The Rio Negro basin is the most significant drainage water globally, with around 710,000 square kilometres of land and is one of Brazils most preserved regions. Near the Colombian border in the Northwest corner of the Amazon, one of its main tributaries, the Rio Marie River, begins its journey. Located around 800 kilometres from the northwest city of Manaus, one of the most important cities in the Brazilian Amazon, this untouched, natural environment covers more than 2 million hectares of land.
Comprising of more than 180 known creeks, 60 lakes, and three significant tributaries, the fishing operation based on the river offers a vibrant, endless array of freshwater fly fishing opportunities. Encompassing a vast amount of virgin water, the river is home to an incredible population of Peacock Bass, offering travelling anglers the chance to hook and release larger-than-average specimens on the fly.
The Rio Marie Lodge project was the first government-sanctioned operation in Brazil and developed as a joint venture between a private enterprise and an Indian Association. Fishing from the first green ship in the Amazon – the Untamed Amazon, specially designed for the Marie project, it provides anglers with the chance to experience an unforgettable adventure through a fabled land and a rainforest home to more than half the worlds species of plants and animals.
The fishing at the Rio Marie Lodge is some of the best found anywhere in Brazil, and this isn’t just a guess; it’s a fact.
The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) has conducted numerous studies on the region and have found that the river holds at least double the quantity of trophy-sized Peacock Bass compared with any other destination in the Rio Negro basin. For travelling fly fishing anglers, this equates to a genuine opportunity to catch some of the largest Peacock Bass found anywhere in the Amazon Basin and the world. This fishing operation is undoubtedly one where fly anglers really can pursue and conquer the dream of reaching a world record on the fly.
The average size of the Speckled Peacock Bass in the river is 10lb, and fish over 15lb are not uncommon; year on year, the river has also seen a significant influx of fish weighing over the magical 20lb mark. As a result, it’s now the most prolific river in Brazil for true trophy Peacocks.
Fishing for these colourful specimens isn’t a numbers game, and not every angler will land a fish of a lifetime. Still, in the 2015 season, on average, over half of the anglers fishing the Rio Marie managed to land a fish of over 20lb, and more 20lb+ fish got landed than any other river destination in the Amazon.
In addition to the giant Speckled Peacock Bass, the river also features healthy populations of other species, including the smaller Butterfly Peacocks, which average 2lb to 6lb. These fish are super colourful and even more aggressive than the Peacocks and often go airborne when hooked. They provide some fantastic sport and help keep anglers enthralled and engaged while searching and fishing for their even larger cousins.
To find out more about freshwater fly fishing in Brazil at the Rio Marie Lodge, visit our YouTube channel.
The fishing in this area of South America at Rio Marie Lodge usually runs from August to February, which coincides with the dry season for the upper Negro basin. During this time of year, the waters are typically at their lowest and most stable, which allows for the best fishing throughout the entire river system, including its numerous tributaries and lagoons. Of course, all fisheries found in the Negro Basin have variant conditions according to each year’s hydrological cycles, but Rio Maries headwater system, geographical location and immensity of its drainage, means it’s much more stable than other regional destinations.
The fishing on the river is based on two anglers sharing one beat of the river, with one professional English-speaking fly fishing guide and a local Indian guide. All the fishing gets performed from specially designed, twenty-foot wide-bodied boats, which feature two casting platforms, a centre console, and 90hp 4-stroke motors and remote-controlled electric motors.
A typical day at the Rio Marie Lodge starts around 5.30 am a with coffee before breakfast is served around 7.00 am. Usually, anglers leave the Untamed Amazon liveaboard around 8.00 am and head to the fishing grounds. Anglers fish all morning until around midday, when the fishing stops for a picnic-style lunch on the river. The afternoon fishing session carries on until around 5.30 pm, when the guide will motor you back to the liveaboard to get cleaned up, enjoy some cocktails and appetizers and before dinners, get served around 8.30 pm.
When fishing at the Rio Marie Lodge and the wild waters of the Amazon Basin, you must get tackled up correctly to target the hard fighting species that live within it. The Peacock Bass, especially of trophy size, take no prisoners and will test your tackle and wits to the limit. Therefore, strong 7-weight to 10-weight single-handed rods with a powerful butt section are recommended; your favourite bonefish and baby tarpon rod will be perfect. It’s nice to have two set-ups, one 8-weight rod for smaller Peacocks with a floating line and one 9-weight or 10-weight rod with an intermediate (clear) sinking line.
