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Jaco Beach, Hermosa Beach, Quepos & Manuel Antonio Sportsfishing (Central Pacific)
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Drake Bay, Mata Palo, Puerto Jimenez & Golfito Sports Fishing (Southern Pacific)

Costa Rica Tarpon fishing lodges Barra del Colorado, Rio Colorado, Tortugero and Rio Parisima fishing (Northern Carribean)

Nicaragua Tarpon fishing lodge Rio Frio, Cano Negro, Lake Nicaragua and San Juan River fishing (Costa Rica & Nicaragua border)

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Rio Frio, Cano Negro, Lake Nicaragua
and San Juan River Fishing

Lake Arenal, Rio Frio River, Cano Negro Lagoon, Lake Nicaragua and the San Juan River are the major fishing spots in the northern part of Costa Rica and the southern part of Nicaragua.

Fish on beautiful Lake Arenal and Lake Nicaragua for “Guapote”, the Guapote is basically a Central American Bass although it’s technically a member of the Cichlid family. The Guapote can grow to over 12 pounds; they have a mouthful of teeth, a big lump on their forehead and fight twice as hard as any Largemouth or Smallmouth Bass.

Fish the Rio Frio River, Cano Negro Lagoon and the San Juan River for Tarpon, Snook, Guapote and more. These areas receive very little fishing pressure and there are giant Tarpon and Snook caught here every year.

If you want BIG Tarpon and BIG Snook we fish with the best captains in Nicaragua. Fish the Rio Frio, Cano Negro, Lake Nicaragua and San Juan River.

Give us a call or send us an e-mail if you have any questions about charter boats and vacation rentals or if you need a “live” fishing report.


Give us a call or send us an e-mail if you have any questions about charter boats and vacation rentals or if you need a “live” fishing report.
Thanks for your time,

Jerry “bubba” Hallstrom
Costa Rica Fishing Report

1-800-9SAILFISH toll free from the USA

841-5109 cell in Costa Rica
778-7217 office in Costa Rica
643-2898 restaurant in Costa Rica


Fishing Species and Seasons


Tarpon fishing varies more day to day than from season to season. One day you may hook one Tarpon and the next day you may hook 20 Tarpon.
Tarpon are caught in the Rio Frio River, Cano Negro Lagoon and the San Juan River all year long. Tactics for Tarpon fishing change depending on the rain, heat and time of day. Tarpon are caught mostly by trolling, live bait fishing or Fly fishing. Some Tarpon migrate throughout the river system that connects Cano Negro, Rio Frio, Lake Nicaragua and the San Juan River and some Tarpon are permanent residents and never migrate. Catching monster Tarpon in the wide open ocean is a challenge but catching Tarpon in a river 15-40 yards wide is a thrill of a lifetime. This is one of the few areas in the world that may produce a world record Tarpon.more...

There are 2 types of Snook in Cano Negro, Rio Frio, Lake Nicaragua and the San Juan River. There is the Big Snook ranging from 10-70 plus pounds and there is the Fat Snook ranging from 4 to
10 plus pounds. The Big Snook are present year round and just like the Tarpon some fish migrate and some don’t. The Fat Snook have more of a run and fishing is best from October through January but they also are caught year round. Many people believe the next world record Snook will come from this lightly fished area. Both Snook make for fine dining, similar taste to Walleye and Perch but for me just a little bit better.. more...

Lake Arenal and Lake Nicaragua are the two best spots for these hard fighting Central American Bass but they are also present in Cano Negro, Rio Frio and the San Juan River.
Guapote look like an aquarium fish on steroids, they have a big mouth full of teeth and the males have a large hump on the top of their head. These fish range from 3 to 12 plus pounds and they fight twice as hard as a Largemouth or Smallmouth Bass of similar size. Guapote are caught all day and every day in Lake Nicaragua, on my last trip I caught about 50 a day for 3 days in a row. Guapote are caught year round in Lake Arenal as well but dry season is usually considered the best time.

The Manchaca looks like a miniature Tarpon and range from 1 to 10 plus pounds. These fish are caught year round in Lake Arenal, Cano Negro, Rio Frio, Lake Nicaragua and the San Juan River. The Manchaca is very aggressive and lots of fun with ultra light tackle. These aerial acrobats will crush lures half their size with their sharp teeth. One a recent trip to Arenal I caught dozens of these on my 4 pound spinning rod…fun and easy fishing.

The Majarra resembles a Bluegill but are much more aggressive and have a mouth full of teeth. They are caught year round in Lake Arenal, Cano Negro, Rio Frio, Lake Nicaragua and the San Juan River. They can range from 1 to 3 pounds and be caught while fishing for Guapote using plugs, poppers, spinners and jigs.

These remote jungle rivers and lakes (except Arenal) are home to some modern day Dinosaurs. It’s not unusual for local fisherman and the charter services in this area to have the occasional run-in with these prehistoric looking monster fish. Gar fish are fairly common and can range from 5 to 300 plus pounds. The Freshwater Sharks and Sawfish are not very common and not a targeted species but they are present and a Sawfish can weigh 1000 pounds.

Map of Northern Plains Costa Rica

Local Pangas 25 ft
25 ft
Sons of Blarney
28 ft
27 ft
Hoo’s Up
28 ft
Mi Bruja
30 ft
Miss Behavin
32 ft
Sea quester
32 ft
R&J 33 ft
35 ft
Hoo’s your Daddy
Estrella de Mar
38 ft
38 ft
Tres Amigos
38 ft
38 ft
Hot Reels
40 ft
Super Fly 42 ft
The Bite
42 ft
Spanish Fly
42 ft
Marlin Mujer
48 ft
55 ft
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BIRD WATCHING: Basically everywhere but specific tours are available for the serious Bird lover.
BUNGEE JUMPING: Available at several places – lots of fun, a little scary.
CANOPY TOURS: Available all over Costa Rica. Everyone loves the Canopy Tours.
CASINO / NIGHTLIFE: Casinos and Nightlife are available in most of the popular towns.
CROCODILE TOUR: Day Tour available in several places.

DOLPHIN / WHALE WATCHING: Dolphins are usually everywhere plus we do see the occasional whale.
HORSEBACK RIDING: Available in most places, who hasn’t wanted to ride a horse on a beach.
HOT SPRINGS / SPA: Available only in a few places, the best in romantic and relaxing getaways.
KAYAKING: Available in several places, white water or ocean kayaks – cheap water fun.
LAKE FISHING: Fish for the Guapote (Central American Bass) at Lake Arenal and Lake Nicaragua, great fighters on light tackle.
MOTORCYCLE / QUAD RENTAL: Available in several places, great fun, wear your helmet.
NATIONAL PARKS: Available in most areas, great tours, see wildlife and beautiful scenery.

PARAGLIDING: Available in a few places…try it if you get a chance…a few moments of panic followed by the best ride of your life.
RIVER FISHING: Fly fish for Trout in the high mountain streams, fish the jungle rivers for giant Tarpon and Snook.
SHOPPING: Available everywhere, take home some souvenirs and coffee
SURF / BOOGIE BOARD: Available in the most popular towns, what the hell…give it a shot.

TURTLE WATCHING: Available only at certain times and certain places but for some the thrill of a lifetime.

VOLCANO TOUR: Available almost everywhere, good family trip.
WHITE WATER RAFTING: Scenic and serene beauty followed by wet and wild adrenalin rush.
WINDSURFING: Available at a few places, Lake Arenal is famous for its windsurfing

Salt Water Sportsman

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