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Top Fishing Charters in Nicaragua

Fishing in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is building its reputation as one of the best-kept secrets in sportfishing. Cradled by the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, this part of Central America has access to some of the world’s favorite game fish—from Tarpon, Bonefish, and Roosterfish to Marlin and Yellowfin Tuna. What sets the Nicaragua fishing scene apart from the rest of the world is the fact that these waters remain largely untouched. Civil unrest in the late twentieth century brought tourism and sportfishing to a halt, but anglers are starting to rediscover everything this magnificent country has to offer. Come cast a line in some of the most secluded waters on the planet and be the first to see how modern tackle measures up to the local fish!

Top Fishing Spots in Nicaragua

San Juan del Sur

Spend a day off the coast of San Juan del Sur and you’ll see why anglers are calling Nicaragua the hottest billfishing spot in Central America. Sailfish and Blue, Black, and Striped Marlin abound in these waters year-round. Your best chance at landing a trophy is sometime between May-October, when all of these species reach their peak. Sailfish swim within just 3-5 miles of shore at times. Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado (Mahi Mahi), and Wahoo also provide plenty of drag screaming action around here.

San Juan del Sur is about much more than big game fishing. You can also enjoy superb light tackle fishing inshore at any time of year. Roosterfish, Snook, Jack Crevalle, Snapper, and more are in the cards.

Getting There: This coastal town is about a 2-hour drive from the capital city of Managua. You can also reach San Juan del Sur by road from northern Costa Rica.

San Juan River

This river along the southern border begins in Lake Nicaragua and flows for more than 100 miles. Here you’ll find loads of Snook and Tarpon, along with several freshwater species known locally as Mojarra, Guapote (Rainbow Bass), and Machaca (an aggressive and hard-fighting relative of the Piranha). Just outside of the river mouth is where anglers catch some of the biggest Snook in the country, weighing 15-45 lbs. Tarpon are another big attraction here, with local specimens weighing 80-250+ lbs. For some of the best Tarpon fishing Nicaragua has to offer, try fishing the San Juan River in fall. Jacks, Barracuda, Tripletail, and other game fish inhabit the same waters. Even Wahoo make their way toward the mouth of the San Juan River when the season is right.

Getting There: These remote fishing grounds are typically reached by boat. You can hire a mothership (such as a houseboat) to tow your group and several skiffs along the river.

Lake Nicaragua

Close to 100 miles long, Lake Nicaragua is the largest freshwater lake in Central America. Featuring hundreds of islands, 2 volcanoes, and a national park with archeological sites, this destination is a major attraction for tourists. You won’t find the best angling in the country on Lake Nicaragua, but you will find some special opportunities. Guapote provide no shortage of light tackle action in these waters, and the lake hosts several species you can’t find anywhere else in the world. Even Bull Sharks, Sawfish, and Tarpon swim here—which makes Lake Nicaragua the only freshwater lake on the planet to host oceanic life. (Please note these species are protected and you may not be able to fish for them.)

Getting There: Nicaragua has a number of highways in good condition, which makes major destinations like Lake Nicaragua easily accessible by car. The well known city of Granada sits right on the lake’s northern shore and is less than one hour’s drive from Managua.

East Coast Highlights

Most of Nicaragua’s renowned fishing spots are concentrated in the southwest corner of the country, but that doesn’t mean the other coast is half bad! Villages bordering the Caribbean Sea are few and far between, which makes them less accessible than cities like Granada and San Juan del Sur. Treading off the beaten path certainly produces rewards, though. Cast a line anywhere from Puerto Cabezas to Bluefields and you could reel in Bonefish, Permit, Barracuda, Wahoo, and much more. The Corn Islands, Miskito Keys, and countless deltas, jungle streams, and hidden lagoons are full of potential. The best part is, you could be the first to find out!

Need to Know

Regulations

Many Nicaragua fishing charters provide a fishing license for their customers, but it’s always wise to confirm this with the captain ahead of time. Make sure you book your trip with a licensed guide or charter service to ensure your safety.

In some areas there are very strict sportfishing regulations. Fishing for Tarpon is typically catch and release, while other species have size and bag limits. The best way to follow local laws is to hire a guide.

Budget

Fishing charters in Nicaragua vary widely in price, depending on size of your group, quality of the boat, and where you decide to fish.

Trips that last from 2-6 hours cost anywhere between $250-$500. Full day excursions typically have a price tag of $650-$800.

If you book one of the more luxurious sportfishing boats equipped with top of the line tackle, you can expect to pay around $1,200-$2,400.

Nicaragua Fishing Techniques

Anglers in Nicaragua use many methods to catch fish, from jigging and popping to trolling, fly fishing, and even spearfishing. Jigging, bottom fishing, and spearfishing are used to target fish near reefs, while most big game fish are taken by trolling. Fly fishing on the flats and in the rivers can produce Tarpon, Bonefish, Snook, Permit, and more.

With so many waters to explore and no shortage of methods at your disposal, it’s safe to say you never know what you’ll hook into while fishing in Nicaragua!

Nicaragua Fishing Seasons

January is one of the slowest months for sport fishing in Nicaragua. Few species are at their peak, but you can find relatively good action anywhere close to shore. 

Cast a line on the inshore flats or near the mouth of the San Juan River for Snook, Tarpon, Jacks, and more. The peak season for deep sea fishing is still months away. 

The waters offshore are starting to look a little more lively! Your chances of landing a Sailfish, Tuna, or Marlin are good, while you can expect to catch Roosterfish inshore.

The height of Nicaragua’s deep sea fishing is finally kicking in, with loads of big game trophies to be found offshore. Wahoo, Marlin, Mahi Mahi, and Tuna are all biting!

Even more big game fish are showing up off the coast of Nicaragua, making May a great time to try your luck offshore, in the jungle streams, or anywhere in between!

Sailfish and Yellowfin Tuna are at their peak, joining scores of other big game fish who have come to feast on baitfish on the west coast. Inshore, you can catch anything from Tarpon to Roosterfish.

You’re likely to see a slight drop in Snook fishing this month, but rest assured this fish will be at its peak again soon. Offshore, literally every big game fish in Nicaragua is available.

The best of Nicaragua’s sportfishing continues this month. Come catch anything from Snook, Roosterfish, and Tarpon to Marlin and Sailfish.

Snook are at their peak again, adding to the inshore action. Head to the San Juan River for a chance to land a Tarpon well over 100 lbs.

As the season changes, anglers will spend less time offshore and more time testing the waters close to home. For now, you can still expect good fishing for Sailfish, Marlin, and more.

The action offshore will be significantly slower in November, but determined anglers can still have good luck fishing for big game trophies. Inshore, it’s all about Tarpon, Snook, and Snapper.

There won’t be much reason to head out to sea this month. So why not take some time to explore the flats and streams? You could catch Bonefish, Snook, Jacks, Tarpon and much more.

Nicaragua Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in Nicaragua

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Sailfish

Roosterfish

Snapper (Red)

Top Nicaragua Destinations