Scheduled Trips
  Book a Trip
  Tackle Preparation
  Trip Preparation
  Angling Library
  Old Newsletters
  Links to Other Sites
  Contact InterAngler
  About InterAngler
  Species Library
 Peacock Bass
 FreshWater Dorado
 Flats Species
 Offshore Species
  Photo Albums
  Real Life Stories
  River Plate OutFitters
  Dan-dy Dipper
  Travel Insurance
  Tavel Guard
  Travel Guard
Peacock Bass and Dorado come together in Bolivia - A cutting edge exploratory adventure in the world’s most diverse freshwater fishery.
A Meeting of the Great Waters
 by Garrett VeneKlasen
The common consensus among geographers today is that the mighty Amazon River and the massive Paraná River run into separate drainage basins.  After recent travels, I have come to the conclusion that the Paraná actually interconnects with the Amazon via a marshy region found in south central Bolivia and northern Paraguay.  I am confident that at the height of the rainy season in the southern Amazon one can travel, via a small boat, from the port of Buenos Aires on the banks of Argentina’s Plata River all the way (via the Amazon’s upper tributaries) to the Orinoco delta some 3,075 nautical miles to the north.  This extremely challenging journey would take at least six months and cover over 10,000 river miles!  To my knowledge, such an incredible adventure has yet to be undertaken.  But that's another story yet to be written.
    The story that concerns me now regards the previously-mentioned connection between two of the world’s largest rivers, for it is this magical place where one can find a conglomeration of both Amazon and Paraná ecosystems; a freshwater fishery so diverse and fantastic that nothing can compare to it anywhere in the world . . .
October, 1998 – Initial Exploratory:  You might say I was a bit skeptical when the idea of a Bolivian Amazon exploratory fishing expedition first manifested itself.  I have spent over a decade extensively prospecting the entire Amazon basin and the surrounding subtropical fisheries in Southern Brazil and northern Argentina.  Bolivia was always considered a marginal angling destination.  All my sources gave the same report; the peacock bass there were said to be small and scarce and piranhas were the only other incidental species in ‘fishable’ numbers.
    Adding to my doubts were further rumors which said both peacock bass and freshwater dorado could be found in close proximity.  This made absolutely no sense, as the dorado’s range was thought to be limited to the Paraná River drainage in Paraguay, Argentina and Southern Brazil.  It all sounded too good to be true.  The chance of encountering such a dynamic tropical freshwater fishery means a once-in-a-lifetime angling adventure; so plans were quickly made and we were off to Bolivia!
    In Santa Cruz, Frontiers International’s Dick Viall, my wife, Annie, and I are met at the international airport by Bolivian outfitter Jorge Molina.  Molina is an energetic, driven professional who has clearly done his homework prior to our arrival.  Molina pulls out a stack of photos picturing huge catches of peacock bass.  Some of the fish look to be in excess of 15-pounds.  Molina says it is a snap to catch over a hundred peacocks a day.  By the looks of the photos, he isn’t exaggerating.
 “And what about these rumors of freshwater dorado?”  I ask.
 Molina smiles proudly.  “You will soon see for yourself my friend . . .”
 A 15-minute drive through the bustling semi-tropical Santa Cruz finds us at a small private airport.  Here, a meticulously-maintained twin Otter awaits our arrival.  We quickly load our gear into the plane and taxi out onto the tarmac.  The Otter heads north out of Santa Cruz, flying first over a vast agricultural region of soybeans and sugar cane.
    This country eventually gives way to solid jungle; the periphery of the Amazon basin in the Guayaros province with not a single sign of human intrusion.  Jungle stretches away from horizon to horizon as far as the eye can see.  The plane ride lasts about 45-minutes before we begin our descent.  Recently, Molina has cut a 5,000-foot air strip out of this solid jungle.  This nearly impossible endeavor is just the beginning of the impressive camp setup we are soon to discover.
    A second partner, Victor ‘Chi Che’ Añez, greets us when the plane doors open.  Chi Che has lived in the region his entire life and owns the property on which the camp is built.  Molina  explains to us that Chi Che knows the seasonal nuances and fish habits better than anyone in the region.
