MATEOS EXPLODES AS ONE OF THE TOP LAKES IN MEXICO
By Billy Chapman Jr.
For the past 20 years, Lake El Salto reigned among bass lakes as the
best place to catch a double-digit largemouth in Mexico. For really big
bass, those in the 8- to 12-pound range, Lake El Salto is still the
place to go, but Lake Mateos is coming on strong -- not only for numbers,
but big fish.
The Rapala lure company frequently visits Lake Mateos to test new baits
and entertain customers. In a recent trip, the group averaged about 120
bass a day. White Terminator spinnerbaits produced the most action,
followed by an X-Rap 10 Shallow in mossback shiner.
“This is the best place that we’ve ever gone to entertain our customers,”
said Gregg Wollner, Rapala executive vice president. “We’ve been here
four years in a row and the average size increased each time. This time,
the average size was about 3 pounds. During the last three years, we’d
catch two or three over 6 pounds. This year, we had a bunch of 6-pounders,
several in the 7- to 8-pound range and one 10-pounder. We travel all
over the world. Of all the places we go, there is nothing that compares
to Anglers Inn Mateos.”
Officially named Presa Adolfo Lopez Mateos Reservoir after a former
president of Mexico, Lake Mateos stretches 55,000 acres through some of
the most spectacular scenery in the Sierra Madre Mountains 55 miles
northeast of Culiacan, Mexico. The ninth largest freshwater lake in
Mexico, Lake Mateos sits in a very isolated wilderness where jaguars
still roam the canyons. The lake runs 50 miles along the Humaya and
Tamazula rivers in the state of Sinaloa.
The hydroelectric power and irrigation lake drops to more than 230 feet
deep in places. Opened in the 1960s, the lake produced excellent fishing
for 30 years before severely low water levels hurt fishing in the 1990s.
About five years ago, the lake refilled, flooding thousands of acres of
brush that grew up on the once-dry bottom. Now, almost like in a new
lake situation, the bass population boomed as fish moved into those
newly inundated acres. After five years of growth, some bass now crack
the double-digit barrier with the lake record exceeding 14 pounds.
Rocks, canyon walls, points and flats full of partially submerged trees
dominate the bass-holding structure. The lake also contains numerous
islands, submerged humps and creek channels that offer bass additional
places to hunt. Shorelines and flats make great places to throw
topwaters, while the humps and flooded brush offer good spots for
spinnerbaits and soft plastics. Off the points and parallel to the
channel edges, run crankbaits or swimbaits.
Although it still doesn’t produce as many double-digit bass as Lake El
Salto, Lake Mateos consistently produces 100- to 150-fish days, with
most of the fish falling in the 2- to 8-pound range. Many of them weigh
between 5 and 9 pounds. Occasionally, someone like Sam Anderson catches
On a recent trip to Lake Mateos, Anderson, a Rapala pro from Inver Grove
Heights, Minn., fashioned a mega-bait by rigging a whole Trigger X
Lizard to a 1/2-ounce white Terminator spinnerbait. The ploy worked,
with Anderson landing a 10-pounder.
“We had some really good luck with the Rapala Skitter Pop for fish with
some fish topping 8 pounds early in the morning,” Anderson said. “After
the sun came up, I switched to the Terminator 4.5 spinnerbait with a
Trigger X Lizard as a trailer. We also caught fish on white or white and
Many anglers, like Mike Marrone with Big 5 Sporting Goods of California,
fish both Lake El Salto and Lake Mateos on an Anglers Inn International
combo trip. Marrone recently fished Lake Mateos and came away impressed.
“We went to Lake Mateos for the first time and I can only say WOW, what
a place! We experienced the usual level of exceptional service that
Anglers Inn provides its clients and the fishing was spectacular,”
Marrone said. “On the first day, my friend and I caught about 68 bass
with the largest ones in the 5- to 7- pound range, which turned out to
be the lowest count of our trip. Our most productive baits were Yum
Dingers or Zoom Magnum Lizards in watermelon and red flake and Rapala
DT10 crankbaits in hot mustard and parrot patterns. We caught several
fish early and late on Excalibur Zell Roland Signature Pop-Rs in blue
and white, foxy shad and Z-shad patterns.”
On the final morning, the group could only fish half a day before
heading to Lake El Salto. In just four hours, Marrone and his partner
landed about 100 fish. The largest tipped the scales at 8.5 pounds.
“The final half day at Mateos was nothing less than epic,” Marrone said.
“It was the hottest topwater action I’ve ever experienced in my life! In
just over 4-hours, we boated a minimum of 80 bass on topwater poppers.
At least 20 went over 5 pounds with several in the 7-pound range and one
8.5-pounder. Once the topwater action backed off, we fished Dingers and
lizards, catching another 20 fish. Anyone who hasn’t been to Mateos yet
is missing out on something truly special.”
New to bass fishing, Steve Maestas of Albuquerque, N.M., started right,
landed an 8-pounder on his first morning at Mateos. He caught it on a
blue Skitter Pop topwater bait. Later, he added several fish up to 6
pounds on lizards, worms and spinnerbaits.
So more people can take advantage of this kind of fishing at Mateos, I’m
offering a special introductory rate of $1,595 per person, a savings of
about $500. Just below the dam overlooking the Humaya River and less
than a five-minute drive from the lake, Anglers Inn lodge can
accommodate up to 18 guests in six private, air-conditioned chalet-style
cottages with modern amenities -- each decorated in a traditional
Mexican motif. The cottages come complete with stone showers, cathedral
ceilings, TVs and DVD players, private baths plus daily maid and laundry
service. Guests can also visit the restaurant and bar with wireless
Internet service, stock up on tackle in the pro shop or enjoy the spa.
Besides the bass lodges at Lake Mateos and Lake El Salto, Anglers Inn
International Saltwater Division operates a fleet of boats out of Marina
Mazatlan for every type of angling experience from kayak and surf
fishing to bluewater trolling for marlin. In addition, Anglers Inn
International serves as the exclusive sportsmen’s outfitter for Pueblo
Bonito Resorts in Mexico, conducts duck and dove hunting trip near
Mazatlan and fishing adventures to the Amazon Basin in Brazil.
For more information on the special introductory discount at Mateos or
to book a trip to any other Anglers Inn International destination, call 1
800-GOTA-FISH, (468-2347) or send an e-mail to