Reports & Forecasts: July 2015

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

Fishing in July is some of the best of the year. Trout are more prone to feed in the deeper, cooler waters of the ship channel and over mid-lake reefs during mid-day; however we still find them along the east and west bank of Calcasieu in shallower water early in the morning. The shallow water trout bite during July produces a lot of nice fish, but the time-frame in which they feed is short. Mid-lake feeds and channel feeds are best, but are totally dependent on tides. The beginnings and ends of outgoing or incoming tides will produce most of the fish. Trout still bite during the middle of the tide, just not as actively as they do at the start and finish of it. Redfish will be shallow during July as well as schooling in the middle of the lake under birds. Shallow ponds behind Lambert and Grand Bayou are great places to sight-cast for fish. Our lures of choice this time of year are MirrOlure Lil’ Johns and MirrOlure Marsh Minnows rigged on eighth-ounce Yellowmouth jigheads.

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

Like others submitting reports for the Galveston area, James mentions fast catching for trout and large crowds on the water. “This is the best fishing I’ve seen for trout in many years. All the freshwater flowing down both rivers has emptied large parts of the bays of fish, and driven them toward the jetties and areas immediately adjacent to the channel. Lots of boats in that area lately, and everybody seems to be catchin’ ‘em. We are having best luck using slammin’ chicken Sea Shads, dragging them right along the bottom. The water is freshest on top, saltiest on bottom, so the fish are hunkered down and looking down. If you don’t keep your lure in contact with the bottom, it will come right over their heads. Bay fishing should stay the same pretty much throughout July, because both rivers are still running so high. The surf is on fire too, when conditions allow, and we’re already catching a few tarpon. I will be cranking up the tarpon hunts in earnest in the near future. Expecting a good year chasing the silver kings.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
All the freshwater flowing down the Trinity and San Jacinto Rivers has stacked the fish up in certain areas closer to the Gulf, making for some easy fishing, Jim says. “We’ve had a run of really good fishing lately, because the winds have been light, and we’ve been able to get out in the middle where the fish are, allowing us to get at ‘em. With all the freshwater, the bay water is silty, so it won’t handle much wind. Normally, we can keep catching with winds up to around fifteen to seventeen miles per hour, but with all this freshwater, winds over about twelve really mess things up. We’re catching some pretty solid fish, using relatively light jigheads and forcing ourselves to slow way down to keep our lures in contact with the bottom in six to eight feet of water. The fish are hugging the bottom in the deeper water because it is a bit saltier than the water higher up. I’ve been using Tidal Surge lures like the Split Tail, in bright colors. Mostly, I use white with some kind of fluorescent or bright color on it.”

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 the fishing in the surf has “busted wide open, buck wild.” He reports catching limits of trout easily on Norton Sand Eels and Sand Shads. He says the chicken on a chain color has been best when he’s throwing Sand Eels, while Sand Shads in voodoo are working better. The topwater bite has been a bit slower, and he says he thinks that’s because the trout are chasing shrimp right now. He expects things to stay much the same in July, with potential for hot catching in the surf when winds are right. When fishing in the bay, he’ll be looking for areas with a hard sand bottom, which he feels hold a bit cooler water as compared to places with soft, dark mud and shell on the bottom. He also mentions that all the rain has helped produce a bumper crop of shad this year, which has made fishing easy at times, when the schools are visible and the fish are busy chasing them. It has also made for some difficult days, probably those on which the fish are fat and full and burping.

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service - 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037

“Any time I’m wading in July, it will be in West Matagorda, keying on shallow grass beds adjacent to the shorelines early, using topwaters, then moving out to the guts further offshore later in the morning. When the tide is coming in good just after daylight, that is usually a reliable pattern. The MirrOlure Lil’ Johns in dark colors work well when the fish move out to the beds along the bars away from the bank. We like to drag them on the bottom on eighth-ounce jigheads. When we’re drifting, we’re keying on slicks and bait around towheads and using soft plastics on a bit heavier jigheads to maintain contact with the bottom. It goes without saying that when the surf gets right, we will head out there as fast as we can. July is normally one of the very best months for catching trout along the beachfront. I also expect the fishing for tripletail to heat up. Fishing for them has been somewhat slow to get started this year, I think because of all the freshwater flowing down the river. But that probably just means it will bust wide open in July.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204

Fishing has taken off with a bang with all the rain finally coming to an end. We have been on our best trout bite in many moons, drifting shell in four to six feet of water, throwing popping corks and live shrimp. We have been drifting until we come across multiple hookups, then putting the anchor down and fishing ‘em out. The fish have not been monsters, but solid sixteen to eighteen inchers, the perfect eating size. The wet spring has also brought about huge amounts of drum. We have been catching lots of fifteen to twenty inchers on fresh dead and live shrimp. These have been caught over scattered shell in three feet of water or less. Our tripletail bite has not been as good as normal so far this summer. I don’t know if it is due to lower salinity levels with all the fresh water, or they just haven’t showed up in numbers yet. July will bring about the dog days of summer, with fishing being best early and getting off the water by noon. The Matagorda Surf, the wells out in West Matagorda, and the local rivers will be good spots to hit this month.

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

In July, Lynn plans on fishing the surf as much possible. “ We’re gonna be hammering the surf. Already been out there a lot. We like to fish topwaters along the beach, staying close to the sand early, then moving out toward the deeper guts as the sun gets higher. The chrome/blue, Clown and white/chartreuse head Super Spook Juniors are really effective for us this time of year. When not in the surf, we’ll focus on sandy shorelines with some grassy areas, for the most part. And we’ll also hit a few of the spoil banks with shell reefs on them at times. I do hope to stay close to the pass area and work the flats adjacent to the surf. When the topwaters aren’t working, I like to switch over to Hogies, Kelly Wigglers and Down South soft plastic lures this time of year. We’ve been catching limits of trout on a daily basis lately. All this fresh water coming into the backs of the bays has the fish stacked up in areas close to the Gulf. July should be an awesome month indeed.”

