Would you love to see a return of the FCO/FFF Auction next year?
Click this handy link to see the details posted in last month’s Member Matters. Then contact our leaders to volunteer! Many volunteers make easy work. The Flyfisher Foundation is looking for volunteers to lead and conduct the 2024 FCO auction. If you are interested in helping plan and run this event, please contact Janet Arenz (503-995-4075) or Mike Radakovich (503-449-1228).
Editor’s note: One of our more adventurous members, Felton Jenkins, flew into the remote southeastern Amazon in September to fish for species most of us have never seen – and probably never will! Perhaps his fishing report will entice a few more members to fish on the wild side. LKH
On the 1st of September 2023, I flew from PDX to ATL to Sao Paulo and then to Manaus, Brazil, arriving on 2 September. (I didn’t return until 16 Sept.) This was my second trip to the Brazilian Amazon, having visited Kendjam Lodge on the Iriri River in August 2021 with my brother Alan. He couldn’t go this time, and I went with a former Deschutes river guide named Landon Mace, who is now with FlyWater Travel. I enjoyed it so I returned to Kendjam this year, and this trip included an add-on of 4 days at the Xingu River Lodge. The Iriri is a tributary of the Xingu, which is a huge tributary of the mighty Amazon River.
Both rivers are in the Kayapo Indigenous Territory, which is a few hundred miles by small plane to the SE of Manaus. The territory is massive, 23 million acres of largely intact Amazon rainforest. I include a satellite photo which shows the Kayapo’s forestland, which is surrounded by massive deforestation and degradation of land and water. Logging, ranching & goldmining are basically unchecked in a lot of the Amazon basin. Brazil’s last president, the fascist Bolsonaro, declared open season on nature, indigenous lands and indigenous people. Luckily he was voted out last year, and government & non-profit conservation efforts are recovering. Are these efforts too little and too late?
The great thing about the fishing programs on the Iriri & Xingu, they are done in partnership with the Kayapo people and the Brazilian (& Bolivian) outfitter company, Untamed Angling. It is a sustainable fishing and eco-tourism venture that is helping protect the Kayapo land and their independent way of life. It’s a long & positive story, but check out www.Kayapo.org. I have donated to the Kayapo border protection project, which is organized by the Int’l Conservation Fund of Canada and three Kayapo NGO’s. With scant resources, they are protecting a border about as long as that of South Korea. They have been winning many battles, but there are incursions by illegal loggers & gold mining. Mercury & other chemicals used in mining are toxic and poison many downstream river miles. Fortunately, the Kayapo rivers are well upstream.
The fishing was pretty good most days, but it is still fishing. Kendjam is special in that you can expect to catch 6 to 10+ different species, using a 6 or 7 wt rod. Stripping streamer type flies is the main thing, but topwater poppers, nymphs and dry flies can be effective in certain situations. The Xingu peacock bass is the most numerous and a fun target, but the list includes three types of pacu, the matrinxa, the wolfish, the bicuda, the jucunda, the payara, a couple of piranha species and more.
Matrinxa – a great fighter that reminds me a bit of our shad, but not closely relatedThere were eight anglers, and each long river boat took 2 anglers, 2 Kayapo boatmen guides and an accomplished fly guide from Brazil or Argentina. There was a combination of boat angling and wading. It was hot, and hiking & scrambling over big rocks is necessary. Amazingly, it doesn’t rain much in the dry season and is not too buggy.
Except for some luggage snafus, (Delta separated me from my flyrods; I got them on Sept 16 when I got back to PDX) the trip was a big success from angling, cultural and natural viewpoints. I keep a list of fish species caught, and with 12 from Kendjam & Xingu, I am at 107 (italics editor). Wildlife highlights that we saw included a black jaguar, fish eagles, tapir, the (false) water cobra and an anaconda. I didn’t get to see the anaconda, so I have to go back. And there might be a few other fish species to catch next time.