Reports & Forecasts: April 2019

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268
April looks pretty good. Salinities are higher than normal at present. Barring some major rain event, salinity will remain at the current level, and trout will be prolific throughout the entire estuary. This spring, catches have been much better than last, and we are praying it stays consistent throughout the spring and summer. Traditionally in April, trout will move southward in the estuary, seeking saltier water for spawning purposes. They will be caught in areas similar to March, just farther toward the southern end of the lake. Shallow oyster flats in three to five feet of water will be very productive for both quantity and quality trout. Warm spells will produce some decent topwater action, but more often than not, slow-sinking lures will produce more bites than topwaters in April. The hottest slow-sinker on Calcasieu has been the MirrOlure MirrOdine, by far. Our best colors have been, 17MR-BKGCH, 17MR-808, and the newest favorite 17MRBG-750SBG. These lures work about equally whether the water is dirty or clean.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242
James had experienced good fishing on a variety of patterns prior to giving this report. “We've had a pretty good topwater bite lately, catching some solid trout on little ones, like ShePups. The best bite on topwaters has been in really shallow water, like knee-deep. Most of the fish have been on the shell. Whether we're fishing towheads or around main bay reefs, the best bite has been on the harder bottom, not out away from it, over the softer mud. We did have some fish in deeper water, about twelve feet or so, catching them best on soft plastics, of course. And, we've been catching a few fish in the coves, around the grass beds. But mostly, when the fishing has been good in there, we're having to cull through lots of small fish to catch a few good ones. That should all change this month, when the water stays warmer all the time. The bigger fish will pull into the coves in better numbers. This harsh cold front we just got will force us to figure out the puzzle all over again in some places. The water temperature today is 48 degrees.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
When the weather warmed up at the end of February, fishing took a turn for the better, Jim said. “With the warmer water, people have been catching pretty good. Fishing has been best on the south side of both East and West Bays. Wading has been best in the afternoons. Topwater bite has been decent along the shorelines, especially around dusk and into the first hour or two of the night. Guys trolling around in the marshes and bayous have been doing well too, throwing soft plastics more of the time. We did get a harsh front a couple days ago, and this will set some of these patterns back for a while. Once the weather warms up again, we'll be back at it in earnest. I will continue fishing primarily afternoon hours for a while. We usually catch some pretty big trout this time of year, on the calmer days when the water gets green and the tide is fairly high. Best trout I've heard about lately have come from areas around Rollover Pass. The guys who know when to be there have been catching trout over seven pounds when conditions get just right.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323
Randall had been seeing lots of prey species moving into the bays around San Luis Pass in days prior to a strong cold front which passed over the coast in early-March. “We were already seeing adult glass minnows, and signs indicating a pretty significant shad hatch. Normally, in April, we start seeing a better variety of bait species, including the glass minnow, menhaden, shrimp and sometimes even ribbonfish, sand eels and ballyhoo. For me, this means I need to pay close attention to the predator points of interest. I'll be on the lookout for wheeling and diving terns and other birds. They often lead us right to the migrating schools of bait and the predator fish following them. Since we often have lots of small forage in the bays this time of year, I like to throw soft plastics mostly, to mimic their size. If we start seeing some of the larger bait species like the ballyhoo and ribbonfish, we often do well with topwaters like SkitterWalks, which not only imitate their size, but are also effectively worked with speed and skimming action.”

