Mexico is known for its beautiful beaches, delicious food, and ancient ruins. The country also happens to be an excellent bass fishing destination. There are lots of beautiful lakes and reservoirs to fish. There is also some great sea bass fishing in Baja. This guide outlines bass fishing trips in Mexico.
In this guide, we’ll share some of the best bass fishing lakes in Mexico. We’ll list the types of bass you can catch in Mexico. We’ll also explain exactly how to go bass fishing in Mexico. These days, a number of companies offer guided bass fishing trips. You can also go independently. Hopefully, this guide helps you catch your next trophy bass.
Why Go Bass Fishing in Mexico?
Mexico is an excellent bass fishing destination. There are a number of reasons for this.
First, the country offers an unmatched diversity of bass species. You’ll find trophy-sized largemouth in Mexico’s lakes such as Lake El Salto and Lake Baccarac. There are also a number of species of seabass that can be caught off Mexico’s shores.
The favorable climate of Mexico also allows for year-round bass fishing. If you want to escape the cold and go bass fishing during the winter, you can. The warm waters also allow bass to grow larger and faster than they can in colder climates. There are some huge bass here.
Bass fishing trips in Mexico often offer more bang for your buck. With a range of budget-friendly accommodations and inclusive packages available, anglers can enjoy a premium experience without breaking the bank.
The competition is also pretty low. Most locals don’t go bass fishing. Most of the bass fishing lakes are also located in unpopulated areas. You won’t have to fight for a fighting spot.
Mexico also isn’t just about bass fishing. It’s a great all around vacation destination. Between fishing sessions, you can enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine, explore historical landmarks, and immerse yourself in local culture.
Mexico is also a naturally beautiful palace. Mexico’s bass fishing locations are often nestled amidst untouched nature
Types of Bass Found in Mexico
Both freshwater and saltwater species of bass can be found in Mexico including:
- Largemouth Bass: One of the most iconic freshwater gamefish, the largemouth bass is known for its distinct appearance characterized by a broad mouth that extends past the rear edge of the eye. Averaging between 10 to 20 inches in length, these bass can often grow much larger with some reaching trophy sizes of well over 10 pounds. In Mexico, the most popular places to fish for largemouth bass include Lake El Salto and Lake Baccarac. These bass are the most popular target for anglers visiting Mexico. They are known for their aggressive strikes and aerial acrobatics. Largemouth bass are also known as bigmouth bass, widemouth bass, bucketmouth, black bass, and Florida bass. They’re all the same species.
- Smallmouth Bass: Often considered the spirited cousin of the largemouth, the smallmouth bass sports a bronze hue, dark vertical stripes, and a mouth that doesn’t extend beyond its eye. Typically ranging from 12 to 20 inches and weighing up to 7 pounds, they offer a challenging fight, often compared to the strength of much larger fish. In Mexico, they can be found in cooler, rockier waters, especially in the northern regions where rivers and streams provide an ideal habitat. Smallmouth bass are much less common in Mexico than largemouth. Most smallmouth bass in Mexico are found in private fisheries, where you need to pay a fee to fish. You’ll find better smallmouth fishing in the U.S. and Canada.
- Spotted Bass: The spotted bass, or “Kentucky bass”, exhibits a greenish hue with a series of spots forming horizontal rows down its sides. While their average size hovers around the 10 to 17 inches, they are known for their spirited fight.
- White Sea Bass: Venturing into the marine spectrum, the white sea bass is a silvery, elongated fish with a dark iridescent blue-gray back. These fish have an average size of around 3 feet and weigh around 20 pounds. These giants can grow up to 5 feet long and weigh over 90 pounds. Found primarily along the Pacific coast of Mexico, they’re a treat for deep-sea anglers, especially around Baja California where the marine biodiversity is rich.
- Barred Sand Bass: The barred sand bass sports vertical dark bars along its whitish to grayish body. Their stout build is accompanied by an average length of 12 to 20 inches and a weight of 3-4 pounds. These bass are actually considered a type of Grouper. They are usually found near reefs and rocky outcroppings off the coastlines of Mexico. Particularly around the Baja Peninsula. These are great eating fish. They are also fun to catch. They put up a good fight for their small size.
