Reports & Forecasts: April 2012

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268

This April will be different than the last few. With the rains we've gotten the last few weeks, our trout won't be scattered all the way up the Calcasieu River. We are looking for them to be stacked on the southern end of the lake. As water temperatures rise, trout will become more and more active. Therefore, topwaters will become more regularly productive, and they work well in stained water, especially loud ones like One Knockers and SheDogs. Soft plastics dangled under rattling, popping corks will also catch a lot of fish in stained water. The noisy rig calls fish from a distance and results in more bites. Use fluorocarbon leaders with eighth to quarter ounce heads. Try colors like pink, chartreuse, black, or glow in dirty water, natural colors like opening night, golden bream, and avocado in clear water. Slowing down and using the anchor and/or Power Pole is wise, as is fishing all around the boat, giving each setup ten minutes or so, longer if bites are coming. If they aren't, it's better to start moving again.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242

James says the fishing in the Galveston area remains excellent, especially for trout in the four to six pound class. "We are catching plenty of solid trout. Not getting them real good every day, but we'll hit 'em hard for a day or two, then miss 'em for a couple after that. On the best days, we might catch 20 or more over 25 inches. I've been fishing in several places, some protected water, some mid-bay areas, some windblown shorelines, but it's all wading. Best lures for the clients have been Paul Brown's Original Lures and Fat Boys. The red head/glow color has been working best. I've been catching on other things. I like to throw my Bass Assassins on H&H Flutter jigheads. And, of course, I'm catching some on pink 51M MirrOlures. I'm thinking we will continue to have the same kind of fishing throughout the spring. When the fish are feeding good, it's fantastic. After they feed good for a day or two, it gets tougher, but we're still managing to catch enough solid trout on the slow days to justify the effort."

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Jim's report echoes others from the Galveston area, and it indicates great fishing at times, though the action is inconsistent. "We were really catching for a couple of weeks there. Lots of four and five pound trout, with a few bigger ones. The tides were pretty high and the fish were shallow. All of the best action was wading. Then we get a strong front with a lot of west in the wind behind it, and the tide goes out. The fishing on the super low tides isn't nearly as good. It's typical spring stuff, really. You catch 'em really good for a while, then it changes on you. Some days, the bite is very short lived, and right at the crack of dawn or at dusk. Other days, you can catch all day. We've been doing well on soft plastics and twitch baits too, and getting some topwater bite at times. The topwater bite should become more consistent in April, and the catch rate should smooth out some too, meaning the action won't start and stop quite as bad. As always, the best potential will be on lighter wind days when the tides are ripping too strong."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service - 979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323

Randall will be looking to hide from the spring winds and key on shallow
areas with a sandy bottom. "We'll be focusing on trying to stay in contact with the schools of bait as they move in, since the trout and redfish will be trickling in with them. Glass minnows will, of course, be one of the key species. It's sometimes possible to find them by watching the diving terns. Rafts of mullet will also key us in to locations where we might find some big trout and schools of reds. And last, but certainly not least, we'll be looking for the ribbonfish. When we find schools of young ribbonfish, it's a sure bet there are some big trout around trying to feed on them. Pearl Skitterwalks are productive when thrown around those long, shiny ribbonfish." He also mentions he's using a new model boat that JH Performance boats is about to introduce into the market. "I love my new Outlaw boat. The other day I picked up a customer in ankle-deep water. Had no problem getting to him, or taking back off and leaving once he was in the boat. It's great."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service -979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037

Tommy mentions the usual variety of options for Matagorda in April. "If we have fairly strong winds from the south, I'll head to West Bay mostly. I like to fish the shallow shorelines around the coves on the south shoreline, starting out early throwing topwaters around the grass beds along the bank. If the bite slows on top, I'll switch over to soft plastics in dark colors rigged on eighth ounce heads. Eventually, I'll move away from the shoreline and fish the deeper guts. On lower tides, the fish tend to hang on the outside, but when the tide is really high, they move to the backs of the coves more. If winds are light, I like to wade the reefs in the middle of East Bay. We'll throw topwaters early and for as long as we can, then switch over to Paul Brown's Lures later, walking on the reef and throwing to the deeper water. It's a great time of the year for that. If I'm fishing out of the boat, I'll be making long drifts in the west end of East Bay, looking for muddy streaks in the water, especially in areas with scattered shell and mud on the bottom."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204

The recent rains falling over the area have reignited fishing in our local waters. We have been on a good run of fishing lately, probably as a result of all the rains sweetening the bays a bit. A variety of fish, including reds, trout, drum and flounder have been absolutely hammering our baits in water over scattered shell in three to four foot depths. Drifting has worked better than wading, with Gulp! shrimp in pearl and nuclear chicken rigged under corks being the best baits. I know it seems a little early in the year, but we have seen lots of grass shrimp jumping and are spotting plenty of small fry in our local waters already. This tells me we are probably going to have one heck of a spring! The presence of lots of forage species in the spring usually means excellent fishing. April will be a good month for focusing on shorelines with a good mix of sand, grass and shell. Top lures I like to use this time of year are Super Spooks in bone flash and paddletails in pumpkinseed/chartreuse and pearl/chartreuse.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith - Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434

Lynn likes to fish in areas like San Antonio, Mesquite and Ayers Bays in the spring. "I like to wade the shallows along shorelines with lots of depth variation, grass and sandy pockets. If the tide is high, this pattern is great; if it gets too low, it's often not even worth trying. On another note, if it gets low, it can be treacherous to run the shorelines in these bays. In some areas, they have sanded in pretty badly over the last decade or so, and boaters should be careful. When the tide is high, we'll catch plenty of trout and reds and even good numbers of flounder. The keys are to stay tight to the shorelines and focus on the sandy pockets and edges of the guts. If the tide is high enough, most of the fish will be on top of the bars. The flounder in particular like to sit on top of the shallow sandy parts when there's plenty of water. I like to throw a lot of soft plastics and small topwaters like Super Spook Jrs. and the small Skitterwalks when working this pattern. When the tide is lower, we'll probably be fishing the edges of reefs and other open-water structures."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894