As with rods, reels designed for saltwater fly-fishing are the best choice. Peacocks will test your stripping fingers more than your reel, but if you can get them on the reel before they get into the wood, a reel with a substantial, smooth drag is essential, and so is 30lb backing. Most of the fishing for the species in the river gets done close to the surface, so weight forward lines designed for the tropics and saltwater are what you need. It’s also worth packing a fast sinking sink tip for some specific spots and some high water situations. Peacock Bass are not particularly shy, but leaders should be heavy enough to turn over a big wind resistant fly. Spools of fluorocarbon should include 50lb and 60lb breaking strains; however, record-seekers should bring a wider variety.
The fishing gets done using various baitfish, minnow, terrestrials and even algae imitation flies. For baitfish imitations for Peacock Bass, streamers in White, Yellow, Chartreuse and combinations of these colours are very effective. Adding a bunch of flash to these can also make all the difference in the clear water.
The programme at the Rio Marie Lodge is fly fishing only; it’s also all based around catch and release, so barbless hooks are mandatory, and so is the unnecessary handling of the fish. The handling of all the fish from the river requires precaution to avoid hurting them and to prevent injuries to you.
Only 12 anglers per week fish this magnificent exclusive area of more than 600kms of pristine and unspoiled water.
The Untamed Amazon is the first vessel of its kind in the Amazon that uses solar power generation. The system has 96 state-of-the-art German solar panel generators and 3 tons of Hitachi Solar Batteries – the most advanced Japanese battery system for solar power generation. The Untamed Amazon is a project that brings a unique concept to boat design and has changed the game regarding a liveaboard fishing vessel. It offers a unique and remarkable experience.
The Untamed Amazon has three levels. The lower floor is a restricted area for staff only and includes the inner workings and heart of the vessel with its twin 200-horse-power propulsion engines. It also houses the laundry, staff rooms, water filtration systems, and the vessels own sewage treatment plant.
The main floor of the Untamed Amazon has eight guest suites, each 18 square meters in size – 6 of which are double suites, and two of which are single suites. Six suites can accommodate two guests in super single beds and include a private bathroom, air conditioning and plenty of open space for clothes, equipment and storage. Two suites accommodate single guests, also with private bathrooms, air-conditioning and plenty of open space for clothes, equipment and storage. The suites all feature outside-facing, ceiling-to-floor panoramic windows.
The upper level is for guests to relax and enjoy a beverage and relive their days fishing. It features a spacious living and dining room and an open lounge where drinks and appetizers get served. There are also two big Jacuzzi tubs for up to 10 guests on this floor. This 3rd level is also home to the full commercial kitchen, where a trained chef and his team create sumptuous meals and serve as the command and navigation centre for the vessel.
Year Built: 2015.
Port of Embarkation: Manaus, Brazil.
Length: 92 feet / 28 meters.
Beam: 25.6 feet / 7.8 meters.
Draft: 4 feet / 1.2 meters.
Gross Tonnage: 130 tons
Cruising Speed: 6 knots.
Electricity: 110 volts.
Engines: 2 MWM 200 HP Marine Engines.
Generators: 96 German solar panel generators with 4 solar regulators and inverters and 3 tons of Hitachi state-of-the-art batteries.
Auxiliary generators: 2 x 40 KVA MWM (encapsulated for noise reduction)
Water: 4,000-liter water treatment plant.
Safety on board: Radio communication with separate battery pack, AIS Transponder System, Garmin Radar, Sonar and GPS, satellite phone, Wifi internet, life jackets, heart defibrillator, fire extinguishers and flares.
Untamed Amazon Crew: 14, including a captain and crew, 6 pro fly fishing guides, international cuisine chef, and hostess.
Capacity: 16 passengers, 12 anglers and 4 non-anglers.
Unique Features and Amenities: River and jungle-facing panoramic windows, air conditioning, twin beds capable of converting to a California king-sized bed; bathroom with shower, toilet, sink, cabinet, hot water around the clock, and a basket of toiletries.
Living and Social Areas: Lounge, dining room, outside lounge, outdoor Jacuzzi, and fly shop.
Wine, beer, and familiar spirits are all included in the package, but let us know if you have a special drink, and the boat will do its best to have it available. All premium liquor and wines are available at an additional cost.
By forming a unique partnership with YETI coolers, the Untamed Amazon liveaboard has focused on reducing the number of plastic bottles and reducing waste to a minimum. By installing a complete water filtration system, the vessel can provide pure portable water. The quality of which is regularly checked by a renowned Manaus (Brazil) laboratory – you will find the pertaining certificate in the living room. All bathrooms have filtered water in taps and showers.
The boat has electricity 24 hours a day through solar power panels designed to maintain energy without igniting the diesel generators. The electric current is 110 volts, 50 cycles available for 24 hours in all the rooms. However, with thoughts on the environment and economy of the operation, guests are asked to be considerate and not leave electrical items on when not in use.
