Fishing From the Historic Belize River Lodge, Belize’s First Fishing Lodge
Whether you choose to stay in our comfortable Mahogany Lodge located in a setting of tropical greenery and colorful flowers on the bank of the Belize Olde River or our island get-away at Long Caye Outpost, fishing is from 23′ fiberglass Pangas, the only skiff that can truly handle the waters of Belize. There are usually two anglers to a skiff with an English speaking, licensed and experienced guide.
Belize River Lodge is located in Central Belize, an area offering a very diverse fishing environment. The FLATS, channels, cayes, reef, mangrove islands and channels, Belize River, Sibun River, Manatee River, Black Creek, and several other creeks & lagoons in between are the areas fished from the Lodge in a normal five day fishing package. This is a very large area with a great variety of fishing conditions, fish species and scenery. Game fish species generally found in this area include PERMIT, BONEFISH, TARPON, SNOOK, SNAPPER, JACKS, BARRACUDA, GROUPER and others. Visual Saltwater Grand Slams and Back Country Grand Slams occur every day. Landed Slams will depend upon your skill, the fish and a little luck!
Many species of birds and other wildlife such as manatees, howler monkeys, iguanas, turtles, and occasionally crocodiles may be seen while fishing from the Lodge. Comfortable skiffs, modern outboard engines and English speaking, professional licensed guides help make this a memorable fishing vacation.
Tell your Belize fishing guide what your desires for the day are and he will try to fulfill your every request. All of the Lodge guides are Belizeans experienced in saltwater fly-fishing and spin casting. Our guides know the waters of Belize and are friendly, talented, hard working, patient, and very capable of instructing, whether you are a fly caster or spin fisher. While you search for your trophy or cast for your Grand Slam, be sure to absorb the natural beauty of Belize while enjoying your Belize fishing vacation in the Caribbean.
The coast of Belize is a complex system of river mouths, creeks, lagoons, flats, small cayes, mangrove islands and Barrier Reef. The ecosystem that exists here supports millions of crabs, shrimp, bait fish and other aquatic life, which is why there is an abundance of game fish; Permit, Bonefish, Tarpon, Snook, Cubera Snappers, Jacks, Groupers, Barracudas and Cobia to name a few.
Central Belize, where Belize River Lodge is located, is a year round fishery offering both saltwater fishing and river fishing. Year round, you can get into Tarpon, Permit, Bonefish and Snook, however, depending on your interests; there may be a better time frame to target a specific species.
Spin casting or fly fishing Bonefish is year round. Belize’s bonefish tend to be smaller than other countries; however, they are very plentiful. Bonefish within this ecosystem vary from 2 to 8 pounds, with the majority being approximately 3 lbs. As a note, Bonefish are considered to be one of the most powerful fish, per pound, for its size.
The explosive Snook, saltwater’s bass, can be found in sizes of 5 to 25 pounds. Snook fishing is also good year round, however, low tides make casting to these fish easier, so November thru April are the most optimum months if you only want to cast to Snook.
Tarpon, the silver king, is one of the most acrobatic fish sought by saltwater anglers. Tarpon are categorized in two categories, Tarpon and large Tarpon. Belize has a resident population of large Tarpon, however in the spring and summer, migrating Tarpon visit our waters, making for larger numbers of these big fish. While you can land large Tarpon year round, the bigger Tarpon are mainly found in the months of March through early August.
Tarpon from 5 to 80 lbs are found along the mangrove cayes, along the Flats and in the rivers. The Tarpon areas of Central Belize are diverse making for very good Tarpon fishing and a year round fishery.
The Belize coast is known worldwide for its Permit fishing flats. When fishing from the Lodge or the live-aboard, Permit range from 5 to over 30 pounds. The best time to fish for Permit is when there is less wind, usually the months between April and September or when your schedule allows. Permit fishing is very weather dependent and any day of the year can be good Permit weather. To land a Permit is the ultimate fisherman’s trophy!
While all anglers like to measure success in landed fish, saltwater fishing should be viewed as landed fish plus the experience. Saltwater fish are very strong and acrobatic and tend to shake lures and flies frequently. Even more frustrating to the angler, is when they make the perfect cast and the fish looks and turns away without biting. Saltwater fly-fishing and spin fishing should be viewed in the number of fish seen, casted to, hooked, jumped and finally landed!Snappers, Jacks, Groupers, Cobia, Barracuda and a large variety of other saltwater game fish can be caught year round along the coast of Belize. While we refer to specific months above, please note that those months are typically higher concentrations of those particular fish, but all are found, casted to and landed year round.
Central Belize fishing is a matter of preference. Whether you prefer to fly-fish or spin cast to your target species or fish the Flats or rivers; Belize River Lodge provides the best fishing Belize has to offer while fishing the Caribbean!
When to Fish at Belize River Lodge ~ There is No Bad Time to Fish
Central Belize, where Belize River Lodge is located, has a very healthy fishery for Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit and Snook. Due to the extensive fishing grounds in Central Belize, BRL is a year round fishery. Weather determines where we fish, whether flats, channels, rivers, etc, but you have the opportunity to fish for Bonefish, Permit, Tarpon and Snook year round, along with more species variety, such as jacks, snappers, ladyfish, tripletail, ‘cuda’s etc. We look at fishing as good, better and best time frames as there is no bad time to fish.
