San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

On Northern Caribbean River Levels

No reports this week from any skippers, resorts or anglers on the entire Pacific coast, so I can only guess that fishing there is pretty slow for this time of year, when there is usually a good bite on the northern coast.

Tarpon action continues on the northern Caribbean coast, however, with Río Colorado Lodge anglers releasing a 150-pounder on Monday morning, and jumping eight Sunday with a triple hookup.

I had an e-mail from Costa Rica resident Robert Bruce, asking how the low water level in the San Juan River could affect fishing in the Colorado River.

Río Colorado Lodge owner and operator Dan Wise knows that area best, so I asked him for his opinion and comments.

Wise said there must have been something in the papers on the subject, as he has had similar queries from other residents.

Here is what Wise has to say: “The main San Juan River flows out of Lake Nicaragua down to the border area at a place called Delta. At Delta the San Juan makes a hard turn to the north and the main body of the water splits south toward Barra del Colorado.

“I suspect that 75% of the water from the lake goes down the Colorado and not the San Juan. There is talk about re-channelizing the San Juan to divert the water back to Greytown, but I doubt they can afford a dredge to do the work.

“The Colorado River is also fed by the Sarapiquí and Samay Rivers and the Tortuguero canal, so even if the San Juan is low we still get water from those sources.

“Our tarpon are outside the river mouth at this time of year and are traditionally there until November, so I do not think the river water level is a factor except that it is hard to get in to some of the back lagoons when the river is shallow. We almost never fish the main (Colorado) river this time of the year.

“Right now the river water level is rising because of rain somewhere upriver, either in Nicaragua or on the Costa Rica side of the San Juan.

“The river has been very low for the past couple of weeks, and I imagine that about six hours’ boat run up the river to the rapids at El Castillo the river is impassable.”


Skippers, lodge operators and anglers are invited to contact Jerry with fishing reports by noon Monday of each week; call 282-6743 or e-mail

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