News & Press

Lake El Salto, New Lake Picachos and The Amazon: February & March 2019

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Big news from the Anglers Inn team!  

The ink is still wet, but I just signed on the dotted line to purchase an incredible property in Northern Idaho. For years it has been my dream not only to establish an operation worthy of the Anglers Inn name within the United States – a place that you’d not only want to visit, but one where you’d want to set down roots as well.

A couple of years ago I narrowed my search to the Great Northwest, but that’s when the fun began. Over the course of 24 months I looked at well over a hundred properties. They all had their pluses and minuses, but none was exactly what I wanted. Finally I found what I’d been looking for, a waterfront property with a marina, a gorgeous stone-and-timber lodge, home sites, and a breathtaking view of both the water and the adjacent mountains.

For all of the smallmouth devotees who’ve been bugging me to add brown fish to my repertoire of largemouths and peacocks, your wishes have been answered. This is trophy smallmouth country – they grow big and mean and they’re relatively unpressured, so you’ll be able to scratch that itch as much as you want. But the fishing doesn’t end there – the region also has trophy largemouths that are even less pressured, big walleyes, hard-fighting northern pike and a variety of trout and salmon. You’ll never want to leave.

In most of my other operations and lodges, if the hard core angler’s family didn’t like to fish, they were just out of luck. There was little reason to bring them. This lodge shifts that paradigm. While the angler fishes, the rest of the family can engage in a variety of water sports, ski, go “glamping,” play golf or ride the hundreds of miles of trails. There are also world-class restaurants and shopping nearby. If you want to fish all day, that’s certainly fine, but it’s also possible to load the boat before everyone else gets up and then join them for a host of other activities.  

All of this is less than 45 minutes from an international airport. You’ll feel like you’ve gotten away from it all, but it’s still easy to access – and you’ll be treated to the familiar Anglers Inn way when it comes to service.  

In 2017 and 2018 I hosted some VIP guests in the beautiful north country and every one of them couldn’t wait to come back. There’s so much to do, both on and off the water, that you’ll seriously think about moving there. It’s that good, I promise. More info to come. Stay tuned!

We’ve been running full houses nonstop at both Picachos and El Salto since New Year’s, hosting legions of happy anglers and doing our best to provide them the best service on earth. Fishing can be unpredictable, even on world-class waters, so we control the things that we can to make sure that you have a true bucket-list experience. That’s probably why over 80 percent of our clients are return customers.

Bassmaster Senior writer Pete Robbins normally makes two trips a year to El Salto, and hadn’t been to Picachos in over three years, but after hearing recent reports he had to come back. He wasn’t disappointed that he did.  

“The guides have improved so much since my last visit,” he said. “They’re all from right there, so they know the contours intimately, but when the lodge first opened they didn’t know much about fishing. They could beat the bank and load the boat because the fish were so dumb and hungry. Now they’ve learned to fish offshore. In fact, we started calling our guide Fermin Señor Crankbait, because no matter where we pulled up, that was almost always his go-to lure.”

Pete reported that although the lake remains prolific, there are definite time considerations and patterns. “There was one spot that we could hit every afternoon and catch 30 or 40 in quick succession, but if we hit it in the morning we wouldn’t catch one or two. The times we struggled were when we asked the guide to try something off his program – we did better when we just went where he wanted to go, when he wanted to be there.”  

Pete was joined by former Bassmaster Top 100 and FLW Tour pro Terry Baksay of Connecticut, who marveled at how hard the bass fought on his first fishing trip south of the border. Terry tied on a chartreuse-green-back 20-foot diver at the beginning of the trip and literally wore the bill off. He was also amazed at Fermin’s ability to get crankbaits unsnagged, likely saving him over a hundred dollars in lost lures. When the fish came up schooling Terry put a beatdown on bass up to 6 pounds with a jerkbait, and when the deep fish turned off he was consistently able to eke out a few more with the new “Tokyo Rig.” Give it a try on your next trip – it’s a really good producer.  