The biggest factor to affect our fishing (as with anywhere) is weather. On any day of the year in the tropics, Belize can have rain or wind or can be sunny, calm and great fishing weather. Ideally, everyone wants to sight cast the Flats, and so do BRL guides; however, if it is rainy and overcast or windy, then the visibility on the flats can be low, and the guides will try a few different options to get you into fish.
- – Find the flats on the leeward side of islands
- – Blindcast to spots they know
- – Fish the three different river systems for tarpon and snook
- – Fish deeper channels
- – Most other methods to try and fish in inclement weather
Everyday is different and the guides choose how and where to fish depending on what you would like to catch and what the weather and tides are doing.
Below are generalities that are found at Belize River Lodge. The sizes listed are most common; however, smaller and bigger fish can always be seen and sometimes caught. The months listed are when these fish are most commonly seen or fished for. Please remember that as we fish year round and fish the Flats when the weather allows and the rivers the rest of the time, the best time for a fishing trip is when you make the time to go fishing!
1=Good 2=Better 3=Best
|Bonefish||3 – 5||2||3||3||3||3||3||3||3||3||3||3||3|
|Tarpon (sm)||6 – 25||2||2||3||3||3||3||3||3||3||3||3||3|
|Tarpon (med)||25 – 60||2||3||3||3||3||3||2||3||2||2||2||2|
|Tarpon (resident – lg)||60 – 150+||1||1||3||3||3||3||2||2||2||2||2||2|
|Tarpon (migrating – lg)||60 – 150+||–||1||3||3||3||3||3||2||–||–||–||–|
|Permit||6 – 25||2||2||2||3||3||3||2||3||2||2||2||1|
|Snook||8 – 15||3||3||2||2||2||2||2||1||1||2||3||3|
|Barracuda||12 – 40||2||1||3||3||3||3||2||2||3||3||2||2|
|Jack Crevalle||15 – 40||2||3||3||3||3||3||2||2||2||2||2||2|
A Typical Day Saltwater Fishing
Coffee or Tea on the Lodge Verandah, conversation, check tackle and equipment. If you are a birder, this is a great time to get out your binoculars and enjoy BRL’s many wild tropical birds.
Breakfast, then after breakfast, back to your room, grab your gear, and go to the dock where you will meet your awaiting guide.
Guides are ready on skiffs at the dock, a few minutes for guides to check your tackle (especially if guests are changing guides daily). Then you and your guide can determine where and what to fish for that day based on weather and target species. Your BRL guide will help you tie or select the right leaders, lines, shock tippets and flies for the areas you are concentrating on for that day. Note that your first morning will take a few minutes longer for initial set up of equipment.
Leave dock for fishing areas – can be Flats, reef, mangroves, creeks, lagoons or river; usually a half hour to 40 minutes running time (as close as 20 minutes away).
While staying at Long Caye Outpost, you can following the outlined schedule or you can switch around fishing times to fish before breakfast or a bit later in the day. You, your fishing guides and LCOL crew decide on the daily fishing schedule.
Whether you fish at Belize River Lodge or Long Caye Outpost, guides fish approximately 8 to 10 hours a day.
During the Day
Most of the day is spent hunting or casting to fish, checking out many different places, such as flats, channels, mangrove shorelines, etc. The guides will usually pole or paddle during fishing most of the day with each angler taking turns on the bow, if there are two anglers to the boat. It is mostly sight fishing: casting to tailing, rolling or cruising fish or casting to fish held up under the mangroves or casting to mudding spots. There will be some blind casting to areas that guides know hold fish. The guide will motor to other areas during the day always with wind, tide, light and species in mind.
Sometime about midday, depending on fishing, the guide will find a cool, shady spot for lunch (usually under an overhanging mangrove). Lunch is prepared by the Lodge staff and consists of a delicious boxed meal of sandwiches, fruit, chips & dessert and is packed in a cooler with an assortment of soft drinks, beer, water, etc. Many anglers catch a power nap at this time and then plan for the afternoon. The afternoon fishing continues and the skiff heads for the Lodge, getting back around 5:00 to 5:30 pm. All boats should be back in the river before dusk. Rods & reels are rinsed at the dockside and stored in a convenient rack near the main Lodge, safe from screen doors and ceiling fans.
After a shower; drinks, appetizers & fishing stories are shared on the verandah. At 7:00 pm a delicious family style dinner is served and after dinner, relax on the screened-in porch, enjoy an after dinner cocktail and reminisce on the day’s fishing. Maybe even find out what the hot lure or fly of the day was and learn to tie it yourself at the fly tying table.
Note: If you enjoy snorkeling, bring your equipment with you, and take an hour or so out of your fishing day and snorkel if you are near the reef. Let your guide know in the morning that you would like to snorkel, so he can plan it into your day.