- Giant Sea Bass: As the name suggests, the giant sea bass is a behemoth. Characterized by its dark black-blotched gray to brownish body, this colossus can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh up to a staggering 700 pounds. Their size makes them a bucket-list catch for many deep-sea anglers. They’re primarily found in the Pacific waters, especially around the Baja California region of Mexico. These bass are also known as Gigas. This comes from their scientific name, Stereolepis Gigas.
Mexico Bass Fishing Lakes
Lake El Salto
Lake El Salto is situated in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains, about 70 miles northeast of Mazatlan, in the state of Sinaloa. Spanning approximately 25,000 acres, this reservoir is one of the best places in the world to fish for largemouth bass. The largest bass caught in Lake El Salto weighed over 15 pounds. There are definitely trophy bass in this lake. In fact, Bassmaster Magazine once said “if you are in Mexico bass fishing on Lake El Salto, you are on the absolute best large bass lake in the world.”
One of the nice things about lake El Salto is that it’s easy to access. The closest major airport is Mazatlán International Airport. From there, it’s a comfortable drive to the lake, making access relatively straightforward. The infrastructure is also good around here. The highway there is in good shape. There are several lodges around the lake. There are also a number of guides operating on the lake. The fishing season in Lake El Salto runs from September 15 to July 31.
Located in the state of Sinaloa, Lake Baccarac is renowned for its record-breaking largemouth bass. The lake record bass caught here weighed over 19 pounds. Plenty of trophy sized fish have been caught here. There are some big fish in this lake. This expansive lake covers over 30,000 acres. It’s 25 miles long and 5 miles wide. This is a beautiful lake surrounded by forested mountains. The lake has lots of rocky points and coves to explore.
Lake Baccarac is located in the state of Sinaloa. The nearest airport is Los Mochis, and from there, a scenic drive will bring you to this bass fishing hotspot. There are several lodges on the lake. There are also guides available.
A relatively newer lake fishing destination, Lake Picacho is nestled in the state of Sinaloa. Though smaller in size compared to its counterparts, its waters teem with aggressive largemouth bass. There is some great bass fishing in this lake. Its proximity to Mazatlán International Airport makes it a favorite among anglers looking for quick and fruitful fishing trips.
Situated in Tamaulipas, at the foot of the Sierra Madre mountains, Lake Guerrero spans over 100,000 acres. This reservoir offers an abundance of largemouth bass, with many fish reaching trophy sizes. Trophy sized bass are caught here almost daily. The bass found here are of the Florida strain.
Flying into Ciudad Victoria’s General Pedro J. Méndez International Airport is the most convenient route, followed by a road journey to the lake. You could also drive here from Texas.
Lake Agua Milpa
Located in the state of Nayarit, Lake Agua Milpa is a sprawling body of water, covering about 70,000 acres. This is a man-made lake that was created by damming the Río Grande de Santiago. The reservoir has a long skinny shape that follows the side of the Sierra Madre mountains.
This lake only recently opened to the public for bass fishing. It’s one of the most well-known largemouth bass fisheries in Mexico. Many people consider Lake Agua Milpa to be the best place to fish for bass in Mexico. Lake Agua Milpa is full of Florida strain bass. Most averaging around the 4 to 6-pound range. There are 10 lb largemouth bass in here as well. It’s a good place to catch some big fish. You can also catch smallmouth bass here. The best time to fish Lake Agua Milpas is between March and June.
The closest airport is Tepic Airport, with roadways offering easy access to the lake. To save some money on airfare, you could also fly into Guadalajara or Puerto Vallarta then take a half day drive to the lake. There are lodges and guides available on this lake. Lake Agua Milpa is sometimes written as one word Lake Aguamilpa.
Located in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, Lake Huites boasts an impressive 30,000-acre surface area. This is a man-made lake that was created by damming the Rio Fuerte River.
