If you wake up at dawn, just as the sun peeks over the peaks of the Cordillera Real and begins to glisten across Lake Titicaca, you’ll likely catch sight of a handful of fisherman on the dark water in a small boat, net in hand, ready for the morning’s catch of trucha, Bolivian trout.
A trip to the lake isn’t complete without a meal of the famous Bolivian trout. In pretty much every restaurant in Copacabana, you can expect to find a trout dish. Typically trucha is fried and served up in a bed of rice, red peppers and onions, or grilled with a lemon.
On Copacabana Beach, you’ll find stall after stall serving up the catch of the day. Across the straight, in Puno, Peru, you can watch as your trout is caught by local fisherman, grilled, baked or fried and served to you along with some Chuños within a matter of minutes– how fast food really should be.
Fishing has long been a way of life for the communities around Lake Titicaca, but it wasn’t until the late 1930’s, when trout was introduced to the Lake, that sport fishing became a weekend pastime for adventurous Paceños.
Sport fishing on Lake Titicaca is still very much a niche activity, but you’ll find a few tour operators in La Paz who would be excited to arrange a day trip for anglers. If you’d rather skip the middle man, ask around in Copacabana for a local captain willing to bring you out for the day.
Many locals, mostly fishermen from the Aymara villages on the lakeshore, still fish with nets, wading out to their waists in the frigid water. For travelers, it’s better to find a captain with a reliable boat who can bring to the spots offshore where the truly mammoth trout can be found. There are other, native species in Lake Titicaca including kingfish and killfish, but due to the declining numbers of these species, it is better practice to fish for the trout.