Panama Fishing | Best Months for fishing in Panama

panama fishing wahoo-panama-big-game-fishing-lodge-el-rio-negroThe Tuna Coast is famous for offering some of the best fishing spots in the world. Panama, meaning “abundance of fish,” earns its name thanks in large part to the Tuna Coast, where Panama sport fishing aficionados can reach deep sea fishing channels in less than an hour. This is made possible because of the coast’s unusual proximity to the continental shelf.

At El Rio Negro, fishing season is every month of the year. The Tuna Coast is located in the middle of a number of different migration routes for a wide variety of fish. No matter when you come to visit, you can expect plenty of fish in the sea. Of these fish varieties, there are plenty of fighting fish for Panama sport fishing, including red snapper, yellowfin tuna, mahi mahi, jack crevalle, rooster fish and many more.

The only time it isn’t fishing season on the Tuna Coast is during the months of October and November, when the lodge is closed for maintenance. The rest of the year, the question is just where you will be fishing. During the windy season, there is more of a journey around the Azuero peninsula to reach fishable waters. While we do not believe that it is possible to predict what fish will be in the area months in advance, we’re happy to let you know what’s been biting and what we believe will be biting a few weeks prior to your trip. We know that you come for the best Panama sport fishing in the world. When you fish with us, we will put you in the best position possible to contend with and catch prize-sized fish.

Though we can’t say with absolute certainty what fish will be biting months ahead of time, we do have an idea of what is in season during different parts of the year. These time frames can vary some due to other factors such as climate or lunar cycles, but the list below will give you a rough idea of what kind of fish you could expect to catch on your Panama sport fishing adventure at El Rio Negro. Take a look through the following Panama fishing calendar to help you plan a memorable trip for you and your companions.


January is the start of the busy season on the Tuna Coast. Traditionally it launches the dry season in Panama. During this time, we experience strong winds from the north and cooler water temperatures. Water conditions are choppy due to these winds, and with them come the first arrivals of huge schools of yellowfin tuna. Other fish varieties that are frequently caught during this month are black marlin, dorado, and pacific sailfish.


February is similar to January. Cooler water temperatures combined with northern winds continue, and the bait balls that begin to arrive in January are extremely prevalent in February. Blue, black and striped marlin are all popular catches during this month, and inshore Panama fishing really picks up with cubera snapper and rooster fish a part of a typical day’s catch.


Though January is a great month for yellowfin tuna, March may very well be one of the best. Feeding frenzies involving huge tuna are common, making this one of the best months for Panama fishing on the Tuna Coast. Blue, black, and striped marlin also are migrating through the area at this time, and inshore fishing picks up substantially. Strong winds continue and water temperatures in the mid-seventies are common throughout the month.


Yellow fin tuna continue in abundance around the Azuero Peninsula in April. Punta Naranjo is another spot that produces good results for those fishing for large tuna as close as 300 meters from the shoreline. Winds are less prevalent during this month, as a result the seas are calmer. Bill fish and fighting fish, though abundant, seem to come in waves during the month, and jigging is a productive tactic due to the colder water temperatures.


In May, the stiff winds begin to die down. The result is much calmer seas and warmer water temperatures. Coinuja bait are at their most abundant during this month, and utilizing slow trolling tactics around them regularly result in cubera snapper and rooster fish. Pacific sailfish become more regular during this month and can be caught along the shoreline along the Tuna Coast, Punta Naranjo and Aguja Reef.


June means peak Pacific sailfish season on the Tuna Coast. Expect overcast skies and random scattered showers throughout your visit. Water temperatures continue to warm in June, and the seas are calm with light winds. The yellowfin tuna still haven’t left, nor have the black marlin.


In July, the winds typically die out, and new scattered showers pop up for about an hour at a time. Water temperatures approach some of the warmest of the year, and this means dorado are plentiful. In addition to dorado, black marlin and Pacific sailfish are readily caught throughout the month of July.


August is a great month for bill fish such as black marlin and Pacific sailfish. Water temperatures continue to warm up, and scattered rain and thunderstorms become more prevalent. Wahoo season begins and dorado season is in full swing. Inshore fishing is often decent as a result.


September kicks off the rainy season on the Tuna Coast. Water temperatures top out in the 80s. You will experience calm waters and light winds. Scattered thunderstorms are prevalent throughout the month. September also means the peak of wahoo season. Bill fish are around, and fishing for dorado just off the Azuero Peninsula is highly productive.

October – Closed

November – Closed


Panama is at its most beautiful in December. December marks the end of Panama’s rainy season, with the dry season starting and northern winds beginning once more. Water temperatures start to dip and the seas are fairly calm. Black marlin are migrating along the Azuero Peninsula and wahoo and dorado are still swarming the Tuna Coast. In addition, cubera snapper and rooster fish seem particularly active during this time, due to the changing seasons. All told, December is a great month for Panama sport fishing here at El Rio Negro.

Regardless of season, El Rio Negro sports some of the best Panama fishing around. Our Panama fishing crews are experienced in putting you in the perfect position for the best catch opportunities. Bill fish are productive almost year round, and you can rather reliably find other varieties of fish throughout the year as well. At El Rio Negro, the question for Panama fishing visitors isn’t, “What can I catch?” so much as, “What do you want to catch?” If you’re ready to come fish with us and catch some of the biggest fish in Panama, call or e-mail us today to schedule your fishing adventure.

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