Sunday, April 19, 2015

Costa Rica: Fly Fishing Lake Arenal

The next time you head to Costa Rica, you may want to pack your fly rod. Costa Rica has more than a handful of rivers and lakes, that hold cold and warm water species. If you are in the La Fortuna area, you may want to wet a line in Lake Arenal.  This is Costa Rica's largest lake and offers some good fishing on the fly and scenic views of volcan Arenal.

Toothy Macha

A good fight on a 5wt or 6wt.
Large male Guapote.  

Lake Arenal Facts    

  • Length:  30 kilometers.  About 5 Kilometers wide.
  • Depth:  Up to 200 feet.
  • Origin: Man made lake to create hydro power.  Lake was made in the 1970's. 
  • Location: Principal town is La Fortuna, Cost Rica. 
  • How to get there: Most people fly into San Jose and then take a bus or rent a car. Depending on San Jose traffic, it could take 3-5 hours. 
  • Fishing Season:  Year round. December and January can be a tad slower.
  • DIY Option:  There are places you could fish from the shore, but productivity is questionable. If you are adventurous, you could rent a kayak and search for good fishing spots.
  • Guides:  In the area, there a small handful of guides.  I fished with, and highly recommend Captain Ron at 
  • Licensed Required: None that I know of.  
  • Resident Species: Guapote and Machaca. 
  • Fly Rods: Single hand 5wt - 8wt.  It can get windy on the lake.
  • Fly Lines:  WFF. +90% of the fish will take flies on the surface.
  • Technical Fishing:  Cast to the shore/weeds.
  • Leaders-Tippets:  6.0 ft-7.5 ft 0X-1X.
  • Flies: Gurglers with legs; Fat Albert; various poppers; Chernobyl Ant.
  • Hook Size:  Try various sizes #02 - #10.

DIY Global Fishing Trips

At FCFF, I am running a business, but sometimes I love DIY fishing with friends. If you want to fish with me on one of my personal DIY trips, let's talk.

Throughout the year, you have only a 50% chance of seeing volcan Arenal. 100% chance of great day on a beautiful lake.

Final Word

If you come to Costa Rica, chances are you'll make a stop in the La Fortuna and Lake/Volcan Arenal area. You'll find multiple tour packages such as rafting, ATV, hiking, horse rentals, canyoning, hot pools, water falls, canopy zip line, and lots more.  Lodging options ranging from $ to $$$$.  I stayed in town for $35 USD per night, with breakfast and views of the volcano included.

Adding a 1/2 day or full day fishing trip on lake Arenal might be a nice alternative to the ever popular tours, and crowds of tourist.  I had the entire lake to myself and enjoyed every minute of it.

Hope you enjoyed this post and thanks for reading.