Peacock Bass Fishing Maps

Giant Peacock Bass Maps - Cichla temensis

The Giant Peacock Bass is found in the Rio Negro, Rio Branco, Rio Madeira and Rio Orinoco basins. The definitive scientific name is Cichla temensis. Common names include; 3 barred peacock, the speckled peacock, tucunaré acú or tucunaré paca. This species is the primary target of Amazon sportfishermen and is recognized as the world's most powerful freshwater fish. The map below shows the primary drainages of South America and is centered on the Amazon basin. The red shaded area is a generalized representation of the natural range of the giant peacock bass and its transplantation in Lake Guri.

peacock bass map
Map depicting the range of the Amazon Peacock Bass species Cichla temensis.

The ranges shown in the map are based on a combination of information sources; specimen collection locations (of museum specimens) illustrated in a review of the genus Cichla (by Kullander and Ferreira, 2006), catch data from sportfishing activity and observations by Acute Angling. The ranges are estimations based on the river basins known to hold the species and the tributary streams and drainages likely to be included. The ranges are not meant to be definitive descriptions of species limitations. It is likely that some actual ranges may be larger than shown. Transplantations appear as isolated areas in a species' range. Not all transplantations are included. Much exploration, specimen collection and data review still needs to be done to fill in the gaps. The species represented in this map are listed in the color-coded section at the upper right of the map.

The best time to fish for peacock bass and most Amazon exotics is during the falling water phase of the Amazon’s flood pulse. This varies with the location. The natural range of Cichla temensis (the giant peacock bass) in Brazil extends from the lower Madeira basin, through the Rio Negro basin and north into the central Branco basin; roughly a 1200 mile arc through the central Amazon. In order to maximize our ability to provide fishing during optimal conditions, we move our operations through that arc, following the dropping water from south to north. We use 3 different operating mechanisms that can access different types of water and move us through the entire central Amazon basin; allowing us to have access to trophy fish throughout our overall season (September through March). Each of our operations has its own logistical mechanism, letting it maintain position in optimal water levels (thus optimal fishing conditions) at different times in different regions. So, in short, any date we schedule for each of the operations is at the optimal time in each of the areas it moves into as the season progresses.

For specific fishery information see the maps offered here.

The Blackwater Explorer’s Igapo Açu Fishery

This relatively clear blackwater system produces incredible numbers of peacock bass for both fly fishermen and conventional anglers from August through November. During high water, submerged vascular plant material in the lowlands flooded forest (igapò) is steeped by the flood, like a vast tea bag, emitting tannic, fulvic and humic acids, making the rivers in this region highly acidic blackwater systems. This lets the Rio Igapo Acu, Lago Tacquia and the Rio Matupiri provide perfect habitat for Cichla temensis, the giant peacock bass.

The Igapo Acu system drains into the Rio Madeira. Like the Solimoes, the Madeira is a whitewater system, carrying suspended particulate matter from the Andes, thus not itself a peacock bass fishery. However, its lower reaches are fed by several blackwater rivers.

This is the place to go if your goal is lots of action, no matter the fishing style. We concentrate on this region from late August through early-October, right in the middle of its season, when water levels are perfect. The Rio Madeira basin represents a great balance between great quantity and good size and is a great place to start a serious peacock bass habit.

Igapo Açu Peacock Bass Fishery

For more information about where to fish and when, see our detailed Peacock Bass Primer.

Rio Negro Peacock Bass Maps

The Rio Negro Basin is the heart of the giant peacock's territory. Like other large trunk rivers, the deep and fast channels of the enormous Rio Negro itself are not productive enough for us to concentrate our fishing efforts there. However, the Rio Negro is fed by many tributaries, possesses myriad side channels (paranas) and sports a host of island archipelagos studded with lagoons that are individually superb fisheries. This huge basin is the most famous of all trophy peacock fisheries and contains the world's largest peacock bass within its vast drainage.

Our comfortable yacht operation, the Blackwater Explorer, fishes the Rio Negro basin from mid-October until the middle of March. We consistently produce a blend of excellent numbers and trophy size in this massive area. With dozens of side-channel paranàs and complex archipelagoes, and more than a dozen productive blackwater tributaries, such as the Alegria, Cuini, Araca and the Caures, our highly mobile mothership operation can always move to find optimal waters.

Our Floating Bungalow operation, taking advantage of its ability to access headwaters regions, works its way into smaller tributaries in the Rio Negro basin and focuses on trophy fish. The deeply tannin-stained waters in some of the headwaters regions we access are unique in their austere characteristics and low nutrient content. Consequently quantity tends to be lower here, but size is the key.

Whichever mechanism you choose to access this region, the Rio Negro basin contains the world’s largest peacock bass; with plenty of fish in double digits, fish well into the teens common, and monsters ranging from 20 pounds up to world record size lurking here. If a shot at a world record is your goal, then this is your fishery.

The Central Rio Negro Basin

Rio Caures - When water levels are dropping this river produces many big fish and good quantities as well - Depending on conditions, we’re often here at various times during October through December.

Rio Negro paranàs and archipelagoes —These complex waters are consistently productive from October through March.

lower rio negro
Central Rio Negro Peacock Bass Fisheries

The Upper Rio Negro Basin

Rio Urubaxi - Known mostly as a big fish river, the Urubaxi generally has a short season (4-8 weeks, typically occurring between November and January. Due to its location, it's prone to quick changes in water level. But when levels are right, anglers can encounter excellent trophy fishing here.