    At the edge of the strip sits Molina’s newly-constructed fixed camp set beautifully on the high banks of the Rio Grande River.  Built in typical ‘jungle’ style, the camp itself is a thatched roof ‘H’ shaped structure with a central dining room connecting four spacious guest rooms.  The lodge  looks to be right out of the pages of Robinson Caruso, with an ornate bamboo interior tastefully decorated with oversized handcrafted furniture carved from surrounding jungle hardwoods.
    After a fabulous lunch we gear up and head out for the first evening’s fishing excursion.  It is decided that we quickly ‘sample’ the river on this day and then concentrate on the inland lakes the following morning.  We load up in two of Molina’s 18' flat bottomed Jon-style boats and head up river.  After a 15-minute ride through spectacular jungle brimming with caimans, turtles, parrots, macaws and guans (jungle fowl), we come to a roiling set of rapids fed by a particularly ‘fishy’ looking tongue of almost clear water pouring out of a flooded stand of timber.  Chi Che explains that the river flooded many years ago and changed its course, forming a new set of inland lakes. 
    The boats are tied up at the periphery of the fast water.  Right from the start we catch a payara on almost every cast.  The payara are one of the smaller Paraná species (up to about 5-pounds) of the silvery saber-toothed fish, so we decide to move the boats into even faster water where the dorado and sardinata are holding.  Not three casts later I am into a beautiful sardinata that jumps and runs like a sea-fresh Pacific salmon.  On a 7-weight fly rod it is all I can do to hold onto the freshwater ‘golden tarpon.’  Three more sardinata up to about 10-pounds are caught in rapid succession before Jorge suggested we move upriver to his favorite dorado hole.
    The boat’s wake hardly settles before Jorge begins casting a 6-inch Bomber plug into a swirling shoot of water piling into a log jam.  On his second cast his rod is nearly jerked out of his hand by a 15-plus-pound dorado that cartwheels and ‘greyhounds’ down into the log pile, then throws the lure in quick succession.  Jorge immediately retrieves the lure and casts again with similar results, except it is taken by an even larger fish which makes one spectacular head shaking leap which tosses the plug up into an overhanging tree.
    With Jorge temporarily out of action, I cast a bulky Muddler-style black streamer into the same spot and instantly hooked up on a 12-pound dorado which strips off about 50-yards of backing in a spectacular leaping run before the fish shakes off the fly. The dorado are up three to zero!  Jorge casts several more times and hooks up on a fourth fish which would have weighed about 20-pounds, but the big dorado again throws his plug almost instantly.  Jorge proceeds to give me an extensive lesson in Bolivian-style profanity.  By now it is getting quite late and we are forced to head back to camp with the bitter-sweet taste of the dorado ‘education’ fresh in our minds.
    By about eight the next morning we gather up our gear and head out for the day’s fishing.  Dick and Chi Che are in one boat and Jorge, Annie and I are in another.  We again head upriver, but turn off into a small side channel after about a ten minute run.  As we head up the channel the river quickly begins to clear until it is so crystalline that you can see a coin in twelve feet of water.  Jorge calls this section of the river the “aquarium.”  The place soon begins to take on an almost magical quality, with untold varieties of tropical fish flashing below our bow and countless nearly-tame birds flying and squawking overhead.  Pairs of brilliant blue and yellow and red and blue macaws, egrets, fish eagles, kingfishers, guans, parrots and parakeets sit on branches not 20-feet away, while hefty peacock bass, oscars, dorado, sardinata, huge catfish hardly spook as we pass overhead.  This visual feast lasts for perhaps 20-minutes before the channel suddenly dumps out into a massive tree-lined inland lake.  The guide kills the outboard and we quietly drift into the lake’s inlet.
    “Welcome to peacock heaven!”  Molina proudly proclaims.
    I pick up my fly rod and make a horrible haste-inflicted cast that lands not 10-feet from the boat.  The fly crashes down like a wounded duck and is instantly surrounded by four menacing wakes which converge in a sizeable explosion of water centered around the fly.  I desperately mend in my wounded cast while the peacocks play tug-o-war with the fly.  Somehow I manage to  hook one of the peacocks, which instantly proceeds to peel line off the reel and simultaneously swing the boat around.  The fish fights hard for about five minutes and then finally comes to the boat with a school of excited companions swirling about in search of more action.  The 7-pound fish is boated, briefly admired and then released.  Just out of curiosity I flip the fly over the side of the boat and once again the water erupts.
