Peacock Bass Fishing in Lake Gatun: Easy Adventures

By Denise MacDonald in Coronado

Panama City might be a bustling, growing metropolis with plenty of modern amenities and activities, but Panama is very much centered in nature. Any high-rise condo is only a short drive from a tropical forest trek or a deep-sea fishing adventure. The weather is warm all year round, so the beaches are always welcoming.

Lake Gatun is one of Panama’s most well known landmarks. Formed by the creation of the Panama Canal, this man-made lake is truly enormous. As it is located just outside Panama City and under two hours driving from Coronado, Lake Gatun makes a great location for a day trip from either location.

Much to my surprise as a ‘non-fisherwoman’, I found myself signed up with a group of guys to go fishing in Lake Gatun, departing from Coronado at 5:15 am.

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Prepping our haul for the Sunday barbecue!

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A “non-fisherwoman” at work

outskirts of Capira and then headed North, up the twisty curves of mountains, through a fairly major agricultural area of Panama. Large chicken barns, fields of pineapple and other crops lined both sides of the narrow, mountainous roads. As we were all just beginning to awaken to the scenes around us, we arrived at our destination.

As we boarded the pontoon boat, a bucket was loaded ‘for my convenience’. It is important for us women on the trip to have ‘options’. We each took a chair on the boat and off we went quietly, each taking moments to gradually wake up. The scenery around us was peaceful and serene. Osprey, hawks, and other birds blessed us with their presence – some of which I was lucky enough to capture on camera. The lake was scattered with trees and stumps emerging from all areas of the lake, remnants from when the land was dry and un-flooded.

Once we were upon our first stopping area, our guide patiently loaded each of our fishing lines with minnows – so far, so good! Within moments of stopping, we had bites. Having my only previous Canadian fishing experiences yield an old shoe on my hook, I was slightly astonished to catch my first fish – even if it wasn’t large enough to keep. It was gently removed from the hook, again by our guide, and tossed back in the lake for a second chance at life. The best part was that I caught another, and another… and another, which were all keepers! Among five of us, we caught 41 in total.

By about 11 am, the fish were all hiding for the day and we headed back to shore. For 15 cents a fish, our guide filleted and cleaned the fish for us and sent us packing with bags of fresh fish for our upcoming fish fry at the beach house in El Palmar. Maybe I could get used to the idea of actually liking this activity of fishing after all!

Read about Lake gatun here!

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