What was once just a niche interest has become one of the most popular hobbies of people of all ages. From the oldies to millennials, fly fishing Costa Rica has become a massive hit. And it isn’t surprising why. If you’re interested to try it but haven’t figured where to start, then this guide will help you.

Fly fishing Costa Rica: What is fly fishing?

Fly fishing is a simple method of angling, where you attach an artificial bait to a line, cast into the water, and see what happens next. It can be an incredible experience because of how the sounds of the river can block out all the other noise. So, you’re just there, surrounded by nature, and focused on the rod in your hand.

Fly fishing got its name from the bait that is used: artificial flies that are made to imitate what the fish eat – bugs, but sometimes even small rodents and other creatures.

Flies come in different types and sizes – there are dry flies, streamers, nymphs. What you need to use will depend on the fish you want to catch and the setting. If the fish aren’t biting, then you’ll need to change the fly and try to see which fish would go for which type of fly. Once you can determine the right fly to use, then you’ll need to learn the different acceptable knots to attach that fly to your line. You might want to try the improved clinch know, which is very popular among experts.

Once you explore fly fishing Costa Rica, you’ll most likely hear anglers who are fly tying. This isn’t a term for tying your fly to your line, but rather a term for making your own flies instead of buying them. As a beginner, you won’t be fly tying. This is something you can look into after you’ve gotten the hang of the fishing itself.

How to get started with fly fishing Costa Rica

Fly fishing Costa Rica isn’t a skill that you can learn by yourself. This activity involves a lot of movements and actions that you can learn with the help of an expert. But here are some tips to help you get started:

Take a class

You can easily find fly fishing classes in Costa Rica – be it a sporting goods store, a community college, or a dedicated fly-fishing shop, you can find classes to learn the art. Fly fishing classes usually start with a lecture portion on fly fishing. Depending on the shop, they should have next-level classes which include practicing in a stocked pond.

Hire a guide

Hiring a guide is the best way you can learn fly fishing. After you’ve taken a class or two, you can hire a guide to take you on a full-day or half-day outing on the water. If you have a friend or a family member who can teach you, this will cost less. You can only learn so much in a classroom setting, and the best way to learn it is through experience. 

Practice tying your knots and casting

When you’re not on the water, you can try to practice a few things at home. The first thing you should work on is your knots. The lines and flies need tying together, and you’ll only learn to master this skill with plenty of practice. An expert can rig up a fly in less than 30 seconds. You won’t be as good as an expert overnight, thus, you’ll need to keep doing it until you get the hang of it. This is important because if you’re fumbling with your fly in the water, you might drop the knot. Dropping it means you’ll lose a couple of bucks right then and there.

You can also practice at home, although it’s going to be a little tougher since you’ll need adequate room to do it. If your backyard is long enough, then you can start there. If you don’t have a room at home, you may go to a large park or even a lake to practice your casting.

Start fishing lakes

While fly fishing Costa Rica is pictured as taking place in the streams of Costa Rica, a lot of fishermen practice their craft in lakes. It’s rather common to see fishermen wading into the cold lakes. For beginners, this is going to be the easier and the simpler route to go for one reason: it is a lot easier to keep an eye on your fly if the water is still.

When fly fishing, there is no bobber or super obvious jump on the line that will cue you into a fish being hooked. But instead, you have to carefully watch your line and fly, and then tug it up once you see or feel a slight movement for you to hook the fish. But in a flowing creek or river, once your fly and line is drifting and undulating with the current, it will really be hard for you to tell if that gentle tug on the line is a fish or not. It can just be a rock or just a tug of the water itself.

It’s best to start in lakes if you really want to get the hang of fly fishing.

Prepare to practice.

Fly fishing isn’t a skill you can learn overnight, so you should always be prepared to practice a lot. If you ask an expert how long it will take to master all this stuff, you’ll learn that it happens in phases. First, you’ll get good at casting and tying your knots. Then, you’ll get good at noticing when a fish shows interest in your flies. You’ll then get good at setting the hook and become successful in reeling in and nabbing your fish. And once you get good at these things, you’ll be able to pay attention to the science of fish and bugs. You’ll know how to read the water and the environment.

Be prepared to practice a lot. You may fail a lot, too, but you’ll eventually get comfortable in the water. If you’re looking for a fishing and glamping adventure of a lifetime in Costa Rica, you should try fly fishing Costa Rica!