Machaca Fishing in Costa Rica

Best Machaca Fishing in Costa Rica

Machaca are one of the most aggressive and hardest fighting fresh water fish in Costa Rica, so much so they have earned the nickname “mini tarpon”. Once hooked, they'll leap out of the water several times. 
They're actually related to piranha, although the machaca in Costa Rica are vegetarian for the most part. Although not considered table fare, they're often used in soups.

What do Machaca Look Like?

The sides of machaca are a brilliant silver color with large scales while the head is darker, if not golden in color. They have very robust flanks, and the big ones are oval-shaped, almost like a football. Besides their silver color, their trademark is a set of ferocious, almost human-like teeth.
Despite their intimidating set of chompers and being related to piranhas, machaca are actually vegetarians for the most part. They feed on leaves, fruit, and seeds that fall into the water, plus the occasional insect. With their feeding habits and aggressive nature, they're a perfect target for fly fishermen. We recommend an 8-foot rod with a 9-10-foot leader.
Machaca vary in size, based on location. The machaca found in the tropical rivers along the Pacific Ocean are often much smaller those in the inland waters of northern Costa Rica.
Most machaca are 2-6 pounds, but large ones can reach 10-15 pounds. The world record machaca was actually caught in Costa Rica in 1991, weighing in at 9 pounds 8 ounces.

Where to Catch Machaca

The biggest machaca without doubt are found in Lake Arenal, in the Arenal Volcano area. This is the largest lake in Costa Rica, and is also home to other fish like guapote and mojarra.  
Large machaca are also found farther north in Cano Negro.  
They also inhabit lowland tropical rivers, but tend to be slightly smaller there. Machaca are typically found near river mouths and creeks in Lake Arenal, and under trees or other cover in calm water.
Machaca can be caught year-round in Costa Rica. They primarily feed at the surface to catch falling fruit and seeds, so even if the water if murky, shallow, or deeper than normal they will still hit your lure or fly if it makes a big enough splat.
If you're interested in fishing for machaca while here in Costa Rica, contact us and we'll hook you up with a great fishing adventure.
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