Rio Uneiuxi - Another big fish river, the Uneiuxi has large lagoons sparsely spaced along its length. More resistant to water level changes because of its shallow structure, it houses plenty of trophy fish. It's nutrient poor waters hold a lower overall biomass than other rivers, so numbers tend to be low. This river is all about size.

upper rio negro
Upper Rio Negro Peacock Bass Fisheries

Rio Curicuriari

Rio Curicuriari - This is the ultimate giant fish fishery and the site of our 2019 exploratory. Numbers are low here but size is amazing. Our initial exploration of this river yielded 22 fish over 20 lbs. in 3 weeks —with monsters up to 26 lbs! This is a true world-record class fishery.

Rio Curicuriari
Rio Curicuriari Peacock Bass Fishery

Rio Branco Peacock Bass Fishery

Fishing in this region generally begins in late November and can continue right through March. Like the Madeira, the Rio Branco itself is not a peacock sportfishery. However, its clear water tributaries can produce excellent numbers of peacock bass. Although peacocks over 20 lbs. are not common here, the area is known for a high proportion of midsize fish and with more than enough fish in the high teens to satisfy any fisherman. We will occasionally utilize this region for our Blackwater Explorer late season trips, depending on water levels.

Rio Massaui - Although its mouth empties into a channel connecting to the Rio Negro, making it technically speaking, a Rio Negro tributary, the river's character is most influenced by the Rio Branco floods and its savannah lands drainage. Good numbers with fish into the high teens. Generally fishes - Nov. - March.

Lagos Homeros - A complex chain of lakes draining lightly stained black water into the Rio Branco, this region boast good numbers of peacocks into the high teens as well as a variety of other attractive species including very large aruana. Generally fishes best December - March.

Rio Macucuau - The Macucuau drains into the Jaupiri, a Rio Negro tributary, making it too, technically speaking, a Rio Negro tributary. However, it shares a vast interfluvial Marsh area with a range of Rio Branco tributaries, influencing its water and fish population. A small river with beautiful white sand beaches.

Rio Branco Fisheries map
Rio Branco Peacock Bass Fisheries Map

Other Peacock Bass Fisheries

Several secondary fisheries exist for peacock bass, outside of the three core regions. Many are close to Manaus, the largest, most developed Amazon city. Most are outside of protected waters and may be subject to pressure from commercial net fisherman as well as subsistence fishing. Here are a few of the better known areas. Its generally best to avoid these since they are unlikely to meet angler’s expectations. Acute Angling does not fish these regions.

  1. Balbina lake — A flooded region behind a hydroelectric dam north of Manaus. Small fish, lots of traffic.
  2. Rio Uatuma — A populated area below the Balbina dam. Often very heavily pressured.
  3. Manaus area — Heavily fished with heavy boat traffic. Not a productive fishery.
  4. Parintins — High population area with commercial activity.
  5. Abobora, Sucunduru, Canuma — Unprotected, heavily fished area, although with good numbers of smaller fish.
  6. Marmelos — Does not hold Cichla temensis, is populated only with Cichla pinima, a smaller species.
Other Amazon Peacock Bass Fisheries Map
Map of Other Known Amazon Peacock Bass Fisheries

Other Peacock Bass Species Maps

Group 1

Other Peacock Bass Species Group 1
Other Peacock Bass Species Fisheries Map - Group 1

Amazon Peacock Bass distribution map for Cichla jariina, Cichla thyrorus, Cichla mirianae, Cichla ocellaris, Cichla orinocensis, Cichla melaniae. The ranges shown in the map above are based on a combination of information sources; specimen collection locations (of museum specimens) illustrated in a review of the genus Cichla (by Kullander and Ferreira, 2006), catch data from sportfishing activity and observations by Acute Angling. The ranges are estimations based on the river basins known to hold the species and the tributary streams and drainages likely to be included. The ranges are not meant to be definitive descriptions of species limitations. It is likely that some actual ranges may be larger than shown. Transplantations appear as isolated areas in a species' range. Not all transplantations are included. Much exploration, specimen collection and data review still needs to be done to fill in the gaps. The species represented in this map are listed in the color-coded section at the upper right of the map.

Group 2

Other Peacock Bass Species- Group 2
Other Peacock Bass Species Fisheries Map - Group 2

Amazon Peacock Bass distribution map for Cichla piquiti, Cichla intermedia, Cichla nigromaculata, Cichla monoculus, Cichla plieozona, Cichla kelberi. The ranges shown in the map above are based on a combination of information sources; specimen collection locations (of museum specimens) illustrated in a review of the genus Cichla (by Kullander and Ferreira, 2006), catch data from sportfishing activity and observations by Acute Angling. The ranges are estimations based on the river basins known to hold the species and the tributary streams and drainages likely to be included. The ranges are not meant to be definitive descriptions of species limitations. It is likely that some actual ranges may be larger than shown. Transplantations appear as isolated areas in a species' range. Not all transplantations are included. Much exploration, specimen collection and data review still needs to be done to fill in the gaps. The species represented in this map are listed in the color-coded section at the upper right of the map.

Group 3

Other Peacock Bass Species - Group 3
Other Peacock Bass Species Fisheries Map - Group 3

Amazon Peacock Bass distribution map for Cichla pinima, Cichla vazzoleri, Rio Paru peacocks, Rio Travessao peacocks.The ranges shown in the map above are based on a combination of information sources; specimen collection locations (of museum specimens) illustrated in a review of the genus Cichla (by Kullander and Ferreira, 2006), catch data from sportfishing activity and observations by Acute Angling. The ranges are estimations based on the river basins known to hold the species and the tributary streams and drainages likely to be included. The ranges are not meant to be definitive descriptions of species limitations. It is likely that some actual ranges may be larger than shown. Transplantations appear as isolated areas in a species' range. Not all transplantations are included. Much exploration, specimen collection and data review still needs to be done to fill in the gaps. The species represented in this map are listed in the color-coded section at the upper right of the map.

For more information about where to fish and when, see our detailed Peacock Bass Primer.