They were also joined by Joe Cermele, the fishing editor of Field & Stream, and Tim Romano, of Angling Trade World, who came down to film one of Joe’s famous “Hook Shots” videos. Look it up on YouTube and if you’re a fly angler (or would-be fly angler) it’ll make you want to bring the long rod on your next trip. We plan to have a special fly tackle newsletter in the near future that’ll help make your packing easy.

With consistent 80 degree days throughout the winter, lots of people come from the far north to escape the cold. Few if any come from further north than Sean and Ali Burril of Palmer, Alaska, where there are no bass. They vacation in Mazatlan and always make it a point to hit up Anglers Inn. They’ve been to El Salto five times, so this time they made a day trip to Picachos and caught 80 bass up to 7 pounds.

“I just used what the guide provided us,” Sean said. “Mostly a green lizard with a chartreuse tail, they same lure we’ve used at El Salto on past trips. If you’re not a seasoned bass fisherman lean on your guide a bit and ask about direction you should be casting when at locations it's not obvious.”

“Both lakes provided excellent fishing and experiences,” he concluded. “These trips are now something my wife and I look forward to every year.”

Paul King isn’t from Alaska, but New Hampshire’s pretty cold, too. That’s why he’s made it a point to join us on numerous adventures to El Salto, Picachos and the Amazon. This season he completed the TRIFECTA and hit all three. That’s a team player!

He brought girlfriend Holly Desrosiers on a combo trip in February on her first trip to both lakes.

“We fished Picachos for one day and El Salto for five and a half days,” he said. “Crankbaits and Carolina Rigs were the most productive lures for numbers of fish. The Berkley Dredger, along with the 10xd and 8xd were the best crankbaits, and an 8-inch watermelon red lizard was the best Carolina Rig lure.

“Crankbaits caught the big fish, reeling them as fast as you can,” he advised. He caught a 10-01 and an 8-06 this trip, both on a chartreuse with blue back 10XD. Like many guests before him, along with most of our guides, he is a firm believer in chartreuse dipping dye on his lizards’ tails. Don’t leave home without it.

Tracy Kenworthy is another veteran of our Mexican fishing. He’s seen El Salto through all sorts of conditions and he has the notches on his flipping stick to prove it. This time he also took a combo trip and combined huge numbers at Picachos with some genuine trophies at El Salto. He had a 9-02 on a soft ribbed swimbait, and an 8-08 on a ¾ ounce Berkley Warpig lipless crankbait. He advised that sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to where the big ones come from.

“They were just mixed in with the others,” he said. “I probably caught eight or nine by the tree, all 2-pounders, and then the 8-08 bit. I was yo-yoing the War Pig. The key with the swimbait was a slow retrieve. And for numbers, an 8-inch green pumpkin lizard produced a lot of fish.”

The lizard is “old reliable,” but it’s not the only soft plastic lure you should try. Jim Barton of Texas, who has joined us in Mexico a dozen or so times, said that on his recent trip to El Salto he caught plenty of bass on watermelon red lizards, but “most of our bigger fish came on vibe tail speed worms in about 15-20 feet of water out in the middle of the lake past the narrows. Best colors were the red plum and black/blue.”

He also experienced the great swimbait bite that we’re known for. “one morning we had 62 fish on swimbaits before 9:30am fishing up close to the river.” His report reiterated the importance of sometimes trying different guides. Jim has fished with many of our best veterans, but this time he fished with Jesus for the first time. “He’s a nice guy and speaks English as well as I do. I had never seen or heard of him before but he was very fun to fish with. You should try him.” That’s an important lesson. Many clients get locked into the first guide who leads them to a big fish, but all of our guides have their own strategies and favorite techniques. Even if you’ve fished with us for decades, by riding with someone else you can see the lake from a different perspective.

