacos and Puinaves settled on the Pedro Camejo community on the Carestia Island on the Orinoco. Permanent settlements as El Guamito and San Luis by indigenous Sikuani. And the indigenous community of Cachimaco belonging to the Piaroa ethnicity.
The Tuparro Natural National Park is also perfect for those interested in watching fauna and flora. There are records of 74 species of mammals, including: five species of primates, 112 species of birds, jaguar, puma and tapir. There are also classified 17 species of reptiles (turtles, caiman and snakes) and countless species of fish.
Fly Fishing Colombia is part of the research projects of the ichthyofauna on the region and the sport fishing impact in the park, to guarantee the sustainability of these waters and the whole ecosystem.
How to get there
It takes a one hour commercial flight from Bogota to Puerto Carreño. We flight with Satena Airline and they use the safe and comfortable Embraer 170 or 145. The trip from Puerto Carreño to the Tomo River is done in comfortable air-conditioned pickups and it’s a for 4 hours trip until we reach the Terecay River which flows to the upper portion of the Tomo River.
A longer trip from Puerto Carreño get us to the Tuparro River. It's done in two stages done by car and one stage by boat in the Orinoco river due to the presence of the Raudal of Atures, a succession of rapids on the Orinoco that is impassable for boats. The trip itself is an adventure and you'll be able to experience a variety of landscapes from Puerto Carreno to Maipures near the mouth of the Tuparro on the Orinoco.
The River and Its environment
Rivers Tomo and Tuparro are part of the Tuparro National Park, that could be described as a vast green savanna crossed by large rivers with strong rapids and golden beaches, small canals of clear water, gallery forests, morichales (Moriche is a palm tree) and saladillales, plus huge crystalline rocks in the form of rounded hills. Here the presence of more than 320 bird species are calculated, many aquatic.
The park was declared National Monument in 1982 and Core Zone of the Tuparro Biosphere Reserve.
This worldwide category proposes a model of land management by fulfilling three complementary functions: conservation, sustainable development and support for research and education.
The daytime temperatures can reach 40°C (104°F) while the refreshing breeze that runs throughout the dry season makes the heat bearable for visitors. In some cases, at night the temperature can drop to 14°C (57°F) but usually the nights are fresh which allow visitors to remain uncovered while sleeping.
In the dry season occasionally rains and sometimes very strong, but the rains are short and soon the sun comes out again. We encourage our visitors to bring a waterproof jacket, as traveling in the boats with wet clothes can create a dramatic drop in body temperature.
Tomo and Tuparro Rivers are typical rivers of the Orinoco plains, are quite clear and crystalline water while in the dry season, both are curvy rivers with great presence of large stones and white sand beaches as well as many lagoons in which usually large peacock bass is found..
The Tomo and Tuparro have very little presence of indigenous communities on its shores and this is because they are part of the park, also the north part of its territory is mainly private land.
The campsite on the Tomo and Tuparro
The Fly Fishing Colombia exploration team have selected some beaches that are alternated to setup mobile camps looking to decrease the fishing pressure in the river. These selected beaches are large enough to receive a complete group of fisherman and logistic staff.
We carry large 4 people ventilated tents, equipped with very comfortable inflating mattresses with bed sheet and pillow. Each fisherman will have an exclusive tent for himself so visitors can have enough space to organize their gear and securely leave their belongings while fishing.
Additional to the comfortable tents, the campsite is equipped with an efficient kitchen, a covered dining area, electric plant at night for lighting and a refrigerator to find cold drinks at any time.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.
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 make 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 its taken in each boat for fishermen to come to a beach and do not waste time traveling at noon to the camp. Dinner is cooked on the camp and it includes meat, chicken or fish, and side dishes with local products like rice, cassava or plantain.
In our campsite fishers will find a closed toilet and a closed shower to provide privacy to our visitors. The bath in the river, in the prevailing conditions recommended by the guides, remains a special attraction of these camps. In our campsite 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 complete fishing equipment.
The fishing season on the Tomo and Tuparro rivers runs from mid-December to late March, a period that coincides with the dry season. In these rivers, as well as others in the Orinoco basin in November and December payara and pellona migrations are present.
During the dry season the waters of these two rivers reach down to 12.5 meters (41 feet) below its peak during the rainy season. The steady reduction in the level of water makes fishing conditions change from time to time as some fishing spots dry up and new ones emerge.
