SAN CARLOS SPORT FISHING is the Official IGFA Weighting Station for Rio San Juan , Nicaragua Lake...



World Class Fishing Trips

Adventures In Jungle River Scenery 


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   Catch and Release Fishing,  I.G.F.A Rules  

  Fly & Conventional Fishing ( Trolling, Spinning, Bait Casting.... )


Tarpon  & Snook  fishing trips on RIO SAN JUAN  NICARAGUA

 Border river between Costa Rica and Nicaragua



Rio San Juann River is 120 miles long,  start in Nicaragua Lake ( My main lodge is located  in National park los Guatuzos.. Precisely where Rio San Juan start at the corner with Rio Frio and Nicaragua Lake ), River run from the Lake to the Caribbean it is the only communication of the Great Nicaragua lake ( Cocibolca) with the sea.( Caribbean ) .



Nicaragua lake 100 miles x 70 miles is the greatest lake in Central America it is "World famous for the presence of Salt water fish in it's Quiet Fresh water  Giant Tarpon, Saw fish, Shark, Snook..????? Obviously also Fresh water fish are present as Rainbow bass, Mojara, Gar, Machaca.. 


A Strange  mix  at 120 miles from sea????  witch fascinate famous Investigators:   Commandant Jacques Yves Cousteau  came here studying in El Banco de Arena precisely at the corner of the Lake with Rio Frio and Rio San Juan where my Fishing lodge is located... Also Thomas Thornson from University of Nebraska , studied for many years wrote a  book "The fish of Nicaragua Lake"... In 2010 we received  the Tarpon investigation team of Miami University  March 2014 we have been filming the NAT GEO MONSTER FISH SHOW... 

  We observe all year round a tremendous  quantity of Tarpon  size 60lb/250lb+, going up and down river..., 

There is no specific month, this is all year round. Usual catch are 90lb till 200lb ...and bigger..  Some  Tarpon migrate... some stay around for a while but will return at sea... Feeding is easy they become  very very big. Due to tannin in the water these giant fish are different color than the common  Silver King: the  biggest tarpon here are  black on the back and dark green/golden on the side... 

It will sound absolutely Incredible  but  we released fish estimated close or more? than  300lb.

Our fishing trips are in  Optimum condition..   Meaning quiet Jungle River.. There are no waves here, no hard Bara to pass, we always fish in quiet fresh water aboard Sport fishing boat with central T Top... 

TARPON  FISHING , Conventional or Fly can be on light tackle   We may  fish trolling then casting once we locate the "Active fish"... I mostly use Rapala Lures as Super Shad Rap SSR14, or Floating Magnum 14 and 18.

We troll, we cast Spinnning, Bait Casting, Use Braided or Nylon, Circle hooks...  we also  fly fish ...   All  depend of Guest expectations. 

For beginner Tarpon anglers we use 25lb 40lb lines...Specific conditions and Guides knowledge allow  Anglers to fish with   light tackle... . With good technique  these tackles are  strong enough whatever the size of fish.

 Fly fishing is available in specific area...We use  number 12, 13, 14...these fly heavy equipment are necessary due to size of fish but for tippet you decide.

Many time "'we have been beaten  IGFA  Tarpon World Record .."  Tarpon Class line 12lb,  Men ,Women  Then all Tackle Junior, boys and Girle, also Children...  Reason why "these record" are not official is than we do not want to kill Tarpon ..witch unfortunately is a must with I.G.F.A  Actual World Record Rules. 

A 200lb tarpon is around 25 years old would be a real pity to kill such a creature... 

We Catch and Release all Tarpon

Calculated on 12 years of activity, our average day for tarpon fishing  is 10 bites...6 fish jumped, two/ three release to the boat.

At my knowledge this situation of top Tarpon fishing all year round is Unique in the world.

I insist  there is no real best time in the year to come...Tarpon are present all year round...