    This craziness continues for a full three hours and the boat only moves fifty yards or so!  In this amount of time I catch perhaps 60 peacocks between 5 and 13-pounds, as does Jorge with his light-weight spinning rod.  Jorge’s largest fish is about 14-pounds.  Meanwhile Dick and Chi Che are off in the distance hooping and hollering with regular three-at-a-time hookups.  We also land several hard-pulling oscars.  Oscars are the popular beautifully-colored orange and black aquarium fish closely related to the peacock bass.  In an aquarium they only grow to a pound or so, but here they are commonly taken up to 5-pounds!  At near exhaustion, we finally retire onto shore for a lunch of barbequed peacocks and then got back out for an afternoon no less spectacular than the morning.  Never in my life have I seen such a concentration of healthy peacock bass!
At sunup the next morning Annie and I awake to excited shouts of alarm right outside our window.  “Snake!  Watch out, he’s after you!”  Someone cries in Spanish.  We jump out of bed and run to the door to find several of the guides warily surrounding an 8-foot bushmaster.  The snake coils menacingly and then strikes out at the closest guide, narrowly missing his leg with its glistening fangs.  Bushmasters are far more poisonous than rattlesnakes and can easily kill a grown man.  They have a nasty reputation for their aggressive behavior throughout the Amazon basin.  Jorge grabs a shotgun and quickly dispatches the unwelcome visitor.  “It looks like there are  still a few wrinkles in the camp we still need to work out!”  He calls out while closely examining the now headless reptile.
    The last day is designated as an ‘exploratory’ into another chain of huge inland lakes adjacent to the one we fished previously.  Jorge arranges for two boats to be portaged above the rapids we fished the day of arrival.  Above the rapids, the river braids through a flooded forest.  The channels in this section are fairly narrow and full of trees, so for twenty minutes or so the guide has to pick his way through the fast water, carefully avoiding underwater log jams and weed piles.  The river here runs fast and shallow only to plunge into a deep pool at the end of each run.  Log jams brake up the runs and pools into a fascinating series of classic ‘pocket’ water.  The water isn’t crystal clear, but visibility is still at about five feet.  Each pocket holds a new surprise, from big dorado, the fast swimming yatorana (a close relative to the dorado), 4-foot spotted catfish, to sardinata and other fast water game species.  With every new fish sighting, I can’t help exclaiming what fun it would be to fish our way back down through the pools on our way back to camp.  Jorge replies that no one ever fished the stretch because it is almost impossible to work such tangle-ridden water with a spinning rod. 
    Eventually, the braids give way to one slow moving flat channel flowing out of a gigantic inland lake.  The body of water itself is perhaps five miles wide and twice as long.  The water is fairly murky on one end, but crystal clear on the other.  Schools of peacocks are present around all weed piles and flooded timber.  The clear side of the lake is fed by a sizeable feeder stream running gin clear.  Dorado, yatorana, and giant catfish are spotted with regularity.  Jorge comments that these migratory species arrive in great schools at the start of the rainy season.  To me the numbers are already quite impressive – I can’t imagine the fishery when the ‘migration’ commences!  We motor up the feeder stream for about an hour and then begin heading back.  By then it is past lunch time and we have a long way to go before we can fish the previously-mentioned braids.
    It is late afternoon when we finally arrive at the headwater of the braids.  Chi Che and Jorge want nothing to do with what they call a “nasty fishing nightmare.” They drop a guide, Dick and me into the smaller boat and head downstream to the main rapids.  We gear up with floating lines and Clousser-style bucktails and begin a slow decent into the pocket water.  The first pool we come to is a classic run rushing over a sizeable downed tree.  The water is shallow until it hits the tree and then drops off into an ominous looking hole.  The guide positions the boat so we can both cast into the pool, presenting our offerings simultaneously.  Dick’s fly hits the water first and swings in a tantalizing arc, but doesn’t get far before a huge dorado comes up and makes a slashing swipe at the artificial.  For some reason the fish never returns to the fly.  My bucktail sweeps over the lower part of the hole and is ravaged by a 10-pound yatorana which races wildly all over the pool, flipping and jumping like a tarpon.  The fish is boated, quickly photographed and released.