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service - 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
In the middle of spring, a variety of excellent options for catching fish present themselves to anglers in the Matagorda area, according to Tommy. “For me, April is primarily a month for wading West Bay. I like to park shallow and wade out, often starting with small topwaters and sticking with them until the fish stop blowing up. We throw at the grass beds close to the bank early, then move out to those studding the bars further out. Of course, if onshore winds have the water level high enough, the fish will be scattered around the coves and pockets, and we'll catch a good mix of trout and reds. If north winds blow the water out, we'll catch mostly reds, and they'll be concentrated in the deeper feeder guts which funnel water in and out of the coves and lakes. If I'm not wading, I'll likely be fishing in East Bay, or some of the satellite lakes surrounding it. We have lots of areas over there with a mix of mud and shell on the bottom, where we can bounce soft plastics off the bottom and catch trout. And, birds might start working regularly over there.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204
We've been on a consistent pattern all winter, catching fish over shell in three to five feet of water along shorelines lying close to deeper water. Our best method of catching fish has been to throw lures dangled about two feet under popping corks. We've been using a variety of lures, with the top ones being DSL chicken of the sea and Gulp! Jerk Shad in chartreuse. Trout have been ranging from fifteen to twenty-two inches and most of our redfish have measured between twenty and twenty-three inches. Flounder have made their way back to the shorelines, and we've been gigging lots of keepers, to about seventeen inches. April should be an awesome month with the amount of bait we're already seeing in the bays. Glass minnows should be showing up any time now, and when you catch trout/reds feeding on them in the late-afternoon, the action is like no other! Bird activity should also be great this spring. Some consistent spots are Turtle Bay, South Bay by the ship channel, and East Bay.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434
Lynn expects to be fishing a couple patterns really hard this month, targeting the bigger trout in his area. “We like to fish the warmer hours of the day most of the time, so we still don't leave the dock early like we will as we move into the summer months. If we find lots of active bait along area shorelines with a mix of mud and shell on the bottom, we'll wade those places and throw topwaters and slow-sinking twitch baits like Paul Brown Lures, MirrOdines and SoftDines. We like to keep the lures right in the midst of the rafted bait if possible. If that pattern isn't working, we prefer wading close to drains connecting the main bays with the backwater lakes. Best bite there normally occurs with water moving out of the lake and into the bay. We still catch on topwaters and twitch baits when fishing this way some of the time, but overall, this pattern favors fishing soft plastics, working them along the edges of the guts and drains. I do prefer dark soft plastics like chicken on a chain and red flash this time of year.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
April is a great month to catch trout on topwaters, according to Blake. “I'll be fishing all the area shorelines this month, focusing on stretches with a hard, sandy bottom, covered with some grass beds. Normally, the grass beds and areas close to them produce best, especially if they are in the vicinity of a cut leading into a backwater lake, or some kind of point on the shoreline. We throw a lot of topwaters like Super Spooks this time of year, and we catch well on slow-sinking twitch baits like Paul Brown Lures too. If the catching isn't so good on a given day along a sandy/grassy shoreline, I like to try fishing around some of the reefs, throwing Sand Eels or Bass Assassins in dark colors with chartreuse tails. Most days, this will solve a tougher bite and allow us to keep catching. I do like to head out to the surf a few times in April, when calm weather allows the green water to move close to the beach. Some of the biggest surf trout of the year will usually be caught in the spring, though the bite becomes more consistent in summer.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected] - 361.563.1160
April is here! This is one of my favorite months because the trout will be spawning, so they will be loaded with roe. This is when their average weight is the heaviest, so this month provides good opportunities to catch not only a trophy trout, but also the next state record. This is a good time to fish with natural-colored topwaters like MirrOlure SheDogs or slow-sinking MirrOlure Catch 5s, if there is not too much floating grass. Vary the speed and rhythm of the retrieve to get more strikes with these lures. Soft plastics will bring much success this month, especially if there is a lot of suspended grass where you decide to fish. My favorite soft plastics are Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like salt & pepper/chartreuse, plum/chartreuse and sand trout rigged on sixteenth-ounce Spring-Lock jigheads. Another productive Bass Assassin is the Elite Shiner in colors like Houdini, meat hook and salt & pepper. Start the day by fishing along shallow grass lines, potholes or rock formations in two feet of water or less.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez – - 361.877.1230
April is a great month for targeting trout and redfish in the ULM/Baffin Bay system, and the trout can be the biggest ever. When winds are light to medium, shallow flats in the middle of the ULM can offer plenty of sight-casting opportunities for both species. Areas to key on include ones with plenty of bright sand on the bottom, which allows for seeing the fish better. Sandy areas tight to the King and Kenedy Ranch Shorelines also provide the same opportunities. If winds crank up more, areas in the Middle Grounds and in Nine-Mile Hole hold water of better clarity. The sand bars on the west side of the intracoastal waterway, especially in the Land Cut, also produce lots of monster trout and over-sized reds this time of year. Of course, tossing topwaters and soft plastics in the deeper water just off the edge of the sand bar in the Land Cut can produce epic action too. If winds get really strong, which they sometimes do in April, fishing in East Flats and Little Flats in Corpus Bay can become preferred over areas south of the JFK Causeway.

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 |
What a whacky six months we’ve been through. Cold weather came harsh and early in November, then moderated, and once again turned harsh early in March. Expect many species storming the surf during April. Slot and over-sized red drum will be available; all reds will take finger mullet while over-sized fish might also take smaller shark baits. Pompano might still be around early this month. Shrimp and Fish-bites are the best baits and might also produce black drum. Using shrimp can also entice sheepshead.  If water clarity is good, there is always a chance at little tunny. Other visitors to the April surf might include cobia and king mackerel. Although somewhat rare, I’ve landed both species during April. Keep an eye open for schools of jack crevalle and Spanish mackerel. Spoons on wire leaders work well for both. Blacktips and bull sharks will be plentiful throughout the month. Caution – logs washed ashore and dense fog can make driving treacherous. Be cautious when approaching and driving through beach camps.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
Bait and gamefish alike become increasingly active as the water continues to warm. Watching for birds will become an effective method to find fish this month. Look in areas such as Peyton's Bay and the along the ICW from West Bay down to the Arroyo, also along the west shoreline from the Tio Moya pier to the Land Cut. Inside the Land Cut there should be plenty of action under birds. The area from the Pipeline to the Saucer should be good all month, anywhere from knee to chest-deep. Watch for smaller bait flipping and occasional shrimp fleeing hungry predators. I target sandy potholes in these areas; topwaters and KWigglers plastics on light jigheads will provide steady action. Should the action become slow when fishing deeper water with plastics, try a popping cork above your favorite plastic or a Gulp! shrimp. You might be surprised what this rig can do. Caution is advised when fishing the ICW spoils north of port. Recent dredging has created a lot of very soft bottom that was recently firm and easy to wade.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | – 956-639-1941
Expect wind, wind, and more wind! Wind ripping across the flats displaces seagrass that suspends in the water column and floats on the surface. Switching to weedless-rigged soft plastics and single hooks on topwaters has already saved many days for us. I'm happy to report that fishing has remained consistent despite these challenges. The trout bite has been steady along ICW spoil banks and we’re getting them on KWigglers Ball Tails and Willow Tails retrieved at medium to fast speeds, catching enough keeper fish to make it interesting. Redfish action along west shorelines and back-bay areas has been reliable. Small topwaters such as Spook Juniors rigged with single hooks have been getting clobbered. Weedless gold spoons have been effective too. The eastside flats are holding scattered redfish around grassbeds at this time. April winds will likely require anglers to target protected shorelines and coves on most days. Spring is off to a good start, and I expect the fishing will get even better as the season develops.