A Chobe fishing safari is one of the best places in Africa to take on the challenge of catching this ferocious fighter, the mighty tiger fish. There are also many other rare and unique species to tick off your bucketlist fishing on the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers, such as various bream species, African pike, tilapia, catfish or upper Zambezi yellowfish.
You can enjoy a worldclass fishing safari year round – the only aspect that will change is the techniques you use.
Here are the best times to fish on the Chobe, depending what experience you’re after.
January – Annual floods begin
Frequent rainfall increases the water levels and begin to flood the Impalila area. Rivers become somewhat murky during this period. Fishing with weighted jugs and spinner-baits in the clearer reed beds result in plenty of summer bream catches.
Techniques: Flyfishing, spinning
Rainfall continues and the Kasai channel becomes deeper and faster.
Techniques: Drift-baiting, trolling
Local rains begin to decrease and plenty of fishing opportunities remain in the higher water areas that were previously too shallow and rocky to navigate. Main channels are flowing fast, while back eddies and rapids provide thrilling results.
Techniques: Drift fishing, spinning
April to July – a feeding frenzy
The winter months of April to July are sometimes said to be the best times to tiger fish on the Chobe, largely thanks to the feeding frenzies.
The water practically boils with feeding fish taking advantage of the low water levels to flush out their prey.
From April, smaller channels and rapids provide great fishing opportunities. Winter bream species, such Nembwe and Humpback largemouth bream, become more active in the deeper floodplain areas.
From May, deep, fast-flowing water adds to the feeding frenzy, while fly fishing and spinning promise impressive yields. In July, the river level continues to drop, revealing new areas of floodplain. The water remains deep with strong currents, and fishing conditions are still excellent. Keep an eye out for sudden feeding frenzies!
What to catch: Tigerfish, catfish, bream
April: Drift fishing, spinning
May: Flyfishing , spin fishing, drift fishing
June to July: Flyfishing, spin fishing
Read related content: 10 reasons to get hooked on a winter fishing safari
A multitude of minnows and barbus species are flushed into the Kasai channel providing a feast for hordes of catfish. Tigerfishing remains very productive due to the feeding frenzies created by large numbers of barbel in the water.
Techniques: flyfishing and spinning
September to October: Flyfishing reigns supreme
Flyfishing conditions remain excellent. The Chobe rapids and lower Mambova channels teem with tigerfish, catfish and bream species.
In October, flyfishing in the Chobe rapids will also yield great results.
Read related content: 5 flyfishing tips to learn from the pros
November to December
At the end of the year rainfall increases the oxygen levels in the water, ensuring high fishing productivity. Flyfishing and drift-bait fishing are especially productive in the fast-flowing water. In December, drift-baiting in the main channel’s stronger currents rewards with excellent tigerfish opportunities.
Techniques: Flyfishing, spinning, drift fishing
Note: The fishing safaris on the Chobe River practice ‘capture and release’ for the tiger fish – who live to fight another day – but adopts the ‘hook and cook’ concept for the local delicacy – the river bream or tilapia.
Read related content: Read more about our world class fishing safaris here.
Equipment: Conventional equipment is included in our all-inclusive packages. We supply rods, lures, lines and reels plus the most important – well stocked cooler boxes! Kindly let us know in advance any drink preferences.
Where to stay: If you’re travelling mainly for the fishing, then we recommend a stay at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge. It’s a sought after base for fishing groups and is also family friendly, welcoming children of all ages.
The Chobe Princess houseboats also offer smaller “tender” boats and greater flexibility when it comes to your itinerary.
If you choose to stay on Zambezi Queen, we’ll do our best to accommodate a fishing trip wherever possible.
Contact the Zambezi Queen Collection team for more information on the best ‘property’ and dates for your preferred holiday experience.