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.
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 and the others on our site are listed in the color-coded section at the upper right of each map.
The best time to fish for peacock bass and most Amazon exotics is during the falling water phase of the Amazon’s cyclical 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 4 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 (mid-August 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.
Acute Angling’s Protected Igapó Açu Fishery
The protected Igapó Açu reservation is a super-productive peacock bass region, producing incredible numbers of peacocks for both fly fishermen and conventional anglers throughout it’s dry season. During high water, submerged vascular plant material in the surrounding seasonally flooded forest (igapó) is steeped by the flood, like a vast tea bag, emitting tannic, fulvic and humic acids and turning the secondary and tertiary tributaries in this region into highly acidic blackwater systems ... perfect habitat for Cichla temensis, the giant peacock bass.
Rio Igapó Açu — A lagoon-studded river culminating in an enormous flooded forest lake (Lago Tacquia). Plenty of large peacocks into the high teens are caught in its channel point structure and igarapes. Great numbers — we fish here from mid-August through October.
Rio Matupiri — The lower river is lined with myriad lagoon s while the upper river features ressacas, small tributaries and in-river structure. All highly productive — mid-August through October.
Rio Autaz Mirrim — This complex, winding river holds great numbers of peacock bass along with a good percentage of hulking trophies. — we fish here from mid-August through October.
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 mid-October, right in the middle of its dry season, when water levels are dropping and perfect. This fishery represents a great balance between great quantity and good size and is a great place to start a serious peacock bass habit for fly and conventional anglers alike.
Our exclusive early season fisheries hold huge numbers of peacock bass and provide anglers with constant action. For more information about where to fish and when, see our detailed Peacock Bass Primer.
Rio Negro Peacock Bass Maps
Where are the biggest fish?
The Rio Negro basin not only holds the world’s biggest peacock bass, but it is also the world’s biggest peacock bass fishery. In fact, the Rio Negro is the largest blackwater river in the world, and one of the world's ten largest rivers by volume. At 1400 miles in length, the Rio Negro is so big, that its western reaches have a different dry season than its eastern reaches. Correspondingly, three of our operations fish in the Rio Negro basin, albeit in several different regions and at different times in our seasons.
The Rio Negro Basin is the heart of the giant peacock's territory. In addition to its complex, lagoon studded archipelagoes, it is fed by any array of tributaries, and possesses myriad side channels (paranas) that are all 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 its way through 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, our highly mobile mothership operation can can rapidly 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.
Our luxurious new floating hotel, the Blackwater Adventurer spends the early part of its season in the far western edge of Amazonas, pursuing the biggest peacocks of all on the exclusive, protected, Rio Curicuriari. As the season progresses, the Adventurer uses its unique 16” draft and floatplane access to take advantage of the best conditions, no matter where they are in the basin. — all in the lap of luxury.
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 Lower 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 paranás and archipelagoes —These complex waters are consistently productive and provide an excellent mix of good numbers and big fish.
The middle Rio Negro Basin
Above Barcelos - A full complement of Rio Negro backwaters and side-channels provides a wide range of habitat and fishing waters, from vast white sand beaches to narrow paranás to giant lagoons.
Above Santa Isabel - The Rio Negro’s character changes here. Unlike the sandy lower reaches, this region is peppered with complex rocky structure. The region houses plenty of trophy fish. Above the diluting effects of the Demini and Branco, waters here are more heavily tannin stained. Its nutrient poor waters hold a lower overall biomass than other regions, so numbers tend to be lower, while sizes tend larger.
Rio Curicuriari - This is the ultimate giant fish fishery and the site of our 2019 exploratory. Overall numbers are very low here but size is amazing. Nowhere in the world have we seen a higher percentage of 20-pound monsters. Our initial exploration of this river yielded 22 fish over 20 lbs. in 3 short weeks —with monsters up to 27 lbs! This is a true world-record class 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.
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. None are recommended for the serious angler or for the traveler who seeks a true Amazon wilderness experience. Acute Angling does not fish these regions. Here are a few of the better known areas.
- Balbina lake — A flooded lake behind a hydroelectric dam north of Manaus. Small fish, lots of traffic.
- Rio Uatuma — A populated area below the Balbina dam. Often very heavily pressured.
- Manaus area — Heavily fished with heavy boat traffic. Not a productive fishery.
- Parintins — High population area with commercial activity.
- Abobora, Sucunduru, Canuma — Unprotected, heavily fished area, although with good numbers of smaller fish.
- Marmelos — Does not hold Cichla temensis, is populated only with Cichla pinima, a smaller species.
Distribution Maps of Other Peacock Bass Species
The ranges shown in the maps below 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 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.
Amazon Peacock Bass distribution map for Cichla jariina, Cichla thyrorus, Cichla mirianae, Cichla ocellaris, Cichla orinocensis, Cichla melaniae.
Amazon Peacock Bass distribution map for Cichla piquiti, Cichla intermedia, Cichla nigromaculata, Cichla monoculus, Cichla plieozona, Cichla kelberi.
Amazon Peacock Bass distribution map for Cichla pinima, Cichla vazzoleri, Rio Paru peacocks, Rio Travessao peacocks.
For more information about where to fish and when, see our detailed Peacock Bass Primer.