We’ve been fly-fishing in Costa Rica for more than 40 years. During this time, we have guided thousands of clients. When you’re fishing in a foreign country far from home, this kind of experience is not to be underestimated. We understand the rivers, the weather, the people, and most importantly, the fish. We tailor our offerings to the season, angler skill level, destination and fishing conditions. No matter where you are in Costa Rica, or how much time you have to spare, we can offer you a unique fly-fishing adventure. We are currently offering all of the trips featured on this page; but we always discuss options with clients via phone and email prior to your arrival to ensure each and every trip is a success.
Please feel free to contact us for more details and prices at any time — we’re always happy to talk fishing. And if you don’t see the trip you’re looking for — let us know. We can make it happen upon request.
Trip #1: Jungle Tarpon on the Fly
One of Costa Rica’s best-kept secrets is its inland, freshwater river and lagoon tarpon fishing. We fish small, little-known rivers that wind through dense jungle.
The tarpon here have swum hundreds of kilometers from the sea to feed seasonally on freshwater baitfish. Timing is everything. We have been fishing these rivers for nearly 20 years and know them intimately. These trips are challenging — but incredibly rewarding. You will fish alongside spectacular birdlife, from chestnut-mandibled toucans to red-lored parrots, caimans and of course, the region’s hallmark howler monkeys. The tarpon here are big and wild and fight hard in cool, freshwater rivers with fast current. No matter what your experience, we guarantee this is a tarpon destination unlike any other you’ve ever seen.
Season: January – May and August – October. Tarpon are present year-round, but weather and fishing conditions vary by season. If you are visiting outside the peak fishing months, please contact us for current conditions.
Number of Days: The river and lagoons we fish are approximately 4.5 hours from San José. For your best shot at these challenging tarpon, we recommend a minimum of two or three days of fishing. This trip can also be combined with 1-2 days of exciting fishing nearby for machaca (see Trip #2, below).
Gear: We typically fish large tarpon flies on 10-12 wt. rods and floating, intermediate and sinking lines, depending on conditions.
Trip #2: Fish the “Flower Hatch” for Machaca
When the tropical fig trees begin to flower during Costa Rica’s idyllic dry season, some of the best fishing in Central America can be had here. The so-called “flower-hatch” begins in mid-January and lasts through April most years. As flower petals and fig fruits hit the water, machaca begin looking up, and they rise with reckless abandon to well-presented flies (think, plop!) We fish a number of remote and little-fished rivers that fall from Costa Rica’s stunning volcanoes and feed into sprawling Lake Nicaragua, where some of the world’s biggest machaca live. And we are constantly on the hunt for new and exciting places to fish. No one knows this fishery as well as we do – we guarantee you’ll love it.
Season: Costa Rica’s rainforest trees flower and bear fruit from February to May. This is ideal time to fish machaca; however, the fish are present in our rivers year-round, and the fishing can be excellent almost anytime. Please call or email for the latest conditions.
Number of Days: The machaca rivers we fish are 4 hours from San José, and approximately 2.5-3 hours from many Guanacaste beach destinations. On average, the river float takes 5-7 hours; with the best fishing early and late, though fish often hit all day long. This trip can be undertaken in a single (long) day from either SJO or Guanacaste, or, if you prefer, as an overnight with two or more days of fishing. We also recommend combining with 1-2 days of exciting fishing nearby for tarpon (see Trip #1, above).
Gear: We typically fish flower flies (our own design) and standard bass-type cork poppers on 5-8 wt. rods on floating lines, depending on conditions and casting experience.
Trip #3: Fly Fish for Trout in the Cloudforest
The Costa Rican cloudforest is perhaps the most beautiful of this country’s stunning ecosystems. Every tree seems to breathe life — covered in bromeliads, orchids, mosses and countless species of plants. The cool weather and abundant rainfall combine to create incredible habitat for rainbow trout transplanted here in the 1950s. These fish are now wild and reproducing, a new strain of trout we call the “Tico Trout.” They are as beautiful as any cutthroat in Yellowstone, or rainbow trout in the McLoud. And they feed voraciously on dry flies all year long. If you’re flying into San José and have just one day to fish Costa Rica before you head off to the beach, this may be your trip.
Season: Trout-fishing is available year-round. During the Costa Rican summer months (northern winter), dry conditions prevail and low water makes it easy to spot rising trout and to catch them on dry flies. During the rainy season, mornings are often productive, with rainshowers in the afternoon. Even when the Central Valley is socked in rain, the trout rivers of the high mountains can be above the clouds – and fishing excellent.
Number of Days: This trip is easily undertaken in a single day from anywhere in the Central Valley and San José – the trout waters are just 2.5 hours from the SJO airport in Alajuela. We begin early so as to avoid traffic. Our clients often begin or end a vacation in Costa Rica with a refreshing trip to the mountains to fly fish for trout — and many choose to fish for two days or more, combining the fishing with excellent birding, hiking and cool highland weather in the cloud forest.
Gear: We fish ultralight rods – from 2-5 wt. and floating lines for trout. Traditional trout flies – dry, wet, nymphs and streamers – are all effective on Costa Rican trout, as well as some special patterns we’ve developed over the years for larger fish.
Trip #4: North Caribbean: Tarpon and Tropical Panfish
Costa Rica’s Northern Caribbean Coast has a long history of sportfishing lodges dedicated to giant tarpon and snook: Rio Parismina, Casa Mar and Rio Colorado. Founder and Guide Peter Gorinsky helped to teach many of the local tarpon guides to fly fish here in the 1970s. Few realize, however, that the area also offers some of the country’s best tropical panfishing, for colorful and exciting fish like the guapote (rainbow bass), guapote pinto, mojarra (tropical sunfish) and machaca. Snook and tarpon are also on offer here — and a calm day at sea can make for some of the most exciting fly fishing for giant tarpon you can image. We use local boatmen and stay in simple, but clean local accomodations near the sea with good food and easy access to the fishing.
Season: The Caribbean coast is best fished from March through June, then again from Sept-October, when the rains subside, the ocean calms and the sun shines. We can, and often do, accomodate fishermen during the ‘off-season’ on the Caribbean, however, so if you’re interested in fishing here from January-March, please call us for more details.
Number of Days: We recommend a minimum of four days for this trip – including approximately 4.5 hours of travel by car and boat to the fishing grounds. Four full days allows for 1-2 days of tarpon fishing, and 1-2 days of fly-fishing for exotic tropical panfish – and allows anglers to hedge their bets in the event of bad weather. There’s also much to do and see in the lowland jungles – from toucans and parrots to green sea turtles nesting on the beaches at night.
Gear: Tarpon here are giants averaging 100-250 lbs; we fish them with 12-14 wt rods with sinking lines, custom-tied leaders and flies on heavy hooks. We provide all terminal tackle for tarpon fishing; clients are welcome to use our rods and reels, or bring their own. Tropical panfish are best caught on 3-7 wt rods, with some of the larger guapote demanding heavier, stiffer gear. All of our tropical panfishing is done with floating lines along the jungle’s edge.