The Xingu basin offers the most prolific multispecies fishery in the Amazon and probably of all freshwater rivers on earth. This high fish species diversity can be attributed to the nutrients and food entering the river from the forest combined with minerals in the river that support prolific plankton growth.
The clearwater transmits sunlight to support podostemaceae plant development further contributes to lower levels of the food chain. Several fish species eat these plants and are then consumed by other fish species higher up the food chain. The Xingu offers many different habitats for fish: meanders, pools, channels, lakes, lagoons, riffles, rapids and waterfalls. The consequence is unparalleled fish species diversity.
The waters of the Xingu and Iriri are impressively clear because they drain ancient Brazilian shield granite, in contrast to most large Amazon rivers which are laden with sediment; e.g., the Madeira, Purus, Solimões and Amazon Rivers.The geological structure of the Xingu river basin forms a high diversity of sub habitat that is used by more than 700 species of fish. Anglers can target various species using different techniques all in the same stretch of river.
When Untamed Angling scouted the waters of Xingu River and its tributaries, we found a magnificent clear water system with many fish species, especially for big Payaras on the fly. Below a list of species an angler can experience in Xingu.
Imagine yourself in a clear water jungle river with the opportunity to hook a variety of amazing and powerful Amazon species -all caught only in the Amazon and most experienced only in the Xingu basin sport fishery. In the humid hot air of the Amazon morning, anglers will see fish sipping and rolling on the surface like trout. Impressive sized Pacu eat insects and anglers can fish them with dried and wet flies! Anglers can fish big hoppers for Matrinxas (2-8lbs) in a run or the crazy Curupete Pacu (3-12lbs) which also attacks insect imitations and algae flies in fast waters of the rapids. Exploring runs and flats areas for Tucunare peacock bass (3-15lbs) is also fun using big streamers and poppers, but watch out for the fast powerful barracuda- like freshwater predator (pikecharacid) Bicudas, that once hooked will burn your fingers in a second. And there are more... Being that we all like aggressive big fish, the Payaras and the prehistoric Wolfish are also found in the Xingu waters. Anglers will experience sight casting for 10-25 pounds Wolfish in shallow water and tributaries. They act like hungry wolves chasing meat, when you cast a popper or a big fly. A defining feature of the Xingu sport fishery is abundant large schools of Payara and the opportunity to fish them consistently during the end of the dry season, when they stay deep in large pools, mixed with larger catfishes and other species like freshwater drums and pacus.
The fishing season runs during the dry season from late May through late November in the Xingu and Iriri region. The dry season is characterized by lack of rain, low water levels and clear water that allows for great fishing throughout the entire river system, including its numerous tributaries. We operate the Xingu project during the lowest water months when Payara fishing is best as this species prefers the deepest parts of the river bed; at other times of high water the fish spread into flooded forest and became difficult to find. The best fishing season for Payara in the Xingu runs from September to November.
All fish caught should be released without exception and please avoid unnecessary handling of the fish. Barbless hooks are mandatory. Handling these fish requires precaution, not only to avoid hurting them but also to prevent injuries to you.
Most of the payara fishing is done on surface to deep water levels. They are aggressive predators and we need to be prepared for all situations. Weight Forward lines designed specifically for the tropics and saltwater are what you want. Scientific Anglers Jungle Custom Sink tips are great lines for Payara. You will need a fast sinking sink tip for some specific spots. For this we recommend a 24 foot 300 to 450 grain sink-tip fly line. Another amazing line is the Scientific Anglers Jungle Taper clear intermediate tip line. Full floating Jungle Tapers are excellent for effortlessly throwing giant wind resistant poppers. For Dry fly fishing for Pacus and Matrinchas bring the specific Bonefish taper fly lines. Do not bring cold waterfloating lines, as the hot weather makes these lines "soft and gummy". We strongly suggest you bring at least one backup sinking tip fly line.
Two Pair of Polarized Sunglasses (in case you lose or break a pair).
Waterproof Sunscreen SPF 30+ (UVA) (UVB) (waterproof and unscented).
Buff Face Mask, (light in color)
Fishing Hat w/Brim for Sun
Fly Rods 6 to 10 Weights (no less than 3)
Reels With Minimum 50 pound Backing
Saltwater Jungle Fly Lines (extra lines for backup)
Leaders, Fluorocarbon Tippet and wire tippet
Flies and Fly Box
Long Sturdy Pliers (debarbing and hook removal)
Stripping Fingers or Finger Tape
Fishing Sun Protection Gloves
Light Weight Gore-Tex®
Light Weight Synthetic Fleece Top
4 Long Sleeve Fishing Shirts
3 Pair of Fast Drying Pants
1 Pair of Fast Drying Shorts or swimsuit
3 Pair of White Cotton Socks (for wearing on the boat deck while casting)
Lightweight sturdy Wading Boots (felt is best)
Waterproof Camera, Memory Cards, Batteries and Charger
Smart Phone or Tablet with Charger
Insect repellent and "anti-itch" cream
Water Bottle & Dry Gatorade Mix or EmergenC Packets
Lip Balm with sunscreen (highest SPF you can get)
Dry Bag, Day Pack, boat bag or Fanny Pack (100% Waterproof)
Waterproof Bags or Zip-Loc Bags (to carry camera, other gear while in the boat)
Passport with at least 6 months of validity
2 Copies of passport (*packed separately in zip-lock bag*)
Airline tickets and itinerary
Cash (Indian Fee, lodge gratuities, small bills for tip, gift shopping, etc.)
Credit card (call company, inform of travel plans)
Notebook and pen
Emergency Telephone Numbers
Toiletries (Toothbrush, toothpaste, hand lotion)
Aspirin, other over-the-counter medications like antacids
GoldBond Medicated Powder
Prescription Medications (packed in your carry-on bag)
Universal Electrical Adaptor