Fishing Tours in Zambia
While mighty Victoria Falls may pique your interest, it is by no means the only reason to visit Zambia. The world’s largest waterfall, which sits on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, is just an introduction to the country’s vast natural water resources.
Boasting the world’s longest lake – Lake Tanganyika – and the one of the largest man-made lakes, Lake Kariba, Zambia has no shortage of aquatic attractions. And let’s not forget the rivers. The Zambezi River provides the perfect opportunity to snag a toothy tigerfish or chase after the more elusive vundu. Intrepid anglers can also explore the Kafue and Luangwa river systems.
Zambia boast some top class fishing destination and species. The well known and highly sought after Tigerfish can be caught in the Zambezi River which flows through the entire country. Other species on offer are Nile Perch which can be found in the North of Zambia in Lake Tanganyika.
The origin of the Zambezi River and home to one of Africa’s toughest fighting fresh water game fish, the Tigerfish also known as the “Striped River Dog”.These powerful fish that perform dramatic aerial dances upon seizure provide for an exhilarating experience.
The Lower Zambezi river is located in south-eastern Zambia and forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The river splits two national parks: the Zambezi National Park on the northern, Zambian, side and the Mana Pools National Park on the southern, Zimbabwean, side. These two parks, which lie in the floodplains, are ringed by the mountainous escarpment of the Zambezi Valley. This area is a World Heritage Site. There are approximately 50 species of mammal, over 400 species of bird and roughly 75 species of fish located in the river and parks.
The biggest fishing attraction on the Lower Zambezi is the elusive Tigerfish. The river, which is protected by the national parks on either side, is free from the netting. The practice of netting creates an imbalance in the river’s delicate ecosystems and because netting is not allowed on this stretch of the river, the fish populations are much healthier. Another fishing attraction is the Vundu (the largest fresh water fish in Southern Africa), which is present in these waters.
The Upper Zambezi starts at the river’s source – a small spring in the north-west corridor of Zambia. From there, the river flows east into Angola, where it collects the bulk of its headwaters from the tributaries in the Angolan highlands, before flowing in a south-westerly direction back into Zambia. The Upper Zambezi ends when it falls over the edge of the mighty Victoria Falls.
During the rainy season, the Zambezi breaks its banks and forms a significantly large floodplain known as the Barotse Floodplain. This area can’t be fished from November to January due to heavy rains and flooding. The period from May to June, when the waters start to spill back into the main channel taking shoals of juvenile bait fish with them and creating a feeding frenzy, is the best time for fly fishermen to target Tigerfish.
Kariba Dam was constructed in 1959, the primary reason for its construction was to create a hydro-electric power station which would supply electricity to both Zambia and Zimbabwe. Today this dam is recognised as one of the world’s largest man made dams and is so large in fact that most refer to it as “Lake Kariba”.
Lake Kariba is an excellent destination to visit for those keen on fishing, game viewing or just plain relaxing. Most visitors to the Lake choose the option of experiencing the Lake from a Houseboat. Tender boats are generally drawn alongside offering fishermen the opportunity to test their skill at trying to catch one of Africa’s toughest fighting fresh water fish – the Tigerfish. As well as the great fishing there is fantastic wild game all along the waters edges and birdlife is remarkable.
Lake Tanganyika is the second deepest lake in the world after lake Baikal in Russia and the longest lake in the world. Its deepest points reach up to depths of 1433 metres which is approximately 642m below sea level. The lake lies in four countries’ a minority in each of Burundi and Zambia, and more than 40 percent in each of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. The clear waters host more than 350 different species of fish and is well known for aquarium fish exports and excellent angling.
The lake is home to some of the best freshwater angling to be found in Africa. Nothing beats the feeling of catching Africa’s fresh water giant Perch species. Most target fish species are generally found alongside the shorelines at depths around 20 – 50 ft of water in the oxygenate layer. More than a dozen species are regularly caught on rod and line with main target species including Tanganyika Perch (Lates angustifrons often referred to as Nile Perch), and can get up to +50 kg’s. There are five species of Lates (Perch) indigenous to Lake Tanganyika, the most sought after Perch is the Lates angustifrons this species is indigenous to Lake Tanganyika unlike the Nile Perch which was introduced into Lake Victoria in the 1950’s. Other species include Lake Salmon which is also a Perch species and gets up to 25kg, Lake Bream, Lake Trout, Vundoo, Frontosa, Mbilli and a wide variety of other fish species.
Fishing on the Upper Zambezi is seasonal due to annual flooding, so it is a good idea to get advice before planning a trip.
Best Fishing: July – October
Rainy Season: December – February
- Tigerfish (Hydrocynus vittatus)
- Nembwe Bream (Serranochromis robustus)
- Three Spot Bream (Oreochromis andersonii)
- Sharptooth Catfish (Clarius gariepinus)
- Pink Bream (Sargochromis giardi)
- Humpback Large Mouth (Serranochromis altus)
- Thinface Large Mouth (Serranochromis angusticeps)
- Fly Fishing
5 Night Barotse Tiger Tour
In the far reaches of western Zambia the Zambezi River floods over 50km wide over the kalahari sands, these flood waters create an expansive breeding ground for all aquatic species . During the drier months these flood water slowly recede into the main channels, rich with bait fish and creating a food supply for Africa's hardest fighting fresh water species Hydrocynus vittatus - the Tiger Fish! Join in on a 5 night Tour Target this apex river predator.