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Event Article: El Salto at the Anglers Inn

The El Salto Experience Ė Inside the Anglers Inn

Date: 8/05/07 (updated 11/09)
Location: Lake El Salto, Mexico
Price: Varies
Reviewer: Zander

Introduction: When anglers go down the list of ďmustĒ fish bass lakes, El Salto usually makes the top ten. What is the allure of this lake? Is the grass really greener on the other sideÖ.of the border? Are there really that many double digit fish left in the lake? We received so many emails after our initial beta test at El Salto with Shimano that we realized the mystique of this lake truly transcends country borders. We take a closer look at the El Salto experience, with an inside look at the legendary lake and Billy Chapman Jr.'s bass paradise called "Anglers Inn."   


The Angler's Inn is perched on the shore of El Salto


A closer look at Lake El Salto: To separate fact from fiction, Lake El Salto is located just over seventy miles from central Mazatlan, Mexico. It took us just over an hour and a half to reach the lake with the shuttle from the airport. Mazatlan is just a short plane ride from Arizona, and is also a popular destination for cruise ships traveling the region. The Lake is located on the edge of the Sierra Madre Mountains, which provide an attractive scenic backdrop to the lake.


To get to El Salto fly into Mazatlan, a short hop from Phoenix Arizona

The actual lake is man-made and built on the Rio Elota River. It covers approximately twenty five thousand surface acres, though this varies a great deal during the dry months when water is used for irrigation. The main lake isnít all that deep, and the deepest point is near the Dam and just over 200 feet when the water level is high.


At the terminal you will be greeted by transportation staff which will take you by shuttle to the resort


The lake has many arms and countless points and rocky drop offs, when the water level is low trees stick right out of the middle of the lake. You may have heard about the submerged cemeteries, and this is absolutely true. There are two such ancient cemeteries in the ruins of two towns where you can see crosses and headstones protruding from the water. Itís actually more serene than it is eerie, and the fish do congregate near the unique structure.


The main fleet at the Anglers Inn

There have been varying reports about the water clarity, ranging from crystal clear to murky. When we went to the lake the water level was near its lowest point, and the water was stained, with a visibility of about four to five feet. Even with this clarity the fish would strike topwater lures in the morning and evening hours.

The resort location and a satellite view of El Salto, notice the numerous arms and coves that line the lake


The Anglers Inn: The Anglerís Inn is owned and founded by Billy Chapman Jr. and his trademark is the ďservice,Ē and the Anglerís Inn caters to anglers and non-anglers, with a combination of fine food, massages, and yesÖ.letís not forget great fishing too. The facilities were top notch, and Iím convinced that I caught more fish because of the quality of the guides, and the fact that I was ready to fish each and every minute I was on the water. No sleeping in uncomfortable beds, or roughing it without air conditioning, the Anglerís Inn is a first class resort.


El Salto at maximum capacity


Many well known anglers who have visited Anglers Inn including top bass pros like Kevin Van Dam, and tackle industry leaders like Dave Pfeiffer, President of Shimano, and Bruce Holt, the chief executive officer for G.Loomis Rods who caught four bass of more than 10-pounds the very first time he fished El Salto.


Billy Chapman Jr. is not only a world class angler and the founder of Anglers Inn but has also recently been inducted into the Freshwater  Fishing Hall of Fame in 2009 for his contributions to bass anglers worldwide


The service here was exceptional, and the staff here is outstanding. The minute we arrived we were served nachos and margaritas, and five minutes before we head back to the Mazatlan airport we were served lunch and cervesas. Now thatís what I call service.


The lake was down when we visited, and from the lodge you can see what is normally submerged trees

The Fish: Catching a double digit bass at El Salto is a possibility each and every time you fish on El Salto. The bass population here is healthy and if you get on the pattern it is achievable to boat 50 plus fish per day.   

Nothing like margaritas to cool you down during Siesta


In terms of quality the smallest fish we caught were a pound in weight, but the average was around 3lbs, and almost everyone at the event caught a few 4 to 7lbrs a day, and few of us even landed double digit fish each day. JIPís personal best fish was 7.3lbs and Zanderís weighed in at 11.5lbs. There were bigger fish caught during the trip by other members of our group.


Jeremy Sweet, Shimano Reel PM, and Zander work the tree line with deep diving cranks

Next Section: Big fish & when and how to get to El Salto









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