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The Central American country of Costa Rica has lost some of its lustre of late as a destination for tarpon and snook fishermen. Continuing subscribers know the problem is agricultural runoff into once famous east coast rivers such as the Tortuguero, Parismina and Colorado. The runoff has driven most of the tarpon out of the rivers into the open ocean where they are harder to reach and somewhat less sporting to catch.

Fortunately, a new "east coast type" tarpon and snook fishery is emerging in Costa Rica. This one, however, is in the northcentral part of the country, up near the border with Nicaragua. In fact, the river that is creating some excitement (the Rio Frio) flows north into Lake Nicaragua and provides easy access to the Rio San Juan, also in Nicaragua, which we wrote about in these pages last fall (See "Whoooa! New Hotspots Developing In Nicaragua" in the September 1995 issue, pages 1 4).

An Angling Report staff member is enroute to the Rio Frio as this is written. In the meantime, we can’t resist the temptation to point out that a new Costa Rican record tarpon has been taken in the Rio Frio. The 205 pound brute measured over seven feet and was taken last summer by an inexperienced angler on his first ever tarpon trip. The river and related waters such as the CaƱo Negro Lagoon are also said to contain snook, machaca and guapote.

Before anyone gets too excited, we should point out that a subscriber report we have on the Rio Frio is luke warmish. It was filed by subscriber Patrick Mullin who said tarpon, snook and machaca were "scarce" in the region during a spring visit he made more than a year ago. At that time, he said the guides that were provided had no knowledge of fly fishing. He does still conclude that the area is "generally recommendable" but only in the late May to October period.

We are indebted to Morgan Mac Donnell of Transmarine Special Interest Tours in Miami (*) for the little else we know about this new fishery. Seems the company that is organizing fishing here is called "No Frills." The name of the company is very appropriate too, we understand, given the spartan nature of the accommodations and infrastructure at this point.

An interesting wrinkle in all this is word we have that "No Frills" has gained permission to cross the border and offer trips to Lake Nicaragua and even to the Rio San Juan, which promises to be the new mother lode of tarpon fishing in Central America. How long the Nicaraguan government will allow this cross border tourism is anyone’s guess.

We are not giving this company or the new fishery it is developing a thumbs up yet, as we simply don’t know enough. But, hey – edge walkers of the world who like to be among the first into an area. Something’s cooking in Costa Rica! Stay tuned for more details. Don Causey.

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