Giant Herring

Fishing day at Bolgoda Lake with Su Lin

I picked up Su Lin from her hotel in Colombo early in the morning and we headed for Bolgoda Lake. She had come to Sri Lanka to meet one of her friend who lives in Colombo and like a true angler she was looking for some fishing. She found us on Facebook and booked a day’s fishing.

On the way she asked me a lot of question about the fish she could catch on the day. I told her about guiding some Japanese anglers a few days ago and they had good action with the elusive featherback. Su Lin was excited & eager to catch one. The boat was waiting for us at the Villa when we arrived and we headed out to fish. We started on a nice spot, a structure where the tide current was strong and offers a perfect place for a Barramundi or a feisty Mangrove Jack. After a few casts Su Lin caught a Giant Herring, her first one and she was surprised by the strength of this fish compared with its size.

Sportfishing Lanka Bolgoda Lake Giant Herring

After that, we tried some other spots for Barramundi but nothing came. I decided to head to the spot where we had caught Featherback with our last group. When we arrived, we saw some fish rolling on surface but nothing compared with last time. Anyway, Su Lin tried and after some casts she caught a Mangrove Jack.

Sportfishing Lanka Bolgoda Lake Mangrove Jack

We stayed a while till lunch time and then headed to the Villa where the cook has prepared a nice Sri Lankan rice and curry.

After a short break, we went back to fishing and I decided to try for Barramundi in the main lake of Bolgoda.. We tried a spot where I had good action a few weeks ago but nothing come. On the second spot, Su Lin caught a Mangrove jack, then another one a bit bigger and another even bigger for a total of 6 Mangrove Jack in less than 15 minutes.

After that Su Lin asked me to take her to the Featherback spot because she really wanted to catch one. We reached the spot and the knife fish seemed more active. But as usual, to catch them requires a lot of patience. Su Lin cast the lure I advised her to use untiringly. It was on her last cast, just after I told her that we would go before nightfall, she caught one and she was so happy. The last minute fish was the perfect end to a very nice day’s fishing for Su Lin at Bolgoda Lake.

Sportfishing Lanka Bolgoda Lake Featherback

Su Lin is planning another day fishing at Bolgoda Lake when she comes back to meet her friend in Colombo. I look forward to guiding you again Su Lin and next time we will focus on a Wild Golden Barramundi;-)

Nico - Head Fishing Guide


The Jerry's at Bolgoda Lake

After a great GT fishing trip in Kirinda the Jerrys had planned to finish their trip with two days fishing at Bolgoda Lake.

Day One : Early in the morning I met the guys on the pontoon where I was waiting with the Barra Boat. Quick check of tackle: rods are little bit long but the action seem good for the predators of Bolgoda Lake. Lure box is fine : with plenty of different kind of minnow – now it’s time to go.

I reach the main lake and start at some spots where I had good success some days before. We fish one of my favorite spots for Mangrove Jack but unfortunately the fish are not so active, despite a large amount of bait. There are a few swirls behind the lure but no proper bites. I decide to move to another area. After a 15 minute drive we start fishing again on the lookout for Barramundi. Big Jerry catches an average size Mangrove Jack.

The area is quite so I suggest checking to see if the elusive Featherback are active. We reach the spot and see a few Featherback rolling on the surface. The sight of the fish rolling make little Jerry crazy, he tries all the lures in his box to catch one of these Featherback, but the knife-fish don’t seem interested. We head back to the Villa for some lunch and a small nap before coming back to that spot later in the afternoon.

Around 2:30 pm we leave the pontoon for the Featherback spot. There are a few quick stops at some Barramundi spots with a couple of small mangrove jack. Finally, we arrive at the spot. The Featherback are there, untiringly rolling on surface. The Jerry’s never give up and cast their lure in the hope to have a bite of Featherback. But definitely, they are not active, finally little Jerry catches a decent Mangrove Jack. This first day was really tough, but I was confident with my plan for the next day.

Mangrove Jack Ima lure casting Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

Day Two : I follow my plan to fish the main lake where I have seen many baits and I decide to concentrate our effort there. On the first spot little Jerry misses a nice bite. At the second spot he catches a mangrove jack, another one and another one again, for a total of 7 Mangrove Jack. Big Jerry catches one and misses some.

We try another spot for Mangrove Jack and the Jerrys have a double hook up of nice Mangrove Jack.

Mangrove Jack double hook up fishing Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

After that, I decide to change the area to try some Barramundi spots. On the third cast little Jerry has a serious bite with a long rush, for sure a Barramundi. After a nice fight, he lands a nice barramundi. Quick picture and we release the fish.