    The next hour progresses in the same manner, with either yatorana or dorado appearing in almost every ‘fishy’ looking spot.  We manage to boat a half dozen more yatorana and have several short strikes from impressive dorado, but can’t manage to hook up.  Unfortunately, we are running out of time and have only one more chance at dorado before heading back to camp.  The guide suggests that the dorado are not in an aggressive feeding mode and will most likely take a deeper fly, so I switch to a blue Muddler-style weighted streamer.   Dick casts first and raises a beautiful dorado which again takes a swipe at the fly, but doesn’t take.  The fish again appears under the fly near the boat, but seems disinterested.  We rest the dorado about five minutes and then I cast the blue pattern into the hole.  The streamer lands in an eddy and settles deep before the line catches up in the current.  The swing doesn’t get far – a golden flash appears deep in the hole and the rod bows heavily under the weight of the big dorado.  At the strike the fish is out of the water in a dazzling, head shaking leap.  It’s golden, holographic scales catch the sun just perfectly, lighting up the pool in a shimmering flash.  The pool itself is quite tight, so the fish runs back and forth in between a series of equally-stunning leaps.  Just when I think the fish is through, it decides to jump headlong into a half-submerged tree.  Horrified, all I can do is instruct the guide to quickly get us down to the dorado in hopes of extricating the fish from the watery branches before it can break off.  When we finally get to the dorado, it is laying calmly on the surface with the line tangled around one of the tree’s branches.  The fish bolts back out into the pool and the line miraculously comes free.
    For next few minutes the dorado bulldogs deep in the pool’s depths, but the line’s heavy pressure prevails and the exhausted fish finally comes to the surface.  Not two feet away lays a spectacular 20-pound dorado.  In our haste we forget the landing net.  Now what?  The only option is to try and tail the fish, so I gingerly coax the dorado to the side of the boat.  As I ease my hand around the thick, muscular tail, I happen to gaze into the maw of the fish.  It has taken the fly deep and the steel leader is well beyond its razor-sharp teeth.  At that very moment, I hear a loud splash and look up to see an 8-foot caiman rushing the boat with its jaws snapping wildly.  It too wants my dorado.  The dorado realizes the new threat of danger and gives one last thrash, snapping the badly frayed section of monofilament connected to the steel leader.  My golden prize slowly descends back into the depths as all three of us release a simultaneous cry of disbelief.  The caiman too vanishes into the pool and that is the last we see of him.
    We are out of time and out of water to fish and feeling quite sorry for ourselves for not managing to actually land a single dorado, but what an amazing three days of fishing!  What first looks to be another hoax turns out to be the most dynamic freshwater Amazonian fishery I have yet to encounter.  The peacock bass numbers are nothing short of spectacular, but the added dorado bonus was something I never expected.  Throw in the leaping sardinata and payara along with the aggressive yatorana and hard-pulling oscars and you have something no other fishery can match.  And I can’t wait to get back to the river when the main migration of fast water fish happens. Catching dorado, yatorana, sardinata, “until your arm falls off.” I imagine fighting the 40-plus-pound permit-shaped tambaqui in fast water.  Chi Che also promises to take me for giant catfish when I return.  He says a 200-hundred pounder is as good as in the boat.
    I could stay another month, fishing and exploring these unique Bolivian waters, but we are scheduled for a dove and wild pigeon hunt the following day.  A fifty-minute flight in the Otter puts you into some of South America’s finest bird hunting.  This too is an unheard of bonus!  The only sensible option is to return again in December when the water begins to rise . . .
December 1998, Second Exploratory - The date is December 7, 1998, only 6 weeks after my first visit to the Rio Grande River.  Since that time the thought of returning to Bolivia became practically an obsession.  What will the river be like in a month?  Will the migratory fish really show up in great numbers?  What will it be like to fish for the huge tambaqui with a fly rod?  If I can get them to actually take a fly, how hard will they be to land?  What about the dorado?  By the time the date of departure arrived I can think of nothing else other than this mysterious new river and its incredible variety of game fish.  Joining me on this trip is J.W. Smith of Rod & Gun resources Inc.
