Reports & Forecasts: April 2017

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

April is a great month. Strong southerly winds generally prevail this month, so leeward banks on the south shoreline of Calcasieu, in places like West Cove, Joe's Cove, and Blacklake will be the places to be. Barring a major rain event, Prien Lake and Lake Charles will also hold plenty of fish. Big trout will be lurking over shallow oyster reefs, in one to four feet of water.  Slow-sinking lures like Paul Brown FatBoys, Devils, Originals, MirrOlure Softdines and SoftdineXLs will be excellent choices. Topwaters such as Super Spooks, TopDogs, SheDogs, and Skitterwalks work well on warm days, when water temperatures reach into the mid seventies. Redfish will be plentiful at the Cameron Jetties as well as in the middle of the lake, where they can be located under working birds. We really enjoy this time of year, because trout are normally chunky and at any moment you've got the opportunity to catch the fish of a lifetime. Hope you all are well and to see you out fishing soon.

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

Fishing around the Galveston Bay system had been good on days leading into the time of this report, according to James. “We have been catching plenty lately.We are doing best by wading.And we're having a good bite late in the afternoons, even into the early evening hours. This can be typical for late-winter and early-spring around here.Best catching has been on Bass Assassin rat-tailed soft plastics rigged on H&H Flutter jigheads. But, we're also having a decent bite at times on Catch 5s and other slow-sinking twitch baits and our topwater bite is pretty steady too, outstanding at times.Just yesterday, I had a client catch a twenty seven inch trout on a pink/chrome SheDog. These types of patterns and lures and strategies should remain much the same throughout April. I will want to be wading most of the time, throwing topwaters and twitch baits while I see good evidence of activity around me, and using Bass Assassins a lot too. One thing I see happening early is the presence of slicks.We are seeing plenty already, and using them to figure out specifically where to target our fish. This becomes more reliable in mid-spring.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Jim says fishing has been pretty good for numbers, but a little off for catching big trout.“We are catching limits of trout most of the time, with lots of solid fish, but not too many really big ones. We have been catching a few five pounders, but those shouldn't be the biggest ones. Fishing for redfish is pretty good too, on a lot of days. In April, we usually catch a decent number of big trout. Wading along shallow shorelines with topwaters this time of year is the way to go. We also catch pretty good on sinking twitch baits like Paul Brown Lures and 51M MirrOlures, and of course, soft plastics work best some of the time. Mostly, catching fish is about locating the fish, especially in the Galveston Bay system. So, we'll stay shallow when wading, looking for big schools of mullet mixed with other, smaller bait fish, in places close to marsh drains and the passes leading into the Gulf. Those places generally hold the best numbers of big trout this time of year. On some days, we wind up back in the marshes, where redfish and big trout sometimes gather together.”

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

Fishing is good and catching easy on the days with nice weather, according to Randall, but something of a struggle when the weather plays rougher. “It's been up and down like a roller coaster. On the good days, it's easy, like yesterday, when we brought in five reds and a dozen trout in a four-hour outing. Our fish are all throwing up small glass minnows when we catch them, so we're looking for diving terns and other birds to locate the schools of bait fish. This works best late in the afternoon, which is typical for this time of year. Best lure lately has been the chicken on a chain Norton Bull Minnow. In April, we normally see an increase in the number of trout and redfish on flats close to the pass, since so much more bait begins to rush into the bay. When that happens, we usually experience good catching on topwaters like white Skitterwalks, and also on red magic Sand Eels and the same Bull Minnows we're using now. ”Randall says he'd also like to send a “thank you” out to Sport Marine, after taking delivery on his new JH Performance boat.

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401

April is one of the best months of the year to fish the Matagorda area, according to Charlie. “April fishing can be really good or marginal, depending on the weather.We usually get a bunch of glass minnows moving into both bays early in the month. I have not seen evidence of them yet, but we have above-average water temperatures, so I expect them to arrive soon. Fishing along protected shorelines in both East and West Bays normally produces some big trout this month, and the redfish school up reliably in the coves too. If winds are light, we have good drift-fishing opportunities in East Bay as well.Birds have already started working sporadically, and the action under them should become steadier and steadier as more shrimp show up and water temperatures rise even higher. We don't target working birds all that much, but when they are working, we tend to catch fish pretty easily in areas close to the action. As of right now, the water in the Colorado River is also holding lots of fish, and the surf can produce well in April too.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204

Spring-like conditions and tons of bait in the estuaries have made for some great fishing in our local bays. We have been catching solid trout up to eighteen inches, while drifting over shell in about three to four feet of water, throwing Vudu shrimp under corks and also live shrimp. Tidal movement has been the key to our trout fishing; as long as the water is moving, the fish have been eating good. Redfish continue to school along area shorelines, chasing shad and shrimp.Most of our fish have been in the lower end of the slot, and gold quarter-ounce weedless spoons have accounted for best bites. Flounder have made their way back to our bays earlier than normal, and lots of area bayous, creeks, and drains have been holding good fish up to eighteen inches on live mud minnows. April should be an awesome month because of all bait in the bays. If water temperature continues to rise, I expect our glass minnow run to be one of the best in recent years. Look for diving pelicans and gulls to find the migrating shoals.

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

In April, spring conditions will make Lynn change things up a bit from the late-winter patterns he had been working prior to the time of this report. “We will be fishing areas with a lot of shell on the bottom, both inside and outside of the shallow lakes. I like to fish stretches along area shorelines which are close to drains leading from the open-bays into the backwater areas. Mainly, we will be targeting the bigger sow trout, but also redfish at times. Main-bay shorelines tend to work best on outgoing tides, while incoming tides produce best in the backwater areas. The trout prefer places with sand and grass lying close to shell on main-bay shorelines, but we will be targeting redfish in the back-lakes too. In the lakes, we try to locate the fish by searching for lots of rafted and jumping bait fish. During the middle of spring, topwaters like Spook Juniors and others work really well on most days, especially early in the mornings. We also do well with slow-sinking twitch baits like Paul Brown Lures and MirrOdines and the Catch-series lures.”

