Reports & Forecasts: April 2014

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
Due to strong southerly winds, April can sometimes be a headache. However, people who fish smart can find it to be very rewarding. Most of our trout population has been lying dormant, eating during very exclusive windows, or only eating in certain locations. By April, all this will change. Trout will be hungry from Prien Lake all the way to the Washout. Since the fish will range from the south end of Calcasieu all the way up to the northern reaches, finding a leeward bank with fish isn't a big issue. The same things still apply this month as they did in every other. Fish will be found around structural elements holding bait. The beginning of the month will play out a lot like March. Toward the end of the month, we will start to see trout showing up on reefs in five to six feet of water as opposed to shallower places. The topwater bite will continue to get better as the month goes on, but Paul Brown Lures will still produce more fish. Your better fish will still be on flats, but they will continue to creep southward for the onset of the spawn.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
James reports excellent catching over recent weeks in various parts of the Galveston Bay system, and he expects the spring bite to be above average as well. "Usually, coming off a colder than normal winter, we have good spring fishing. The redfish bite has been off the charts anywhere you go lately, and we are catching numbers of trout and a few big ones too. Our best catching has been done by wading; we are throwing Catch 5s, FatBoys and Bass Assassins too. Most of our bigger trout are biting the slow-sinking twitch baits. We'll continue to focus on wading during April. Normally, it's too windy to fish out of the boat in deeper water with all the wind we get this month. I did have a good boat-fishing trip the other day in the upper end of the bay. We caught easy limits of solid trout on 51 MirrOlures that day, 704 color pattern and chartreuse/gold were working best. Since we haven't had a lot of freshwater coming down the rivers, the upper portions of all the bays are producing well. This will continue as long as we don't have a flood."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim mentions a light flood of freshwater affecting the back of East Bay lately, and it's changing the fishing a little. "We have had to adjust to some water coming into the back bay, but it's not really much of a flood, so we will just change the locations where we're fishing somewhat and it will be fine. We will probably continue getting some late fronts this year, and that will cause the fishing to fluctuate with the changing winds and water temperatures. Once the water warms up for good, the action will be found in more areas, and it will spread the anglers out some. All of that should be a good thing. We've been catching solid numbers of three to six pound trout wading with sinking twitch baits and soft plastics. Topwater bite should kick in as it gets warmer. Best trout we've caught lately weighed a little over eight pounds. I expect to catch some more big ones this spring. We'll adjust our fishing times to more of a morning focus, and we'll do most of our fishing by wading the shorelines and throwing fish-imitating plugs in the shallows."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall says the fishing has been steady in his area lately, despite the rapidly changing weather conditions. "One day, we scratch and claw for our fish, the next it's easy and we think, 'Where did all these fish come from?'" he chuckles. "As the weather warms up, we will see a better consistency to the catching. Topwater bite has been decent lately, especially on One Knocker Spooks in white/red head. We've been catching on chicken on a chain Norton Sand Eels too, and also the tequila rock Sand Shad Juniors. We rig those on heavy jigheads, which allows us to work them kind of deep. The have long, slender tails, and when you give the rodtip a sharp twitch, they have an enticing action. They do a good job of both darting like a sand eel and swimming like a minnow. We're currently awaiting the onset of our major migrations--shrimp, glass minnows, mullet, ribbon fish. When the bait schools show up, we will shadow them, throwing something in their midst that does a good job of imitating them."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
Tommy likes the fishing in Matagorda in April, as do many other people. "For years, April has been considered one of the best months for fishing here. When winds are light, and the water is in good shape, we do a lot of drifting in the west end of East Bay over scattered shell. When fishing that pattern, we throw jigheads at least a quarter ounce, if not heavier, so we can stay in contact with the bottom. Some people like to rig them under a cork, others like to throw Gulp! products or live shrimp, but the drill is the same, making long drifts, keying on bait and mud stirs, sometimes birds indicating hatches of glass minnows or sand eels. We also like wading the mid-bay reefs in East Bay this time of year, when winds allow. We throw topwaters and Paul Brown Lures mostly when doing that. In West Bay, we target reds in the deeper portions of the coves on the south shoreline when tides are low, and fish the outer grass beds for trout, especially later in the month. I will also start searching for tripletails as the month draws to a close."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Warming water temperatures have helped fishing tremendously in our local bays during recent weeks. We had our first good topwater bite of the year working waters about two feet deep over a shell and mud bottom around mullet schools. We were using pink Skitterwalks and bone Super Spook Juniors, and the reds and trout were smacking the heck out of them. We had some good trout up to twenty four inches and some slot reds up to twenty six inches. Glass minnows should start to show up in mid to late-April this year, due to the cold winter. This is one of nature's great feeding frenzies, and it happens during one of my favorite times of the year. The minnows migrate into the bay, and the fish follow the schools, gorging the themselves on the bait. Flocks of brown pelicans and seagulls are sure signs which will pinpoint the location of the frenzy. Paddletails in opening night and salt/pepper chartreuse are two of my favorite colors to throw when working the glass minnow migration bite.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn plans on targeting trout and redfish on shallow flats in April. "Mostly, I like to fish sandy pockets in grass beds this month. Or, if the bottom is mostly sand, I'll key on the grass beds surrounded by sandy bottom. However, we are getting lots of strong cold fronts this year. If we continue to get late-season cold fronts, which we probably will, I will focus on areas with more of a muddy bottom during the cool downs. That's the way I look at it--fish shallower and over sand and grass when it's warm in the spring, and fish a little deeper over mud and scattered shell when it's cooler. Finding bait in these areas is another big key. Normally, we'll find the bait on flats adjacent to deeper water. As we get further into the spring, the proximity to deep water becomes less important, as the fish spread out into the shallows and stay there. We'll throw lots of Super Spook Juniors and slow-sinking twitch baits this month. The big trout we're after prefer to eat other fish, and these plugs do a good job of imitating what they eat."