Reports & Forecasts: January 2015

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
January is one of the best months of all in which to catch the trout of a lifetime. The problem is the fish are cold, so sometimes bites are hard to come by. Don't get me wrong, we will have 40-50 fish days, but a typical day fishing for big trout produces maybe 8-15 fish. We will fish shallow, on sand flats and around oyster reefs on the north end of the lake. Turners Bay is THE spot. Mullet are key. When we are fishing mid-winter we have a Paul Brown Lure tied on most of the time. MirrOdines, Redfins, Jointed Thundersticks, and Catch 2000's are great baits as well. If the water is crystal clear, natural/translucent colors work wonders. If it's stained, brighter/solid colors work great. The key to catching in January is the rate of retrieve. If you think about it, the fish are just trying to survive the winter. So they won't move around really fast to chase something down. Therefore, low and slow is an effective retrieve style.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
James had been fishing with old friend Mickey Eastman a couple days before he gave this report. "Mickey and I had a lot of fun, and caught plenty of fish. Had limits of trout up to about five pounds. The bite on hard baits is good right now. We've been catchin' 'em on 51 MirrOlures in colors like gold/chartreuse and pink/yellow. The Catch 5 bite is on too, especially when the fish move up shallow during warm spells. We still have a decent bite in deep water, over shell. In fact, most of the bigger fish we've seen lately have come off that pattern, but that will change in the near future. Once we get some more cold weather, the wading will improve as a way to catch the big trout. They'll move shallower between fronts, as it warms up, and go back deep after the cold weather hits. Topwaters and slow-sinking twitch baits will work best to catch them when they are shallow. Overall, it's looking really good. We've got plenty of trout and redfish in all the bays, and it should be a great winter for catchin'."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim mentions he's been experiencing great fun in the outdoors recently. "It's a great time to be alive, and to be outdoors. Duck hunting, deer hunting and fishing have all been excellent. I'll continue hunting ducks throughout January. The key to good shooting is to have some wind. On windy days, we're having plenty of action in area marshes. Fishing has been outstanding too lately. We're catching fish in a variety of places, in marsh drains, up in the bayous, wading along areas shorelines and out of the boat too. Best way to target the bigger trout is by wading, of course. Right now, the fish are spread out, and it's possible to catch them different ways. Mostly because it hasn't been cold much. We did have that one stout front, but it has warmed back up again. Normally, around Christmas, we start seeing cold weather on a regular basis. When that happens, we usually shift gears and start fishing later in the day. We'll leave the dock late in the morning and fish until dark. That works best in January, for the most part."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall says the fishing has finally returned to normal after a stretch of slower times caused by lots of muddy water due to heavy rains. "In January, during the warmer spells, I'll be concentrating on areas with water about four or five feet deep, throwing mostly Norton Sand Eel Juniors in colors like chicken on a chain and black magic. I'll try to stay in areas which are holding good amounts of bait, mostly mullet. If the water gets more clear, I'll change over to the red magic Sand Eels and Bull Minnows. When the weather takes a turn for the colder, I will use the same soft plastics, but will switch to heavier jigheads like three eighth ounce and will focus my efforts on the deeper drains and sloughs, where fish tend to pile up to ride out the cold weather. I'll be spending some time at the Houston Boat Show talking to people and booking trips for the spring and summer, and my new JH Performance boat will be ready and on display there too. I look forward to trying out my new Generation 2 E-Tech motor."

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401
Charlie mentions that "January is one of our best big trout months of all, not only for those who like to wade, but also for people who like to fish out of the boat. We catch fish on soft plastics, sinking twitch baits like Paul Brown Lures, MirrOlures and even topwaters at times. In inclement weather, we have several options to deal with the weather, including the Diversion Channel and the Colorado River. I have several customers who have caught trout weighing nine pounds or more fishing in those deep water havens. Basically, we are at the mercy of the weather in the middle of winter, but the potential for catching is really good, so it pays to just take a mind set which involves bundling up and going. When the weather allows, we'll be wading or drifting in East Bay, but when it doesn't, we'll hide from the wind, pull out some lures which help target fish in the deeper waters. Those who like to catch primarily redfish can sometimes find the catching to be supremely good on the south shoreline of West Bay, especially on extremely low tides."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Fishing has been fantastic around the Palacios Area. The colder temperatures sent the fish to deep holes in the local rivers and turning basins and made for some fun catching. Cajun-pepper VuDu shrimp, and salt/pepper paddletails jigged off the bottom brought in easy limits of trout and reds during the cold snap. The recent warming trend has our trout holding over shell pads in four to six feet of water. The best rig for catching them has been popping corks and Berkley Gulp! pearl shrimp dangled about twenty inches under the float. Night fishing continues to be good. Tandem rigs with glow and clear seem to be the best colors, with most fish just over the fifteen inch minimum. January fishing should depend on locating bait and on water temperatures. The area riversColorado, Tres Palacios, and Lavaca hold good numbers of fish when temperatures drop into the fifties. The flats adjacent to these rivers will hold fish during warm spells after fronts. As always, finding some mullet during cold months is key.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn expects to be trying to dodge the harshest weather between fronts and fishing flats adjacent to deep water, focusing on areas with a muddy bottom mixed with scattered shell. Mostly, redfish will be the targeted species on the shallow areas. Best lures for catching them will be slow-sinking lures like Paul Brown lures and MirrOlures. He says he won't generally leave the dock until some time in the middle of the day, preferring to allow the daylight to warm the flats first, and fish in the afternoon. When targeting trout, he says he generally sticks with deeper water this time of year. "When we're trying to catch the trout, we go to the deeper water in the mouths of the rivers and in the canals. We'll work areas with dead ends and also throw lures along the edges of the drop offs. Soft plastics will be the lures of choice when we're working this pattern, and we like to leave the dock later when we're fishing this way too. Most days, we'll do some of both, fishing flats for reds and a few big trout, and deeper for numbers of trout."