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Costa Rican Fishing Calendar – Which is the Best Season to Catch Fish in Costa Rica?

January 12, 2023
Carolina Barrientos Carolina Barrientos
Costa Rican Fishing Calendar – Which is the Best Season to Catch Fish in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica, popularly known as the “billfish capital of the world,” is home to a wide variety of fish species, many of which are available for fishing year-round. However, the availability of certain species may vary depending on the time of year and the fishing spot you choose. In general, Costa Rica has two main seasons for fishing: the dry season, which runs from December to April, and the green season, which runs from May to November.  

During the dry season, the water is clear and warm, which can be conducive to fishing for species such as roosterfish, snapper, and grouper.  

Heavy rainfall and slightly cooler water temperatures typically characterize the green season. This season is a suitable time to target species such as tarpon and jacks, which are known to feed more actively in slightly cooler water temperatures. 

The Fishing Seasons in Costa Rica 

The dry season (December to April) is the best time to go fishing in Costa Rica, as the waters are clearer and calmer. The cool temperature can make it easier to spot and target fish.  

However, many popular sportfish species, such as marlin and sailfish, are more commonly caught off the Pacific coast during the rainy season (May to November). This wet season can also be an excellent time to target species such as tarpon and jacks, which are known to feed more actively in cooler waters.

That said, the best time to go fishing in Costa Rica will depend on your specific fishing goals and preferences. Knowing what fish species will be available during which month of the year as well as weather patterns and water conditions will be helpful when planning your fishing trip in Costa Rica. 

This blog lists the peak seasons by the popular fish species in Costa Rica to help you better plan your excursion. 

Marlin 

The best time to catch marlins in Costa Rica depends on several factors, including the specific location, weather conditions, and the marlin species you are targeting. 

Marlin fishing in Costa Rica has two peak seasons: dry and rainy seasons. The latter, known as the ‘Green Season,’ is often underrated, but is gaining popularity.  

During this time, the Pacific Coast experiences excellent blue and black marlin action, specifically in June, July, and August.  

But the most popular time for marlin fishing in Costa Rica is during the dry season, which runs from December to April. During this time, the water is clear, warm, and inviting, making it easier for the marlin to locate their prey. January, February, and March are the months to fish marlin in Costa Rica.  

It is important to note that marlins are highly migratory, so their presence in any given area can be unpredictable. However, the Caribbean coast and some specific regions of on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, such as Los Sueños Marina, are known as marlin hotspots. 

So, January to March is the traditional fishing season for marlin in Costa Rica, however, in recent times the season from June to August is gaining popularity. 

Sailfish 

Sailfish are a type of marlin but have a broader fin found in tropical and subtropical waters. Trolling, live bait fishing, and jigging are popular methods used to catch sailfish in Costa Rica. In Costa Rica, their most common species are the Pacific blue marlin. Recreational anglers prize these fish highly for their size, strength, and speed.  

The peak fishing season is the dry season, which runs from December to April. During this time, the water temperatures in the region are warmer, which makes the fish more active and more likely to bite on lures and bait.  

The warm waters also attract baitfish, a primary source of food. As a result, these fish migrate to warm areas to feed, making them more likely to be caught by anglers.

Dorados (Mahi-Mahi) 

Popularly known as Dolphins or Mahi-Mahi, Dorado is one of the easiest fish species to catch in Costa Rica. The best time to catch Dorado in the country depends on a few factors, including the location where you plan to fish Dorado and the time of year when you plan your excursion.  

The dry season is the peak fishing season for Dorado in Costa Rica, with May to August being the best months. During this time, the water is warm, and the fish are more active, making it easier for anglers to hook Dorados.  

The best places to fish Dorado are near areas with strong currents and deep drop-offs. Some of the best spots in Costa Rica are the Catalinas Islands, the Osa Peninsula, and the Gulf of Papagayo. Because of its large population of Dorados, the Marina Pez Vela in Quepos hosts the annual Dorado Derby tournament every November, where anglers from many other countries compete in teams to win cash prizes. 

Roosterfish 

Roosterfish, a coastal fish species found in shallower waters, is one of the most sought-after fish in Costa Rica. Roosterfish can be caught year-round and all across Costa Rica, but they are found along the Pacific coast in high numbers.  

The best time to fish for roosterfish in the country is during the dry season, which runs from December to April. The water temperature is more habitable, the visibility is greater, and the roosterfish are more active during this season, which makes spotting them easier. The weather is typically more pleasant for anglers too during the dry season, with lower humidity and fewer storms.  

The dry season is also a popular time for tourists to visit Costa Rica. With the local tourist economy in full swing, it becomes easier for anglers to find guided fishing trips and other resources for successful fishing excursions.  

Tarpons 

Tarpons are a saltwater fish species known for their enormous size and acrobatic leaps when hooked. These fish species are found in many tropical and subtropical regions, mainly in the Caribbean Sea and along the eastern coast of Costa Rica.  

The peak tarpon season for Tarpon fishing in Costa Rica is typically from May to July and then from October to November. These months offer the highest density of these fish and the most favorable weather conditions to plan a fishing excursion. During this season, tarpons are usually found in plenty in nearshore waters, estuaries, and lagoons.  

They are known to migrate during the winter months, so the exact timing of the tarpon season can vary slightly between the two Costa Rican coasts. Depending on whether you want to visit the Pacific or the Caribbean coast, the exact fishing season will vary. But broadly speaking, May to July and from October to November are great times for fishing tarpon.

In conclusion, Costa Rica is a sport fishing enthusiast’s paradise, with various species available to catch year-round. However, different times of the year may be ideal for targeting specific fish species as their migratory patterns and feeding habits change. With these tips, anglers can plan their trips to maximize their chances of a successful and enjoyable fishing experience in the beautiful waters of Costa Rica.

For those looking for a luxurious stay while enjoying the bounties of the sea, Villa Firenze offers an exceptional experience. This luxury Costa Rica villa includes a fishing charter in its all-inclusive package. Guests staying at Villa Firenze can enjoy the magic of sport fishing on the Pacific Coast, ensuring an unparalleled fishing adventure in Costa Rica. 

So why wait? Start planning your next fishing adventure in Costa Rica today.

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