Lake Nicaragua is the largest lake in Central America. With over 8,000 km2 of surface area, it is almost as big as the island of Jamaica! Through the centuries an exceptional ecological system has been created here. The lake flows via the San Juan River over a length of more than 190 kilometres to the Caribbean Sea in the east of Nicaragua. The river lies in the middle of the tropical rainforest and is a very important lifeline and source of food for humans and animals. The lake, and therefore also the river, contains sawfish, bull shark, tropical gar and also tarpon. A special combination of species that in earlier years was thought to have been locked up in the lake. After marking the different species, a number of them were found in the ocean and it has been shown that they are indeed the regular species and that they swim up and down the San Juan river.
Besides the special species in the water, there is also an abundant bird and animal life in the jungle around the lodge. You will be short of ears and eyes. In the immediate vicinity of the lodge alone more than 150 different species of birds have been counted. But also think of ocelot, monkeys, iguanas, turtles, caimans, snakes, squirrels, reptiles, lizards, otters, deer, ant-eaters etc. The lodge is located at the entrance of the private game park Silvestre which is more than worth a visit on foot or on horseback. Other options are kayaking, nocturnal caiman trips, or a visit to El Castillo. This Spanish fort from 1773 stands on the banks of the San Juan River and only a few kilometres from the lodge. The fort gave protection against pirates who wanted to sail from the Caribbean Sea to the rich trading town of Granada on Lake Nicaragua.
The special thing about this location is that this river and even Lake Nicaragua contains tarpon, sawfish, tropical gar, guapote, machacas and bullshark. The tarpon practically does not migrate and is therefore continuously present. The well-known tarpon locations on the coast in Florida, among other places, are overcrowded in the high seasons and you will be fishing boat to boat for the one fish that migrates from salt to fresh water and vice versa. This is not the case here. You can catch tarpon here all year round. Of course, there are better periods than others. The best are in April, May and June and also September, October and November. In addition, you fish in the tropical rainforest of Nicaragua and will experience a true adventure.
Fishing is based on catch & release and a normal fishing day is from sunrise to sunset. This means that fishing starts around 5 o'clock in the morning! Around 8 or 9 o'clock you go back to the lodge and have breakfast. After breakfast the fishing continues until lunch. If the fishing is good you have lunch on or near the river. Otherwise there will be a change of fishing location after lunch and in the afternoon there will be a moment of rest in the hammock of the lodge. In the afternoon until sunset there will be fishing again. This way the best periods for fishing are used in an optimal way.
Most of the fishing takes place trolling. But also casting is done from the boat especially for snook and machacas but also when the tarpon shows itself on the surface. It is not easy fishing and at times can even be frustrating. Catching a tarpon is a time-consuming business. You will get several bites while fishing. As soon as a tarpon bites it jumps right out of the water and shakes its head wildly. Together with the fact that it has a very hard mouth, it is therefore difficult to set the hook properly. But persistence will be rewarded and because of the number of bites here the chance of catching one or more tarpons is high. Besides tarpon there is also a lot of snook, tropical gar and guapote (rainbow perch).
The Tropical Gar. This spectacular fish species is only a bycatch in Nicaragua. It is not fished by the local people. They are caught as bycatch during trolling for tarpon. However, it is very well possible here to target the fish specifically and improve the camp record considerably. For this fishing you use the same material as for tarpon. The difference is the steel leader and or the natural bait. With a big float you can present the baitfish at a constant depth.
Not only in terms of flora and fauna is the location unique, but also the lodge itself is a gem in the jungle. The lodge can accommodate up to 24 guests. This location guarantees a unique experience. Hidden in the jungle and directly at the San Juan river. The lodge is an eco-lodge and that means that people want to treat nature as good as possible and want to preserve it. Not very strange considering the impressive surroundings. The lodge was built in 1999 and can accommodate up to 24 guests through twelve two-person apartments. There is also a bar / restaurant where meals are served and in the evening, while enjoying a beer, you can tell your fishing stories to your buddies.
This eco-fishermen's lodge is a real gem in the middle of the jungle. The San Juan river flows from lake Nicaragua to the east coast. After about 40 kilometres downstream, the lodge stands at the beginning of a private game park in the middle of the tropical rainforest. The lodge is limited in size and therefore not flooded with tourists. In combination with the environment and nature it is a true experience. There is an abundance of flora and fauna. Chances are high that a 1 week stay here is not enough. Besides fishing you can also go on jungle trips (by foot or horseback), kayaking and the amount and species of animals you will encounter here make this fishing trip a real adventure.
