San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Tarpon Bite Phenomenal; Heavy Rains on Pacific

LAST weekend I took a trip to Barra Colorado with archaeologists Michael J. Snarskis of the Tropical Agronomy Research Center (CATIE) and Magdalena León of the National Museum to scout the area around Barra Colorado and Tortuguero, on the northern Caribbean coast. Our efforts to determine whether further exploration for evidence of pre-Columbian inhabitants in that region is justified proved worthwhile. Hosted by Río Colorado Lodge owner Dan Wise, the archaeologists explored the region by boat and on foot for three days, interviewing the area’s oldest residents whenever possible.ACCORDING to Snarskis, it was apparent that the lowest areas, subject to frequent flooding and silting, had no evidence whatsoever of pre-Columbian habitation, although early Spanish chronicles noted indigenous people fishing there. However, in the highest area for many miles around – some 300 feet above sea level and only 25 minutes by boat from the lodge – landowner René Valverde and his son Juan Carlo told of finding pottery when they cleared his pastureland years ago, and a surface survey yielded several stone manos, or mullers of heavy black basalt, used for grinding corn, and a two-inch polished celt used in woodworking.The archaeologists said this evidence was enough to confirm the presence of the first archaeological site recognized in this corner of Costa Rica, likely dating back 1,000 years or more, and were confident future excavations would yield much more information, allowing them to date the site accurately and postulate its function.ACCORDING to Wise, fishermen at the lodge have been taking advantage of the tarpon bite, which has been little less than phenomenal in recent weeks, but not going for snook, although local anglers fishing for the table are taking these fine eating fish regularly, up to 18 pounds.The Pacific coast has been getting very heavy rains, with the floods in Quepos making headlines in the newspapers, so no fishing reports came in from that region this week. Few boats are likely to have been getting out.From north-central Costa Rica, Lake Arenal guide Tersio Hidalgo reports that the water level in the lake is very low.While anglers are getting some very small rainbow bass, the big ones are lying on the bottom and aren’t hitting the deep trolled Rapalas that are normally productive there.Hidalgo added that the water is dirty from the sediment stirred by heavy rains in the late afternoon and at night; he looks for things to pick up in October.For more info on fishing or assistance in planning a trip to Costa Rica, contact Jerry at or visit, operators and anglers are invited to contact Jerry with fishing reports by Sunday of each week. Call or fax 282-6743 within Costa Rica or write to the e-mail address above.

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