Prime dates at both Mexican lakes for the last half of 2019 and the first half of 2020 are almost gone. Fishing has been exceptional, so I recommend blocking out your vacation sooner rather than later If you know when you want to come, please contact us as soon as possible to make sure you get your preferred time slot. As indicated above, you should also consider either a trip to Picachos, or a combo trip involving both lakes. Do you want to work on your flipping? Wear your arm out with topwaters? Find out what a glide bait bite feels like? This is the place to do it. You can literally expect to catch 100 fish a day if you are even semi-competent, and you can do it just about any way you want. Bring pounds and pounds of plastics because it’s possible to decimate even a healthy supply. It is only going to continue to get better. We’ve only tapped a small portion of its potential.

Picachos is just 55 minutes from the Golden Zone of Mazatlan, so it’s even perfect for day trips, but for you hard core guys, if you can’t decide which lake to visit, a combo trip is the way to go. Our new dining room sits right at the edge of the lake and you’ll be tempted to make a few casts between sips of your margarita.

Remember, our goal is to make your trip as hassle-free as possible, and one step in that direction is that we now have loaner rods for everyone to use at no cost. Thanks to our newly-developed partnership, our lodges now have a varied supply of St. Croix rods. “They made fishing pure pleasure,” said one recent guest. These technique-specific rods rods are the real deal, folks, and we are committed to giving you the best possible tools to land that fish of a lifetime. You don’t need to travel with a heavy and burdensome rod tube anymore if you don’t want to. Both lakes have an ample supply ready for you to use. We’re seeing fewer and fewer guests bringing their own rods. With the St. Croix sticks tailored to specific techniques, and available in a wide range of lengths and options, so really can’t go wrong…and it makes packing much easier to just bring your reels and tackle.

I personally hosted every Amazon trip this year on record-class waters and dates are starting to fill up for the 2019-2020 season. If you’re a serious angler and you haven’t been, you owe it to yourself to chase these mean suckers. And if you’ve been before, but not with me, I want to show you the Anglers Inn Way down there – everything is first class.

We have the most luxurious boat available, along with chefs and staff who’ve been trained in the Anglers Inn way. We provide an “Amazon Tough” bag to every customer and it’s filled with all sorts of things like insect repellent, sunscreen and the proper hat to make sure that you don’t miss out on any part of your trip. As with Mexico, we provide quality St. Croix rods and we have Abu-Garcia reels with braided line, as well as all of the right baits for the current conditions. Once you’re in the jungle there’s no tackle shop or mail order outlet, so we want to make sure that your trip of a lifetime is fully stocked.

This year I am headed to another part of Brazil with a few advisors to investigate another multi-species fishery that will knock the socks off of the adventurers among you, as well as anyone who wants to catch monster fish. It’s going to be a bit more remote, and not for everyone, but I guarantee you that anyone who has “been there, done that” will jump at the chance when I have more details. Of course, everything will be done the Anglers Inn Way. I’ll have more news about that soon, as well as another resource I’ll be providing to the entire peacock bass fishing community.

If you haven’t seen it already, be sure to click on our website at www.anglersinn.com. We’ve had it up since early 2017, and the feedback has been tremendous – especially from guests who’ve found pictures of themselves with big fish gracing the site. Our theme is “Making Every Angler’s Dream Come True,” and while our web presence is no substitute for a trip to Mexico or Brazil, it’s the next best thing and a valuable tool for planning your next trip. We continue to update it with new information and items constantly, so don’t forget to hit us up regularly.

Just as we set the standard for international fishing trips, we want to set the standard online, too. The new site includes information about all of our properties, pricing and bios of our staff. We also update it regularly with new videos on our “Anglers Inn TV” channel, and provide detailed monthly reports like this one.

Whether it’s your first trip to an Anglers Inn property or your 20th, we hope that this site will provide all of the information that you need, but if it doesn’t we’re always just a phone call or email away.

While we often provide a generalized list of lures that work throughout the year, there are times when specific bites are ongoing and we don’t ever want you to arrive under gunned. Monitor the website and social media for updated info, and if you’re ever in doubt about what you need to bring, please call us or email us. We want to make sure that you’re outfitted properly to make the most of your vacation.

If you’ve received this report from a friend, please be sure to sign up for future mailings at www.anglersinn.com. If you know a friend who would benefit from these newsletters, please make sure that they are receiving them, too.