Lake El Novillo - Let's Go Fishing!

Bass Fishing Sonora - Lake El Novillo

Let's Go Fishing!

If bass fishing in Mexico has ever crossed your mind, fishing at Lake El Novillo is truly a unique experience that should not be missed! Located in the heart of the beautiful Mexican state of Sonora and just a short half day drive the Arizona border, El Novillo hosts a variety of great fishing for intrepid anglers looking to test their skills.

Fishing pressure on El Novillo is very light. A busy weekend day on the lake might see as many as 40 boats, on a lake which stretches over 33 miles in length. Even during a major bass tournament that might attract as many as 100 boats, the number of anglers does not even come close to the number of great spots to fish for lunkers.


Catches of fifty or more fish per day are common.

Typical size ranges from 2 to 5 pounds, with an occasional bigger fish in the 7 and up pound range.


Rare is the day that one fishing El Novillo encounters another boat fishing the point or cove where you want to try casting your luck! A visit to El Novillo is a certainly something to consider if you believe yourself an avid fisherman.


Fishing Lake El Novillo

Fishing El Novillo requires one to test their skills to the limit! The lake’s somewhat unique structure, made up of steep banks and many rock outcrops makes for a challenge to those who are used to fishing lilies and shallow lakes covered with weeds. There are no docks or man-made structures on the lake for bass to hide so those looking for big bass must try many different methods to attract them to bite. In recent years, many of those fishing El Novillo have been able to put bass weighing over 10 pounds in their boats.


Lake El Novillo’s strong fish population is an added bonus.

The vast majority of anglers who fish the lake adhere to the strict 5 fish per day legal limit even though a good day on the lake will produce 100+ hook-ups per boat per day. This adherence to the legal limits, along with the practice of releasing any females caught and releasing any fish over 3 lbs has resulted in a strong and resilient self-sustaining population of fish species in El Novillo.


More than just Big Mouth Bass - 

To be sure, the Large Mouth Bass, (or Lobino in Spanish), reigns king of the lake although TilapiaCrappie, Sun Fish, (commonly referred to as Blue Gills), as well as catfish up to 45lbs can be caught.

See El Novillo fish varieties!

About Lake El Novillo

El Novillo is comprised of the merging of two separate rivers, the Rio Moctezuma and the Rio Yaqui. These two major rivers of Sonora converge at the approximate middle of the lake, and continue down to the hydroelectric dam, providing 33 miles of lake and hundreds of miles of shoreline. From the air, and on maps, the shape resembles a “Y” shape with the confluence of the two rivers at roughly the middle of the lake. Many folks have remarked that the shape of the lake looks similar to a scorpion on maps.

While the proper name for the lake is Plutarco Elias Calles, named after a famous Mexican general,you might only see that name on a few maps. Even putting that name into Google Earth takes you to the border crossing between Arizona and Mexico on Highway 85 heading towards Puerto Peñasco, (Rocky Point). Most publications and maps list the lake as El Novillo, (Young Steer). Asking directions to El Novillo will result in far greater success than asking how to get to Plutarco Elias Calles as even the locals know the lake by its most common name.

Learn More about Novillo's surrounding areas


Where is Lake El Novillo

El Novillo is located approximately 80 miles ENE of Hermosillo, the capital city of Sonora. Easily navigated paved roads lead to El Novillo with several routes available for those driving to the lake from the United States. A 2600 ft. paved landing strip, located at the main town of San Pedro de la Cueva, Sonora, is also available to those who wish to fly their private plane to El Novillo, seeking to enjoy the great fishing and experience rural Mexico at its finest.

Learn More about Driving or Flying to Lake El Novillo


Novillo Sportfishing Association and El Novillo’s strong fish population

The Novillo Sportfishing Association began in the early 1990’s with the goals of helping to establish guidelines for members and others to promote healthy and sustainable fish populations for the lake and to continue a great relationship between the locals and the gringos who visit regularly. Many members of the association either own, or have long-term leases on homes at the two primary towns on the lake, San Pedro de la Cueva and San Juan de Batuc. San Pedro has the largest number of gringo regulars, numbering around 200 members and others who visit several times per year.

Learn more about becoming a Member of Novillo Sportfishing Association