The island paradise of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the deep blue waters of the Indian Ocean has long been known to be a place of tranquility, cultural splendour, natural bliss, exhilarating entertainment and a haven for recreation. Being the island nation it is, Sri Lanka is known for its fisheries industry that has nourished its populace, further making the industry one of the major contributors to the country’s economy. More recently though, fishing has also become a major recreational activity to many a traveller looking for some down time in the Paradise Isle.

Even with the rapid development of the fisheries industry and introduction of new technology, fishermen who dwell along the coastal hamlets still maintain their roots, along with the traditional fishing methods they still maintain - one of the more notable traditional techniques being stilt fishing that takes an extraordinary amount of patience and skill while sitting on a pole. It is the continuation of such traditional methods that has captivated many a traveller to try their hand at the rewarding water activity.

Scattered around the country are a number of locations to indulge in the recreational sport and making it all the more enticing are the unique species of fish that can be caught in each location, thus making it all the more rewarding. Want to try and don’t really have experience? Well there are a number of tour companies that will easily sort that out in no time; so why not give it a try?

Interesting Facts

  • Sri Lanka is famed for its ingenious traditional fishing techniques, be it fishing from shore, deep sea fishing or inland river fishing, fisher folk in the country have come up with unique ways that have been proven to be effective and efficient, even by modern standards due to its low-tech and cost-effective methods.
  • Stilt fishing has quickly caught on to become one of the more intriguing fishing methods in the country that is very well practiced in the South-Western coast, especially in hamlets in Koggala, Hikkaduwa and Thalpe.
  • Here, fishermen would sit on tall poles that have been firmly grounded on the shore. During high tide, the fishermen wait patiently for their catch, sometimes up to 6 hours without getting off.
  • According to historical records, the fishing method came into being just after the Second World War, as a result of the migration of fisherman from the West and North coasts to the south.
  • Another intriguing practice is the use of mangrove swamps and this can be seen in places, such as Puttalam and Negombo.
  • Due to the presence of lagoons in the area, many fishermen take it to their advantage by using the mangroves to creatively set traps for fish, prawns and crabs.
  • This method of fishing generally takes a few days, but has been known to be effective in hauling a large catch.
  • Similarly, techniques and methods differ from place to place, making it quite enticing for any and all who are curious.
  • Places that have been known for its fishing industry are Bentota, Dikwella, Trincomalee, Arugam Bay, Pottuvil, Kirinda and other small hamlets in the Northern coast, East coast and West coast.
  • The species that can be caught are quite vast and diverse here too, as the waters around the island proves to be the perfect environment for fish life to thrive in.
  • A number of species such as Mackerel, Tuna, Snapper, Barracudas and many other species can be caught, making it all the more rewarding.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • Any water activities related to fishing often differ in season, as it depends on the place.
  • The season in the Western and Southern coast, such as in Bentota, Dikwella, Hikkaduwa, Kalpitiya, Negombo, Mirissa and Thalpe often lasts from November to April.
  • The season for the South Eastern coast, in towns like Kirinda and Pottuvil generally occurs only in April.
  • Eastern coastal towns, like Arugam Bay and Trincomalee often have a fishing season that lasts from May to September.
  • It is highly recommended that you still research beforehand on the seasons, as it could change depending on the weather patterns.
  • Similarly, it is important to research and ask for a breakdown of the cost and services provided by the tour company (if you are going through one), in order to get the best deal.
  • It is important that you follow safety measures, especially when engaging in deep sea fishing and inland fishing by yourself or with a group.
  • Regardless of choosing a company or not, safety is always the first priority.
  • It is best to bring along your own fishing equipment, however, you could also purchase or rent the necessary equipment from the various tour companies that offer the services.
  • Always abide by the rules and regulations of the waters you are fishing in.

Looking to spend that down time with a rewarding recreational activity? Go ahead and grab a fishing rod or fishing net and head to the out to the water.

Location info













Arugam Bay







(South Eastern Coast)

May - September

(Eastern Coast)

November - April

(Western and Southern Coasts)

Guided Tour

Sri Lanka Day Tours


Sports and Recreation

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