Costa Rica’s Fishing Seasons PDF Print E-mail
Northern Pacific

The Golfo Papagayo to Cabo Blanco

A full service marina can be found at Flamingo, with a large concentration of charter boats out of Playas Tamarindo. Coco, Ocotal, Potrero, Brasilito. Nosara, Garza, Sámara. Carillo and Cabo Blanco,


Costa Rica FishingMarlin can be found every month of the year, especially mid-November to March; then slowing a bit from April to early June and peaking in August and September. Best fishing sites include around Isla Murciélago, and where the sea floor drops about 20 miles out to sea 300-500 pounds.

Sailfish are also available year round, with May through August the top season. They begin to thin in September with slow months running through November. 120-150 pounds, with averages from 90-110.

Tuna peaks from August through October, although they can be caught all year round. Yellowfin and some big eye tuna to over 350 pounds are sometimes found near Islas Catalina or Murciélago. Schools of 12-20 pounders are abundant. Dorado or dolphin fish are most abundant from late May through October when the seasonal rains flood the rivers that carry out debris, forming trash lines close to shore perfect Dorado habitat.

Wahoo are caught throughout the year, but their season begins with the rains in May and peaks in July and August. Most are caught around rocky points and islands, such as Islas Catalina or Murciélago or Black Rock. 15 -70 pounds, with averages from 20-40.

Roosterfish are available all year, but in the Papagayo area they are more abundant from October through March. These fish are often found near rocky points in water about 50-60 feet deep, in areas such as Punta Santa Elena and Isla Catalina. 10 - 80 pounds, with averages from 30 -50.

Cubera are available year round near Islas Murciélago or Catalina, as well as Black Rock. 20 -80 pounds.

Central Pacific

Cabo Blanco to Drake's Bay

Costa Rica FishingQuepos is the center of fishing for this region, with 50 or more professionally equipped boats. Both single and multi-day trips are offered from this marina. A new full-service marina is now operational at Playa Herradura. There are also charters out of Puntarenas, the southern end of the Peninsula de Nicoya and Playa Jacó, Punta Leona and Drake's Bay. There are numerous lodges in Drake Bay particularly, that offer extensive fishing packages to visiting anglers.


Marlin is usually peaking in October but it’s also good in September and November Occasional blues and a rare black are likely to be found any time of year.

Sailfish is rated to have the best season from mid December to the end of April. but the big schools often move in October. They can also be found from June through September.

Tuna are found throughout the year, but are most abundant from June through September. The majority is in the 8 to 12 pound range, but fish in the 100-200 pound range show up annually.

Wahoo are pretty rare in the area around Quepos, but from late June to early August they are more abundant further south in Drake Bay and Isla de Cano.

Dorado season begins with the winter rains in late May.

Roosterfish are most likely found off the river mouths of the Rio Parrita, Palo Seco between Parrita and Damas, just outside Damas, off the mouth of the Rio Naranjo, around the points at Playa Dominical and throughout the Drake Bay area. Best fishing is during the summer months, from June through early September.

Snook are also found off the many river months along the coast, up the Rio Sierpe and in Sierpe Lagoon. Best months seem to be from July through November during the heavy rainy season.

Southern Pacific

Golfito and Playa Zancudo

Costa Rica FishingGolfito is the tentar of activity on Costa Rica's southern coast, although boats head out to the Pacific from lodges on the other sirle of the Golfo Dulce as well. The confluence of 3 rivers at Playa Zancudo has drawn a great number of anglers to the lodges there. and operators offer day charters as well as multi-day packages.


Marlin peaks from August through December, but when water temperatures are up occasional blues, blacks or striped can be caught any month of the year.

Sailfish are another year round fish, although they peak from December through March. The catch often slows from April to early June, and then picks up again in August and September.

Tuna season corresponds with the marlin and sailfish for the larger specimens, but schools of smaller fish are found year round.

Dorado runs highest from late May through October.

Wahoo are not abundant, but are occasionally caught year round near Matapalo.

Roosterfish are famous in this area during any month of the year.

Snook are found year round, but run best from middle or late May through July, and January and February.

Caribbean Coast

Costa Rica FishingConditions in this region vary more from day to day than from month to month. Tarpon and Snook are there year round, but it's mostly a matter of weather which can change overnight on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast. Facilities catering to anglers are located al Samay Lagoon Parismina and Tortuguero. Río Colorado also has some quality fishing lodges. From the northern Caribbean coast oí Costa Rica there are outfitters that will take you up the mouth of the Río San Juan in Nicaragua, and provide access to miles of Jungle Rivers and small hidden lakes. The area's lodges offer full service, including transportation from San José, meals boats and guides as the region is quite isolated.


Tarpon can be caught every month of the year peak season from January through May. River water levels best July through September.

Snook is another year-round fish with peak seasons of late August through December. Fat Snook (Calba) run October through early January.

Marlin and Sailfish can be found year round, but most are caught from February through September.

Wahoo runs plentifully on the outside from early February through mid June.

Dorado can be caught outside of river mouths throughout the year, although best during rainy season when runoff carries out debris.

Tripletail is available January through June.

Kingfish, Spanish and Cero Mackerel, Jack Crevalle and Barracuda are abundant close to shore anytime the ocean is flat.

Inland Fishing

Lake Arenal and surrounding lakes Coto and Hule are famous for rainbow bass known in Costa Rica as guapote". The low elevation Rivers that feed into the San Juan to the north and the Caribbean Sea en the east also have rainbow bass. as well as "bobo" (a type of mullet), "mojarra". "machaca" and "roncador"—or drum.

Costa Rica FishingThe Río Frío and Caño Negro also are prime fishing grounds for snook drum. "guapote" and some of the largest tarpon in the country. Boats and guides are available, and arrangements can be made to fish Lake Nicaragua out of Los Chiles. Lake Nicaragua is one of those rare inland locations where you might snare a shark in addition to fish so be prepared. Trout fishing is also available in Costa Rica, although some of the most pristine areas are so remote that a guide and a horse are required to access them.

The Orosí Valley is considered to have some of the best trout fishing in the country. There are also several trout farms around the country (though concentrated in Orosí as well), for those who are more interested in eating the fish than in the true challenge of catching them in the wild. Keep in mind that there are closed seasons in some areas that may vary from year to year, and a valid Costa Rican fishing license is required for all freshwater fishing in the country.
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