Reports & Forecasts: April 2015

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
April is a transitional month for coastal anglers. Trout will be on the move toward waters of higher salinity. If you're interested in catching lots of trout, focus your attention on finding working birds. Late April leading into May is a great time to catch them in a frenzy under birds. If you're looking to catch big trout, try throwing topwaters on the flats. Oyster reefs in three to five feet of water are good places as well. Fish these areas with topwaters and suspending baits; this will give you the best opportunity at larger fish. Redfish will continue to be stacked up at the weirs on both the lake side (outgoing tide) and marsh side (incoming tide). MirrOlure Lil' Johns and Gulp! work best. They will also be making their annual appearance under birds in the middle of the lake. These fish will be under birds, slicks, and mud boils. Flounder will be in the marsh, so the most consistent opportunity will be behind the weirs at Grand and Lambert Bayous on incoming tides. White Gulp! swimming mullet are the ticket for the flat fish.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
James says he's been wadefishing almost all the time, in various bays. "We've been catching lots of five and six pound trout, with plenty of sevens. Biggest has been an ounce over 8 pounds. Even when the water is at its coldest, we are catching big trout on chartreuse and gold MirrOlures in forty something degree water. Overall, our most productive lures have been Paul Brown Fat Boys in pearl with black back and Glo. Also catching on MirrOdines. Chartreuse has been a really good color this year for some reason. We are playing the winds and tides and fishing different bays depending on the conditions. Redfishing has been crazy easy. If you want to, you can catch limits of reds every day. As of right now, Trinity Bay is getting kind of trashed by freshwater runoff, but that might be a blessing for other areas as we head into April. We should have an even better bite on the shorelines once the weather heats up a bit. Big trout catching should continue to be good for people who are willing to wade and throw the twitch baits."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim says the fishing has been really hit or miss lately for him, and as usual, the weather is the key to the better catching. "We have had some really good days when it's warmer, catching seven pound trout wading and throwing MirrOlures and soft plastics. I'm still fishing in the afternoons and into the first part of the night. Of course, when the weather turns for the worse, and water temperatures plummet rapidly, things get tougher again. Right now, we're seeing a lot of freshwater dumping into the bays. That may run the fish out of the back corners, but it might also stack them up in other places. We are in a wait and see mode about all that. What we really need is a warming trend to make the fish bite better on a day to day basis. By April, we should see exactly that, and we'll likely start catching the big trout more consistently. I'll try and focus on wading area shorelines in shallow water, keying on slicks and bait. Lure choice won't matter nearly as much as locating the big schools of fish."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
As of the time of this report, Randall says he's been fishing the same old winter patterns, because, "Old Man Winter just won't let it go. I have been working shallow flats which have some shell on them, throwing Norton Sand Eel Juniors in trick or treat rigged on a three-eighths ounce Norton shad style jighead. On windier days, I've been throwing red magic Bull Minnows, and fishing areas in the open bay. As long as we continue to have the cold weather, this will be the drill. It's been producing pretty well, but I expect the catching to get even better as we start to see species migrating out of the Gulf into the bays. In particular, we look for menhaden, glass minnows and ribbon fish. Once we start seeing significant amounts of bait moving through the pass and into the bays, we'll focus most of our efforts in that area, trying to catch the bigger trout and redfish that prey on those critters. April is one of the best months of all, if it's not too windy. I look forward to casting Skitterwalks around herds of bait and waiting for those big blow ups."

