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Sportfishing in Arenal Lake
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There are two primary sport fish in our lake. The Guapote (Chichlasoma Dovii of the cichclidae family) or more commonly "Rainbow Bass" because of its iridescent colors and the Machaca (Brycon Guatemalensis).

Rainbow Bass Machaca
Rainbow BassThe Rainbow Bass, which ranges in size up to 16 pounds, is a member of the ciclidae family which includes Peacock bass and Oscars. It will spawn all year round and is Central America's largest ciclidae. It can be found in fresh waters in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras. The same tackle used to catch large mouth bass will be sufficient here. Surface plugs, spinner baits, rattle traps, Rapalas, and occasionally deep jigging will produce big fish. Monofilament of 12-20 lb. is recommended with a "shock tippet" of 25-40 lb. Fly fishermen are advised to use rods 8-10 wt. with 9-ft leaders and large poppers, medium sized streamers in bright or lighter colors.

Machaca are flashy acrobatic fish which can reach nine lb. in our lake and 15 lb. in northern and coastal rivers. Related to the American Shad which frequents both U.S. coasts, Machaca are more prone to strike smaller and faster moving lures than guapote. Ultra light spinning gear spooled with 4-8 lb. monofilament is the rule, but remember to use a short shock tippet for these toothy fish.

Fly fishermen should be using 8 to 10 wt. and 9-foot leaders and smaller (size 4-8) poppers and streamer.

For reservations use our Secure Booking Form or for further information about
Fishing at Aguila de Osa Tour Click Here

Catch and Release

Catch and release fishing is encouraged at Arenal. The live release of all larger male Rainbow Bass (4-10 lb.) and all female fish will aid in establishing a strong genetic base which will provide an outstanding fishery for our next generations of fish and fishermen alike.

Boats & Tackle

16-foot Mirrowcraft deep V boats with 30 hp Mariner motors and electric trolling motors. Each boat is configured with a large forward casting area and seating for 2 anglers plus the guide. Casting and spinning rods with necessary lures are provided in the cost of the package. Anglers will be charged $5 each for lost lures.

Non-Fishing Guides

Feel free to ask your guide to demonstrate lure animation, speed of retrieval, etc. but don't ask him to fish with you. His job is to control the boat, help you with lure selection, and to aid in any way to insure a quality fishing experience. Remember to tip your guide in relation to his performance, service and helpfulness.

Fishing Season

As a general statement, low water levels are best for Rainbow Bass Fishing while rising and high waters levels mark an increase in Machaca activity and fishing quality. The fishing cycle is as follows:


Rainbow Bass


Jan - Feb



Mar - Jul



Aug - Dec



General Fishing Tips

Both Machaca and Rainbow Bass are structure oriented to standing timber and fallen trees, to sand and grass points projecting into the main body of the lake, and to rivers and river channels which feed into the lake. These are sophisticated, wary fish, so all noises and vibrations in the boat should be kept to a minimum. At Lake Arenal we regard 1-3 lb. fish to be average, 4-5 lb. good fish, 6-12 lb. EL GRANDE!


Lake Arenal is located in a tropical zone on the Atlantic slope at 400 meters above sea level; the lodge is at 700 meters. Nights are cool (60 F) and days are warm (80-85 F) but temperatures are seldom oppressive. The rainy season runs from mid April through December but wet weather can also occur at any time during the dry months.

For reservations use our Secure Booking Form or for further information about
Fishing at Aguila de Osa Tour Click Here
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