This lake is known for its largemouth bass. During the fishing season, you’ll regularly see reports of 100-250+ 3-6 pound bass being caught per day. 10 pound trophy size bass are cough there.
Los Mochis Airport serves as the nearest hub, followed by a picturesque drive to the lake. There are lodges and guides available here.
Lake El Cuchillo
Located in the state of Nuevo León, Lake El Cuchillo is famed for its abundant largemouth bass population. With many fishes exceeding the 10-pound mark, it’s a dream destination for trophy hunters. There are plenty of 5-12 pound bass in this lake.
Interestingly, Lake El cuchillo is also Mexico’s only lake that has been designated a state park. This is strictly a catch and release lake. You can only fish here recreationally. Nets also aren’t allowed.
General Mariano Escobedo International Airport in Monterrey is the closest, followed by a road journey to the lake. There are lodges and guides available.
Situated in the state of Sinaloa, just an hour away from Cluican, Lake Mateos covers an impressive area of over 55,000 acres.
The waters here are populated with plenty of largemouth bass. If you read the fishing reports, you’ll see that as many as 100 bass are caught here each day.
Mazatlán International Airport remains the most accessible route for travelers, followed by a drive to the fishing paradise. There are guides available here.
El Cristo Roto
Located in the state of Aguascalientes, El Cristo Roto is not just a fishing location but a tourist attraction too, thanks to the iconic submerged statue of Christ that gives the lake its colloquial name.
Largemouth bass populate these waters, providing an excellent fishing experience in a serene setting. This is a naturally beautiful area in the highlands of Central Mexico. It’s worth visiting just for the mountains. There are also some interesting little towns to visit nearby.
The Aguascalientes International Airport is the most convenient for travelers aiming for El Cristo Roto, followed by a comfortable road trip to the lake. There is a small town located on the shore of the lake called San José de Gracia. Here, you’ll find several lodges. Guides are also available.
Situated in the state of Hidalgo, Lake Zimapan is a vast reservoir boasting a variety of fish, including the largemouth bass. The bass can top 10 pounds here. It’s not uncommon for anglers to catch 50-100 bass per day here.
The closest airport to consider for Lake Zimapan is in Santiago de Queretaro. From there, it’s a journey by road, taking you through picturesque landscapes en route to this fishing hotspot.
Another notable mention is Lake Novillo in the state of Sonora. Spanning over 30,000 acres, this lake is home to an array of bass species, including the prized largemouth as well as smallmouth bass.
Hermosillo’s General Ignacio Pesqueira Garcia International Airport is the gateway to this destination, with road links connecting the lake. The lake is located about 90 miles east of Hermossillo. It’s also easy to drive here from Tucson, Arizona.
Sugar Lake (Presa Marte R. Gómez)
Sugar lake is located just 35 minutes south of the U.S.-Mexico border. This sprawling reservoir, known locally as “Presa Marte R. Gómez,” has earned a reputation as a hotspot for monster largemouth bass. The nutrient-rich waters of this reservoir have nurtured a thriving bass population. The lake is stocked with Florida bass.
There are a couple of companies offering guide services here. Anglers regularly catch 10 plus pound fish here.
Bass Fishing The Border Zone
The border region between the U.S. and Mexico has some excellent bass fishing reservoirs. These are some of the most convenient places for Americans and Canadians to fish in Mexico.
The Amistad Reservoir, aptly named from the Spanish word for “friendship”, straddles the Rio Grande, approximately 12 miles northwest of Del Rio, Texas. You can find both largemouth and stripped bass in the wateres. Conveniently, Amistad Reservoir can be accessed via the Amistad National Recreation Area in the United States or through various entry points on the Mexican side.
Venturing deeper into this border zone, we find Devil’s River Bay, a pristine confluence where the Devil’s River meets the Amistad Reservoir. Located just west of Del Rio, Texas this bay is a hub for clear water fishing. The turquoise waters here are home to an impressive population of largemouth bass. Anglers from the U.S. often embark on their journey from the town of Del Rio. You can also cross into Mexico at Lake Amistad dam and launch from Mexico.
