Sport Fishing in Uganda (1)
Around 350 different species of fish can be found in Uganda. PHOTO/SASO UGANDA SAFARIS

In Uganda, sport fishing is often referred to as recreational fishing because it is done as a recreational activity. Unlike commercial fishing, which is conducted for profit and food, sport fishing is conducted for enjoyment and fun.

Uganda has experienced a huge increase in the popularity of sport fishing since the early 1990s, making it one of the most popular activities. 

The tranquillity of the seas is one of the reasons people enjoy fishing as a hobby. The peace and stillness are excellent for recharging the mind and inspiring creativity. 

If you’re on safari with family or friends, you can engage in some healthy rivalry to see who can capture the biggest or prettiest fish. It’s entirely up to you.

You may even be able to take your catch back for supper in the various regions where you go recreational fishing. This is determined by the species you have caught and the conservation restrictions applicable to it. 

Uganda is home to around 350 fish species. Tilapia and Nile Perch are the two most commonly fished species for commercial purposes. Lungfish, Protoperus, catfish and Rastrinabola are the other forms of fish. 

In Uganda, the Nile perch is possibly the largest fish that can be caught. They weigh up to almost 220 kilograms. Lungfish and Tilapia are two other huge fish found in Uganda

Although tilapia is the most commonly consumed fish in Ugandan homes, the little silverfish gained popularity due to its nutritional qualities.

On your excursion, you are most likely to fish for tilapia, which may be smoked and shared as a snack in some regions, such as the Ssese Islands, but is more of a catch-and-release game in sites such as Murchison Falls due to conservation concerns.

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The best time to go sport fishing at Murchison Falls National Park is during the dry season. PHOTO/COURTESY

In Uganda, the best two fishing locations are the River Nile and Lake Victoria. Casting lures or using live bait to catch Nile Perch, Tilapia, and Tigerfish is the primary way of capturing fish in these two famous bodies of water. 

Fishing in Uganda is fantastic since it allows you to see Africa’s renowned wildlife and magnificent environment. The risk of coming face to face with dangerous creatures such as crocodiles adds to the excitement and adventure of the journeys. 

However, safety is important, and fishermen are typically accompanied from park offices by armed rangers in case they come across hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, or elephants.

Sportfishing trips are usually scheduled for several days and necessitate a strong commitment to the sport, as well as some level of fitness and patience. Corporations and hotels can rent fishing equipment, including powerful speed boats.

The ideal sport fishing location in Uganda

Although fishing is one of the best activities in Entebbe, the adjacent Ssese Islands are a fantastic choice. To go to the Ssese Islands, take the ferry from Entebbe’s Nakiwogo landing place to Kalangala. 

There are around 84 Ssese Islands, each of which offers exceptional fishing opportunities. While fishing is permitted year-round in Lake Victoria, the months of October to March are ideal for sport fishing. A speed boat is necessary for exploring the Lake’s many islands. 

Hotels in Kampala and Entebbe can arrange boats with professional fishermen to take you to the greatest fishing sites. Although rental equipment is available, it is encouraged that you bring your own. 

From 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., fishing is permitted on Lake Victoria. The lake can become extremely calm and transparent during the wet season, providing excellent opportunities for tilapia fishing. 

During the dry season, the lake is subjected to enormous waves, which might disrupt the activity. 

In such circumstances, it is advisable to fish from a protected bay. Night fishing cruises are also available in Lake Victoria, however, fishing during the full moon is not recommended. 

Fishing at Lake Victoria can also begin near Munyonyo, Kampala, or in the vicinity of the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (Zoo), Entebbe. 

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At Murchison Falls National Park, in addition to sport fishing, you can also go on game drives, chimp treks in Budongo forest, and launch cruises to view wildlife below the falls. PHOTO/COURTESY

Murchison Falls National Park is located approximately 340 kilometres from Kampala. The park is accessible either by road or charter flight from Entebbe International Airport to one of the park’s airfields. 

The Nile river runs through the park, generating two large waterfalls — Murchison and Karuma – on its route to South Sudan. 

Murchison Falls is the more visually appealing of the park’s two waterfalls. The tumultuous falls are oxygen-rich, attracting enormous Nile perch — some reaching more than 90 kilograms. 

108 kilos was the largest ever recorded. Tilapia, catfish, Tigerfish (Awaka), barbell, Tilapia, furious fighter, Angara, and yellow fish are also found in the stretch of the Nile that runs through the park. 

Fishing is typically done from a boat along the river’s banks, although anglers can also cast their hooks at the base of waterfalls.

Two lodges – Paara and Chobe – organize sport fishing excursions in Murchison Falls National Park. At the base of the falls, the best fishing is found. 

Rather than standing directly beside the falls, anglers might choose to stand on the rocks in a quiet stretch of the river (downstream) and cast their line into the deep waters. 