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401
Charlie believes two factors will contribute to an exceptional spring of fishing. "For one thing, we've had a colder, harsher than normal winter. Both bays are basically untapped. People haven't been able to get out on the water much, and the fish haven't fed up too much either. For another thing, the river is running fresh and high, after being low and salty for a long time. So many of our fish have been huddled up in the salty water up the river, and now they will be flushed out into the bays by all this runoff. We will look for the fish to show up on the shorelines and around the mid-bay reefs once they get pushed out of the river and into the bays. We'll target them on protected shorelines by wading on the windier days, and wade the mid-bay reefs when it's calmer. We'll also drift some of the areas with scattered shell on the bottom around the main reefs when conditions allow. Overall, I look for things to blast off like crazy once this weather warms up some and we are able to get on the water more consistently."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Winter weather continues to keep our fish in our local deep waterholes. The tides have been as low as I have seen in many moons, and fish have ganged up in the local rivers and harbor. Cajun Pepper VuDu shrimp covered in VuDu shrimp sauce continues to be the best lure for me this winter. We have been working the Colorado/Tres Palacios/Lavaca Rivers, throwing down the ledges on the banks and catching decent slot-size trout form 15-20 inches. Redfish continue to be in the deeper creeks and channels off local rivers and the best lures for us recently have been paddletails in pearl and pumpkseed/chartreuse. April will hopefully bring warmer weather, so we can get back to fishing our local bays. We should have an outstanding spring with all the rain we received this winter. Shrimp, mullet and shad ought have a good hatch, and that should bode well for fishing. The glass minnow run usually takes place during the full moon of April and is a sight to see, as brown pelicans and gulls lead you to the feeding fish on strong incoming spring tides.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
During April, Lynn says he'll be targeting trout on sandy flats which have grassy guts in them. "When we are targeting the big trout on flats adjacent to the passes this time of year, we'll key on sandy pockets in the grass beds, and throw topwaters like Super Spook Juniors in white/chartreuse head and also soft plastics. We'll try to time our efforts to coincide with the incoming tides when fishing this pattern. When the tide is standing high, we will often try drifting the back lakes for both trout and redfish, throwing the same lures. Sometimes, when it gets a bit windy, those back lakes are the best places to find clean water, along with the leeward shorelines. When we are experiencing outgoing tides, we usually target our fish around the mouths of drains which connect the shallower coves and back lakes to the open bays. We'll wade and cast around the current rips which form when the water is dumping out of the shallow areas into the deeper basins. Topwaters work best when cast upcurrent and worked with the current."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake expects to focus his efforts in bays with relatively close access to the Gulf during April. "I like to stay fairly close to passes which connect the bays to the Gulf during the middle part of spring. I will fish flat with water depths around two to three feet, looking for areas with lots of menhaden shad. When the trout are eating the shad, they throw a lot of slicks, so we'll be looking for those. Topwaters tend to work well to catch the trout this time of year. We catch some of our biggest trout on topwaters during April. Of course, if the topwaters aren't working, we'll switch over to the Berkley Gulp! Jerk Shads and Norton Sand Eels. Those lures work well around the shell reefs too. When not fishing flats around the passes, I like to spend some time working the schools of baitfish on the mid-bay reefs. They produces a lot of fish this time of year too. Lighter winds make it easier to get on the reefs and catch fish, whereas some of the flats close to the major passes hold up better when the spring winds are cranking."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
Yahoo! Spring is here. Many things change during April. For one, we have fewer depressing, cloudy and windy days. We enjoy more sunshine, higher air temperatures and the winds will slow down. These changes will bring the fish into shallower water according to my fishing logs. The trout are now spawning, so they are loaded with eggs and this is evident by the bruises on the trout's bellies and bottom fins. According to the Parks and Wildlife's gill net surveys this is also when the average weight of trout is the heaviest, making it a good time to break the state record or catch a trophy trout. I will be looking for trout along shallow, grassy shorelines, around rock formations and in potholes. I'll be looking for signs that trout are in the area by looking for jumping or flipping mullet, shad, working sea gulls or fish slicks. Make sure that the hooks are sharp on the bone and natural-colored MirrOlure She Dogs. I will also have my Bass Assassin Die Dappers in sand trout, chartreuse dog and plum/chartreuse on a sixteenth ounce jighead.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Joe is excited about the prospects of fishing in April, given the large area of clear water that's moved into the Upper Laguna Madre. "Fishing has been really good lately in shallow water. The water is clear throughout most of the northern half of the Laguna Madre, and the catching has been good on most days. We are catching both trout and redfish in water ranging from about two to three feet, keying on stretches where the bottom has a mix of sand and grass. This year, there are numerous areas meeting this description along area shorelines. Over the last couple of years, we had so much grass on the bottom. In some places, just finding any kind of sandy spots on the bottom was difficult. But this year, lots of areas have a good mix of sand and grass on the bottom, and the fishing in those areas is consistent. In April, when we tend to have more warm days, we'll start having more sight-casting opportunities. Generally, in April, we have a lot of warm days with not too much wind, which is perfect for seeing fish in the water."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Fishing on PINS beaches during April is usually predicated on weather, tides and presence of sargassum. When conditions are conducive, bottom fishing with natural bait can be very good for sheepshead, black drum, whiting, and redfish. Freshly peeled shrimp is the best bet; Fishbites is also very effective. Jack crevalle are commonly found in the April surf and make great sight-fishing with artificial lures and large streamer flies. Spanish mackerel, bluefish and bonito are also possible. Several species of sharks can be expected, sometimes patrolling the shallower guts with dorsal fin exposed. This a great month for casting baits from the sand, given their shallow feeding tendency at this time. April is a wonderful month for naturalists and birders on PINS, many avian species and seashells present. April marks the beginning of the Kemp's ridley nesting season, keep an eye out for turtles and please drive with extra caution. Monitor marine forecasts carefully, north and east wind can cause water to rise to the dunes, damaging vehicles and stranding motorists. The PINS speed limit is 15 MPH during April!

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000
The trout bite has been fantastic. The west shoreline has been on fire with fish averaging 2- to 4 lbs. I normally have clients work shallow for bigger trout but here lately they've been running waist deep on average. There are always exceptions; last week my wife, Sandra, left the waist-deep bite and found a 9-1/4 that measured a bit over 30 inches in a shoreline gut. That puts her in the Thirty Inch Club and suddenly none of her hats fit. The Corky bite is still good but larger, slow-worked plastics on light jigheads are the best bet. Redfish have not been prevalent on my charters but to be fair we've been focusing more on trout. Water temps are still running cold so consider the flip of one or two mullet or occasional surface swirl a solid sign for locating feeding fish. One bite, even if you miss it, is enough to plant your feet and fish carefully before moving forward. Be patient, stay warm and good luck. Until next time; tight lines and calm seas.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
The weather has been a big factor in our fishing this past month. This time of the year is tricky, debating whether to cancel or go, despite high winds, rain and cold. Having said that, we've had some great days for reds, including a bunch of oversized. We've also boated large trout, just not on artificial. Cajun Thunder round cork with Berkley Gulp! is working when the water warms up some, but only on trout. We will continue to use cut bait until spring winds muddy the bay and warm the water, which will mean lots of hardhead catfish, and that will signal the time to change to artificial. Freddy says, "After thirty five years, it's hard for us to switch from all artificial to using bait, but conditions in the bay have changed, unfortunately. Clear water has been hard to come by with the influx of brown tide from up north, contributing to the muddy conditions from dredge silt, so we've adapted our approach accordingly; at least until a little later in the year." This winter, the worse the weather, the better the fishing. Help stop open bay dredge disposal.