The Vichada River
The Vichada River is a long River that is born near the Andes mountains in the Colombian Orinoco plains and runs east to west to flow into the Orinoco River right in the middle of the department of Vichada.
Most of its lenght is the home land of many indigenous communities. The Vichada river has not been fished as much of the other main rivers of the region as the Meta or the Guaviare rivers because it is difficult to acces to its waters due to its location. This powerful river has many big oxbow lakes, home of big sized peacock bass. The Vichada river offers good oportunities to catch other fierce species like payara and pellona.
The Vichada River is a river with very low sport fishing and commercial fishing pressure because accessing to it is not easy. On its southern bank and most of its extension it is inhabited by indigenous communities of Sikuani ethnic who have control of the area and its lagoons. The Sikuanis conducts its activities through a calendar that is based on the observation of nature and the stars, from which they determine the time of logging, hunting, planting or harvesting. At its northern bank are big ranches and plantations.
Our local operator has made agreements with local indigenous communities and have special permits to operate in the lagoons that have never been fished. Together with they, Fly Fishing Colombia has been linked to projects in agriculture, sustainable fish farming and conservation efforts, along with other sustainable projects by the Sikuani community, as consulting on responsible fishing and implementation of good practices for catch and release.
By agreement with the Sikuani communities, it has been established that in the Vichada River is only admitted one group of up to 10 anglers per week, alternating fishing areas to prevent excessive fishing pressure. There is a single barbless hook lures and flies rule and visitors are committed to the conservation of the river and forests.
Where it is and how to get there
The Vichada River flows into the Orinoco right in the middle of the department of Vichada and sets the limit between the north and the south of the department and the plains in the border between Colombia and Venezuela.
It is reached by a private two-hour flight from Bogota and visitors will land on a runway near the river where they will be picked up by boats to go to the camp site on a journey that takes about two hours in the middle of lush landscaping.
The contingency plan to reach the camp is on a hour commercial Satena flight to Puerto Inirida, where visitors would take one of the larger boats providing transportation services to the mouth of the river, these are equipped with an outboard bigger than 100hp that allows to take quick and comfortably a group of 10 fishermen with their luggage. At the mouth of the Vichada River visitors will be picked up by fishing boats and then ride to the base camp.
The River and its environment
The Vichada River flows from east to west and then flows into the Orinoco and marks the middle of the department of Vichada. It is located in a plain area, although from its southern shore marks the beginning of the Matavén jungle.
The daytime temperatures can reach 42°C (104°F) while the refreshing breeze that runs throughout the dry season makes the heat bearable for visitors. At night the temperature can drop to 12°C (54°F) in some cases, but usually nights are fresh enough allowing the visitors to remain uncovered while sleeping.
During the dry season rains occasionally but the rains are short and soon the sun comes out again. We encourage our visitors to bring a waterproof jacket to prevent a dramatic drop in body temperature while traveling on the boats.
The Vichada River is one of the largest in the region, it is born in the plains near the mountains and runs from west to east to the Orinoco. Its waters are those seen in plain rivers with clear water in the dry season that acquire different colors according to the type of the river bed in a specific place. It has countless white sand beaches and a gallery forest in its lenght.
Close to the Vichada River there are many lagoons where you will find big peacock bass.
The south coast of the Vichada River is established as an indigenous reservoir of the Sikuani ethnic. Along the river there are some indigenous small towns that base their livelihood in the River and surrounding land. They are the local operators of the campsite and fishing guides.
The campsite on the Vichada
The local community has designated some beaches that are alternated to be mobile camps with the aim of reducing fishing pressure in different areas of the river. The beaches that have been designated are spacious enough to accommodate comfortably 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 they can have a place to organize their gear and securely leave their 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 refrigerator to find cold drinks at any time.
Breakfast usually consists on eggs, bread or arepas, or fruit juices. 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, an amazing dish 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. The dinner is made on the camp and it includes meat, chicken or fish, and side dishes with local products like cassava or plantain.
In our campsite we have laundry services included in the fishing package, looking that the visitors can take fewer clothes and save space in luggage for their complete fishing equipment.
