Fishing in Malawi

Lake Malawi Fish

New species of fish are discovered in Lake Malawi every year, adding to the more than 500 species - 95 percent of which are endemic are found in the lake- that have already been identified. The great majority are brilliant coloured tropical aquarium fish belonging to the cichlidae family that includes utaka which form huge shoals in open waters, ncheni which feed on smaller fish, chisawasawa which is the collective name for the species of bottom grubbing fishes and the brilliantly coloured mbuna.Cichlids are easy to spot around rocky shores, and are the main reason that snorkelling is so popular in Malawi. In some areas like Cape Maclear, the fish are so accustomed to being fed that they flock towards any swimmer, and nibble anything that moves - including your toes.

Other families of fish include Engraulicypris sardella locally known as usipa and found in large shoals in open waters. Labeo cylindricus or ningwe are common and are fished commercially. Nchila is also a member of Labeo species and found on soft bottom deposits. Ngumbo is a member of the carp family found in rocky regions and sanjika; also a carp family member is cousin to the mpasa or lake salmon. The African catfish is found throughout the lake, as is kampango - the predatory catfish that makes a delicious meal. For more information read this travel article


Boadzulu Island and White Rock are the best spots. Mangochi which is some 20kms in the south, is also popular with anglers. The river mouths in the Salima area provide good fishing too. Mbenji Island is also a good spot. The lake salmon is a spectacular fighter and can be found in central and northern regions of the lake. It grows to about 3kg in weight. The Bua River has particularly large runs of lake salmon, as do the Luweya, Lufira and North Rukuru.

On the lower Shire River and immediately below the Kapichira falls, the largest concentration of tiger fish can be found while the Sungwe can be found on the upper Shire near Mangochi and Liwonde. Other spots include Zomba, Mulanje and Nyika. Nyika is for example reckoned by anglers to offer some of the best rainbow trout in Malawi.


Nyika National Park - September to May.

Mulanje and Zomba - September to April.The lake - All year round but best between September and April.Lower Shire River - between May and November in the dry season.

Last Updated on Tuesday 8th December 2009