Fishing in Baja

By Bruce Ajari

092415-GoneFishinLeslie Ajari fishing in Baja.


“My daughter did have a brief encounter with a Black Marlin of about 250 to 300 lbs. while fishing for tuna. We got around
four jumps before it spit the hook.”



After our experience last year with Hurricane Odile, the owners of our rental house decided not to rent again in September. Therefore, we decided to take our annual fishing trip in August this year.

The weather was probably the most consistent run of good weather that we have experienced since going down to Baja. We had great fishing conditions every day, both from the beach and the pangas (a fair-sized, open boat with an outboard motor).

Our fourth angler this year was my daughter, Leslie. Having her along proved to be a great decision. She has that fisherman’s luck and caught lots of fish, including some sizeable ones.

On this trip we fish both with conventional gear and with fly rods. Though it is our preference to fish the fly rods, conditions often dictate how we fish, particularly if we are targeting a certain species such as Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus Albacares).

Yellowfin Tuna are a pelagic species found mostly in waters from the surface to about 330 feet deep. They favor water temperatures of 65 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit.



We began our trip fishing deep for this species. When you do this, you always can catch other species. Since fishing down in the Sea of Cortez, we have become accustomed to catching many different species of fish.

The first day would prove to set the tone for the trip. While fishing for tuna in deep water on conventional gear, we caught Yellowtail amberjack (Seriola lalandi) and Amberjack (Seriola rivoliana), Cabrilla (in the Grouper family), and White Bonito (Katsuwonus pelamis, either a Bonito or in the Skipjack family). Yellowfin were also caught both deep and shallow that day. All if these fish make great table fare.

We continued to catch many of these same species the next three days on the pangas using conventional gear. My daughter did have a brief encounter with a Black Marlin (Istiompax indica) of about 250 to 300 lbs. while fishing for tuna. We got around four jumps before it spit the hook. The first one was only about 50 feet from the panga. Quite exciting for all of us.

My daughter did catch a nice Skipjack Tuna (Euthynnus lineatus) from the bow of the boat one day while casting a fly. She wanted more of that, so we planned to fly-fish only on our last day on the panga.


(See Sightseeing for water levels.)

Boca | Inflow is at 16 cfs and the outflow is 60 cfs. Fishing has been fair. Fly-fishers have been catching some fish near the inlet with nymphs, streamers and dries.

Donner | Fishing has been fair to good. Kokanee fishing has been good. Nightcrawlers and Powerbait seem to be the main bait for shore anglers. Mackinaw fishing has been good. Fly-fishermen are catching some fish with streamers.

Lake Tahoe | Fishing has been fair to good for mackinaw. A guide is highly recommended if you are fishing for mackinaw for the first time. Toplining and shore fishing is fair. Most shore fishermen use inflated nightcrawlers.

Little Truckee River | The flow has been lowered to 16 cfs for habitat improvement work. Please fish in alternative waters.

Martis Lake | Zero kill. Catch and Release only with barbless artificial lures or flies. Fishing is the best early in the season and again the fall. With the warming water, the fishing here is slow. Try fishing it again in the fall.

Prosser | Fishing has been fair. Anglers using bait, lures and flies have all caught fish. Fly fishermen have done well near the inlet areas. Bass fishing has been fair.

Stampede | Fishing has been fair. The ramp is not usable for larger boats. Nightcrawlers, Powerbait and lures have all produced from shore. Fly-fishermen have been doing well near the inlets with nymphs and streamers. The Kokanee fishing has been fair for those getting out. Smallmouth bass fishing has been fair.

Truckee River | Not flowing out of the lake at Tahoe City. The flows through Truckee are at 7 cfs. The flow from Boca downstream to the state line is running between 81 and 95 cfs. Flows are too low for this river now. Please target alternative water and other species such as bass or carp.

Davis and Frenchman | Cooler nights should be starting to improve things at these lakes.


Bruce is a long-time area fly-fisherman and past president of Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers. Visit to read more.