Louis Donaldo Colosio)
Construction on the Lake Huites Dam was started
in 1992 and completed in 1995. Although
this project was initially tarnished with controversy over the unusually high
number of lives lost during construction and displacement of many factions of the Mexican populace, the dam construction was completed in a
record setting 29 months. The
positive overall impact of this impoundment has however very quickly proven to
far exceed the negative consequences that contemplated the original vision of the
project at its outset.
The added water storage capacity has more than
doubled the area of land downstream in the lush Rio Fuerte Valley that can be
cultivated and irrigated, along with the addition of another state-of-the-art
hydroelectric generating power facility. The
Huites Dam on the Rio Fuerte has also virtually assured the complete control of
any major flooding downstream that has occasionally occurred in the past from
excessive mountain snow melt and the rare hurricanes that skirt the West Coast
States of Sinaloa, Durango, Sonora and Chihuahua, dumping huge amounts of rain
over the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountain Range.
Another interesting fact about Lake Huites is
that more than 50% of the total construction costs were paid by private sector
agricultural interests. This
commingling of private, federal and state government funding was a first for any
major Lake-Dam-Hydroelectric-Irrigational construction project in all of
On the negative side, there were 14 small
Mexican communities in or near the area that had to be relocated, among those
being the small village of Huites, for which the lake is unofficially named. Approximately 200 families (1300 citizens) were compensated for their
homes and have mostly settled in the Choix area just south of the dam. The only area of the lake that was deforested was in the immediate
construction area of the dam and almost all of this timber was reused for
fencing around new homes in the Choix area. Most of the original home sites were left intact and offer substantial
cover when lake levels fluctuate. There
were also approximately 350 small hacienda-ranches along the major rivers and
arroyos that had to be abandoned, with most of these concrete structures also
being left in place.
The Lake is located approximately 100 miles
from the city of Los Mochis Sinaloa, which is the closest major city full
service airport facility. It is
about a three hour drive from the airport into the lower range of the Sierra
Madre Occidental Mountain
Range. For those private pilots, a
fully paved airstrip is located in El Fuerte.
At pool elevation, the Lake encompasses some 23,000 acres of the most stunningly beautiful countryside to be found anywhere on North America, with a water depth of almost 500 feet at the dam. The Lake was originally heavily stocked with all Florida strain largemouth bass that have quickly matured in size and numbers.
It is not uncommon for novice and seasoned anglers alike to catch and release 50-100 bass per day with a double digit trophy bass (Lobinos) possible at any time.
Catch-and-release is the prevailing rule at
most lodges, with most all trophy bass photographed and quickly released so
another visiting angler might be fortunate enough for a photo session with the
bass catch of a lifetime! A Mexican
fishing license is also required.
Contrary to much hype and misinformation that Lake Huites has been designated for sport angling only, there are presently two major commercial fishing operators licensed to harvest fish for resale. They employ approximately 150 Pescadores that are legally allowed to place nets for harvest of all major fish populations. The percentages of species harvested in year 2000 are approximately as follows: Carp - 40%, Cat Fish 6%, Tilapia 40%, Bass 14%, with several thousands of tons of all species harvested. It still remains to be seen if a practical and prudent harvest ratio of the various species can be maintained by commercial operators, along with containment of illegal harvest, so as to also maintain the best possible bass sport angling with maximum numbers of healthy bass available.
El Fuerte, Sinaloa Mexico - Reservations: (800) 549-7033
firstname.lastname@example.org -- Internet http://www.thepescador.com