Thursday, December 20, 2007

Travel Report: Lake Mateos Top-Water Bass

Please take a moment to view the opening image above... this image embodies what fly fishing at Lake Mateos is all about. The scenery is breathtaking. Nestled in the Sierra Madre mountains, Lake Mateos is adorned with a most incredible backdrop of towering rock cliffs, flowering jungles, and gin-clear water. For most anglers, explaining a fishery such as this does not bring visions of the trophy Largemouth Bass fishing to mind.

Well, welcome to Largemouth paradise... In December of 2007, I ventured to Lake Mateos with my good friend and Bass fanatic, Leo Gutterres (the “Popper-Guy”) of Stockton, CA. Lake Mateos is located 55 miles NE of Culiacan, Mexico (State of Sinaloa) and is an immense lake at 55,000 surface acres. It is fed by the San Lorenzo and Tamazula Rivers which flow out of the Sierra Madre mountain range.

During this trip, Leo and I fished topwater flies exclusively. What we discovered was a fishery that offered the best topwater Bass fishing of our life... period! The sheer numbers of hungry Bass amazed us as we literally wore ourselves out by days end.

The habitat of Lake Mateos is prime for Bass. There is an immense amount of structure for the Bass to dwell. There are vast areas of floating vegetation which provides cover for the fish. In addition, there is excellent submerge structure such as brush and rip-rap rock that serve as ambush areas during the feed. Amidst this environment lives Bass food - shad and tilapia. These are the primary food sources that keep Mateos Bass full of power and fight.

What I found to be most special is the clear water of Lake Mateos. This quality made for a Bass angling experience that was VERY visual. To see a trophy Largemouth suspend a foot or two below your fly just before it blows up on it is an intense visual experience that will be etched in your lifelong angling memoirs. The anticipation and suspense of this topwater game is what I enjoy the most.

On this trip, we fished a variety of topwater flies from deer-hair bugs by Umpqua to Leo’s custom made balsa wood poppers. Although Bass were caught on a variety of flies, Leo’s poppers reigned in the “poundage” category. Most of the trophy fish on this trip (and on our Lake El Salto trip) were caught on Leo’s creations. The erratic lateral movement and amazing sound producing ability of his poppers really call up the Bass and entice some explosive grabs. Leo’s #2 yellow popper was the lead player on this trip and produced Largemouth to almost 7 pounds.

Not to be overlook by the incredible f
ishing is the amazing service and accommodations provided by Anglers Inn - Lake Mateos. Anglers Inn provides their guests with cabin style accommodations that are spacious and complete with full amenities (SAT TV, DVD players, dual A/C units, etc...) Also, each cabin has a veranda that overlooks the Humaya River. Next, the food and service are top-notch. From succulent jumbo shrimp to mouth-watering beef ribs, you will quickly recover the calories spent while battling Bass all day.

On a final note, the entire experience at Anglers Inn - Lake Mateos is very special. Spending a week here fishing may very well redefine your thoughts and visions of fly fishing for Largemouth Bass. Welcome to the game! FISH ON!

-Keith Kaneko