RAINBOW BASS FISHING  (Panachronis Dovii ) . A  very strong fish, very violent .. a lot of fun on light tackles. We go for them at Solentiname Archipelago on Nicaragua Lake..., 20 minutes away from our  fishing lodge. World record for this fish: 14lbs is in Nicaragua... It has been overbeaten last year 1999 by a 24lb and an 18lb Still in Nicaragua...I do not know if these record have been officially registered at IGFA. For Rainbow  we fish as well Conventional or Fly... Usual size of fish we catch is between 5lb till 10lb


SNOOK  FISHING. Sometime caught in Solentiname archipelago , Close from Lodge in Santa fe (  International Tournament 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, ..  )  down Rio san Juan  in the area of Sabalo, Pocosol, El Castillo. 

Two kind of Snook are present here, the Calva...up to 6/7lb and then the big Cola Amarilla. So far our biggest weighed snook  is 42 lb. .we report several fish estimated  close or bigger than  50lb lost to the boat


Considering lodging during your fishing vacations in San Juan River and  Solentiname there are a lot of Recent Changes. A few years ago there were absolutely nothing. In  2005 I built a comfortable Fishing Lodge "La Esquina del Lago" at the corner of the Lake with Rio San Juan

Apart from my Fishing Lodge  located in Wild life Reserve of Los Guatuzo in front of San Carlos, several  nice other hotel opened  on River and Lake  shores, in Solentiname Archipelago, Saballo, El Castillo, we may go and stay  there  all will  depend where best fishing is when Visitors  come..  all these places offer , comfortable lodging and good meals...


The area offer fantastic discovery for Nature lovers: Virgin Jungle Wild Life , Bird watching, Historical site..... ...Very  important Local people are very very   friendly with the still few tourist coming...For lunch time we stop at their places  ..share a bit of their life...

Fishing trips I offer are obviously  very different from usual Fishing vacations offered in Costa Rica and Nicaragua...

 My lodge La Esquina del Lago is our Headquarter but  we move, in a 100 miles we sleep on Spots in other long boar ride.. Between August and November we also may go till the Caribean sea 120 miles away going down all Rio San Juan ....

I am pleased to offer a mix made of Top fishing, Tropical Jungle life, Adventures, History, Discovery. and contact with Local people..

I have special attention  for good lodging and meals.  Also very important is the integration in the local life: we eat on the river banks at Rancho or home of friends, we go in town, at the market.. etc etc.. One of my guest told me than to describe  my trips I should say:

" Why only fish when you can have much more..."  

Nicaragua is nowadays  a safe and quiet country MOST IMPORTANT  It is still an AUTHENTIC DESTINATION... Time to come ...Country start to open to tourism...

Area is easily reach from San Jose Costa Rica  with a 5 hours car Transfer... 

Faster and easier transfer from Managua 3 hours  with the new Panamerican Highway..or  a 50mn flight over the lake to the town of San Carlos ( 2 flights a week) Airport is 10 mn away from my lodge..

We meet Guests  at International airport of San Jose or Managua. 

I recommend to use one of My all Include Discovery&Fishing Package






What to expect:




- Quiet Fresh Water

- Fully Licensed operation INTUR,  MTI, MARENA, INPESCA, DGI.. ALCADIAS, Etc..

- Great fishing all year round

. No mosquitoes!!

- 16 Years Experience

- Professional Organization

- Professional Guides

- Sport fishing boats T-Top

- All Pro Tackles  Fly & Conventional Include

. Catch & Release Fishing on Light  Tackles

- Good meals and Lodging ( I own the Lodges )

- 8/12 hours fishing a day

- 24h Professional Servicee




 Airport Pick up, Transfer,  Fishing, Meals, Lodging,  Fishing License, Boats, Guides, Tackles...etc..





In the  sixties there were several Fishing Camp on the river... Destination was world famous...

Civil War Came all stops...


In 1990.. peace came back in Nicaragua

In 1998   I had the chance to meet Mr Pilarte  owner of the legendary RIO SAN JUAN TARPON CAMP.. Also some anglers than were coming in the all days...  Some incredible stories..