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

Blake says the surf has been good this year already, and he hopes to keep heading out there when conditions allow. “Believe it or not, though,” he says, “we are finding fish along shorelines and on reefs in all the area bays lately. We’re having one of the best topwater bites I can remember in a long time. The last couple days, we’re going through periods of time where we’re getting blow ups on every cast for numbers of casts in a row. We’re catching some solid trout too, with quite a few around twenty four, twenty five inches, up to about twenty seven inches. I expect our good fishing to continue as we get into the hotter part of the summer. Normally, we’ll start fishing along drop-offs, a little closer to deeper water in July. We usually have better luck on that pattern once water temperatures climb really high. We usually see the bite on soft plastics improve a lot. Topwaters still work, but not necessarily all day. And, we’ll start throwing live bait when necessary. Overall, this is as impressive a run of trout fishing as I’ve seen in a long time.”

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

The weatherman’s forecast and my forecast for the month of July are the same. It’s going to be hot! The weatherman is referring to the air temperatures being hot and I’m referring to the fishing and catching being hot. Much of the water in our end of the Laguna Madre is in pretty good shape, with better water clarity than I’ve seen in several years. The speckled trout and reds will be along shorelines and grass lines in less than two feet of water during the early morning hours. This will be a good time to fish with bone diamond or plum/chartreuse Bass Assassins rigged on a sixteenth-ounce Spring-Lock jighead. With the calm winds in July, it will be a good time to fish with natural colored MirrOlure She Dogs. As the day progresses, the fish will move into deeper water away from the shorelines, and a slightly heavier jighead, eighth-ounce, might be necessary. Potholes, grass lines and drop-offs in about three feet of water will be good targets to fish with free-lined croakers using #3 Mustad Wide Gap Croaker hooks.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez – - 361.937.5961

“Hopefully the weather conditions and fishing will stay as good as they have been,” Joe says. “I sight-casted a twenty six and twenty eight inch trout yesterday. Caught them both on an old standby lure, a strawberry/white shrimptail. Also had a forty one inch redfish the other day too, which I also sight-cast. The water is so clear and with the calm winds, we can troll around some of the deeper rock structures and grass edges and see the fish better than we have been able to in a long time. This pattern should keep working well right on through the summer, now that the brown tide has gone away. I’ll be fishing areas close to deep water, where rocks and ledges allow fish a place to feed without moving too far away from the cooler depths. We’ll be throwing soft plastics mostly, targeting the edges when we can’t see the fish, throwing at all the fish we see. I think we are set up for some of the best summer fishing we’ve had in a long time, due to the incredible improvement in our water quality.”

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer - Padre Island Safaris - 361.937.8446

Speckled trout action should be fair to good throughout summer. Calm, clear waters and absence of sargassum will make good catches possible around various beach structure in mornings and late afternoons. Artificials and live bait will all produce. As we progress through summer, expect more bait (anchovies, menhaden, shad) to make their way closer to the beach. While much of the activity will still stay just offshore, any bait that makes it to the surf zone will have tarpon, jacks, and sharks in tow. Mornings and evenings with tide movement will be your best bet in general for most species. Hot and clear water means slow midday activity. Patterns of cold water upwellings in recent years create water temps 5⁰-10⁰ colder down near Mansfield jetties compared to Corpus beaches—though no sign of it yet. Kings, redfish and occasional tarpon and even snook could be landed from Gulf piers and jetties. Forecasts for tropical activity seem low but squalls can occur randomly and quickly. Prepare to be mobile if storms threaten. PINS beaches will be crowded—drive carefully and camp respectfully.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000

Early summer weather and fishing patterns have stabilized nicely for us. Light SE wind in the morning and building stronger by the afternoon has been predominant for two weeks. The topwater bite has been very good. Pink and orange Skitter Walks have been the ticket. The Saucer, West Bay, Pipeline area and Greens have been producing solid trout with some oversized reds daily. Also, fishing right on the ICW drop-off has been producing solid trout for waders and boaters keying on bait and slicks. KWiggler Ball Tail Shad, Lagunaflauge and Flomingo, on eighth-ounce jigs are my first choice here. Now that the wind has laid down, the jetty fishing has really taken off. Signs of tarpon and kingfish are frequent around bait concentrations. Snapper fishing has been unreal. Most boats have been taking limits of snapper and kingfish with occasional ling. The CCA Reef has been providing lots of action. Good weather is the key to this. I predict these patterns and areas mentioned will remain very good.

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

Fishing is exciting this time of the year, especially for limits of trout. There are plenty of redfish in the shallow water early, until boat traffic becomes a factor. Since there are multiple fishing tournaments every weekend, finding reds is more of a challenge. Having said that, we’re limiting a couple days a week and averaging three to five nice reds on other trips. Freddy says, “Stick with what works in the water depth you target. We find the Cajun Thunder round cork and three inch Gulp! Live shrimp perform best all-around. Trout, redfish, flounder and many other species will hit the suspended Gulp!, when proper adjustments are made to the weight of the jighead and leader length.” If you are a water enthusiast, here are a couple of suggestions: always wear sunblock and a hat and long sleeves and gloves are also important protection from the sun. Buffs provide fishing fashion and function, serving multiple purposes, including protecting your ears from wind lash! Remember to put life jackets on your kids! Stop open bay dredge disposal!