Freshwater Fishing in Central America
With all the headline-grabbing saltwater fishing in Central America, the freshwater fishing is often overlooked. Whether it’s hunting a down a bucket list species or trying to catch fresh seafood, many anglers don’t even consider flying to Central America and spending time inland fishing on the jungle rivers and lakes that are chock full of hard-fighting exotic local species. You can dedicate your entire trip to freshwater fishing or simply try it for a day, but it’s a great change of pace from the saltwater, it allows you to see more of the country, and you can add new species to your catch list. Once you inquire with us we’ll work with you personally to customize your package to include some of the best freshwater fishing in Central America. Trust our decades of local expertise and see why nearly 40% of our anglers are repeat & referral guests!
Where is the Best Freshwater Fishing in Central America?
Before we got exposed to big game fishing on the ocean, many of us were first introduced to fishing on a freshwater lake, river or stream wherever it is we call home. It’s a natural evolution to seek new challenges and bigger fish, but too often that means anglers don’t even consider freshwater fishing in Central America. That is a mistake because not only is there some terrific light tackle action to be enjoyed, often times it’s our freshwater fishing trips that take you to places most tourists never visit, much less know of. While trolling offshore for billfish can feel like wandering in a desert some days, freshwater fishing in Central America can have you fish many of the same spots regular tourists pay to visit on their “eco tours”. In Costa Rica we can have you bass fishing at the base of a volcano or float down a jungle river with crocodiles resting on the banks and monkeys swinging overhead in the trees. In Belize you can fish lagoons and mangroves that serve as both hunting grounds and a nursery for all kinds of game fish. We can even have a 1,050 ft long Panamax cargo ship pass by your 23′ bass boat on the Panama Canal itself as it transfers from one ocean to the other.
Freshwater fishing in Central America is not mutually exclusive to saltwater fishing either, it’s very easy to incorporate both into the same package so you don’t have to decide which one to exclude. This can be accomplished by having you visit different destinations, fishing and exploring each one for a few days at a time so you can experience more of the region. In certain beach towns it’s also possible to do both saltwater and freshwater fishing as we can have you fish lagoons, mangroves, or even float trips down our jungle rivers. In addition to hard fighting rainbow bass and peacock bass, our freshwater fishery can also offer up some surprisingly big fish like snook, tarpon, and the exotic tropical gar. The inshore and offshore fishing here certainly lives up to the hype, but the freshwater fishing can be the most memorable not only for the exotic fish you catch but also the beautiful places you visit.
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Arenal & Los Sueños
4-in-1 Fishing Trip
Costa Rica Bassmaster
Fly Fishing In The Jungle
Fly Fishing Quepos
The best freshwater fishing in Panama is done on a body of water everyone in the world has heard of – the Panama Canal. Technically known as Lake Gatun, this man-made lake was formed in the early 1900’s when engineers damned the Chagres River to create the Panama Canal. At 164 sq miles, at the time of it’s creation it was the largest man-made lake in the world. When the lake was formed, hilltops became islands and local rainforest became an underwater labyrinth creating perfect habitat for ambush predators. Ironically enough, the fish that the Panama Canal is most known for, peacock bass, isn’t even native to these waters. Stories say they escaped from a nearby farm during a flood or that they were purposely introduced by bored US military men who were looking for something to do. Either way, since the 1960’s the population has flourished and it’s an extremely rare day you fish the Panama Canal and don’t catch peacock bass. While not as big as their Amazonian relatives, we still catch several fish in the 5-10 lb range every year. Snook are also a common catch here as they were naturally in this river long before the canal. While not as common, we certainly see plenty of tarpon in the canal every year as well. More recently we’ve even been seeing jack crevalle hunting in the lake, so sometimes you never know what you’ll catch in here!
The other main freshwater fishery in Panama is the mighty Bayano River. Located 1.5 hrs east of Panama City, this was one of the first places in the world where tarpon where regularly observed on the Pacific Ocean. Native to the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, over time tarpon made their way through the Panama Canal and ended up on the Pacific. The highly adaptable fish were not only able to survive in the new ocean they discovered, evidence of juvenile tarpon suggests they are actually thriving and reproducing. Fishing this river is highly tidal dependent, but in addition to tarpon we can also catch snook, snapper, and corvina near the river mouth.