    Upon our arrival, the rains have started and the river is up about a half a foot.  The water clarity is the same, but notably faster.  Bolivia is just the opposite of other Amazon fisheries – the best fishing comes with the high water.  With the rise of the river comes the first wave of migratory fish.  The dorado and yatorana have just started to show up and the first schools of tambaqui have established themselves in the braids.  Like king salmon, they arrive in small pods of four to thirty fish.  Ranging between 20 and 90-pounds, they move in intimidating wakes which deliberately surge upriver as they head up to the inland lakes to spawn.  Physically, tambaqui are built like a stocky permit or jack.  They have a pleasant grey-blue back which fades into a purple-brown shade near the belly of the fish.  An omnivorous distant relative of the piranha, tambaqui have dazzling teeth which look exactly like a set of human dentures.  These fish have amazing jaw strength as they often feed on rock hard jungle seeds, and they can crush a 4/0 saltwater hook as if it were made of bailing wire. .
     Tambaqui reside in fast current and are perfectly fit for such an environment.  They have huge anal fins and extremely wide, thick tails.  When hooked they use their powerful oval body against the current and makes incredible heart stopping runs which are unstoppable even with the heaviest of terminal tackle.  These fish are so strong that the locals fish for them with stout green saplings secured to 120-pound monofilament, heavy cable and 6/0 tuna hooks!  One in three tambaqui will jump, and to see such a huge fish throw itself out of the water is spectacular.  Until very recently tambaqui were not known to take flies or lures with any consistency, but for some reason the Bolivian strain of the fish are particularly aggressive and will take both flies and lures with abandon.
    The first afternoon of my return trip is spent fishing the lower section of the braids.  This stretch of water is like nothing I’ve ever seen in all my jungle travels.  It is a huge expanse of flooded forest which formed when the main river switched its course.  The river flows fast and furious through a labyrinth of dead trees.  Behind every tree and downed trunk lies some kind of game fish and one never knows what will strike when a fly or lure is presented.  We do not have a great deal of time to fish the first afternoon, but I still manage to land three dorado and a nice yatorana.  Several more dorado escape either by jumping and throwing the fly or by running headlong into the submerged timber.

    The second day we travel into the nearest inland lake to show J.W. Smith the abundance of peacock bass.  Our group, consisting of owners Jorge Molina and Chi Che Añez, J.W. and myself, fish in close proximity and land countless peacocks.  That afternoon the group decides to return to the river to fish for tambaqui and dorado in the braids below the big lake.  Jorge and I are in one boat, while Chi Che and J.W. are in the other.  Before the boats have a chance to split up, Chi Che hooks a magnificent 20-plus pound dorado. The fish makes a half dozen incredible jumps which end in a drag melting run over a downed trunk.  The dorado breaks Chi Che’s 30-pounded braided line with ease.
    After Chi Che’s loses his dorado, our guide carefully drifts our the boat down through the flooded timber.  We stop periodically at select-looking holes to give us a chance to work over the fish.  I am casting a black and white 4/0 Clousser-minnow and hook a 15-pound dorado which gives me a spectacular fight.  Fortunately we are in a spot relatively void of timber and I manage to boat the fish.  I replace my mangled Clousser and we continue to drift down river.  The guide again stops the boat above a particularly fishy-looking deep run.  Jorge immediately spots an ominous set of wakes heading up through the current.  Something so large can only mean one thing – tambaqui.  Jorge casts a #5 gold Vibrax spinner into the midst of the pod.  The lure hits the water and is inhaled by a monstrous tambaqui.  The take is an incredible waking swirl of water which brings about cheers from both of us.
    Jorge is using braided line even heavier than that used by Chi Che.  The tambaqui does not seem particularly impressed and takes off downstream in a blistering run.  Jorge has the drag cranked down as far as it will go on his spinning rod, but the huge fish doesn’t even slow down as it races through the shoot at the bottom of the run.  The line suddenly goes slack and when Jorge retrieves the lure we are amazed to find that the heavy hooks have been flattened by the enraged tambaqui.
    Up to this point I have never had a big tambaqui take a fly, though I’ve repeatedly cast to them in the Brazilian Amazon.  I let fly with a blue Clousser streamer, laying it down a foot or so above a particularly large wake.  The tambaqui responds immediately, charging the fly and taking on the surface.  I am so surprised that I jerk the streamer out of the fish’s mouth before it has a chance to turn.  A bit shaken, I present the fly to the same fish.  Again, it attacks with equal enthusiasm but this time I manage to have enough nerve to let the fish take the streamer.  The fish turns its huge form into the current and races downstream.  This oversized bluegill is every bit as strong anything I’ve ever hooked in salt or fresh water.  The tambaqui overpowers my tackle and snaps my 50-pound mono tippet and steel leader like it was 7X!