Further south, near Zapata, Texas, and the Mexican town of Nueva Guerrero, lies the renowned Falcon Reservoir. Established by the Falcon Dam on the Rio Grande, it has built a reputation as one of the best lakes to catch big bass. Its waters, rich with structure and vegetation, provide an ideal habitat for trophy-sized largemouth bass. Both the U.S. and Mexican sides boast well-maintained boat ramps and fishing facilities. The Falcon State Park in Texas serves as a primary entry point for many U.S. anglers, while several access points are available for those venturing from Mexico.
Bass Fishing The Baja Peninsula
The Baja Peninsula is an angler’s paradise, especially if you’re interested in ocean-based bass fishing. This rugged and beautiful peninsula is flanked by the Pacific Coast on one side and the Sea of Cortez on the other The unique confluence of cool and warm waters in Baja creates a rich and dynamic marine environment conducive to bass and other species.
Magdalena Bay, located on the Pacific Coast of Baja California Sur, is one of the prime spots for bass fishing in the region. Baja also offers a unique estuary systems, which, serve as the ideal habitat for various bass species. The estuaries, particularly those along the Sea of
Cortez, are also great for catching grouper, a favorite catch for many due to its challenging fight and delectable taste.
If you’re planning to embark on a bass fishing adventure in Baja, there are multiple ways to approach it. While the peninsula’s rocky shores offer ample opportunities for shore fishing, equipping yourself with a boat or kayak significantly opens up your opportunities.
You don’t have to only fish for bass here. The peninsula’s waters are also teeming with other species such as Dorado, Roosterfish, Yellowtail, and the spectacular Sailfish. Baja is an excellent destination for deep sea fishing.
Best Time of Year for Bass Fishing in Mexico
The spring, summer, and fall months are the best time for bass fishing in Mexico. These months are peak season mostly due to water temperature and bass behavior. Bass are ectothermic creatures, which means their body temperature, metabolism, and activity levels are directly influenced by the temperature of their surroundings. In the warmer months, the water temperature in Mexican lakes and rivers rises. This encourages the bass to feed more aggressively as they prepare for the spawning season that follows, making them more responsive to lures and baits.
Weather conditions also play a pivotal role in determining fishing success. While the radiant Mexican sun is a treat for tourists, bass have a different preference. Calm and overcast days are typically the most fruitful for fishing. Windy days can offer good fishing but they make it difficult to control the boat.
Beyond the broader seasonality, the time of day significantly influences bass fishing outcomes. The early mornings and evenings are often heralded as the best times. These periods witness a drop in light levels, coupled with cooler temperatures and calmer waters. Such conditions drive bass to feed actively, making them more likely to strike at lures.
There are a number of techniques to fish for bass. Casting a reel paired with a medium-heavy rod is often the go-to choice. The precision these tools offer is perfect for targeting largemouth bass lurking around underwater structures. Pair this setup with versatile lures such as crankbaits, top water lures, or spinner baits, and you’re ready to tackle the vast majority of bass habitats Mexico has to offer. You can also use live baits if you prefer.
Fly fishing has also found its niche in Mexico. A well-chosen fly rod and reel combo can be the key to success. When selecting flies, patterns that mimic local baitfish or insects are crucial. In Mexico’s varied lakes and reservoirs, having a selection of both topwater flies and sinking patterns ensures you’re prepared for whatever the bass are biting on.
Trolling, a technique more commonly associated with the vast open waters of Mexico’s coastal regions, requires its own specialized gear. Trolling rods are typically longer, designed to handle the resistance of dragging lures through open water. When paired with a high-capacity reel and deep-diving lures or swimbaits, they allow anglers to cover large areas efficiently, increasing the odds of enticing a bass from the depths.
While the tools and techniques vary, the underlying principle remains consistent: understanding the behavior of the bass in relation to the environment and equipping oneself with the gear that best complements it. Whether you’re fly fishing in Lake El Salto or casting from shore on the having the right equipment is essential.
It’s important to note that most guides have gear that you can rent. If you don’t have your own gear or if you don’t want to travel with a bunch of fishing gear, you can just use whatever your guide suggests.
