There are plenty of places to fish for bass and saltwater fish in Mexico, but one of the best kept secrets of this country is trout fishing...
Wait a minute; did you say trout fishing in Mexico? Wasn’t Mexico a destination for saltwater and bass fishing? Sure! There are plenty of places to fish for bass and saltwater fish in Mexico, but one of the best kept secrets of this country is trout fishing.
Trout fishing in Mexico is nothing new, there have been trout for centuries, in fact there are several trout species in Mexico that are endemic to some river basins. You might be wondering, why I have not heard about trout in Mexico before? This is because even in our country, most people do not realize that we have large populations of wild trout that reproduce all by themselves in many rivers and lakes, why? Well fly fishing was not a very popular sport before 1990 and the few of us, who fished for these trout, were about the only ones who knew about the subject. With the private lake boom, more people began to get interested in fly fishing, but those new anglers, prefer to fish in the commodity of private lakes which have easy access and every service available, besides there are plenty of large trout in this places that are relatively easy to catch and you can find good fishing water within a twenty minute drive.
Fly fishing for trout below the border is not just possible; it can be a very exciting experience because of the diversity of habitats available to trout.
Basically there are two types of fishing for trout below the border, the first one and perhaps the most accessible one is done in private lakes, which charge you a license fee to fish for stocked trout, which do not reproduce naturally, this fish are usually one pound in average, but there is not uncommon to catch five to six pound fish with trophy fish reaching the sixteen pound mark.
Private lakes are located within easy access of major highways, sometimes you will have to ride a small part of the road thru dirt roads for a few hundred of meters to reach the places, but once inside you have everything from instructors to restrooms and restaurant and just anything you will need including tackle shops.
These lakes are usually not very big they run from half an acre to about eight acres, the lakes are usually surrounded by small forest patches either of introduced or native vegetation. In their waters, life has found its own way, creating complex ecosystems with complete food chains that include several species of insects of different orders, baitfish and crustaceans which provide trout with a good food source.
On the other hand there is fishing for trout in wild places which is far more difficult, because of two reasons, first most of our rivers and lakes are under heavy fishing pressure from local fisherman who fish with cast nets and lines with up to 4 hooks baited with worms, and second because some of them are really hard to reach, specially the better ones. Nevertheless fishing for wild trout in Mexico is very rewarding, even though the average fish weights less than a pound. But don’t be discouraged yet because there are lakes where trout grow really big, in some of this places trout reach the twenty pound mark.
Wild places include rivers and lakes located in very contrasting ecosystems; the most common is the evergreen forest rivers and lakes. Here you will find freestone rivers usually not very wide or deep, being a twenty feet river a wide one, in this sort of places you will fish surrounded by pines mostly along with firs, the trout population in this rivers is the most exposed to predation, because most human settlements in the central part of Mexico are located within range of this ecosystems.
Lakes in the evergreen forests can be as small as less than one acre or as huge as Valle de Bravo which is a lake of several thousands of acres. Typically this lakes are very productive in terms of food available to the fish, and this of course translates in good fishing for nice size trout, you will probably tangle with a couple five pound fish each outing in one of this lakes but again this are not the best places to fish for trophy trout because the same reason as in rivers located in this particular kind of ecosystems.
The second setting for trout waters is arid climate where you can find huge and deep “Axalapascos” which is a local word for lakes formed within extinct craters in flat lands and filled with precipitation waters. These lakes are very deep, cold and clear usually you can see down to ninety feet.
Trout in this kind of water grow very large feeding on “charales” which is a local minnow species member of the Poecillidae family and also on crayfish and some aquatic insects. If you want to catch a trophy this is the place for you personally I have seen trout up to eighteen pound caught there by anglers trolling spoons, as for fly caught trout fourteen pound is the largest one I have seen caught from there unfortunately it was not caught by me. Local people say that they have shot (using a .22 caliber rifle) trout up to twenty pounds.
Catching this monster trout on flies is not impossible because they patrol shorelines all day long, going from the surface at dawn to twenty feet at noon and back to surface at dusk.
The third setting and the most exciting is the cloud forest, this place looks like a jungle, with prehistoric looking ferns growing on the banks of the rivers, the vegetation in this places is composed by several species of precious woods and fruit trees along with hundreds of other plant species. This kind of ecosystem is noted for its topography with steep slopes and cliffs. But if you ask why it is called a cloud forest, it is because it is covered with fog almost all day long and there is always a soft rain. But do not get confused, this climate is not very cold during the day it can reach 28 degree Celsius and 10 degree Celsius or less at night. Fish in these places grow to nice sizes because of the abundance of food induced by the rich ecosystem surrounding it.
Even though there is good fishing in cloud forest rivers, people avoid fishing them because you have to work hard to get to the river and there is always the danger of “Nauyacas”, which are very poisonous snakes, and also coral snakes.
The least common place to fish for trout are high altitude lakes, this kind of lake is located on the craters of volcanoes that stand more than six thousand feet above the sea level, trout in this kind of lakes are usually not very big or heavy, mostly because of the limited supply of food available to them.
Nevertheless fishing this places is a great experience not for the fishing itself but for the landscape which generally speaking is breathtaking.
Unfortunately trout in Mexico are very exposed to predation coming from so called “sport-fishermen” that kill every single trout that has the bad luck to eat their baits or lures, this happens because there is no legislation on the subject and even if there is there are no wardens to enforce it.
There are also the poachers who fish for trout to eat and sell, this people do not use rod and reel to catch fish, instead they use cast nets and long lines with hooks and live bait, at other times they use different kinds of poison to catch their fish and kill everything including crustaceans, amphibians, insects and of course fish.
But the main problem is that people do not realize that a live trout could give them more in terms of income than a dead one, if they just provided service for true sport-men who are conscious about the state of the fishery and its conservation.
Guiding for trout in Mexico is not such a large operation as it is in the United States, Chile or Argentina, mainly because not many people from other countries or even from other states know about it. Guides here in Mexico are usually fly fishermen who know intimately certain rivers and take people to fish there for a small price and making sure everything caught is released. An average for a guided trip for a day will be around two hundred American dollars fishing from dawn to dusk in river that have seen very few fly fishers or even none.
There are no fishing lodges specialized in trout fishing, so if you decide to try this fishery, you should have to stay at a hotel in a major city or town, which are usually located no more than three hours from the fishing grounds. Some guides even provide accommodation for their clients in their own houses which provide the angler with a close look at the Mexican culture and makes a solid link between angler and guide.
As you can see, trout fishing in Mexico is a great and varied sport, that can take you to remote places of such natural beauty that could give you memories of a lifetime, fish might not be as huge or numerous as those in Argentina or Chile, but certainly this Mexican fish will put your skills to the test and give you a great time.