Fishing in Panama

Posted by Lauren Yanez on Feb 7, 2011

Fishing is a truly global form of recreation. You can do it nearly anywhere there’s water. Nevertheless, there’s a world of difference between dipping your line over the bridge at the local river and enjoying a truly great fishing destination. Panama is one of these. No other country puts so many fishing opportunities at a tourist’s fingertips.

The secret of great fishing in Panama is unmatched access to a variety of fishing areas. This is the only country in a world where you can fish in the Atlantic, Pacific and in tropical fresh water in a single day.

Gatun Lake

One of the jewels in Panama’s fishing destinations is Gatun Lake. At the time of its creation, it was the world’s largest freshwater lake. It has a formidable area of 164 square miles. The lake was originally created to store water for the operation of the Panama Canal’s locks: the system that raises and lowers ships in transit through the canal. Some smaller vessels make shortcuts through the lake, so visitors can see ships from all over the world while they fish.

Peacock Bass Fishing in Panama

Gatun Lake is host to a number of freshwater tropical fish species, but is perhaps best known for its Peacock Bass. In the 1950s, a private citizen was raising them in his pond, when heavy rain allowed them to cross into the lake. They have multiplied and prospered since then, creating an incredible sport fishing opportunity.

The Peacock Bass is a feisty, challenging fish, best suited to being caught with fly rods. Although the fish exists in Florida, it is rare enough there to discourage eating. The state government enforces strict bag limits and many fishers practice catch and release. This isn’t the case in Panama, where the fish has prospered. You can enjoy the sweet taste of your catch without guilt.

Ocean Fishing in Panama

Additionally, Panama tourists can enjoy fishing in the Atlantic or Pacific. Inshore and offshore trips are available. Guides are used to new fishers. Many resorts provide a full tackle kit for anyone fishing either coast. Locations like Pedasi (Atlantic Ocean) and Chiriqui (Pacific Ocean) are famous for their excellent fishing and hospitality. Ocean species such as Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi-Mahi and Wahoo are available at different times of the year.

John Gill