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake will be continuing the cast and blast season in January, fishing and hunting from San Antonio Bay to Corpus Christi Bay. "Fishing has been really good lately. We're catching best by wading along area shorelines, focusing on the drop offs into deeper water. Best lures have been the limetreuse Gulp! jerk shads and pumpkinseed/chartreuse and plum/chartreuse Norton Sand Eels. Have also been catching some on topwaters on the warm days. These things will continue to be the norms in January. Soft plastics work best when it's colder, and topwaters and slow-sinking twitch baits come into play when it warms up. If it gets really cold, we often see the fish stack up in the deeper parts of the drains leading into the backwater areas. I'll target trout and redfish there if that happens. Duck hunting has been good most of the time, and that should remain the same through the end of the season. We'll start off the mornings in the blinds, shoot until the birds stop flying, then fish our way out of the marshes and into the bays."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
It is still very quiet on the waters of the Upper Laguna Madre, as many deer hunters are still going after their whitetail buck of a lifetime. Others are going after the speckled trout of a lifetime in the Upper Laguna. According to some of the Parks and Wildlife Department biologists, there are plenty of them still out there. As the water temperatures go down in January, the fish will also go down into deeper water with muddy bottoms during the passage of the cold fronts. But after a couple of sunny, warmer days after a frontal passage, the trout and reds will come up into shallower water, as it will warm up faster. Wadefishing will be the best way to get on the fish during January, along shorelines with a mix of shell and mud bottoms, along with patches of grass in about three to four feet of water. I will still favor Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like sand trout on sunny days and morning glory/chartreuse on cloudy days, rigged on 5/0, sixteenth ounce Spring Lok jigheads. Don't forget your breathable waders and ForEverLast Ray Guards.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
In January, Joe expects to be fishing two different types of areas, depending on the weather. "We usually have plenty of fish hanging in the canals during the middle of winter. Fishing for them in areas around the JFK Causeway and all the way south to the Land Cut can be good at times. When we see lots of birds hanging around the ICW, it's usually a good sign that this pattern will work well. Normally, this corresponds with the colder type of weather. Whether fishing the main ditches or the ones that intersect them, we'll keep the boat out in the middle of the channel and toss soft plastic lures toward the edge, tailoring the size of our jigheads to match the conditions, using heavier ones if it's windy and currents are strong, lighter ones if the weather is calmer. If conditions warm up enough, the fish sometimes move out of the canals and into the shallows. Then, we're able to find sight-casting opportunities more often. Especially in the northern parts of the area, where the water is air-clear this time of year on most days."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Successful surf fishing during January on the Padre Island National Seashore requires timing trips to occur between cold fronts. Attempting beach travel during times of strong north and northeast winds can prove treacherous as tides will stack high on the beach and I have always regarded the second day following the front, when tides return to normal and water clears, to be a prime opportunity. Pompano are usually present in good numbers during winter and will readily take fresh, peeled shrimp and Fishbites. Redfish and black drum can also be found in good supply. Sandbar sharks can be targeted with baits kayaked offshore and other shark species may be occasionally present. Surf-run speckled trout are a possibility for diehard grinders. The 51-52M MirrOlures have always been my favorite lures but be prepared for a grind if this your primary target. Beach drivers are advised to check all emergency supplies and spares lists carefully as there are few visitors to PINS this time of year and finding help if you break down or get stuck can be difficult.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000
Alright now, we are getting the type of weather I like to fish. I realize it is cold but that is when I find chasing trophy trout most productive. Fishing has been good, limits of trout with some reds mixed in. Both wade and drift methods are working. Of course there are still lots of small trout around but if you stick with it you can easily pick up a limit of nice dinner fish. The reds have been in deeper water on the color change. Look for diving pelicans to point the way to these deeper dwelling schools. K-Wiggler Paddle Tails have been the ticket for reds and my best colors have been pumpkinseed/chartreuse and moonbeam/white. For the trout I have still been using K-Wiggler Ball Tail Shads in the Mansfield Margarita and Lagunaflauge colors. When I am targeting the bigger trout I am using a Paul Brown Fat Boy in pearl-chart and pink-pearl. The bigger trout are starting to get in the soft muddy areas along the shoreline. Good luck and hope you catch your personal best this winter. Tight lines and calm seas.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
Fishing's been pretty decent, except when the wind is dead calm, which makes it difficult to get distance when casting. Trout fishing picked up a couple days after the last big front, and we're catching good numbers and seeing some huge fish cruising around in super shallow water. Next month, we expect to start catching more of those big trout and also plenty of redfish,using Cajun Thunder corks trailing Berkley Gulp! three inch shrimp in light colors rigged on quarter ounce Norton screw-on jigheads. Freddy says, "If the wind dies, grab a topwater in bone or pink, something you can chunk a long distance, to get as far from the boat as possible." The best thing about fishing on the windless days is the water quality. The water clears up well, reminding us of the old days. We're still struggling somewhat to deal with turbid water caused by the continued practice of dredging and dumping the spoil into open water. Let's do everything we can to stop the practice of open-water dredge disposal, for the sake of good fishing and a healthy estuary."