Rea Eco Lodge – Arapaima Fly Fishing: Guyana is a country you do not hear about often, which is one of the reasons we immediately took notice when the Rewa Eco Lodge project was created in 2013. The warm water fisheries of South America, especially in the greater Amazon River ecosystem, have received an increasing amount of interest by fly fishermen due in large part to the amount of undiscovered and undeveloped land that is filled with fish inhabited streams, rivers and ponds. The small country of Guyana became the focal point of an amazing Costa Del Mar conservation project for one primary reason: the pre-historic Arapaima fish.
Guyana, a former English colony and developing country, is currently at a crossroad between modernization in the 21st century and active conservation of its land, 80% of which is part of the Amazon rainforest. The Rewa Eco Lodge represents an ideal balance between contemporary ecotourism, exploration and conservation. Although 15% of the world’s freshwater drains from Guyana, nearly all the streams, rivers and lakes remain unexplored from a fishing perspective. The Rewa Eco Lodge is located in an Amerindian (native inhabitants of Guyana) village in the heart of the rain forest. The lodge and fishing program is run by the local village, providing a source for jobs and economic stimulation while also serving as the single most important research and conservation outpost for warm freshwater fish species in Guyana, most importantly the Arapaima.
The Amerindians of central Guyana have been fishing their native waters for centuries and have developed a deep, spiritual connection with their eco-system. Many of the indians still fish with simple bow, arrows and lines that their ancestors developed many generations ago. With the persistent and attentive help of Costa del Mar, a group of local Amerindians have become well trained and experienced fly fishing guides with an unmatched knowledge for their local waters and fish.
The main attraction, and deservedly so, of the Rewa Eco Lodge is the legendary Arapaima which is the world’s largest scaled freshwater fish. Weighing up to 800 pounds and reaching lengths of up to 10 feet, the Arapaima is the apex predator of the the rivers and ponds of Guyana. With their great size and predatory nature, these fish have unfortunately been over fished commercially and are currently recognized as a threatened species. In the natural world, we often hear the term dinosaur used in reference to giant, prehistoric looking creatures. The Arapaima is quite literally a living dinosaur, having developed very little in the last 150 million years and considered a “living fossil” by many scientists. They are extremely predatory.
The Rewa Eco Lodge is the only place in the world where wild Arapaima have been caught on the fly. In fact, every single client who has fished there has caught at least one Arapaima during their visit which is an amazing testament to the well managed fishery and expertise of the guide staff and managers. The fishing at Rewa Village benefits tremendously from its conservative management. There might not be a more exclusive fly fishing destination in the world right now with one four week season in November and another four week season in February and March.
As to be expected, the accommodations and food are simple but enjoyable considering the remoteness of the location. Currently managed by the international fishing guru, Matt Breuer, the Rewa Eco Lodge and it’s fishing program work seamlessly with each client to ensure their personal expectations are met. This trip is not for everyone who owns a fly rod, however; if you want to be on the front end of an amazing fishing adventure and conservation program while taking in the sights and experiences of an ancient land and culture, this trip is the pinnacle of destination fly fishing.