Fishing El Salto and Town of Cosala
We had some fun sail fishing in Mazatlan, and took our new friend Barbara (from Holland) bass fishing at the legendary Lake El Salto.
Town of Cosala
The nearest town is Cosala, which was way up in the mountains of the Sierra Madres. It is around 15 or 20 miles from the lake, but is the only affordable place to stay. There is a lodge near the lake, but it was very expensive.
The town is a little "heavy", as they say. Lots of police, ostensibly for our (tourist) protection, but it didn't really feel like it. There’s one way in, one way out from my understanding. There is a big arch at this entrance, and as we approached we stopped for the State police. They seemed a little surprised to see us there, four gringos, after all, in a crazy truck with a boat on top.
On reflection, perhaps they thought we were either in the drug trade, or with the US government, or just crazy. I’m still unsure, but this exemplifies the heavy, tense, conservative town that is Cosala.
We hung out around the square the first night and boozed with some people we met at the taco stand. There were about 20 people in the taco area, eating and talking and having fun.
We bought beers for our new friends, who worked in mining, or horse trading, or agriculture, or whatever. It doesn't really matter, they could be narcos for all we know. In return, they bought us tacos and quesadillas. The Mexican quesadilla is more like a bigger, but with melted cheese in one tortilla folded over. Quite good. About 6 pesos each (60 cents).
After getting a little animated, our friends had to caution us a few times to be more “tranquilo”, as it was after dark, and hooting and hollering didn’t wasn’t appreciated. Not a party town.
Fishing Lake El Salto
In the morning we trucked down the mountain to Lago el Salto, and found a little local boat ramp.
El Salto is a stunning lake where it’s believed the next world record bass will come from. The current is around 19.5 pounds. No kidding, Salto is a great lake.
The lake is almost as big as Huites, but according to the operators of the Angler’s Inn, fishes much better on average. This is because Huites was built for water conservation and agriculture and can drop 30 feet in a day during the winter.
Salto is not as scenic as Huites, nor as secluded, as access is much easier. After Huites we were prepared for anything, but Salto is just off the main road, and there is a sign for a paved road down to the boat ramp.
Because of its proximity to Mazatlan, and easy access, (and record fish) there are a lot of tour operators.
The bite wasn't as rampant as on Huites, though at about 50 fish a day, the bite was still far better than our home lakes in Texas. The . health of the bass was better than Huites, and the size of them was great.
Angler’s Inn, El Salto
We got a little thirsty, and went to check out the Angler's Inn, which is a beautiful lodge on Salto. We stopped for some cold beers, and met with the Chapman family that runs the Angler's Inn on Salto, and other tours in Mexico, including Harley rides throughout the Sierra Madre mountains.
Chappy heard that we’d brought our own boat down, and over a beer we talked fishing and tourism, and we were invited back for dinner that night.
We were overwhelmed with their generosity of top-notch cuisine, fine lodging, and friendly nature. Billy Chapman has been all over Central and South America and is quite the adventurer. We loved hearing the stories, and it emboldened us to start thinking about seeing the Amazon.
If you want a full service fishing experience, they are the place to do it. Call them at 1800-GOT-A-FISH – but I’ll warn you, they literally get booked up.
Top Water Action
The next morning's top water action was phenomenal. The bite slowed from 12-2 but got better in the afternoon around cliff faces in deeper water with worms. Green and watermelon worked well.
Barbara had only caught one fish before, and by the end of the trip she'd caught several, including a trophy 9 pound bass; Barbara is now spoiled forever, catching a monster that many spend a lifetime (or a fortune) fishing for.
Ben hooked the largest, a *monster*, that had a mouth that could have swallowed a football. That hog came to the surface, so fat it looked as though he couldn’t have jumped all the way out of the water, and spit the buzzbait back.
After the el Salto adventure, we returned to Maz which is just down the mountain.