Freshwater dorado, or Salminus maxillosus, the dorado is often described as a prehistoric salmon with the jaws of a pit bull. You see that definition a lot, because it is pretty accurate. Dorado are golden, they have a powerful set of jaws reminiscent of a dog, they are strong, and they jump. Pretty good recipe for a game fish isn’t it?
Dorado are hard-hitting, incredibly-strong, acrobatic fighters that have long been one of the most admired fish in South America; but they are almost completely unknown to the rest of the world. Outside of South America, the dorado suffers an identity crisis. Many anglers confuse this distinct gamefish with other species. Although the dorado’s body is reminiscent of the salmon, it is not at all related. The dorado does not die after spawning and never swims to the ocean. And while its common name is similar, the dorado is a freshwater gamefish and not to be confused with the saltwater “dolphin” fish (called ‘el dorado’ in many Spanish-speaking countries).
Dorado are exceptionally strong swimmers. They typically range in size from 5 to 10 pounds. In some fisheries, twenty pounders are common. The dorado’s intense, radiant, golden color is marked with holographic black horizontal stripes. This patterning, coupled with their powerful jaws and razor sharp teeth have earned the dorado the sobriquet “River Tiger” in Argentina. The dorado is a great jumper and a prodigious fighter. Once fooled with a fly or bait, their arm-wrenching strike is a testament to their aggressiveness and ferocity. As soon as you set the hook, these wild leapers explode out of the water.