Barramundi Ima lure casting Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

We continue to fish the spot and it’s big Jerry who has a very serious fish, very long and powerful rush. We start to see the fish on the surface, it was a big barramundi in the 7/8 kg mark, but unfortunately on the last rush the fish was off, the lure comes back without the treble hook from the tail, split ring open. Very sad ! We try some other spots without success. Big Jerry catches a jumping Giant Herring and little Jerry a small Mangrove Jack to finish this very good morning session.

Mangrove Jack luring fishing Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

For the afternoon session, I decide to stay on the main lake. On the first spot there’s no activity so I try the spot where we had the Barramundi bite in the morning again and big Jerry catches a nice Barramundi.

Barramundi Sportfishing Lanka Bolgoda Lake Maria lure

On the next spot he had another one but again it got off. Unlucky ! We finish the day at some mangrove jack spots and little Jerry catches his 14th Mangrove Jack of the day.

Mangrove Jack Ima Lure casting Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

The 2 days trip with the Jerrys was really a pleasure. Lots of fun onboard, we laugh and joke throughout the trip and enjoy every minute. It was a really good trip ! Hope to see you soon in Lanka guys.

Nico - Head Fishing Guide

Species Caught: Mangrove Jack, Giant Herring, Barramundi

Rod: Major Craft

Reel: Daiwa

Lures: Maria, Ima, Duel, Rapala


Nice fishing day at Bolgoda Lake

Barramundi, Featherback, Giant Herring & Mangrove Jack caught by japanese expat Horioko San in a hot & dry fishing day.

Nice to meet you and hope to see you soon to fish again Bolgoda Lake with us.

Sportfishing Lanka Team

Expats Fly Fishing at Bolgoda Lake

Tiernan has been working in Colombo and like any good fisherman he brought his fishing rods, hoping to fish in his new country of residence. Tiernan is a fly fisherman, in the United States, he fishes in fresh water for trout, salmon and large mouth bass. He has also fished at sea for Redfish and other mangrove fish.

After three months without having gone fishing, Tiernan booked a fishing day with us at Bolgoda Lake. Guiding a fly fisherman is a great challenge for me. I know it’s possible to catch many of the species present in the lake on fly, but I never had the opportunity to guide a fisherman to try. In the past we have had anglers fly fishing and they’ve caught Giant Herring, Oxeye Tarpon, Mangove Jack and even Barramundi for the luckiest.

I met Tiernan at the villa, we had a coffee and prepared the fishing equipment. Tiernan was well equipped, but I took my fly rod and my fly box just in case. We headed out at around 7:30 am and started fishing on our Barramundi spots. The weather was perfect and the surface of the water flat. We saw Oxeye Tarpon rolling in some areas, Tiernan missed 2 and we are headed to another spot for Barramundi but there was no activity. Then I decided to go on our favourite spot for Featherback. When we arrived we saw plenty of these “knife fish” rolling on surface, Tiernan couldn’t believe his eyes ! Unfortunately he didn’t have any bites from this elusive fish but he caught a very nice Giant Herring.

Ladyfish Fly Fishing Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

It was time for a lunch break back at the villa. In the afternoon, Tiernan wanted to try the morning spot again for catching a featherback. At the spot there was the same activity as the morning, the Featherback were rolling on surface, but this time I gave of Tiernan a favourite fly of mine. An orange & yellow Enrico Puglisi. On his second cast, right where a Featherback was rolling, two strips and bang ! Fish on !!! First Featherback ever caught on fly at Bolgoda Lake !!!

Featherback Fly fishing Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

Congratulations Tiernan ! After that we changed spots to try again for Barramundi and Tiernan caught a nice Mangrove Jack to finish his fishing day.

Mangrove Jack Fly fishing Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

It was a great trip that has given me more confidence to guide fly fishermen at Bolgoda Lake. If you are travelling in Sri Lanka and would like to have a couple of days fly fishing at Bolgoda Lake give us a call !

Nico - Head Fishing Guide

Learning to fish at Bolgoda Lake

Sanjeeth and Jane, travelling in Sri Lanka for their honeymoon decided to spend two nights and a fishing day on Bolgoda Lake.