These talks  impulse me as I was  tired of Fishing Rio Frio in Costa Rica.. One week good fishing..Two weeks nothing...


I enter and fish Rio San Juan for the first time in 1998 with Luis Urbina...Came back and came back   Fishing has always been great and CONSTANT aas well for Giant Tarpon or Snooks


Area was  realy lay back it was necessary to PROFESIONALY organize the trips.. I  bought several Sportfishing  boats built lodges, Trained Local Guides  Etc..


To make it easy and clear for Guests I decided to only offer all inclusive packages  


I love what Mr. Bill Heavey wrote upon us in a six pages Articles in Fields & Streams Magazine:


Alone in Tarpon Paradise...

The civil war is over in Nicaragua ,Tarpon unfished for 30  years are hungry and no ones Know...  Bill Heavey 


Since 1998 we also have been constantly  working  with local authorities in order to preserve quality of Rio San Juan  Unique in the world Fishery:  We  collaborate on Regulation.. Establishing rules as Barbless hooks, No use of Gaff, Correct reanimation, Studies, Satellite tagging programs,...


We observe  changes in Fishing Since 2011 

It is still great...  No doubt one of  the best in the worldas we can go ALL YEAR ROUND EVERY DAY for 100-250lb + Giant tarpon in quiet fresh water...

Meanwhile  mobility  became  a Must..Tarpon are yes still present  all year round but now they are Active zone and places where they only roll...

Obviously Guests  do not cone  to spend  full days in Santa Fe, Castillo or Sabalo watching Tarpon Rolling..


Nowday What is important  is to fish with a  Guide able to  locate where Active Tarpon are... THIS IS WHAT WE DO AT SAN CARLOS SPORT FISHING..

These Active zone constantly change... It may be Yes in front San Carlos..  Or going down  river at El Pitasso, Santa fe, Palo de arco, la Gnoca, La Esperanza... Sabalo or El Castillo...


Active spots are constantly changing on a  45 miles long area. Reason why we  move a lot during a trip.


If for eventual better fishing we decide to go down river  in order to avoid long ride each days and be able to fish the early morning we will sleep close by Spots in very nice places...always River front...


It will be at Hotel Sabalo of Mr Simeon Parales ,  or at Sabalo Lodge of Mr Yaro Praslin, or Hotel Victoria in El Castillo..  These places are nice, managed by real profesional who love the River  offering  Good Lodging and meals. They all are located directly on the river


At certain time of the year we may even go as far as San Juan de Nicaragua..120 miles down river from San Carlos  to reach and fish on the mouth of river on the Caribbean sea. 


 Mobility is a must for a successful trip on San Juan River



Giant Tarpon fishing:  

90lb/ 250lb+ 

Tarpon are present   all year round...


Also Snook, Rainbow bass, Machaca, Mojara



Snook, (Cola Amarilla... and Calva )


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Rainbow Bass,  Lagunero

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There is  no reason to worry upon safety . Civil war is over since more than 20 years .

Nowadays Country is quiet and peaceful

Also your trip will be 100% Guided from the moment you arrive at International Airport.


Yes there as been the Terrible time of Civil war..


More than 20 years than it is over.. For some  reasons I do not understand well people outside of the country still have image/clich´┐Ż of Nicaragua as a violent Country...


Reality is absolutely diferent . Country is safe. Obviously as in all big cities they are districts of Managua to avoid  but no problem in the rest of the Country.

20 years I am living in Central America  and from my experiences I am not scare to write than  Nicaragua is the safest country in Central America

People has been suffering a lot.. None of them want the bad days to be back


Visitors are welcome, everybody  is friendly






With San Carlos Sport Fishing

Tarpon Fishing on Rio San Juan is in Optimum condition...