Our guides in Tomo and Tuparro Rivers have extensive experience in sport fishing in these rivers and know very well how to safely transport visitors through these waters and place the boats in the right fishing spots that have the best chance to a good fishing. Some of our guides are avid fly fishers and can advise visitors on how to catch the best Peacock Bass in specific spots on the river
The fishing is done from large 23’ boats, equipped with outboards. On these boats two fly fisherman would be able to fly cast at the same time without crossing their lines.
The fishing in the Tomo and Tuparro River will be mainly in the river pools that are calm and deep, additional to the many lagoons that are connected to it, where schools of peacock bass will be waiting to ambush any fly in the water. Our guides, some of them fly fishers, have extensive 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 strip the line without inconvenience. Eventually fishermen can get off the boat and fish from shore when conditions are adequate.
Peacock bass Fly fishing on the Tomo and Tuparro River and its lagoons is mainly done "blind cast" to water structure where the peacock bass will be holding off. However, occasionally you can sight fish for 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 experience the best possible.
The star of the Tomo and Tuparro what make these rivers famous is the Peacock Bass. In those water you can catch good sized speckled peacock bass (Cichla Temensis) while in their two phases, ‘Cinchado’ and ‘Lapa’ (Paca). These big fish are found in lagoons, in calm and deep waters of the river, close to the water structure where they find shelter and the best conditions to ambush prey fish.
On the shore of the rivers and lagoons, and close to the trees and submerged branches the fishing for the butterfly peacock bass (cichla orinocensis) is done, also small cinchados are found there in schools.
On the Tomo River there is also fishing for good size Payaras (Hydrolycus armatus) and l Sardinata Real (pellona flavipinis) in white water zones. The Payaras and Pellonas are migratory species with unpredictable eating habits, what make this an unstable fishing during the day or at certain moments of the season. Is very normal to see high activity of Payara and Pellona on the surface but sometimes it is not a feeding frenzy therefore is almost impossible to catch them.
There are many species of fish that are not the targeted species for the trip. There are several genders of catfish that grow to massive sizes and are susceptible to be caught with fly and lures when in their youth. Visitors will also find several Pacu types (Colossoma, Piaractus) in these waters that eventually will go after their fly. Some minor species like the colorful ‘mataguaro’ (crenicichla), Oscars (astronotus Ocellaris) or the ‘bocones’ (Brycon sp) will attack small size flies.
Gear and flies
In Tomo and Tuparro rivers good size peacock bass are found and they will fight like no other fish, therefore we recommend an 8wt, 9wt or 10wt outfit. Personally we use 8wt equipment that sometimes we overload with 9wt line as this fishing requires the angler casts 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 two or these three weights to alternate them during the day according to fishing conditions. When you are fishing for smaller peacock bass, a 6wt or 7wt fly rod is more than enough; an 8 to 10 pound peacock bass is 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 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 the trip. We also suggest fly lines designed to throw big flies for these rivers where a neat presentation is not required, these will be paired with leaders not longer than 3’ or 4’. The leaders must be strong and must have a shock tippet of at least 40 or 50lb to avoid broken leaders by the peacock bass small teeth.
In Fly Fishing Colombia we will advise you about the gear to bring. We will also advise you 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 Puerto Carreño
- Transport from the hotel to the airport
- Air transportation between Bogota and Puerto Careño, round trip.
- Transport to the base camp
- Three daily meals and snacks
- Six fishing days
- Cold drinks
- Laundry service
- International or nations air fare to Bogota
- Additional hotel nights in Bogota and Puerto Carreño
- 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 them 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 on this trip.
Day 1: Flight to Bogota, we suggest getting there at night.
Day 2: Flight from Bogota to Puerto Carreño with Satena. Rod and Boat ride to the base campsite
Day 3 to 8: Six guided fishing days
Day 9: Return to Puerto Carreño. Flight to Bogota and then final international or national destination.
Reservations and payments
If you are interested in coming with us to the Tomo or the Tuparro, please reach us to either one of or both emails and we’ll share additional information and make the necessary arrangements to make your reservation.
The trip between Bogota and Puerto Carreño is an one hour flight in an Brasilian made Embraer airplane, which is widely use around the world. The airline used is Satena, which is a commercial airline of the Colombian Air Force. Satena allows that each passenger carry maximum 15kilos (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.