Enjoy the Best Rainbow Bass Fishing in Costa Rica
Rainbow Bass are part of the cichlid family, which includes oscars, wrasse, angel fish, the closely related peacock bass.
Better known as ‘guapote’ here in Costa Rica, they're the main target of freshwater anglers in the country. As the top predator in most freshwater habitats, rainbow bass are prized for their combination of intelligence, aggression, and great tasting meat.
About Rainbow Bass in Costa Rica
Guapote are both very intelligent and very aggressive, making them a challenge and a thrill to fish for. Although rumored to be a stocked fish, they actually made their way to Costa Rica naturally, and are now an integral part of the fresh water eco-system.
They can be distinguished by the dark vertical stripes on their sides, as well as by an impressive set of teeth. The bigger males have a large bump on their foreheads, much like napoleon fish.
Rainbow bass are a predatory fish, feeding on anything from worms and crayfish to grass shrimp and other smaller fish.
Catching Rainbow Bass in Costa Rica
They can be so aggressive that they can be caught on the fly, but the largest ones typically hide out in cooler, darker water, so deep diving lures are best.
These fish rarely break the surface during the fight, and you rarely get more than one shot at the same fish.
Rainbow bass typically weigh in the 3-10 pound range, but many have been recorded larger than that. The world record was actually caught here in Costa Rica in 1991, at 12 pounds 9 ounces, but was later beaten in next-door Nicaragua with a 15 pound monster in 1999.
Where to Find Rainbow Bass
The main spot for guapote fishing in Costa Rica is without doubt Lake Arenal in the Arenal Volcano region. This lake is home to large guapote, plus machaca, mojarra, and tilapia.
Though they face more pressure now than in years past, guapote are still caught every day on the lake. They can also be found in Cano Negro in the north central part of Costa Rica.
Guapote are caught all year round, but the fishing is typically better when the lake water levels are lower, as they have less space to hide in. Those months would coincide with the Costa Rican dry season, so typically January through May is spectacular for catching rainbow bass.
Contact us for more information on catching this fish and how to include rainbow bass fishing in your Costa Rica vacation itinerary.