All of the guides at Rio Marie are highly experienced in jungle angling and are expert fly fishing guides; they’re all fully licensed and speak English. The local Indian guides are also very knowledgeable about their area, and they know where fish are. This guide couple is the key to a successful fishing week, and after guiding and fishing in the jungle for many years, they have complete knowledge of the people, flora, fauna, history and most of all, the fishing.
Although the fishing days are fixed, the below itinerary is still flexible should you require additional free days to explore at the beginning or end of your holiday; we can tailor this itinerary to suit you personally. Feel free to talk to our travel consultants who can explain all options available.
Depart UK (alternative routes available)
Arrive Sao Paulo Depart Sao Paulo
Once you have arrived and collected your luggage, you will need to transfer/taxi the short drive to your overnight hotel. After check-in, you are then free to relax around the hotel or take a stroll around the local shops.
Overnight accommodation: Boutique Hotel Manaus (Twin Room) B/B
After breakfast at the hotel, the transfer driver will pick you up around from 5:30 to 6:30 am, (depending on the weekly charter flight schedule, which will be confirmed on your arrival day in Manaus), and head to a local airport to board the amphibious float-equipped Cessna Grand Caravan charter flight to the river.
The charter flight duration is approximately 3:15 hours (and be forewarned, it is a small plane with no onboard bathroom).
Arrive Rio Marie
The Untamed Amazon will be anchored and waiting for you. Upon arrival, you will be shown to your stateroom, and then greeted upstairs in the comfortable lounge where you will meet the guides and fishing team.
After a cold drink and lunch, anglers will have a brief explanation of the daily fishing plans and schedule about the yacht. The Untamed Amazon can navigate that day to place you in the best fishing spots determined by our head guide. You’ll have a chance to get situated in your suite and prepare tackle for the next day of fishing. There’s no fishing on the arrival day.
Overnight accommodation: The Untamed Amazon Liveaboard (Twin Room) F/B
Each day teams of two anglers fish one of the beats in the Marié River (including its tributaries and lagoons), with one professional English-speaking fly fishing guide and a local Indian guide, in brand new, specially designed fishing boats. These wide-bodied, 20-foot boats have two casting platforms (one at either end of the boat so both anglers can fish at the same time), a centre console, and are powered by 90hp, 4-stroke motors, as well as remote-control electric motors.
Overnight accommodation: The Untamed Amazon Liveaboard (Twin Room) F/B
In the morning, you will have a leisurely breakfast and a couple of hours to relax and finish packing while waiting for the arrival of the floatplanes which will drop off the incoming group and transfer you back to Manaus.
Depart Rio Marie
The plane will usually stop in Tefé (about an hour and a half flight) to refuel before continuing on to Manaus, arriving back in Manaus in the late afternoon.
Your staff driver will deliver you to the Boutique Hotel where you can enjoy a Brazilian BBQ dinner and get settled for the evening, ready to return home the next day.
Overnight accommodation: Boutique Hotel Manaus (Twin Room) B/B
The transfer driver will pick you up, according to your flight departure time, and deliver you to the International Airport.
Arrive Sao Paulo Depart Sao Paulo
Arrive the UK
Average Customer Satisfaction Score 96%
"I'd been debating Brazil for probably 2-3 years and finally last year I bit the bullet and booked it up! One week on from my trip, I'm so glad I did! The fishing, accommodation, staff, guides, food and drink were all fantastic. It's a very, very long way to travel but in my opinion it's totally worth it."
"Well, the fishing was certainly a bit different to catching Rainbows on my local reservoir! The Peacock Bass was my main quarry and thankfully conditions were good and the fish were very accommodating, I landed good numbers of Peacocks every day (up to around 9lb to 10lb) as well as a handful of other 'back-up' species. Lodging on the Untamed Amazon liveaboard was a surreal experience, it was genuinely like a first-class fishing hotel that floats!"
"Until you visit this area of Brazil you cannot comprehend how wild and remote this destination is. It takes an absolute age to travel there (as to be expected) and it might not be for everyone, but for me, it was first class. Casting flies in the depths of the jungle, just not knowing what might attack your fly next is a fantastic experience."
The season runs from August to February.
Season: September to February
Peak: September to January
Weight: 1lb to 27lb
Average Weight: 10lb
Remember that Sportquest Holidays' services are completely FREE! When you book a trip with Sportquest Holidays, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge and flights independently.
Prices are based on two adults sharing transfers, fishing and accommodation (unless otherwise stated) and are correct at the time of going to press. Subject to time of year or date and currency fluctuations, these prices may fluctuate slightly due to flight price increases or fuel surcharges.
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