Fresh water fishing on Gatun Lake is a once in a lifetime experience, fishing the many back water areas surrounded by the Rain Forest Jungle of Panama and fishing while great Ocean going vessels make their way from Ocean to Ocean. At one time, Gatun Lake was the world's largest man made fresh water lake. At 85 feet above sea level, the lake is a major highway for ships traveling from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Gatun Lake has an area of 164 square miles at its normal level; it stores 183,000,000,000 ft³ of water.
The ferocious Peacock Bass of Gatun Lake is a challenging fish to catch using fly rods. The Peacock Bass range from 1lb. to 10lbs. Often times you can catch up to 100 Peacock bass a day. This fish was accidentally introduced into Gatun Lake via the Chagres River. The Peacock Bass came from a private pond many miles from the Chagres. This pond was breached during a heavy tropical rain storm causing the walls to collapse and releasing the peacock bass into the Gatun basin. Gatun Lake is the home of the Cichla Monoculus (AKA Peacock bass or Sargento) and offers Snook and Tarpon as well.
Peacock Bass in Gatun Lake, lend themselves to being fished with fly rods. Using a 5 to 8 weight fly rod with a floating weight forward line (6 to 20 lbs class tippet recommended). Making long casts with a fairly big popper is the most important thing to keep in mind. You will be making a lot of casts and double stripping with erratic jerks. Best flies for the Peacock Bass are big noisy poppers with lots of flash. Other flies that also work are closures, small streamers, sea duecers, whistlers, shrimp patterns, insects imitations and baitfish deceivers on 1/0 or smaller hooks. Top producing colors are red/white, blue/gold, black/yellow, all with silver or gold flash. Also available are Sardina, a small bait fish which is used when fishing for Peacock Bass.
A great day of fishing starts with an early morning pick up at your hotel in downtown Panama City. You will be traveling 35 miles to Gamboa in an air-conditioned vehicle passing by Miraflores Locks and Pedro Miguel Locks over the Continental Divide to your fishing boat. You will launch from the Marina on the Chargres River. You should be fishing within an hour of your pick up, returning to your hotel at about 1PM.
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