    Now the shakes set in and I’m a real mess.   I tie on a second blue Clousser and have another go at one of the remaining wakes.  The next fish eagerly eats my streamer and we’re off to the races.   Instead of running down stream, the tambaqui sprints upstream toward the boat.  Not five feet away it throws itself out of the water in a heart-stopping leap which sends a spray of water into the boat.  The fish continues upstream with a full head of steam and snaps me off as it races around a sunken log.
    I hook seven more tambaqui in nearly as many casts and they all manage to bust off, pull the hooks or smash them in their immensely powerful jaws.   By the end of the afternoon I am obsessed with these incredible game fish – nine hookups and not one fish in the boat!
     The following morning I am up before day break.  I spent half the night lying in the dark with my eyes opened up like two oversized dinner plates.  Visions of tambaqui torment my brain.  Finally I get up and furiously tie a dozen or so blue Cloussers.  I’ll have one of these tambaqui in the boat before the day is over if it kills me.
    J.W. and I are off in one boat.  Jorge and Chi Che in the other.  We are on a tambaqui quest first and foremost, then later plan to head upriver to explore another inland lake not previously fished.  I instruct the guide to take us directly to the run Jorge and I fished the day before.  We arrive at the hole only to find that the previously-fished pod of tambaqui have already moved upriver.  Without further ado we pack up and continue on in search of a fresh school.   It doesn’t take long to find what we were after.  A pod of tambaqui are spotted in short order.  These fish are extremely aggressive and both J.W. and I miss  several violent takes before I manage to hook up on what the guide calls a ‘baby.’  It is all I can do to control this so-called ‘baby,’ which races about peeling off 50-yards of line run after run.  Fifteen tense minutes later, my first fly-caught tambaqui comes into the boat.  This 20-pound fish is the smallest tambaqui I’ve hooked in two days of fishing!
    The pod disperses so we again set about in search of a fresh school.  We pass Jorge and Chi Che who are in the midst of their own battle.  The fish Jorge has hooked is actually dragging their boat upriver!  The fish drags them some 50-feet before crushing all the hooks in Jorge’s lure.  We soon stop again in another run crisscrossed with telltale wakes.  I hook up again and battle the fish for nearly half an hour before the 21-pounder across our bow.  Another ‘baby’ the guide comments.  This ‘baby’ has me worn out.
    J.W. hooks up not 5 minutes after I release my second fish.  He spies a small school of tambaqui holding in a shallow run and sight casts to them like they are some sort of Jurassic permit.  One of the fish takes the fly, but J.W. too prematurely rips the
Guided trips to Bolivia for peacock bass, dorado, tambaqui, yatorana, payara and all the species featured in this article are available year-round.
streamer out of the fish’s mouth.  He hooks the fish on his second cast and the tambaqui runs and then jumps in another spectacular leap that leaves us breathless.  Twenty five minutes later we manage to get his fish in the boat.  Another ‘baby’ 21-pounder almost identical to my fish.  J.W.’s fly is demolished and the 4/0 saltwater hook is bent out in an exaggerated U shape.
    The guide makes a final comment in Spanish as the fish swims away.  “Next month the big ones will arrive and they’ll flatten those puny hooks in one bite.  I don’t think a 45-kilo tambaqui will even know its hooked on those silly water whips of yours.”  I translate this to J.W. and he laughs aloud.  “I’m not so sure I’d want to tangle with a 90-pound tambaqui.  I’ll settle with these little ‘babies,’ thank you very much...”

For more information about  available fishing trips for peacock bass in Bolivia,  contact;
Garrett VeneKlasen:
InterAngler - 888 347-4329

E-Mail Garrett VeneKlassen
Copyright © 1999  Garrett VeneKlasen
All Rights Reserved
Exotic Species Home Page
Bolivia Trip Information
Bolivia Trip Itinerary
Peacock Bass Home Page
Book a Trip
Peacock Bass Primer

InterAngler LLC © is copyright protected
InterAngler LLC - P.O. Box 2146, Santa Fe, ,New Mexico - 87504
Phone: (505) 989-9938 - Toll Free: (888) 347-4329 - eMail: interangler@newmexico.com