More Gorgeous Cichlids

blog_March_9_2011_1The snow here in the Yellowstone Country is rising as fast as the water in the Amazon. Three days in a row we’ve woken up to fresh snow. By afternoon it gets warm and my last two ski days were mediocre because I waited and the snow got sticky. Today, I headed out early and I’ve already done a five plus mile backcountry ski in the Big Hole Mountains of Teton Valley. It’s certainly not fishing in the Amazon but as far as backcountry skiing goes, it was epic.blog_March_9_2011_2

As promised I’m going to keep writing about the many fish species you might catch while fly fishing in the Amazon. The last two days I separated the peacock bass species, the largest cichlids of South America. However, there are many other cichlids other than the peacock bass. In fact, the Amazon is full of cichlids. And although most are small and overshadowed by the peacock bass, there are a few that will definitely catch your eye.blog_March_9_2011_3

The jacunda (Crenicichla sp.) is one that does not go unnoticed. This elongated cichlid will devour even the largest of peacock flies. They thrive in shallow sandy areas often times with the butterfly peacocks. They are spooky because of the shallow water but if your fly gets to them before they see you casting you’ll get a strike for sure. I’ve never seen them bigger than the pictures I’ve provided but they are known to reach 6lbs. What I like about them is their beauty. Even though I show two different colored ones, both are all the same species.blog_March_9_2011_4

Another cichlid you will likely catch is the Oscar (Astronatus ocellatus). These fellas live in trout like spots. What I mean is anywhere there is shallow water next to a drop along the bank you find them. Usually several burst out after your fly but only the biggest one can fit it in his mouth.blog_March_9_2011_5

There are numerous smaller aquarium size cichlids called cara’s. Every once in awhile you land one of these guys on a peacock fly but if you really want to have fun bring along a 5-weight and mess around with nymphs. While the guides and most anglers are having their afternoon siesta, I catch a lot of these little cichlids and have fun with other non game fish species as well. Many of these “other species” are the primary food of peacocks, so it never hurts to have a good look at them!Obviously I’m missing the Amazon badly this week. But time flies and I’ll be there again before I know it.

Remember, I will be hosting the Amazon February 11-18, 2012. Next year will be above average because of the high water of 2011.

Contact me if you want to go!
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