Additionally, some quiet ponds downstream are worth considering because they are secluded from the main river. Nile Perch, Tilapia, and big catfish inhabit the pools. 

If you wish to learn more, you can go downstream by boat to the Albert Nile and go fishing. 

You could even travel as far north as Adjumani and Moyo in search of the Angara. Moyo and Adjumani residents enjoy Angara as a favourite dish.

Sportfishing is $50 per day or $150 for four days in Murchison Falls national park. Additionally, you would need to make a separate arrangement to pay park admission fees. 

Catch and release fishing is permitted in Murchison Falls National Park. The biggest reward is holding a 100 kilogram Nile perch close to your chest or boat and capturing some incredible images to share with your friends and the rest of the world. 

The two resorts assure the safety of their guests on the water by sending a highly skilled guide to lead the crew. They employ cutting-edge fishing technology/methods. 

One of the benefits of sport fishing at Murchison Falls National Park is that you may also go on game drives, chimp trekking in Budongo forest, or launch cruises to view the wild game at the bottom of the falls.

Lake Mburo National Park is one of Uganda’s premier sport fishing sites. It is the nearest national park to Kampala and is accessible by road in three hours. 

The park contains five lakes, although the majority of fishing takes place on the largest, Lake Mburo. Six fish species are found in Lake Mburo. The dominant species in this area is Tilapia. 

Mazinga is the greatest fishing location in Lake Mburo due to the absence of crocodiles and hippos. The Uganda Wildlife Authority charges a fee of $15 for a fishing license. All fishing equipment must be brought with you. 

Fishing in Lake Mburo is unique in that anglers can arrange for their catch to be prepared by their hotel as a dinner.

Sipi Falls: Located in Eastern Uganda, the Sipi Falls are also a popular fishing spot. The falls are located on the slopes of Mount Elgon, close to the Uganda-Kenya border. 

The rainbow fish, which weighs around 3 kilograms, is the most sought-after species. Apart from the fish, there are numerous waterfalls and coffee plantations in the area. Climbing Elgon is one of the area’s top two attractions

Apart from the waterfalls and mountains, the view is simply magnificent. The location is mountainous, and the views of the wide Karamoja plains are spectacular.

Source of the Nile Jinja: Although the enormous Nile Perch is the most remarkable catch, Tilapia is also quite an impressive catch at the source of the Nile in Jinja. 

After fishing, visitors can visit the Gandhi memorial, Mabira forest, and engage in activities such as white water rafting, kayaking, Ssezibwa fallsbungee jumping, quad biking, and horseback riding, as well as visit local communities.

What you should know about Uganda’s sport fishing tours

Throughout the year, Ugandans engage in sport fishing. If you want to do sport fishing at Murchison Falls National Park, the ideal time to go is during the dry season. 

Additionally, this is an excellent time to combine fishing with a safari to view some of Uganda’s wildlife.

In Uganda, the primary form of sport fishing is through the use of live bait or lure casting. Casting lures are ideal for catching Nile Perch in particular. Tiger fishes, which are smaller, are frequently used as bait. 

To catch Nile Perch and other larger species such as Tilapia or lungfish, it is recommended to use a three-meter-long rod with either a multiplier reel or fixed spool. 

A rod with a line around 4 kilos in length is sufficient for smaller species.

Anglers may have difficulties when fishing during the dry season. Temperatures can soar to dangerous levels, so it’s critical to be prepared with sunblock, a tent, and appropriate clothing.

Take adequate drinking water with you while you go fishing to avoid dehydration. 

Additionally, insect repellant is necessary to keep mosquitoes and the terrible tsetse flies at bay.

Additional items to consider packing on your fishing trip are sandals, hiking shoes (for the sharp rocks), a camera to document your adventure, and a binocular to locate the water birds. 

Remember to carry spare batteries for any electrical devices you may have. If you are going during the rainy season, your outfit should contain shorts, T-shirts, and a rain jacket. During the frigid evenings, a sweater will keep you warm. 

As you leave your hotel or lodge, you may require your prescription and toiletries, which should be brought in a small backpack. Pack a lunch, which can include sandwiches, salads, or hot dogs. 

Additionally, you can drink water, sodas, tea/coffee, or beer as you move.

While fishing equipment can be given as necessary, it is encouraged that anglers bring their own favoured gear.

Conclusion

Sportfishing is a highly enjoyable and relaxing hobby that provides an excellent way to spend your vacation time. 

Even if you’ve never been much of a fisherman, sport fishing can be rather relaxing and meditative.

Last but not least, for an all-inclusive tour experience in Uganda, view our guide to Bungee JumpingVisit Mount MuhaburaGorillas in UgandaSsese Islands, Cost of Gorilla TrekkingMurchison Falls National ParkLake Mburo National Park and Semuliki National Park.