A Banner Year for Costa Rica’s Freshwater Tarpon

Fly Fish in Costa Rica Guide Charlie Chavarria and client Jan Orr, of Holland, show off a beautiful 200 lb. plus tarpon caught on a fly in a secret lagoon in Costa Rica.



Another 2016 tarpon from a freshwater lagoon in north-central Costa Rica.

When the rains subsided in early January this year, the giant tarpon began to show in our favorite rivers, chasing baitfish as they drained out of inland lagoons. These are ocean-going fish that make a many hundred kilometer voyage from the Caribbean to feast — a rare phenomenan found only in Costa Rica. We have fished for tarpon all over Central America, the Caribbean and the Florida Keys — and we guarantee you won’t find anything like this anywhere else. We fish in a full rainforest environment, with toucans, macaws and exotic hummingbirds as regular spectators, and monkeys cheering from branches in the trees above us. One of our most memorable trips this year was with Jan Orr, of Holland, who fished with us for five days. On his first day of fishing, a cold front was moving through our preferred fishing area; not uncommon and a normal part of fishing here. We jumped a small 25 lb. tarpon; but the fishing was slower than hoped. The next day Jan persevered — saw some very large tarpon and jumped a few — but struggled to bring one to the boat. This is a challenging fishing environment. The jungle encroaches on the river. Snags are numerous. The current can be strong. The odds are always against you when you fight giant tarpon on a fly rod here. But the big reward came near the end of Jan’s trip, when he landed this 200 lb. + tarpon on a 10 weight and our secret tarpon fly.

Guide Charlie with a good tarpon

Guide Charlie with a nice tarpon taken on a fly this season.

We saw many tarpon of this size over the course of the week, and jumped at least 20 – but bringing one to the boat is the moment of truth. Jan was very grateful for the experience — and we grateful for his company.  Please give us a call or email if you’re interested in trying this unique fishery. We can be reached at info@flyfishincostarica.com.