Blake expects good fishing in the Rockport area in April, and he says he'll be trying to locate migrating bait as a way of locating schools of trout and redfish. "I like to key on schools of shad and glass minnows if I can in the spring. Normally, I find the schools of bait by looking for diving pelicans and other birds. Also, the presence of lots of slicks in an area can give away the presence of the bait, especially the shad, which are oily. As far as the patterns I like, it's mostly shallow water along shorelines with lots of sandy bottom and grass beds. We have shorelines like those in most of the bays around here, notably Aransas, Corpus Christi, Mesquite and San Antonio Bays. In most years, some of the reefs will start to produce good catches in April as well, so I'll be targeting reefs too, if I see the right things, meaning slicks around them and some bait and bird activity. I'll be throwing topwaters most every day, since they work well this time of year, but if and when they stop working, I'll be quick to switch back to my trusty Norton Sand Eels."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata - [email protected] - 361.563.1160

Yahoo! April is here, and that means spring is here. So many things change. For instance, there are fewer of those depressing, cloudy and windy days. More sunshine, higher air temperatures and less wind means the fish are moving into shallower water. My fishing logs remind me the fish are moving shallower. Trout are spawning, so they are now loaded with eggs, as evidenced by the bruises on the females' bellies and bottom fins. This is also the month when the average weight of speckled trout is heaviest, so odds improve for catching the next state record. I will be looking for trout along shallow, grassy shorelines, around rock formations, in pot holes and near shallow grass lines. I'll search for signs that trout can be in the area, like jumping or flipping mullet, shad, working seagulls or popping slicks. This is a great time to fish with bone colored MirrOlure SheDogs. I am still loving the Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like chartreuse dog and plum/chartreuse rigged on sixteenth ounce Assassin Screw Lock jigheads.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez - - 361.937.5961
April is a great month to head south to the Land Cut area, Joe reports. "The best month of all for fishing in the Land Cut itself is normally April. The shrimp show up in abundance there and the trout and reds take advantage of the opportunity to fatten up. Most of the time, the west side of the ditch is more productive than the east side. South and southeast winds make fishing it the easiest. The key is to use a drift sock or two to slow the boat down, and use the trolling motor to keep the boat positioned far enough away from the drop off where casts will send lures right to the ledge. Working the lures in the water over the drop off is critical to consistent catching. Topwaters work well at times. If soft plastics are used, the jighead size is critical. Heavier jigheads work better when it's windy, allowing the lure to stay closer to the wall on the fall. Other areas which should produce in April will be Nine Mile Hole, Rocky Slough and Summer House. All of this will work best if we get a push of clear water from the Lower Laguna into our area."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer - Padre Island Safaris - 361.937.8446

Tides can continue at high levels during April and it is important to plan your travel time accordingly. Sargassum is usually present in varying amounts from little to so much it is prohibitive to angling. Large jack crevalle, redfish, black drum, whiting and sheepshead should be in good supply with a few scattered pompano and bluefish. Lesser blacktipped and bull sharks are available and this is the best month of the year for male scalloped hammerheads averaging 7.5 feet in length. The hammerheads often come within casting range of the beach. High winds are common and will cause the current to be quite strong. Lure fishing will usually only produce jack crevalle, bluefish and an occasional redfish. The majority of the fishing will be bottom fishing with cut bait, fresh dead shrimp and/or "Fishbites." The speed limit on PINS beaches will be 15 miles per hour and the first Kemp's ridley sea turtle nests are usually found in April. Do not disturb nesting turtles and report to 361-949-8173 ext. 226. Watch out for turtle patrollers, their focus is on turtles; not vehicles.

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal - 956.944.2559

This is the time of year we find mature trout carrying several extra pounds - being winter fat and also full of eggs as they are about to begin spawning. This causes many otherwise sane fishermen to make up all kinds of excuses for missing work in April and May, hoping they can land a lifetime trophy specimen. Given the warming water temperatures and the start of the spawning season, trout have been known to go on some exceptional feeding binges. Weather patterns can be short-lived and you probably have about only a 40% chance of perfect fishing conditions, but the fishing can be good when the weather isn't. Late northers and strong spring winds increase the level of difficulty. Don't let off-colored water deter your efforts. If there is bait and/or slicks showing, tie on a big, noisy topwater or one of the many scented soft plastic baits under a Mauler or rattling cork. Be gentle as you handle your trophy and prepare to release her, she is carrying precious cargo. Keep what you can eat fresh; release the rest.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty - - 956.943.2747

Wind is a big factor in fishing this time of year. The southwest winds that
are sucked towards an approaching norther' tend to be even stronger than the front itself, and they can blast for two or three days. We're dealing with extremely cloudy, muddy conditions every spring; even the shallows lose clarity with the incoming tide and heavy winds. Freddy says, "The freshwater flooding that filled the LLM two summers ago killed the grasses that filter the water and hold down sediment. When you add the silt from dredging that's covering the bay, it takes only about 20 mph wind speeds to completely block out the sunlight needed for seasonal growth to begin." When visibility is limited, Cajun Thunder round corks over quarter ounce jigheads and Gulp! three inch shrimp in darker colors like camo and molting give off scent, vibration, splashes and clicks to help the fish find the bait and react. We're still catching limits of trout and reds when elements are favorable, but working harder and using slower retrieves when it's blowing day and night.