   We offer Professional Service from International Airports  


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1) Best Fishing Guides around are working with us...We trained them It takes minimum two years of training.. They are all local ex Commercial Fishermen... It s been an exchange they Know since ever the rivers and lake... I have been teaching them sport fishing techniques


2) We offer the Only Sport fishing Central T-top boats  available on the river.   Fight is from a large Platform  located in Front of our Sport Fishing  boats.  All my boats are registered and  licensed for Sport fishing with Safety equipment aboard.


3)   No hard Barra to pass Fishing is always on Flat fresh water... NO WAVES  On San Juan river ..


4) We fish Catch and Release,  Use Barb less hooks...  NO GAFF we grab Tarpon by lower jaw. We practice the correct reanimation techniques....

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5) All fishing is according to I.G.F.A. Rules...


6) SAN CARLOS SPORT FISHING is the Official I.G.F.A Weighting Station for Rio San Juan ,  Nicaragua Lake, Solentiname.....We are able to certified a Catch.  


7)  Due to good fishing condition, no waves and Front Fighting Platform in all boats, we can  fish  with Light Tackles Conventional and Fly ...

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8) We also catch , Snook, Rainbow bass, Machaca, Mojara, Tropical and Alligator Gar....

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San Carlos Sport fishing: 

World Class Fishing + Adventures +Discovery...



Upper San Juan River / Rio San Juan   still an  Authentic "off the beaten track destination" :

From the years 1950 till 1976  San Juan River  ( Rio San Juan ) was known as one of the best Tarpon fishing Destination in the World..There were three fishing camp on the River,.. One of them being the famous TARPON CAMP... Many Angling Celebrities came here....

Then Civil war came  in Nicaragua and all Sport Fishing activities stopped.

Peace came back and since more than 20  years the area is quiet. perfectly peaceful, tourism is more than Welcome ...

It is an almost virgin Destination for Sport Fishing than I offer  .

Responding to my invitation Several important Specialized TV Shows and Fishing Magazine came to visit and experience our trips... Fields&Streams, SPORT FISHING MAGAZINE, CNN Extreme fishing show, La Pesca, Voyages de Peche, DISCOVERY CHANNEL Fishing Ambasador, WFN Show will be on line soon (fall 2011 )... 

Considering size and density of fish present all year round ... San Juan River is  one ( if not the one ) best places in the world to fish  for Giant  Tarpon..


It is not only Great Fishing than we offer

There is a lot to enjoy in a trip on Rio San Juan 


P1010815.jpg (53145 bytes)Adventures, and Discovery   of  an Authentic almost virgin  destination.  There is 98% probability than in  the entire trip we do not meet another Sport Fishing boat... The only two busy days  in the year are around  September the 13th and 14th when it's held the Annual local Tarpon ( Sabalo )  and Snook ( Robalo )  Fishing Tournament.. 

jungle.jpg (64830 bytes)Tropical  Jungle River Scenery :   Rain forest, Jungle River, ponds, swamps... Wild life reserve of Los Guatuzo, Solentiname, Isla del Pitasso, Medio quesso, Reserva Indio Mais, Rio Frio, Wild life reserve of Cano Negro, 

Copy of jungle1.jpg (40826 bytes)Wild life  Three kind of Monkeys, ( Howler, Spider, White Face ), Iguanas, Wild Cats, Caiman, Turtles, Iguanas, Dear, Outer, Guaipal ( Caiman ) , Crocodile ( Lagarto ) .. Wild life


jabiru.jpg (10566 bytes)First Class Bird Watching:     Many "Birdwatchers" come here to enjoy the  incredible variety of birds present all year round: Blue heron, Spoon bill, Oro pendula, sergent, Colibri, Eagles, Aigrettes, Jacana,.. etc and the majestic Jabiru.

