Reports & Forecasts: April 2009

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
With rising water temperatures, trout will eat more and make more slicks. This makes for excellent topwater action. A lot of big trout will be caught shallow, but some will begin to move into a little deeper water. Good topwaters to try include Super Spooks, SkitterWalks, Top Dogs, and She Dogs. Good colors are black, chartreuse, bone and pink. The gulls are already beginning to pick; by April the bird activity should really be heating up. West Cove and the reefs along the south bank are productive places. If salinity remain high, there will also be a lot of fish on the north end of the estuary. Good lures to try are Norton Sand Eels, H&H Salty Grubs, and the always productive Berkley Gulp!. Redfish are always hungry and can be caught at any of the weirs along the south and east banks. Another productive spot is the Cameron Jetties with an incoming tide. Best bet on redfish day to day is any Berkley Gulp!.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
"Like I said last month," James beams, "Galveston is set up to have the best fishing on the Texas coast this year." He reports good numbers and some big trout too. "We've had trout up to eight and a half pounds, with a few others over seven. The number of fives and sixes is really impressive as well. There are reds mixed in with the trout on a lot of days too. I'm wading mostly, throwing MirrOlures Catch Vs and MirrOdines. Did have a good topwater bite in West Bay the other day as well, not as many fish, but we probably averaged about four and a half pounds on a double limit of trout. I've caught good fish in East and Trinity Bays also. Trinity is so salty that you can fish as far north as you want to. Basically, this is one of the best February/March runs in recent memory. It's not even normally a good stretch for numbers and we're catching all we want. It only stands to get better when we get more stable weather."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
"Fishing has been real good lately," Jim says. "Trinity Bay is just awesome for numbers of trout, and the size has been there too. We've been mostly running afternoon trips, but I think with the warmer water temperatures I'm seeing lately, the morning bite should begin to kick in hard. East Bay has been better for big trout. In fact, I had a customer catch one in there that weighed a little over nine pounds. The numbers aren't as easy in that bay. I think mostly because the wind just won't allow us to fish the Refuge much, but there are some real pigs biting when you can get at 'em. It's not really a lure thing to me. When the bite is on, you can catch 'em pretty much however you want. I've been throwing mostly Catch 2000s, but soft plastics and topwaters have their place too. I think our topwater bite will certainly improve in April with the warmer water. We are set up for a fantastic spring run. It's as good as it's been in years."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall had high praise for his JH Performance boat again when we talked. "With all these windy days, it really pays to have a boat with such smooth and dependable performance." Fishing has been pretty good in his area, he says. "We haven't really seen a whole lot of glass minnows yet, but I'm on the hunt for them. We have been catching some decent fish though, sometimes on patterns that are holding over from the winter, meaning we are drifting scattered shell in four and five foot depths. The best bite has been on Norton Bull Minnows, particularly the one that's clear with glitter and a core shot of the glow color. Most of the bites are coming when it first hits the water or when we're working it really fast. That usually tells me that the fish aren't really feeding good; you are just looking for the reaction strikes. We should see a more dependable bite pattern develop as the water warms and more bait moves in."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
"Biologists tell me that a warmer than normal, dry winter will often produce a good crop of glass minnows in the spring. We have our fingers crossed for that. I like fishing the minnow run about as much as any kind of fishing. It's a real blast to see the schools showering and fish blowing up in them. When you cast, you know you are casting at a working fish. It's great. Historically, we go with glow and pearl lures when throwing at the minnows. These days, there are many good alternatives, like the 19 series MirrOlures in natural colors and the MirrOdine XL. If the schools are really thick, it often pays to put a small cork above a soft plastic, since that allows you to keep a lure in the strike zone longer. The fish can have a hard time picking a lure out of the minnows if they are thick enough." Tommy says he likes West Bay south shoreline coves best for the glass minnow drill. "Watch for diving brown pelicans to find the schools."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Low tides, high winds and high salinity levels have made fishing tough in our area. The rivers have been our savior, with the majority of fish caught coming from the Colorado and Tres Palacios. These fish have been on the small side mostly between fifteen and seventeen inches. Night fishing under lights in the rivers has provided our best bite. Pumpkinseed/chartreuse TexasTrout Killer spec rigs and splittail beetles in glow and pink have been the best lures. The redfish bite also slowed this past month. The few fish we caught were on shell/mud flats on quarter ounce weedless gold spoons slow rolled on the bottom. April should be an awesome month, with loads of glass minnows and shrimp moving into the bays. Chasing glass minnows on the south shoreline of West Matagorda Bay on April afternoons is as good as it gets. Small topwaters such as Super Spooks Jrs. in bone and white/red head are my top producers.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
April is a great time for topwater action in the Port O'Connor area, Lynn says. "This month is typically the beginning of the steady topwater action. I'll be keying on areas with a mix of the hard sugar sand and lots of grass. The topwaters I like are generally the Super Spooks and the Skitterwalks in bright colors, especially chrome. I also like to throw a lot of slow sinking plugs this time of year too, the Corkys in particular. The bite on topwaters and Corkys is generally most dependable when the winds aren't too bad. When it gets to blowing really hard, we often have better luck on soft plastics." Lynn mentions drains running from coves into the main bays as good areas to target in the spring. "Those fish highways the bait uses to go in and out of the lakes and coves are good places to try. There's a lot of bait migrating around in April and the fish are sure to follow. Fishing areas without lots of bait is a waste of time."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake says the fishing has been decent in the Rockport bays lately, especially for redfish. "We've really been whacking the reds, mostly on topwaters like chrome/black and chartreuse Super Spooks. The fish have been tight to area shorelines, sometimes around small reefs and clumps of shell, but more and more lately, they are favoring sandy, grassy banks. When we can't get them on the topwaters, we've had great success continuing to catch them on dark Norton Sand Eels with chartreuse tails. The trout have been more scattered, though there are usually a few to be had in the same areas where we are finding the reds. Our trout bite picks up in April, especially around the Port Aransas channel. We'll normally see a surge in bait activity coming through the pass, and the trout will be in there feasting on the bait. So I'll focus a little more on the trout this month. throwing topwaters at shallow sand and grass."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The water temperatures did not remain cold for long and that means that we did not have to go hunting for fish in deep water for very long. The water temperature has been in the mid to high sixties, which has allowed the fish to roam in three and a half feet of water or less. Despite the warm water temperatures, we still have to change our lure retrieve speed until we find the lure action that the fish want. According to Texas Parks & Wildlife biologists, speckled trout are the heaviest during the month of April. For me, April means bone colored and flashy, silver bodied, MirrOlure SheDogs and natural colored Mirrolure Catch V suspending baits for those trophy trout from Baffin Bay. The rest of my arsenal will include pumpkinseed/chartreuse, bone diamond and plum/chartreuse Bass Assassins on sixteenth ounce Spring Lock jigheads. I'll target three feet of water or less along grass lines, potholes, drop offs or rocks.

