Reports & Forecasts: April 2010

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
Thankfully, our water temperature has finally made it above fifty degrees! The big trout are showing up on the sand flats around the lake and we have been catching some really nice fish. The reds are still as thick as thieves and willing to eat anything you throw at them most of the time. April is shaping up to be a killer month. Temperatures are warming up and water conditions look good. Fish should be moving onto deeper reefs around the lake. I would head toward the south end of the lake because salinities will be higher there. Don't count out reefs in West Cove and Joe's Cove either. These two usually stay a little saltier than reefs farther north. Bust out your topwaters because this is when it starts getting steady with them. Good topwaters to try are Skitterwalks, Spooks, and MirrOlures. Colors depend on water clarity; I stick to natural colors when water clarity is good and go with something loud when it's dirty. Redfish are still going to be around the weirs and along the east bank of the lake, eating spoons and soft plastics.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
James tells of good fishing for all three of the main target species lately around his home on West Galveston Bay. "We're catching plenty of reds, walking away from them with limits on some days, and the trout numbers are decent. The average size of the trout is outstanding, lots of four and five pounders, with an occasional fish over six showing up. On top of the trout and redfish, we are catching some real nice flounder. We've had three or four over five pounds in the last week. They are hanging around the same shallow areas with the solid trout. I've been wading most every day. Did try fishing out of the boat one day here a while back and caught more trout, but the percentage of keepers was poor and we didn't catch the solid fours and fives. In April, that will likely be true too. Wading will work better than drifting for the most part, especially if catching bigger trout is the goal. We should see the action heat up further west, closer to San Luis Pass. The whole south shoreline has great potential this month."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
"Fishing has been okay, nothing extraordinary lately," Jim says. "But we're about to start whackin' 'em, I bet. Usually, when it warms up at the beginning of spring, the fish will show up in lots more places and that helps us catch them when conditions are marginal. Lately, the fronts have come so close together that most of the bay stays dirty. The fish are concentrated in the back of the bay right now, where it takes the longest to clear up after a blow, so lots of days are kind of tough. But as the water warms and the winds stay out of the southeast more, we'll have some good water along the shoreline on the other side of the bay. Topwaters should start working better too; it's been mostly a Corky and Catch 2000 thing for me this winter, but that will change with the warm up as well. We'll be wading shorelines early in the morning and using the bayous as a backup if it's windy later in the day. The marsh is starting to fill up with fish and spring is a great time to catch both trout and reds in there."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall reports that fishing has turned the corner for the better lately in his area with the warming temperatures. "The fishing for reds has been better than for the trout," he says. "We've been keying on grass beds lately and doing well with soft plastics. The best lures have been Norton Sand Eels in purple and Bull Minnows in purple/chartreuse. Everything looks to be pretty close to on cue as far as the bait and trout migrations. We've started seeing a few glass minnows already, and more should be on the way. The trout will start moving out of the surf and through the Pass in April, I bet. We'll start fishing that area more and targeting them with topwaters and of course the lures that imitate the glass minnows too. The pattern of working the grass beds should stay productive, but we won't hesitate to move out to deeper water, in depths of at least four feet if the shallower grass stops producing. By and large, it is shaping up to be a good spring, especially if the winds don't blow too hard and we can fish most of the area most of the time."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
Tommy says that April offers several productive options in the Matagorda area. "In East Bay, we will still see some big trout caught along the south shoreline. Most will be found around drains leading out of the coves on grass beds. Corkys and other twitch baits are the best bet for that pattern. If winds are light, the mid-bay reefs will be a good bet too. Out there, I like to throw Corkys and small topwaters like Spook Jrs, Skitterwalk Jrs and the She Pup early. If the sun gets high and the bite on them is slow, I'll switch over to soft plastics like Norton Bull Minnows. Chicken on a chain and black magic are two favorite colors. In West Bay, which is where I head if it's windy, the south shoreline drains will be good. I like small topwaters and Corkys early on the inside grass beds and then work my way out. One of my favorite things to do this month is target the sand bars at the mouth of the coves in West Bay. The fish will relate to them regularly. Also, we'll look for pelicans and glass minnows or shad, whichever show up in abundance."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
We have finally starting catching some better fish here in the Palacios area lately. The cold winter continues and our fish are still holding in their wintering areas and we are catching them on cold weather patterns. We have been on a solid bite over around the drains on south shoreline of West Matagorda Bay. When the tides are high, the fish have been far back up in the bayous, and when the tides drop out, they move out in front of the drains. Dark colored Corky Devils and Brown Lures in purple/chartreuse and black/chartreuse have been some of our best lures for catching the trout and reds in those areas. In the Palacios area, shorelines close to the Tres Palacios River have been coughing up smaller numbers of fish, just not of the same quality as those across the bay. April is one of my favorites months to fish, with lots of bait moving into the bays and the great spring tradition of chasing glass minnows. Look for flocks of feeding brown pelicans to locate the migrating schools of minnows and the trout and reds that follow them.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn expects to see some good fishing in shallow water for trout and redfish in April. "We should see the fish start to prefer the sandy areas more than the mud this month. So I'll be working shallow shorelines with lots of hard sand and grass, focusing on the sand pockets in the grass. I like to throw small topwaters like the Spook Jr. and the Spro, especially in silver with a black back. Seems to work good in the clear water when the glass minnows and other small forage are hatching. If the topwaters don't work, I'll try MirrOlure twitch baits and Corkys, also soft plastics like the Bass Assassins, both the rat tails and the Sea Shads. A couple of the keys this month are to stay shallow around the sand and grass and to target areas with plenty of bait fish. In a month like this, with the water warming up and the fish starting to feed more often, it's necessary to find good concentrations of bait fish. That could mean finger mullet, shad and/or glass minnows. Coming off this cold winter, spring shapes up nicely."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
