The morning started bright and early on a 90-minute drive north from Jaco to the Rio Tenorio in Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica. My husband, Randall has been fly fishing the waters in Costa Rica for 20 years. He always told me it was a peaceful past time. As a Canadian my vision of fly fishing is in hip waders in the middle of a cold river for …. Trout? I think anyway. Before meeting Randall my fishing experience was on a mickey mouse fishing rod with my dad in the lakes of Southern Ontario. To say the least – I was inexperience and could not identify any type of fish that was not a sun fish.

When I met Randall, my entire world changed and fishing became a part of my daily life. Randall has been fishing, owning fishing fleets and brokering charters for almost 20 years. His experience far surpasses mine, however he always told me I would learn to love to fish. I never believed this until one of my first fishing trips on the Tenorio River.


Fly Fishing on The Rio Tenorio – A First Timers Experience

As we arrived at the fishing lodge I met our local guide, Chuta. I also learned that Randall was going to stay at the lodge and catch some photos of me with the drone. I really did not believe I would even catch a fish – I was nervous to say the least. I had no idea what to expect, with absolutely no fishing experience, and definitely no fly fishing experience. I was also nervous because my translator (Randall) would not be with me. I left my comfort zone at the lodge as I drove off in a jeep with rafts attached to the roof down a dusty back road.

The local guide has been fishing on the river since he was a young boy with his father. He now has 3 kids of his own, that all are following in his footsteps. He made me feel comfortable between my broken Spanish and his broken English. I did learn that when it comes to fishing you do not need a lot of words, you need a good guide that is experienced training new comers. I hit the jackpot with our guide – Chuta.


A Rafting and Fly Fishing Experience?

Much to my surprise we would be fishing from rafts down gentle rapids (although at times a little bumpy), I am all for an adrenaline rush. The guide and the raft driver starting unloading the equipment off the truck, putting on our helmets and life vest and picking out “lucky” lures. The guides helped me to learn a proper casting technique and off down the river we went. }

The river is so untouched and a naturally dense area of mangroves mixed with rapids sprawling with wildlife on the river banks. It took 10 minutes of coaching on the river for my casting technique to be good enough to even have a chance of catching fish. Meanwhile, my guide is catching fish every 2 minutes, I am beginning to get a little nervous my casting will not catch anything more than a tree branch.


What species can I catch while Fly Fishing in Costa Rica?

Fly Fishing in Costa Rica on Fresh water rivers the main species you will catch are Machaca – there is no translation for this species in English. Machaca are one of the most exciting freshwater game fish found in Central America. A relative of the piranha, Machaca put up such a good fight once hooked they’ll leap into the air several times in an attempt to throw your hook.

Machaca are aggressive and territorial feeders, and although they’ll eat the occasional bug they are for the most part herbivores. Their impressive set of teeth are made for eating berries and cracking seed pods, not gripping or tearing flesh. Machaca have deep bellies and are mainly silver in color, though their heads will take on a darker or golden color. Most Machaca are in the 3-6 lb. range, but the world record was caught in 1991 near the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica weighing 10 lbs.!


Did I catch a Machaca?

Yes! After almost 25 minutes on the river I hooked a good 5 lb. Machaca. I did hook several before this one however none made it into the raft. I learned the importance of casting and waiting and then re-casting. I learned in my hour on the river more than I anticipated. My guide was extremely patient and his knowledge just poured out to ensure I had the best experience that trip. It truly was an exhilarating fishing trip.

Since this trip I now love to fly fish so much it has become a hobby both Randall and I enjoy together when we are not working. We fish on the ocean often on our own fleet, as well as with clients. We also fly fish in the ocean, but there is nothing that matches the peaceful serenity of a raft, gentle rapids, the extreme quiet sounds of the winding river through the jungle and a strong bite from a Machaca.


A Highly Recommended Fishing Trip in Costa Rica

This Fly Fishing trip to the Rio Tenorio is a client favorite. We recommend this trip to all our clients that visit Costa Rica. It is unique and a once in a lifetime trip. This is a fishing trip that everyone can enjoy of piece of, there is just so much to offer. The nature is beautiful, wildlife, birds, and fly fishing, nothing can make a trip more perfect. This is the perfect learning experience for families and includes a beautiful meal after the day of fishing on the river.

This Fly Fishing adventure is available from all areas of Guanacaste (Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo, Playa Coco, Playa Grande), Jaco, Los Suenos, Arenal and San jose.


For more information please contact us today at +1 800 213 7091.

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