Hovering at 12,500 feet above sea level, in the heart of the Andes, Lake Titicaca is the world’s highest navigable lake. And lucky for avid fishermen, it’s become a top spot for fishing, too! Perfect for the solo adventurer, a fishing trip to Lake Titicaca is a must-do. And when you’re done fishing, don’t head to shore too fast. Those celestial views are worth the trip alone.
Read below to find out everything you need to know about fishing on Lake Titicaca:
Fishing on Lake Titicaca starts early, and you don’t want to be one of the ones lagging behind. This is for a couple reasons—first, catching the sunrise over Lake Titicaca is a rare kind of beauty that few get to experience, and you want to be one of those few. Second, the sun over the lake is relentless! There’s a distinct lack of shade and thin mountain air over Lake Titicaca, both of which mean that sunburning can be fast and harsh. Lake Titicaca is famous for its calm, crystalline waters, and for these reasons and more, it’s not uncommon to see a handful of fisherman scattered on its dark waters, with their small boats and nets, just before dawn.
In the small communities around Lake Titicaca, fishing is more than a hobby; it’s a way of life. And when trout was introduced to the lake in the 1930s, sport fishing became a part of that life, too. Sport fishing on Lake Titicaca is still very much a niche activity, but if you’re interested, the talented team at Surtrek (the leading organization in custom South America travel) can arrange a day trip for you on a captained boat. This will let you experience the activity like the locals do, but with the modern convenience of having a captain there to show you and other novice sport fishermen the way.
When Peruvian and Bolivian officials wanted to turn Lake Titicaca into a commercial enterprise, they turned to the U.S. for help. To help their friends across the border, the U.S. responded by sending M.C. James, of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Fish Culture, to the lake to see make some recommendations. No one really understands why, but he recommended sending loads of trout to Lake Titicaca; and today, trout (or “trucha,” as the locals call it) have become the lake’s most long standing resident and moneymaker.
Don’t believe us? Go anywhere in and around the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca, and you’ll find trout in different forms—grilled, baked or fried, and served with peppers, rice or Chuños, a potato dish—on every restaurant menu. There are many different kinds of trout in Lake Titicaca, but the main ones are brown trout, lake trout and rainbow trout. If you’re really daring, catch your trout and have a local prepare it for you “del diablo,” or loaded with hot sauce.