Mexico Bass Fishing Regulations
If you plan to go bas fishing in Mexico, it’s important to understand the country’s fishing regulations so you don’t break the law. These rules are in place to ensure sustainable fishing practices.
When fishing from a boat in Mexico, a fishing license is required. Everyone needs a license, including children. Even those who are not fishing need a license.
The good news is that obtaining this license has been made convenient for anglers. You can purchase your licenses online on this website. Furthermore, for those opting for a chartered fishing experience, the captains will help you get a license. Sometimes, the license is included in the price of the tour .
Fishing from shore in Mexico does not require a license, making it an accessible and hassle-free experience for many. The rule is that you need to be at least 250 meters (800 feet) from any swimmers.
Beyond the licensing requirements, it’s also vital to be aware of the fishing limits set by Mexican authorities. These limits are an embodiment of the country’s commitment to preserving its marine and freshwater ecosystems. Adhering to them ensures that fishing remains a sustainable and rewarding activity for generations to come. Your guide will be familiar with the limits. Generally, you can catch up to 10 fish per day. Some of the lakes are catch and release only.
How to Take a Bass Fishing Trip to Mexico
- Choose Your Destination: Your first step is selecting your fishing destination. If you’re having a hard time deciding,, Sinaloa emerges as a top choice. Several of the best bass fishing lakes in mexico including Lake El Salto, Lake Baccarac, and Lake Picachos are located in the state. It’s also easy and affordable to fly into Mazatlan airport.
- Decide on Your Fishing Experience: Once your destination is set, it’s time to deliberate on the kind of fishing experience you desire. Do you wish to navigate the waters independently? Or do you prefer the insights of a seasoned guide? If you lean towards the latter, you have further choices to make: group tours, where you can bond with fellow enthusiasts, or private tours for a more personalized experience.
- Gear Up: An essential aspect of any fishing trip is the equipment. If you’re an avid angler, you may prefer to bring your tried-and-tested gear. However, if you’re looking to travel light or or if you don’t have your own fishing gear, many spots in Mexico offer gear rental services.You could also just bring your rod and reel and buy lures and bait in Mexico.
- Obtain Your Fishing License: Before you cast your line into Mexico’s rich waters, ensuring you have the requisite fishing license is crucial. As highlighted earlier, while fishing from a boat, a license is non-negotiable.
- Fine-tune Other Logistics: With the core elements in place, dive into other logistics like accommodation, transportation, and any local customs or regulations specific to your chosen destination. If you plan to bring your own boat to Mexico, you’ll also need a temporary import permit for the boat as well as your tow vehicle. You can read my guide to the temporary import permit for more info.
Final Thoughts About Bass Fishing in Mexico
Whether you’re casting your line in the tranquil lakes of Sinaloa, navigating the Sea of Cortez in Baja, bass fishing in Mexico is the epitome of an angling adventure. The country offers some of the best bass fishing lakes in the world. There are miles of coastline for ocean-based bass fishing. There are also a number of bass species to fish for including the popular largemouth bass. You have a great chance of catching a 10 pound trophy fish in Mexico.
There are also some great lodges available. Bass fishing guides can take you to the best fishing spots. It’s easy to rent gear and get a license. Even if you don’t have any experience bass fishing, you can still have a great time
When planning your trip, be sure to consider the time of year. Also, think about the other activities you plan to do in Mexico. Hopefully, this guide helps you catch your next double-digit bass.
Have You Gone Bass Fishing in Mexico? Share your experience and tips in the comments below!
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Zachary Friedman is an accomplished travel writer and professional blogger. Since 2011, he has traveled to 66 countries and 6 continents. He founded ‘Where The Road Forks’ in 2017 to provide readers with information and incites based on his travel and outdoor recreation experience and expertise. Zachary is also an avid cyclist and hiker. Living as a digital nomad, Zachary balances his professional life with his passions for hiking, camping, cycling, and worldwide exploration. For a deeper dive into his journey and background, visit the About page. For inquiries and collaborations, please reach out through the Contact page. You can also follow him on Facebook.