Freshwater Fishing Costa Rica

Freshwater Fishing Costa Rica

Lake Arenal is one of Costa Rica’s best destinations for freshwater fishing Costa Rica.  Located only about 3 hours northwest of the capital of San Jose, the pristine fresh water lake is the biggest in Costa Rica, which is around 33 square miles and up to 200 feet in deep.  The lake tripled its size when it was expanded in 1979 upon the completion of the Arenal hydro-electric dam.  The old towns of Arenal and Tronadora now lie at the bottom of the lake when they were relocated before the construction of the dam began.


The Lake Arenal Dam

The Arenal Dam is an important part of the Costa Rican economy which provides around 12% of its green energy to the country.   It was after the completion of the dam which incentivized the government to want to take the goal of becoming completely independent and green by only using renewable sources of energy for electricity.


Fishing Lake Arenal while in Costa Rica

The lake holds an abundance of fish that attract people to the destination all year round making it ideal for freshwater fishing Costa Rica.  The two primary species of the lake are the Rainbow bass and the machaca.  The colorful Rainbow bass, commonly known as Guapote in Costa Rica, are a hard fighting fish that can reach up to 12 lbs. in weight and have an excellent taste.  The Machaca is another hard fighting fish and is related to the Piranha.

The fish will often jump high out of the water after being caught in such a great display that they have earned the nickname “mini tarpon”.  Despite its set of razor sharp teeth, the Machata usually eats small insects and seeds that have fallen from trees and into the lake.  Although the average size of the fish is usually between 3-6 lbs., the biggest ones caught in Central America have been from Lake Arenal that have been recorded of up to 10 lbs!


Climate and Wildlife at Lake Arenal

Lake Arenal not only attracts people because of the abundance of fish but also because of the beautiful surrounding scenery and views.   The lake sits right below the active Arenal Volcano where it is close enough to the lake to hear the lava and boulders rolling down.  Most of the time the volcano will have small eruptions that spew out a little smoke or ash.  The active hot volcano close by the lake has created enjoyable hot springs that people will retrieve to for relaxing in and which is said to be rejuvenating.

Even though there is an active hot volcano close by, the area is at a high enough altitude, and the tropical climate is fresh enough, that the temperatures is usually close to perfect.  The temperature during the day will be in the 80’s and then during the evening the temperature will cool down into the comfortable 60’s.  The local habitat of Lake Arenal does not only support fish.  You will more than likely see many different animals and bird species, some of which include anything from tapirs and monkeys to Jaguars that roam around.  The calm waters of the lake and the surrounding tropical green jungles with the many indigenous wildlife species is a haven for people wanting to escape into a peaceful eco-paradise.

Should you ever decide to make the trip down for freshwater fishing Costa Rica make sure to enjoy the many other opportunities the country has to offer.