Bass Fishing Lake Yojoa, Honduras
We left Utila, on the Bay Islands after getting itchy feet to get back in the fresh water, and away from the sand fleas.
We’d heard from our buddies in Pana that Lake Yojoa might have good fish in it, and while in Utila picked up a free travel book that praised the lake for having an average of 13 pound bass.
It was a free, government-written guide. Should’ve known by their assertion that there is an “average of 13 pounds” that these idiots didn’t have a clue what they were talking about. 13 ounces might be closer.
The Caribbean side of Honduras is completely different than the north and west areas. It’s wet, lush, and the soil is great. They still run cattle out there, but even then you can hardly tell that they’re easting the grass, it’s so high and green. Beautiful country, and we hear that acres are around $200 a piece.
The hills roll, unlike other areas of Central America, they are not volcanic. In this area, they aren’t rocky at all.
After leaving Utila we stopped back in Ceiba for the night, and went back to the Expatriate’s bar, looking for James and Lucy, but couldn’t find them.
So we hit up the mall again after that, figuring to watch a movie and relax before hitting the road, and sure enough, there were James and Lucy, at the coffee stand, of course!
Caught up, got some more tips on Nicaragua, and wished them well.
We stayed at the Emperador, again, a hotel on the main road just across from the mall. Clean, AC, TV, pool for $18/double.
In the morning made tracks for the lake. The town we had to find, Penas Blancas, wasn’t even on the map, though it’s mentioned in Let’s Go Central America 2005.
If you’re driving from the north, the turn is just before the lake on the north side, look for a small sign mentioning a National Park or a nature reserve.
Lining the main highway on the lake are a plethora of cheap comedores, for you fish-eating pleasure. Most serve tilapia, but bass is definitely on the menu in some. There are also people selling “fresh” fish along the road, strung up on poles. Yep, they’re bass.
We fished the lake the first evening, and again the next morning. Overcast conditions, low visibility water, and lots of what looked like tiny pieces of algae floating. They are now doing aqua-culture in the lake, farming tilapia, and perhaps that’s led to the visibility problem.
Bait fish were everywhere. We spooked several hundred off the grass line and they kept jumping out toward the middle of the lake for a couple of hundred yards.
All said, we didn’t catch a fish, nor even get a single bite. The weigh-in on Lake Yojoa, Honduras? Overfished to the point of collapse, and nothing save massive government intervention and control can save it at this point. The fact that there were so many baitfish says that there aren’t enough predator bass to eat them.
The hotel/lodge we stayed in was the Agua Azul, just before the town of Penas Blancas. It is a nice place, reminiscent of Chappy’s lodge on Salto, though certainly not as modern and nice. But it has that fishing lodge feel. We were two of possibly 10 people staying, though the place has table settings for more than 150 for dinner. Was it just the slow season? It was odd.
The lodge was built 59 years ago, and did play host to bass tournaments between 1970 and 1975. We’re not yet sure of the history, but we do know the bass fishing collapsed in the late 70’s from over-fishing and spearing.
The locals are still at it. We saw people walking around with spears, people in the water with masks and snorkels and spears, nets, the whole thing. That, along with the aquaculture can’t be good for the lake, though the Honduran government claims that the lake is part of a national improvement project.
It could once again become a nice lake to fish. But it will take time, and commitment.