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

In April, Blake expects to do quite a bit of fishing by wading on sandy flats pretty close to the Aransas Ship Channel, where shad and menhaden begin to pour into the bays from the Gulf. “I'll be fishing for trout mostly, throwing small topwaters like Super Spook Juniors, keying on the schools of migrating bait fish when we can see them. Flats in both Aransas and Corpus Christi Bays often produce well when this pattern is the focus. We also have plenty of fish on the shell reefs out in the middle of the bays this time of year. Days with relatively calm winds will allow us to fish those some. We do throw topwaters out there as well, but the Norton Sand Eels in dark colors with chartreuse tails work well too around the oysters. And, we'll catch a better mix of trout and redfish. Another thing that's likely to produce well this time of year is the area around Cedar Bayou. When winds are light and the surf is green, we'll fish for trout along the beachfront. When winds are too strong, the fishing is better in the bayou or on the adjacent flats in Mesquite Bay.”

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

April is a great month to go after the next state record trout because according to Texas Parks and Wildlife gill net surveys, this is when the average weight of the trout is the heaviest. They will be loaded with roe prior to spawning and this increases their weight.Look for signs of fish in theshallows like swirling, flipping or jumping mullet, fish slicks or working sea gulls in water depths of two feet or less. The fish will be easily spooked, so approach the area quietly with a trolling motor or by drifting in from at least a hundred yards away. This is great time to fish with your favorite topwater lure, and I like the TopDog Juniors and SheDogs in natural colors. Retrieve them at different speeds until you start getting hits or blow ups. If you start getting blow ups but no hook ups, switch to a soft plastic like the Bass Assassin Saltwater Shads or Die Dappers in colors likeplum/chartreuse, sand trout or chartreuse dog.Sight-casting in shallow water with shrimp-flavored Fish Bites rigged on a sixteenth-ounce jigheads will produce both red and black drum.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez - 361.937.5961
In the days prior to giving this report, the tide levels in the Upper Laguna Madre rose quickly, back to values well above normal. “Now that the tide has gushed back in, we've got clear ocean water all over the Lagoon between Marker 37 and Baffin. The ultra-clear water makes it easier to sight-cast, of course. Lately, we've been catching limits of black drum by locating the schools and throwing right at them. This will continue to be easy with the high tides. We should also see some really big trout and redfish and have consistent shots at them while we are targeting the drum. One thing the high tides do is displace some of the fish well into areas normally too shallow for fishing. In places like Night Hawk Bay and the Meadows, the fish will sometimes venture well up onto the shallowest parts of the sand bars when conditions are like this in spring. So, a shallow-running boat is necessary to go looking for them. Over on the west side of the Lagoon, fish will tend to prefer areas right on the bank when the bull tides stand so high.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
April is difficult to predict; so many variables can affect surf conditions. Abnormally warm weather has things progressing ahead of schedule. Jack crevalle showed up in February. Various types of vegetation began washing ashore as well. If the wind gives us a break and water clarity is favorable, I expect excellent jackfish, redfish and Spanish mackerel action. Blacktip sharks will be abundant, with scalloped hammerheads and bulls making appearances. Bigger bull sharks will begin following schools of slot reds. Caution is advised when wading, due to abundant shark activity. Spanish mackerel and possibly little tunny will be chasing small foraged species and will take small spoons and flies. The trout bite will be inconsistent, but considering we are ahead of schedule, we could see it become steady towards the end of the month. Topwaters can be effective for trout, but plug-stealing jackfish like them too. April’s tides are quite high and rise to extremes when the barometer is low. Check local weather forecast before venturing down-island!

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000

Usually, during April, I begin along the west shoreline or ICW spoils for a mix of trout and reds, often starting off the morning with a bone-colored One Knocker, bone/silver Spook Junior or Skitterwalk, either pearl or orange/clear. As the morning progresses and surface action fades, I switch to K-Wiggler Ball Tail Shads. The new K-Wiggler Willow Tail is another great choice. Soft plastic color choices trend toward plum/chartreuse, Mansfield margarita, and red shad on eighth-ounce screw-lock jigheads. Steady redfish action can be found on the east side flats, tossing quarter-ounce weedless spoons. The gold one has been reliable for many years, but we have also been finding success with colors such as chartreuse and white. Weedless spoons in these colors are not always easy to find, so grab a double handful when you locate them in stores. While targeting reds on shallow flats, do not be surprised to find occasional large trout mixed with them. The trout of a lifetime could appear as a dark log-shaped object amongst several reds.

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

You can tell the season is changing when you begin to encounter so many different species on the end of the line. Recently, a rare, smooth butterfly ray took a Gulp under the FP3, while the other boat snagged a cow-nosed ray about the same time. Although these rays are not completely uncommon, the fact they are feeding in the super shallow water is. Freddy says,” Two months ago, the only bites we were getting on cut ballyhoo were reds.Now, you can count the seconds from the time you cast until a hardhead attacks! But, once the water warms and tides are higher, it’s a whole new world, with new players on the flats of the LLM.Time to switch to FP3 exclusively.” We’re catching reds, trout and flounder in shallow potholes on Berkley Gulp! Live three-inch shrimp in pearl and new penny on eighteen-inch leaders and a quarter-ounce spring-lock jighead under a chartreuse FP3. We will keep pushing farther north as the water levels rise and work holes that have been unavailable all winter. Let’s stop open bay dredge disposal!