Costa Rica, Release Fly Travel

Costa Rica Overview

Costa Rica is home to an amazing range of fish species. Two oceans and a variety of rivers and lakes equate to the ability to target many different species all within a relatively small geographic space. Release Fly Travel (RFT) specializes in putting you in direct contact with this incredible angling diversity! Whether you seek heart pounding triple digit tarpon, powerful roosters and billfish, delicate dry fly fishing for rainbow trout, or connecting with an array of freshwater exotics, Costa Rica is an angling destination worth exploring. Focus your efforts on a particular fishery or spread your trip across the whole range of available fish species by combining these packages like modules. Plus, Release Fly Travel can arrange other non-angling or family activities such as rafting, sea kayaking, surfing, wildlife watching, cultural exploration, or simply pure R&R. RFT knows Costa Rica inside and out and can help put together your perfect experience.

Costa Rica unspoiled

Fishing can be exceptional year round, but Costa Rica’s dry season (December-May) coincides perfectly with the northern winter season. Tired of dreaming of snowmelt and spring hatches? Escape to paradise in Costa Rica!

Casting poppers for machaca with Howler monkeys overhead and crocodiles down below.

Tenkara in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has a great deal to offer to tenkara enthusiasts. From crystal clear freestone mountain streams filled with wild rainbow trout, to lowland jungle rivers filled with machaca, snook and other tropical predators, to an array of exotic panfish and cichlids. This destination is a dream trip for tenkara aficionados and newbies alike. If you’ve ever dreamed of a species diversity quest using tenkara and/or ultra-light fly fishing tackle, we can help make that happen.

Beautiful Tico trout

Below are the two programs we recommend for tenkara anglers, either on their own or combined into an action pack adventure around this small but diverse country. These trips can also be one-day or multi-day experiences and can be combined with larger game traditional fly and conventional fishing trips offered around the country.

Serene pools and Tico trout, heaven on earth.

Cloud Forest Trout

Mention Costa Rica to most fishermen and their common reaction is saltwater playground, but an often overlooked fly fishing opportunity lies hidden in the cloud forest shrouded mountains of the Talamancas. The mountainous streams in this part of southern Costa Rica run clear and cold, and many host thriving wild populations of rainbow trout. The trout are rarely huge, but the mighty strikes on small dry flies and magnificently colored fish make this a truly memorable experience while in Costa Rica.

Fish On!

This area is a unique high mountain paradise; birds like the vividly colored resplendent quetzal fly overhead and giant old growth forest creeps down the valley walls towards the cold streams. The waters are strewn with giant mossy boulders framed by tree branches covered with orchids and bromeliads and are easily accessible. One can spend entire days hopping from pool to pool sight casting at feeding rainbows. Come marvel at this singular fly fishing experience high in the mountains of Costa Rica.

Machaca are pure excitement on a Zen Tenkara rod


A distant relative to the Amazon’s piranha, brycon costaricensis or the machaca, is an interesting and exciting fish to pursue on fly. These primitive looking fish inhabit lakes and fast moving rivers in lowland drainages of Costa Rica. At first glance, the row of ferocious teeth lining the machaca’s jaw speaks of a savage predator stalking smaller fish, yet this is not entirely true. Juvenile machaca do eat aquatic and terrestrial insects, but as the fish grow to adulthood their diets turn largely vegetarian, consuming any fruit, flowers, and leaves that fall into the waters they patrol.

Slapping poppers and even flower and fruit flies onto the surface of the river to mimic the falling edibles entice aggressive top water takes, and on some windy days when the trees crowning the river are ripe, sudden gusts shower down fruit or flower pedals prompting surface feeding from hungry and territorial machaca. It’s not often that one can speak of the fantastic flower hatch that happened throughout the course of a fly fishing day while floating down a remote jungle river!

Machaca are extremely aggressive, and throwing poppers behind overhanging branches along the bank often triggers several fish to attack from below. Once hooked, the fish are as aerial as mini tarpon and as strong as any other river fish, doggedly pulling into roots and snags in an effort to break free. It’s great sport, and in our opinion one of the most underestimated species for fly fishing out there. If South America’s pacu is the “river permit” then it’s only appropriate that the machaca is the “river bonefish”.

Fly fishing for machaca is from a whitewater raft operated driftboat style and suitable for 2 anglers. We recommend 5-7 weight traditional fly and tenkara rods to help reduce arm fatigue from throwing large poppers throughout the day. Most machaca weigh around 2-4 lbs., but there are many larger fish in the river and you’ll be happy to have a little extra rod if you connect with one of these powerful 5+ lbers. To spice things up even more, the rivers are also inhabited with rainbow bass, or guapote lagunero, and Atlantic snook. From tarpon to trout, Costa Rica has it all and Release Fly Travel can put it all together for you. Sounds interesting, right! Fill out the form below for more information.

Reel-less excitement! Machaca on tenkara.


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