Information Central (c) Larry Larsen
Native Range and Imports
Peacock bass originate and thrive in the same South American waters of two dreaded species: the piranha
and the powerful payara. The blood-hungry piranha grow to five or six pounds and the devilish saber-toothed payara maxes out at over 30. Any
fish that can hold its own where these and other hellacious predators live has to be tough. Peacock bass are among the 1,800 other species that have
been cataloged from the Amazon home waters.
The natural range of the peacock bass is the Amazon, Orinoco and Rio Negro basins, a latitudinal
range of about 28 degrees or over 1800 miles. They are adaptable and in fact, have been introduced into many waters around the world.
Fortunately, the range of the peacock bass has grown substantially. Today, you can fish for
them in three places - Florida, Hawaii and Puerto Rico - without even needing a passport. The fish can be found
in Panama, and I'm told by good authority, Costa Rica in Central America. The biggest of these bruisers, though,
still live in South America. Venezuela, Brazil and Colombia harbor the most giant peacocks, and other countries,
such as Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, have waters that contribute to the massive Amazon watershed which abounds with peacock bass.
Peacock bass have been introduced in reservoirs in southeast Brazil and in the Pantanal region in areas
outside the Amazonas. Some noteworthy spots in southern Brazil include Rio Piqueiri, Lago Itumbiara, Rio Paranaiba, Lago Sao Simao, Lago Agua
Vermelha, Ilha Solteira, Furnas, Marimbondo and Volt Grande. Gray bar peacocks up to 10 pounds are taken from the submerged timber in Lake
Itumbiara, but strong winds can sometimes affect fishing.
Fishing for schools of small yellow peacocks takes place during the
winter in clear water weedbeds mid-way up the Agua Vermelha. Lago Sao Simao lies on the Paranaiba River above the intersection of the Grande River
which together forms the Parana River. Blue peacock and yellow peacock are taken there from deep structures and weedbeds.
Friend Ron Looi, who has the "Peacock Bass Page" on the internet, was
partially responsible for their introduction into several small ponds in Malaysia. He reports that peacocks have been bred for the aquarium trade
for years in Taiwan and Indonesia. One reservoir in Singapore has been stocked perhaps unintentionally with peacock, according to Looi.
Bolivia, one of the last frontiers left in South America, may provide a
new opportunity for peacock bass chasers. One outfitter is establishing
operations on the Itenez River in Bolivia north of Santa Cruz. They have an area with both peacock and golden dorado that I'm anxious to try.
Another area that I'm anxious to try is Guyana's Highland rivers and Savannah lakes. The Essequibo and its
major tributary, the Rupununi, are black water rivers with head waters in the Guyana Highlands along the borders with Brazil and Venezuela. The sandy-bottomed streams flow
through the Rupununi savannahs where several blackwater natural lakes provide excellent fishing for peacock bass (called "lukunani" here
). A few ranches in the area provide very rustic guest facilities, meals, boat and motor and local Amerindian guides at very reasonable prices.
The Essequibo and its tributaries, like the
Rewa, offer a variety of species in like sizes, along with excellent giant payara fishing, pacu, piranha, imara,
bicuda, surubim, matrinxa and sardinata. A motorized float trip with primitive tent camping is offered by one
outfitter. There are very few lagoons, so fishing is primarily in the rivers and below the numerous rapids and small falls .