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
The bull tides of the Spring Equinox continue into April and can make driving tough. The quality of the fishing depends totally on wind velocity, tide level, and the amount of sargassum present. It can be feast or famine and can change from one to the other very quickly. Most winter and early spring surf fishing is focused on bottom fishing with dead shrimp, Fishbites, and cut bait. Slot reds, oversized and slot black drum, sheepshead and whiting are all in good supply and some pompano will remain on calm, clear water days. Schools of large jack crevalle often cruise the shoreline and can be targeted by lure and fly casters successfully by watching for wheeling and diving brown pelicans and fishing under these birds. Move with the birds. The sharks tend to be nearer the shorelie in the spring than in the summer and can be caught on cast baits in deep, wide first guts. Fresh whiting is as good a springtime shark bait as anything. Kemp's Ridley nesting season is now in progress and it is imperative to keep an eye out for nesting turtles.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Joe mentions mostly the southernmost reaches of his area as his intended focal points in April. "It's classic time for Nine Mile Hole, the Land Cut, Rocky Slough and Yarbrough," he says. "There's usually a shrimp hatch in the Land Cut area, and the fishing can really bust wide open. We've been seeing lots of shrimp in areas where we don't normally see so many this time of year. It should get even better with the warmer water temperatures in April. The tide runners will usually find where the concentrations of shrimp congregate. This is mostly a trout fishing thing, with a few redfish mixed in, but mostly trout. Some of the trout will likely be big, since they are carrying heavy loads of eggs." The best lures for catching spring time trout in his area are soft plastics that imitate the shrimp. "Dark worms will be my preferred lures in April. Since the fish have lots of shrimp to eat, it pays to throw something that looks like a shrimp."

Port Mansfield | Bruce & Brandon Shuler
GetAway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
"Our fishing has been absolutely awesome," Bruce declares. "We have been catching a bunch of trout in the twenty five to twenty nine inch range. With the water temperature being so warm most of the time, I've been working a spring pattern for a while now, even though the calendar says it's still winter. We've been concentrating on gravelly sand pockets in knee to thigh deep water. The water clarity is poor most of the time with these high winds and the dredging activity, so we're throwing mostly dark topwaters so the fish can see the profile better. When the topwaters stop working as well, we're going to purple/chartreuse tails and continuing the catching. Of course, the old standby MirrOlure Catch 2000s have taken their share too." As the spring progresses, we should see a shift in our fish toward the mouth of the East Cut, where there's more current. The big trout like the moving water when they spawn."

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
If you want to know how fishing's been, take a look at our websitewe post photos daily. The shots that don't show a limit of reds are from the days the wind wasn't blowing at least 15 to 20 mph. We're experiencing the best trout fishing we've seen in a decade; you can tell they're feeding well when the head and tail are relatively small compared to the giant body. Spring is the time to trick big specks, and the wild thing is we're using the same rig for both our target species. Berkley Gulps rigged under Cajun Thunder corks are producing super shallow for reds and in' deeper in potholes for trout. Freddy says, "Use the glow or sugar spice Gulps when you're forced to fish in the ugly dredge water, the fluorescence will help when visibility is an issue." At the time of this writing the dredge was still operating near the Three Island area, affecting one side or the other of the Intracoastal Waterway depending on wind direction.