"I'll be fishing hard sandy, grassy shorelines in bays like Aransas, Corpus and St. Charles in April," Blake predicts. "In particular, I like to focus on the areas adjacent to the passes, watching for the incoming migration of glass minnows, shad or schools of finger mullet. Mostly, it's a glass minnow thing. We should be seeing schools of those and the fish feeding on them will probably be making slicks regularly. So by staying around the passes and locating Pelicans and slicks, we should be able to be consistent on the trout. Topwaters usually work well this time of year, and of course, I'll throw my Sand Eels if I can't make them rise to the floating plugs. Lots of years, in these kinds of areas, there are good numbers of reds in there with the trout. Sometimes, you'll catch them in exactly the same places; at other times, you'll need to go a little shallower to catch the reds, but they will be close to the same areas as the trout, along shorelines with lots of hard sandy bottom and grass beds."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The month of April is one of my favorite months to fish. The air temperature is usually cool and the wind is moderate. Another reason for April being one of my favorite months is because the speckled trout's average weight is the heaviest during this month, so this is a good time to try to catch a state record trout. My favorite way to catch fish is with topwater lures, and this is a great time to fish with those and suspending lures. My favorite topwaters are MirrOLure She Dogs in bone color and my favorite suspending lures are MirrOLure Catch 5s in color #CHBL. I'll always have my standby lures like Bass Assassin five inch Sea Shads in plum/chartreuse and bone diamond, also Assassin Blurps and Berkley Gulps rigged on sixteenth ounce spring-lock jigheads. If it's windy and we have a lot of floating grass, I'll rig the soft plastic baits under an Assassin Kwik Cork with a fluorocarbon leader, but with a heavier jighead in order to create the necessary clicking noise.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Joe hopes to see the traditional spring places and patterns kick in nicely in April. "Normally, April is a great month to fish the Land Cut and Nine Mile Hole and Yarbrough. If the water's clear down that way, you can catch some big trout and lots of reds in those places. In the Cut, it's a game of staying on the trolling motor and casting topwaters and plastics close to the east drop off of the ditch. With the soft plastics, it pays to play with the size of the jighead, using lighter ones in light winds and heavier ones in stronger winds, so that it's possible to maintain contact with the bottom along the drop. When fishing the shallower areas in the hole and on the flats in Yarbrough, it's more of a game of covering water and focusing on the sandy pockets in the grass. The same lures will generally work, but using lighter jigheads with the soft plastics is more effective in the shallows. If the water in those areas is off color, which I fear it may be with the reports we've gotten about brown tide in the LLM, I'll probably head north more often."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
There is the potential for many species of gamefish in the surf zone during April, but it all depends totally upon wind, sargassum and tide levels. The list of species present includes sharks of various species, jack crevalle, redfish, speckled trout, Atlantic bluefish, sheepshead, black drum, pompano, and whiting. The little tunny sometimes come inshore close enough to be available to those casting from the beach. Whiting are often the best producers for sharks in spring, and small silver spoons and flies for the bonita. Silver spoons and Rattletraps out-produce topwaters early in the year for speckled trout. Almost any large artificial or cut bait will connect with the jack crevalle. Watch for diving brown pelicans to lead you to jacks. Peeled, fresh, dead shrimp and "Fishbites" are most productive for the bottom dwelling species. Turtle patrols start the first Saturday of the month and the speed limit will be reduced to 15-mph on April 15th. Colonial nesting water birds will be setting up nests on rookery islands so heed signs to stay clear of rookery islands.

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal | 956.944.2559
April will find us well into the spring fishing patterns and with this many things will be changing. It would go without saying that strong south and southeast wind will prevail throughout the month and this always influences fishing plans. The good side of that coin is that spring tides bring us new water from down south and better fishing conditions. The ICW dredging project that has lasted for several months is finally winding down in the Port Mansfield area and everyone will be glad to see it go. They did more work in the East Cut, so that should help the water flow. I look for the new near-shore artificial reefs in our region to begin producing some good snapper. These are located six to seven miles offshore and they have been marked pretty good from what I've heard. Remember that fishing is all about good times and memories; not always about how many fish you can catch. Keep what you can eat, release the rest.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
We're still in the alternating pattern of slow tides one week, then normal tides the next. On top of that, this year is the worst brown tide event we've seen since the nineties, maybe ever. The choking brown algae is covering the entire LLM from the land cut to the South Padre Island causeway at the time of this writing. Except for some outstanding twenty nine inch and under trout, fishing's been slow, with one or two good days a week. We're throwing the Berkley Gulp three inch shrimp on a quarter ounce. jig head tied on a thirty pound test leader under a Cajun Thunder round cork, targeting pot holes when you can find them. The hottest colors are glow, pearl white, and new penny. Freddy says, "What we need is about two solid weeks of heavy southeast winds to clear the bay. As the sun warms the shallow waters, perch will climb out of the channels to flood the flats and the schools of redfish will follow." Boaters should use caution when running in brown tide... the depth is not as easy to judge and obstacles can be hard to see.