During breakfast, I met this young couple from Bangalore in India. We talked of the days they had spent in Sri Lanka and started talking about fishing. That’s when I discovered they have never fished before. I wasn’t expecting that! Anyway, we decided to start the day with a casting course and end up practicing on the boat. After a 30 minutes casting course from the shore, we went fishing. The first casts were not so accurate and there were a few mistakes like to forgetting to open the bail arm or close the bail arm, but after 1 hour of practicing they were both casting more accurately. Jane had the first bite of the day, with a big Giant Herring jumping in the air but the fish come off. Around 10 a.m. the heat started to be uncomfortable for the couple so we headed back doing some trolling along the way. We had one bite but the fish was not hooked properly.

After a nice Sri Lankan curry and a quick nap, Sanjeeth got on the boat for the second part of his day fishing, but Jane preferred to stay at the villa, have a rest and enjoy the swimming pool. We headed straight to the area where we’d found some fish activity the morning. When we arrived, Featherback were rolling on the surface, but being fussy eaters, they didn’t have any interest on Sanjeeth lure. Sanjeeth suggested I take Jane’s rod and join him for a few casts. He was fishing middle water and I tried on the bottom. After a couple of cast I have a proper brutal Mangrove Jack bite, the fish went straight to the structure and I was stuck. I tried to release the hook from the structure and managed to get it free but without the fish.

In the early evening the fish start to be more active, we started to see a few follows. I decided to change my lure for a small popper and immediately I have a bite, a big Giant Herring started to jump like hell, I give the rod to Sanjeeth and he landed this nice fish.

Ladyfish Giant Herring casting lure topwater popper Bolgoda Lake SPortfishing Lanka

I give him the lure and he had a bite, but he missed the fish. Finally he had one, a bit smaller, but his own fish, the first one !!

Ladyfish Herring casting lure topwater Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

So happy for him. We could have had 30 minutes more of fishing but it looked like there was a storm approaching and it was time for us to return quickly.

It was a pleasure to have Sanjeeth and Jane on board. They enjoyed their day at Bolgoda Lake with the wild life, landscape and their first experience fishing.

Nico - Head Fishing Guide


A couple from Alaska try fly fishing at Bolgoda Lake

Brad and Melissa arrived at Bayou of Bolgoda on 08 February 2015 to try out fly fishing at our Lake Fishing destination in Sri Lanka.

Day 1: Fishing the last two hours of daylight

2 fish for 3 bites. Clients, Brad and Melissa from Alaska arrived in the afternoon and wanted to fish the two last hours of daylight. It was quite windy so the fishing was done in a small bay where they managed two small GT on their fly fishing equipment before it was completely dark. They were excited to try the fly fishing on the lake as they had very light tackle, with a weight of just 4-5 weight on each rod. They had also brought one sinking line and one floating to be able to try all different depths, getting their thin 5lb leaders where they wanted them.

Scenery Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

Day 2: Crocodiles and adapting fishing to Bolgoda’s environs

4 fish for 14 bites. The day started early at 05.30 with a flat surface and spotting many big crocodiles on the surface very close to the boat. The first fish were a couple of nice Mangrove Jacks around 35cm close to the prawn traps, with a strong current keeping the cloudy water at a steady pace. We also managed to hook a small Tarpon in amongst the small floating islands of vegetation where the fish seek refuge. The tarpon took on a small bright streamer on the fly fishing equipment, which was the method of choice for the Alaskan couple.

Oxeye Tarpon Fly Fishing Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

The evening brought rain, but they managed a fun fishing with streamers for jumping Giant Herring just outside the resort in the dark hours.

Mangrove Jack on Fly Fishing Bolgoda Lake

Day 3: Lures and Fly working well at Bolgoda

9 fish for 12 bites. Same as the day before the fishing began early in the main lake with sunny weather and calm conditions and it produced 12 bites before 10.30 in the morning! The fishing was great fun with many Mangrove Jacks taking both lures and flies hard. At one point Brad caught 2 Mangrove Jacks at the same time on the same lure, a small white and green wobbler close to the small temple island in the middle of the main lake and Melissa caught the largest “MJ” of the trip at over 2kg, taken on a chrome colored lure right next to a big rock. This is always a good feature, holding many fish at various depths.

Mangrove Jack Rapala Fishing Bolgoda Lake Sportfishing Lanka

The evening brought with it a storm and heavy rain, and the couple made the decision to head back early.

Bolgoda is a truly unique destination. The environs and the species make the lake a versatile fishing environment suitable to casting lures and fly fishing. Once you’ve spent a couple of hours working out how to adapt your style and technique to the lake you’ll be rewarded with a fun and exciting fishing experience.

Daniel Anderson - Swedish Fishing Guide