Birds are all around but I like to mention some " Hot spots" Zapote..Zapotillo Islands  Solentiname Archipelago , Medio Quesso, Rio Frio, Wild life reserve of Los Guatuzo  Bird Watching

twain.gif (33931 bytes) History   San Juan River is an  historical area. Many people talk of a big pre-Columbian city located somewhere in the Jungles around.. In the colonial time San Juan River was one  of the "High way" for Spanish to transport  the gold pacific soth America coast   from Pacific ocean to the Atlantic then  Spain...  Pirates came.. Morgan... The area  has  been describe, by Mark Twain, the famous writer was there in 1860 , he was one of more than 100 000 Pioneers who travel the river  aboard the boats of Mr. Vanderbilt.  (Gold Rush Times). Other famous "visitors": Christopher Colomb, Admiral Nelson, Pirate Morgan, Jaques yves Cousteau...  See   History 888888

art6.jpg (30213 bytes) Arts:   with the Painters and Wood carver of the Ernesto Cardenal  Community of  Solentiname Archipelago also a unique place for Bird watching  ( See Arts )

around4.jpg (32253 bytes)Meet local people leaving on the River Banks , Share a bit of their life.. it is still possible as mass tourism is unknown here... People are very very friendly with the few Guest coming around.. (We have a lot of so special Friends living in Jungle towns or on the river banks than you will meet... Yaro, Bosco, Bertha Rosa, Rosa Elena, Simeon Parales, Manolo, Fernandin, Enrique, Juan...) Friends

Enter in the "Atmosphere"  of our fishing Adventures  Tarpon Fever...



What make us Special ??



* We fish   all year round   for Tarpon 90lb/250lb +..., Snook 10lb 50lb+..., Rainbow bass ...Fishing reports  

We Like Challenge so why not  Light and Ultra light fishing


* I only offer clear deals..

There is a lot of useful information in this site concerning Tarpon Fishing ... Please take time to visit it, Almost everything is here ...Meanwhile  I figure you have some specific questions? My pleasure to answer them..  Idea is than you know exactly before the trip What to expect...E Mail Click    

I always try to make is easy.. For Example  Fishing Reports  are classified  per months so you will know what to expect on month you are interested to come ...


* No Fix lodge   Even if we own  now  a very nice place La Esquina del Lago our New Guest House located  in a National Park in front of city of San Carlos ( New airport since January 2009 .. New very good road from Managua witch is now at only 4 hours drive ) ...

It's a real Fishing and Discovery Adventure than I offer We will  move aboard our boats....Sometime 120 miles away... We will go where the best fishing is in the days  you are there.. For overnights We  will use  local Hotel and lodges witch offer good  accommodation for fishermen...  No  five stars  ( except in Town as San Jose , Managua , Granada ) lodging is  simple on our Grounds  but always very clean   ( Wherever we stay,   rooms will   have private full bathroom ) These Places are Hotel Sabalo of Mr Simeon Parales Family, Sabalo Lodge of Mr Yaro Praslin, Hotel Victoria in El Castillo   Accommodations


* We specifically care for  meals .  Gallo Pinto, Bao, Casado are the traditional meals on witch  we had International and  French Cuisine... and do not miss the Rivers scrimps (Incredibly  big 1lb each) Unique. 


* We offer  professional  Guides, good  boats, We reglarly change  all the Outboard engines ..We have back up engine etc etc... 

*Another Plus is that we  custom Your FISHING ADVENTURES . Each Guest have specific expectation , each trip has to be different.. 

* Wither you contact me Directly or with a Travel  Agency, I like  to communicate personally with each of my guest  before the trip, it is very easy nowadays  using E mail, or  Phone calls......


*I will be glad to forward E mail address of recent guests to anyone interested in booking a fishing trip with us, so you can talk directly with people who experienced my trips, Quality of my fishing and service 



A Good communication between you 

and me before the trip is a Must for of a successful trip..


Your contact:  Champa by  phone at +505 5768 4623 

 and (949) 400-6639 or with Internet    E-MAIL





Tarpon pictures Galleries, click.






E Mail


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Their reproduction use on internet or Printing material  is strictly forbiden without previour writen authentified authorisation from Philippe Tisseaux