The majority of the fish passages built in the Neotropical region are characterised by low efficiency and high selectivity; in many cases, the benefits to fish populations are uncertain. Studies conducted in the Canal da Piracema at Itaipu dam on the Parana River indicate that the system component designated as the Discharge channel in the Bela Vista River (herein named Canal de deságue no rio Bela Vista or CABV), a 200 m long technical section, was the main barrier to the upstream migration. The aim of this study was to evaluate the degree of restriction imposed by the CABV on upstream movements of Prochilodus lineatus and Leporinus elongatus, Characiformes. Fish were tagged with passive integrated transponders (PIT tags) and released both downstream and upstream of this critical section. Individuals of both species released downstream of the CABV took much more time to reach the upper end of the system (43.6 days vs. 15.9 days), and passed in much lower proportions (18% vs. 60.8%) than those tagged upstream of this component. Although more work is needed to differentiate between fishway effects and natural variation in migratory motivation, the results clearly demonstrate passage problems at the CABV.