In the campsite you will find a closed toilet and shower 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 dry season, which is the same fishing season on the Vichada, goes from middle December to the end of March. However in the second week of November there is some migrations of Payara and Pellona.
At the end of the rainy season, the river begin to drop reaching levels of 12.5 meter (40 feet) below its maximum level. This continual decreasing on the water level makes the fishing conditions different as some fishing spots dries while other emerge. This make every fishing week very special on different zones of the river.
Once the group get to the Vichada River, the designated boaters pickup the visitors and take them to the campsite.
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 special appeal of the Vichada 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 oxbow lakes and lagoons that are connected to it. Fishing is mainly done from the boats. Our boaters 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 lines and strip them without tangling. Eventually fishermen can get off the boat and fish from shore when conditions are adequate.
Peacock bass fly fishing on the Vichada River and its lagoons is mainly done "blind casting" to water structure where the peacock bass will be holding off. However, occasionally you can sight fishing to moving peacock bass, allowing a much more precise and exciting fishing. Fly Fishing Colombia will advise our visitors about the better fishing spots and how to fish them making your experience the best possible.
Peacock bass is the main targeted fish in the Vichada River. In those water you can catch big Speckled peacock bass (Cichla Temensis) while in their two phases, Speckled and ‘Lapa’ (Paca)
On the shore of the river and lagoons, and close to the trees and submerged branches is the fishing for Orinoco Peacock Bass (cichla orinocensis), also there are small and medium sized Speckled Peacock Bas are found in schools.
In some lagoons on the lower part of the Vichada River is possible to catch Buterfly peacock Bass (C. Ocellaris) which is the same found in the channels of Florida.
On the Vichada River there is also fishing for good size Payaras (Hydrolycus armatus) and Pellona (Pellona flavipinis) in fast water zones. The Payara and Pellona are migratory species with unpredictable eating habits, what make an unstable fishing during the day or at certain moments of the season. Is very normal to see high activity by Payara and Pellona on the surface, but it's 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 is 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 sp), Oscars (Astronotus ocellaris) or the ‘bocones’ (Brycon sp) will attack small sized flies.
Fishing gear and flies
Peacock bass in the Vichada River may be really big and make landing an epic and memorable adventure itself, therefore we recommend 8wt, 9wt or 10wt outfit. Personally we use 8wt gear 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 his trip. Some anglers bring fly rods in these two or three weights to alternate them during the day according to fishing conditions. When fishing for smaller peacock bass, a 6wt or 7wt fly rod is more than enough; a 8 to 10 pounds peacock bass is a whole trophy.
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 your trip. We also suggest fly lines designed to throw big flies for the Vichada river where a fine presentation is not required. These will be paired with leaders not longer than 3’ or 4’. The leaders must be strong and might have a shock tippet of at least 50lb to avoid them broken by peacock bass small teeth.
In Fly Fishing Colombia we will advise you about your gear. 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 Vichada
- Transport from the hotel to the airport
- Air transportation between Bogota and the Vichada River or Puerto Inirida
- Transport to the base camp
- Three daily meals and snacks
- Six fishing days
- Cold drinks
- Laundry service
- International or internal air fare to Bogota
- Additional hotel nights in Bogota and Puerto Inirida
- Meals and other activities while in Bogota
- Alcoholic beverages
- Gratuities 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 always ready to 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 an overnight flight.
Day 2: Private flight from Bogota to the Vichada River or to Puerto Inirida with Satena. Boat ride to the base campsite
Day 3 to 8: Six guided fishing days
Day 9: Return to Puerto Inirida. Flight to Bogota and then final international or national destination.
Reservations and Payments
If you are interested in coming with us to the Vichada, please reach us to either one of or both email and we will share you additional information and make the necessary arrangements to make your reservation.
On the private flights we have weight restrictions with the luggage. These flight are done with recent models airplanes and these are commanded by experienced pilots. If the case arise and we need to take a commercial flight, the trip between Bogota and Puerto Inirida is an one hour flight in an Brasilian made Embraer airplane which is widely used around the world by many companies. The airline used is Satena, which is a commercial airline of the Colombian Air Force. Satena allows that each passenger carry a maximum 15kilos (30 pounds)luggage 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.