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake says the winter patterns are still producing best around Rockport lately, but he expects changes will be coming in the near future. "We are still catching trout and even redfish best in areas around reefs with a mix of mud and shell. As the weather warms up in April, we'll start seeing the sandy, grassy shorelines produce better. Normally, we catch some of our biggest trout of the year during April, when the spring winds are blowing. Bays like Aransas and Corpus Christi, which have protected shorelines with lots of hard sand and grass produce some of those fish. We will be throwing lots of topwaters, particularly Super Spooks in colors like blue/chrome and black/chrome, sticking with them as long as the blow ups are coming regularly. As always, we won't hesitate to switch over to Norton Sand Eels in colors like pumpkinseed/chartreuse and plum/chartreuse once the bite on topwaters slows down. I expect the catching to be excellent this month. We usually do really good around here during springs which follow cold winters."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
It's time for Spring to arrive with warmer air and water temperatures. This means the fishing should be great, since we did not have any major freezes or fish kills. Our fishery made it through the winter and should be in great shape. April is a great month for trophy trout because this the month when their average weight is the heaviest, and part of the reason is that they are loaded with eggs as they get ready for their spawning season. I'll be looking for trout along shallow, grassy shorelines where they will be depositing their eggs. Nervous and jumping bait along the shorelines will give the trout away. I can't get over the explosion on the surface of the water when a trout hits a topwater lure, so this is my favorite way to catch these fish. Start with a TopDog Junior or a SheDog in natural colors and vary the speed of retrieve until you start getting strikes. Sand Trout and salt and pepper/chartreuse colored Bass Assassin Die Dappers rigged on sixteenth ounce jigheads will also see a lot of action this time of the year.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
The cold winter has created a scenario which allows for excellent catching opportunities in the Upper Laguna Madre/Baffin Bay area, Joe says. He expects the run of great fishing to continue into the spring. "We have been catching some big trout mixed in with reds in the ULM on a regular basis. The water is crystal clear unless the wind is blowing really hard, and this provides for sight-casting opportunities on a regular basis. Soft plastics are working best for me. We are keying on large flats with a broken bottom, including some grass and some sand, and targeting fish in the sandy pockets. Usually, in April, both the reds and trout like to stay in the shallows much of the time, making them fairly easy to locate and target with our lures. Over the last few weeks, areas around the JFK in the northern reaches of the ULM have been producing plenty of fish. Once the bait migrations begin in earnest, the best action might move further south. If this happens, I'll probably start making runs to the Land Cut and Rocky Slough."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
April's fishing prospects on PINS hinge on one question - How bad is the sargassum? More years than not the sargassum is thick enough to hinder or stop any chance at angling success throughout the month. During years when less grass comes ashore, April can be quite productive and fun. Many of the bay species haven't returned to the bays yet and summer gladiators are present in fishable numbers. Sheepshead, black drum, pompano, redfish and whiting are all available to the surf bottom fisherman using dead shrimp, Fishbites and cut bait. Shoals of large jack crevalle will be patrolling the water's edge when the water is clear and calm and great sight casting can be had for these fish with artificials on conventional tackle and large streamers on fly tackle. Several species of sharks are present in good numbers and they come much closer to shore than later on in the year making casting to them an option. Spanish mackerel, bluefish and bonito are possible. Watch for nesting turtles and remember the speed limit is 15 mph.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000
March gives us tough conditions some days but with the wind declining and the water warming, expect to find lots of fish on the shallower flats in April. Drifting or wading the sand will give you an opportunity to sight-cast to reds, bigger trout and the occasional flattie. A favorite lure is the time-tested 1/4 ounce gold weedless spoon but don't forget the silver version. Both can produce solid fish on the flats. Another area to hit is your traditional grass bottom riddled with potholes. With bright sun the potholes warm quickly and therefore naturally attract bait so be sure and cast toward every pothole you can see. Even the smallest pothole will hold fish. If you start your morning working the potholes, look around and see the size of bait flipping and then decide what size topwater to use to match the natural forage. Bone and bone silver-sided plugs mimic many species of small finfish very well. If you get no interest on surface plugs, switch over to a soft plastic in natural color. That should do the trick. Until next time; tight lines and calm seas.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
Sunshine and wind are the greatest influences on fishing during the spring months. Wind-driven silt deposits and brown tide are combining to make visibility an issue in parts of the Lower Laguna Madre. We've been catching fish, including large trout and redfish, on Cajun Thunder Corks, trailing an eighth ounce jighead with a Berkley Gulp! Shrimp, but the majority of our limits of reds have been caught on cut ballyhoo fished on the bottom. At the time of this writing, we are expecting another norther and more chilly weather. Freddy says, "The best thing about fronts is that water temperatures drop and the hardheads leave the shallow water, so the only thing hitting the baits are reds; this will usually last a couple of days after a significant cool down." We hope that the powers that be are looking to alternative ways to dispose of dredge material; however, the process is ongoing and we are afraid the water issues will translate into destroyed habitat, and consequently, noticeably fewer fish. Please help stop open bay dredge disposal!