During your stay all meals are included. The breakfast buffet includes eggs, omelette, fresh fruit, toast, fruit juice, bread, etc. For dinner there is a wide choice of different types of meat such as chicken, beef and pork but of course also fish, side dishes such as rice, potatoes and lots and fresh vegetables. You will need all these healthy foods as you fish many and long days from sunrise to sunset. Electricity and hot water is generated by solar panels and the lodge has its own small marina / pier from where the boats depart. There are no mosquito nets in the apartments because they are not really needed. Just a little repellent is sufficient here in combination with the ceiling fan.
As bait, mainly Rapala woblers are used such as Super Shad Rap, Shallow Shad Rap, from 14 centimetres onwards in multiple colours for the tarpon and snook. For the Guapotes, machaca's and smaller snook the somewhat smaller versions of the Fat Rap are also used in different colours. As a leader line we recommend a fluoro carbon line of about 1.2 to 1.5 meters long with a breaking strength of 50 to 80 lbs.
Only by exception a damaged fish ends up on the bbq or in the pan. The regular fishing is all catch & release. The current camp records are like this: Tarpon : 180 lbs Tropical Gar : 45 lbs Snook : 25 lbs Rainbow bass : 5 lbs Machacas : 16 lbs. As the fishing here is not specially targeting Tropical Gar, it will not take long before the camp record for this species will be improved.
The lodge has six boats from 5,5 to 7,5 metres. Four of the boats have 70 HP 4 stroke Suzuki engines. One boat has a 30 HP and the last boat has a 140 HP engine. All in all more than enough to sail up and down the river comfortably and quickly. They are open models and have a simple set up. The fishing is done with two people per boat and a guide where the largest boat can also be used for 3 fishermen and the guide.
The season for fishing here is endless. Depending on the season, you can catch a wide variety of species here. Nicaragua has a rainy season in September and October where it usually rains hard in the evening. This however does not affect the fishing. In fact, because of the dirt being washed away by the mountains and rivers, the fishery is very good and there is a lot of bait.
The dry season is from November until May and then the daytime temperature is around 32 ° Celsius. It is not necessary for this location to be vaccinated. Only if you come from a yellow fever area you should be vaccinated against it. Hepatitis A and DTP are recommended. However, always check with your general practitioner, hospital or local healthcare services.
You fly to Managua and when you arrive at the end of the day we arrange you a hotel close to the airport. You only have to get a taxi to get there and as it is close by it does not take long. The hotel is located in a neat and tidy neighborhood of Managua with restaurants, bars and shopping malls. The next morning you will be picked up by a private driver and leave by taxi to San Carlos. This drive will take you through the jungle and along Lake Nicaragua and will take about 4 to 5 hours. This is your first experience with the country and its people. We highly recommend this option but those who like comfortable travel can also travel by plane from Managua to San Carlos.
In San Carlos you will be picked up by boat and taken to the lodge. For the return journey the set-up is exactly the same but in reverse order of course. If you leave in time on your return journey, you will have plenty of time to look around in Managua and visit interesting locations. Also for this we can easily schedule one or more extra days. The cost of the trip is determined by the number of people and the length of stay. Assuming a stay of 6 nights with 5 days fishing, full board, 2 nights stay in a hotel in Managua in a double room with breakfast, transport on the spot, the cost of this trip will be about € 1.995,- per person. This of course is excluding flights.
Additional costs are , tips for staff and US 15,- dollar arrival tax and US 35,- dollar departure tax pp to be paid at the airport in Managua. This can be done by credit card or cash. In some airline tickets the departure tax is already included and that depends on the airline company. Any extra costs at the lodge can also be paid with credit card or cash. We strongly advise you to take the opportunity to fish and to include a few extra days in the program to at least give the arms some rest and to undertake an excursion in the region. Let us inform you about this on the spot or ask us for assistance. This trip can be tailor made according to your wishes.
For this trip there is a lot of service and interaction with the guides, the service etc. And in these kind of countries it is normal that tips are given. The following amounts are guidelines and depend on personal feelings and experience of the trip and the service provided. For a period of five days fishing a tip of US$ 100 is an appropriate amount for the guide. For lesser or better results you can apply a higher or lower amount if desired. For the service staff and kitchen it is a group amount that, depending on your own group size and service provided, is between US 50 and US 150 dollars.
Things that are important to bring with you: sunglasses, sun protection (min. 20 +), Labello, mosquito repellant, long-sleeved T-shirts for protection against the sun, rain/wind jacket, first aid kit, binoculars, flashlight / headlight and batteries, plastic zip bags for protection of photo / video cameras, electricity adapter