The moniker of ‘Land of Many Waters’ is especially relevant for anglers who travel in search of the world’s largest fish. Guyana has over 900 species of fish, including the largest scaled freshwater fish in the world – the arapaima – and scores of others like the payara, pacu, tarpon, bashu, chimara and lukanani. Fishing for most of these, especially protected species like the arapaima, is strictly catch and release in Guyana.
Sport Fishing Checklist
Guyana is home to a large array of fish and many of them are on the checklist for sport fishing enthusiasts. Indigenous Peoples are among the best fishermen to help you locate the species you wish to catch. The top of this list is the arapaima. Native to the areas of the Rewa and Rupununi Rivers, many come to Guyana for sustainable catch and release fishing for this species. Some of the other main ones are:
Also known as the peacock bass, the lukanani is one of the freshwater heavyweights. This predatory fish lives in the warmer waters of rivers and lakes. It can reach up to 74 centimeters in length. It is yellow-gold in colour with black triangles flanking its sides and a red and black eye spot on the tail that is hard to miss. Its spirited nature and aggressive behavior when caught and make it a popular fish to catch.
Payara (Vampire Fish)
The saber toothed payara is a fast-moving water species that eats piranhas for breakfast. Commonly referred to as the Vampire Fish by locals, it can grow up to three feet in the wild and weigh up to 35 pounds. If you go piranha fishing in Guyana, you have a great chance of catching one of these beauties.
Guyana reputedly has one of the largest concentrations of catfish species in the world. The rivers are filled with many different types, and the fishing season is year-round. The giant piraíba is one of the most sought after, which can weigh more than 400 pounds and grow up to 12 feet. Other popular catfish include skeet and tiger fish.
Bashas are part of the catfish family and can be found as deep as 100 feet down in the water in the peak (dry) season. Just like the piraíba, the basha can get pretty big in length and size. They have been spotted in most river systems in southern Guyana and in the northwest around the village of Warapoka.
The eel-like arowana lives in the shallow pools and sandbars of the country. Some call it the ‘dragon fish’, and it can measure up to four feet in length. Pound for pound they’re one of the strongest fighters, which make this species strong contenders for the best catch among sportfishing enthusiasts.
The piranha is known worldwide for its razor-sharp teeth and relentless bite. But their reputation is scarier than the reality. Some species are vegetarian and many eat more seeds than meat. It’s pretty rare for them harm people, which make them a sought after fish for recreational anglers.
Rapids and waterfalls are home to this freshwater fish, another favourite of fishing enthusiasts. Though not as big as the catfish or arapaima, the pacu is still on many anglers list as a ‘must catch’. Rewa, Surama, Caiman House, and Warapoka are some of the best locations for pacu.
Eco-Lodges & Resorts for Sport Fishing
Eco-lodges like Rewa Eco-Lodge, Warapoka Guest House and Surama Eco-Lodge, with its proximity to the Burro Burro River, are the closest to Guyana’s waterways and make the most popular spots for sport fishing in Guyana. The village Rewa lies in the middle of a pristine forest on its namesake river in the middle of the country. Both Surama and Warapoka also offer great access to rivers and creeks close by and guides that can help you make that big catch. Caiman House on the Rupununi River and Apoteri, an indigenous village that lies just a 20-minute boat ride from Rewa, are also popular fishing spots.
Guide to Sport Fishing
Sport fishing adventures are best done with seasoned locals who know Guyana well. Arrive at the correct season and take their help for booking accommodation, transportation and equipment as well.
Between mid-October and mid-February are the best seasons for sport fishing in Guyana, as these are the driest months. November to January is the peak season, especially amid the southern savannahs. During late-February to April, the conditions are variable. May to August is rainy, and the rivers are swollen – not the best time to try your luck at fishing.
The best fishing tours in Guyana are organised by Navin Rooonarain of Adventure Guianas, Ashley Holland of Rupununi Drifters, Justin and Duane de Freitas of Rupununi Trails and at each individual eco-lodge mentioned earlier. Sign up early to secure a spot during the next fishing season. Rewa, Surama, Caiman House, and Warapoka are some of the best locations for pacu.
Key Sport Fishing Regions
Cast your line during one of the two main fishing seasons – February to April and September to November – for a good catch. The Essequibo River, Kurupukari River, Abary River, Mahaica River, Simoni Pond, Luri Creek, Rewa River, Apoteri River and Burro Burro River are among the most popular fishing locations in Guyana. The village of Rock stone and eco-lodges such as Rewa, Surama, Caiman House, and Warapoka are some of the more popular lodges for sport fishing.