Fishing in Tanzania

Tanzania, with its huge lakes, rivers, and crystal-clear marine waters teeming with exotic and world-record sized fish, is a bucket list international fishing destination.
View 6 listings
price starting from
fish species
to the nearest trip

About Tanzania

Tanzania is a large country in East Africa, it has a population of some 65 million people and is about twice as big as California in area. With 1 400 km (885 mile) of coastline, the Island of Zanzibar, several massive, inland water bodies, including Lakes Victoria, Tanganyika and Malawi, as well as some really exciting rivers, Tanzania is a safe and diverse, if relatively little known, fishing destination. The nation has a well developed tourism industry, mostly focused around incredible numbers of typical African wildlife, including the annual migration of millions of game animals in the Serengeti National Park, and offering anything from “fly in safaris” to hot-air ballooning and anything in between. This includes options to travel to amazing, exciting and remote fishing locations, and several types of fishing are rapidly increasing in popularity as they become more organised and better known.

Fishing Types

Tanzania has a wide variety of excellent fishing opportunities in both the marine and freshwater domains. The extensive marine shoreline is mostly little developed but, at destinations like Zanzibar and near Dar-es-Salaam, there are an ever-increasing number of charter boat operators offering deep sea fishing experiences. Marine shore fishing is generally limited as there is often much local and commercial effort that has reduced stocks of the larger fish. Exciting freshwater fishing opportunities are growing in numbers and sophistication around all three major lakes. Most recreational lake fishing is carried out from boats and it is usually best to seek out suitable local charter companies on the Internet rather than “go it alone”. The lakes are very large and it is difficult to find good, safe and accessible destinations by simply following a map to fish somewhere on the shore of one of the lakes or rivers. Recently, several fishing safari operators have opened up access to the Mnyera and Ruhudji rivers of southern Tanzania with exciting target fish species and incredible African vistas and wildlife. Fishing here entails a 2-hour flight from Dar es Salaam to rustic, but pleasant, camps from which daily fishing expeditions depart by boat.

Targeted Fish Species

Offshore marine fish species include yellowfin tuna, giant trevally, dogtooth tuna, mahi-mahi, marlin, sailfish, swordfish, groupers and many more. Offshore fishing pressure is generally low and so the chances of catching trophy fish are much greater in Tanzania than some other destinations. In the large lakes, Nile perch are native to Lake Victoria and have been introduced to Lakes Tanganyika and Malawi, plus there are several hundred species of indigenous fish that can also be caught. The highlight of the southern rivers is the “original” tigerfish, Hydrocynus vittatus and also the larger Tanzanian tigerfish, Hydrocynus tanzaniae. “Good” Tanzanian tiger fish are in the range 15-25 lb. (6,8 – 11,3 kg.) and a “trophy” specimen is usually seen as one above 20 lb. (9kg.). There are also several other local species, including the rhino and velvet yellowfish and many other smaller ones.

Fishing Techniques

Tanzania offers some of the best offshore game fishing, Nile perch lake fishing and river tiger fishing in the world. Offshore is the deep Pemba Channel through which massive numbers of many species of game fish migrate and there are many excellent operators and captains more than willing and prepared to get you to the fish. Most of the fishing is “traditional” trolling with artificial lures, but whatever the client wants can usually be accommodated. Snorkelling on the shallower reefs is extremely interesting, colourful and exciting. Boat lake-fishing can be tailored to suit the client and, while trolling may be the most consistent way to catch large Nile perch, catching a smaller one on the fly may be more appealing to some anglers. Tiger fishing in the rivers is an “exclusive” activity that some operators have organised with the local government and communities and it is strictly fly fishing only and also only catch and release. Most fishing is carried out from aluminium boats. Tanzania’s pristine beauty, combined with excellent opportunities to catch extremely large fish in the marine, lake and river environments, make it an absolute gem!