For many Nigerians, fishing is not just a daily activity, but it’s the way in which they make their living and feed their families. It goes without saying, then, that the country is rife with good fishing spots!
If you’re planning on fishing in Nigeria, it’s important to choose your spot carefully. Because fishing is such an important source of food for the peoples of the country, it’s difficult to find a spot that isn’t already being fished by locals.
But with a bit of research, we’ve found some fishing spots in Nigeria you can try.
85 different fish species have been found in Lake Chad, although the latest numbers suggest only about 20 species still in the lake. Since the drought in the 1970s, the lake has been getting progressively smaller and smaller. Despite the dwindling size of the lake, it can still yield some good fishing.
Interestingly, local fishermen in Chad began using nylon netting in the 1960s, which is vastly different from others. You don’t have to use a nylon net to catch fish here, though. Whatever rod and reel you have will do!
Lagos is a popular spot for recreational angling in Nigeria. It’s a vibrant city that’s rife with African culture, so if you’re planning on fishing here, it’s a great place to learn a bit about local culture and cuisine too.
You can stay at one of the many private beach resorts, and rent a charter boat for a memorable saltwater fishing excursion. This is the best way to make sure you’re fishing in the right spots that will yield a catch.
Your guide will take you to populous waters, and they’ll also provide the necessary equipment such as rods, reels, tackle, and the fishing permits you’ll need.
You can customize your charter as you wish, from hour-long trips to full overnight charters, depending on what you’d like.
Badagry is a town in Nigeria that’s near Lagos. Like Lagos, it’s full of inland lagoons, creeks, and waterways that offer up a wide variety of possible fishing spots.
The waterways consist of brackish water, with the coastal seawater mixing with the Yewa River. This gives rise to an interesting variety of species in the lake.
The depth of the lagoon can vary by season, with 3 meters being a good depth for catching some decent fish. You can find shad (known as bonga), croakers, tilapia, longfin pompano, and catfish in these waters.
The River Niger is the third longest river in Africa, and runs through a few different countries. Although you certainly won’t find all of them in Nigerian fishing spots, the river is home to almost 250 species of fish, including 20 that are found exclusively in these waters – nowhere else on the planet.
If you choose to fish here, you’ll have a chance of catching a wide variety of species, the most common of which are carp, catfish, and ile perch. Be aware that the river also houses crocodile and hippopotami, so caution must be taken when fishing here!
Mayo Kam, Gashaka-Gumti National Park
This spot is rife with interesting species, but be aware that this is catch-and-release. Fishing here is best during the dry season (October to April).
Both spinning and fly fishing can be successful here. You’ll have the opportunity to catch some more unusual fish species, like the Nile perch, large-scaled characin, golden barb, various types of catfish (including the electric catfish, which will give you a nasty shock), and the magnificent tiger fish, which is a sought-after sports-fishing trophy.
The national park is also filled with interesting natural areas, like the Bat Forest, hot springs, Gangirwal Mountain (the highest in Nigeria), and even the remains of a German fort.
Argungu Fishing Festival
This festival is the main tourist attraction in the state of Kebbi. This is an interesting and unique festival in that competitors are only allowed to use traditional fishing tools, so you won’t find any fancy rods and reels here.
Hundreds of fisherman line up along the banks of the river and, on the starting gunshot, have an hour to fish. The three who catch the largest fish in that time win large prizes. Some fish that are commonly caught include the enormous Nile perch and the odd-looking balloon fish.
This festival is a sight to behold, and although the fishing is different to your normal cast-and-reel activity, it’s an interesting and unique experience. The purpose is to create unity, and festivities continue long after the fish have been pulled from the water.
Castnets, gillnets, driftnets, traps, and hooks on longlines are how the locals fish, depending on the particular spot. If you’re looking for a challenge and are willing to try something new, you may enjoy having to work for your fish in a different way!
Spearfishing is another challenging method of catching your fish. Whatever you choose to do, Nigeria is bound to be one of the more interesting locations you’ve fished at!
Editor’s note: This article is travel entertainment purposes only. A future article looks at the reality of fishing in the mentioned spots and how circumstances have changed.
Kenneth Reaves is a fishing expert and editor-in-chief at perfectcaptain.com