If you lived in El Valle and wanted to go fishing, where you would go would depend on whether you wanted to do fresh water fishing or salt water fishing.
The closest freshwater / lake fishing to El Valle is Gatun Lake, which was formed when the Panama Canal was built. The two most abundant fish in Lake Gatun are the Peacock Bass, which comes from Venezuela and the other, less common fish, which is called an Oscar. Somebody told me the Oscar is a relative of the piranha, but it doesn’t eat people and other animals that go into the lake. There’s no requirement for a fishing license and there’s no limit on what you can catch. There are places where you can find guys who have their own fishing boat. People go to Gatun Lake and come back with 50 or 60 fish all at least the size of your foot. (You throw back anything smaller than that.)
In order to get to Lake Gatun, you drive from El Valle down the hill, make a left turn, and go down the American highway past Coronado towards the Panama Canal. There’s a fishing village there about an hour and a half from El Valle, on the western side of Gatun Lake called Arenosa, which means “Sandy. There are folks who can take you fishing from there.
You can also go deep-sea fishing relatively close to El Valle. Your best bet if you were to charter would be to go to the city (Panama City, about 2 hours away by car) to the Amador Causeway to look for a charter and make arrangement. You can go day fishing or you can fly to the Perlas Islands and get a charter there.
When you go deep-sea fishing, what you would catch would depend on the time of the year. The fish most frequently caught include snapper, mackerel, corvina (which is like a Pacific sea bass), and dolphins. (I don’t mean a porpoise dolphin; I mean a fish dolphin. In Hawaii, they call it Mahi Mahi.)
Closer to El Valle, you can go ocean fishing in Chame, which is about an hour away by car. I don’t know if there’s anything in the way of charter service from there. However, all along the Pacific coast (which you can drive to from El Valle in less than an hour), there are fishermen and fishing villages where they go out in the wee hours of the morning and catch fish with nets. That’s how they make their living. The Pacific Coast I’m referring to stretches all the way from Panama City to the Azuero Peninsula going west, and it would also include going east from Panama City, towards the Darien, ,which is much less populated and less developed.
If I have your own boat, you could conceivably just drive down from El Valle to the Pacific Coast. However, the tides in the Pacific side are pretty much a minimum of 12 feet, so there aren’t a lot of boat ramps to launch your boat. There may be some along the Pacific Coast, but I’m not a boater or a fisherman, so I don’t really know. That’s why I wrote more about the charters.
In the Darien, there’s a sports fishing lodge called Tropic Star Lodge which has been in operation since the 1950s and where they catch billfish like Marlin and Sailfish and so on. If you wanted to go there, you would fly down and you stay there.