Arenosa is small town located about 45 miles from Panama City on the western end of Lake Gatun.  The lake is part of the water basin that feeds water to run the Panama Canal. It covers about 160 square miles and supplies over 52 million gallons of water for each ship that passes through the Panama Canal as well as potable water to the approximately 2 million people in Panama City and the surrounding areas. The land surrounding the lake and the hundreds of small islands are filled with tropical wildlife and fauna.   Peacock Bass are in great abundance with Tarpon and Snook also found from time to time. Fishing is fantastic. Whether you are a fisherman or someone that just likes to get out on the water and sight see, this is a great location.

Fishing Trips 

I have a 24 foot pontoon boat that I rent to one of the local guides to take people out when there are more than two or three people or when a group wants or needs something more comfortable than a bench seat in a Jon boat all day. The rated capacity of the boat is ten people but I do limit fishing parties to six people or less so they can fish off the pontoon in real comfort.   There are comfortable chairs for all and even a stereo Radio/CD/MP3 system under a 13 X 8 foot canopy for the sun with side curtains in case of a heavy rain. (Bring your own MP3 player if you like.) Fishing trips on the pontoon boat are $150/day for the boat, fuel and guide. The guide can get live minnows for $5/100. Suggested amounts are 200 minnows for 2-3 fishermen and adding an additional hundred for every two fishermen over that. You can bring your own tackle if you like.  If you don’t bring your own tackle we have light spinning rods and reels and tackle available for $5/person additional. If you don’t have a cooler there are also coolers on board for your use. The only other costs involved, besides food and drinks, would be for filleting fish and a tip for the guide.  Besides my pontoon boat there are several local guides that take people fishing in small (14 to 18 foot) aluminum Jon boats for $70 – $80 a day, if you have your own rods, reels and tackle.
Sport fishermen routinely catch 40 or more Peacock Bass in a day’s fishing trip. 
I have been fishing out at Arenosa since 1999 and found that the guides out here know the lake and know where to fish. Even if you aren’t a fisherman, you will catch fish on Lake Gatun. The lake is chocked full of fish and even non-fisher persons always have a good time. By the way, you don’t have to be on Lake Gatun at the crack of dawn to catch fish. Peacock Bass are sight feeders therefore an early morning start works out just fine. In fact, if I had to guess I would say that most of the fish caught are caught from 8:00 AM on. If you want to take some home with you to cook up there are people that will skin and fillet your catch for you. Just bring some zip lock bags with you to carry the fillets home in.

Want to Eat Lunch in Arenosa?
If you want to grab a fried fish dinner or late lunch after your day of fishing, come on Wednesday through Sunday and have the guide show you the way over to the La Escondida Restaurant right on the waterfront in Arenosa.  They have a limited menu of fried fish from Lake Gatun (Tilapia and Peacock Bass) plates with patacones, yuca or french fries. Prices are about $7.00/plate and cold local beer is a dollar a bottle.  By the way, if you have been fishing and want to eat the trophy you caught that day, let the guide know and he will get it cleaned and they will cook it up for you in the restaurant. (They charge a few dollars a pound to cook them and will serve them up family style with french fries, yuca or paticones. Still about $6.00/plate I think, but hey, it is “your” fish.) 🙂

Want to Spend a Night in Arenosa?
Over the last four years I have had a number of people asked me about places to spend the night out near Arenosa. Well as you can imagine Arenosa is a small rural village and there is not a Hilton or even a Holiday Inn Express.  However there is a local rancher that has a small house on his finca (a working cattle ranch) that he rents out by the night.  Finca La Leona is owned and operated by Julio A. Martinis G. and is only 3km up the road from Arenosa on a private road.  I do not make reservations, so please contact Finca La Leona directly for any further information. You can see information about booking a night at Finca La Leona by clicking below

Click on Me to See Info on Finca La Leona