Northern Rivers of Costa Rica – Machaca, Guapote, & Snook

Northern Rivers of Costa Rica

The rivers flowing through the northern forests of Costa Rica are a hidden gem of fly angling possibilities. Each has its one special characteristics and size, from large fast-moving rapids to small and slow eddying flows, and with that come a host of different species. Machaca hunt fruits and insects from the faster flowing sections, rainbow bass (guapote lagunero) and jaguar guapote ambush prey in the slower and headwater sections, and Pacific snook growing as large as 20 lbs. or more make annual migrations into the river systems to pillage an array of baitfish. And because these rivers have such diverse sources, from towering forested volcanoes to tailwater dams, one can find fishable water at almost any time of the year.


The northern rivers are fished mainly with whitewater rafts, and floats range from a couple hours to dawn-to-dusk adventures. Rods ranging from 6-8 weight are best to handle just about any of the species one can encounter. Machaca are most often targeted with popper flies, with size and color dependent on the seasonal fruit and flower hatches. (Read more about machaca here.) Guapote can be fished for with both small poppers and streamers, and for snook its mostly a streamer game. Having an assortment of streamers and poppers in various weights and sizes is best. Flies can be provided and we can also give specific recommendations at time of booking.



Many of the northern rivers can be accessed via hotels in Guanacaste, and these one-day excursions can easily be incorporated into standard beach vacations. What better way to spice up an already amazing Costa Rican getaway than with a fly fishing exploration targeting exotic new species?


We are happy to help organize full transportation to/from your hotel, lunch, tackle, flies, etc.


Please contact us to discuss your adventure today.