Reports & Forecasts: March 2007

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
I hate March, and I love March!! March is a two faced month in terms of the weather. It can’t make up its mind if it’s winter or spring, so you have to fish according to what the season is that hour, day or week. Early in the month, the large trout should still be holding on the flats with twitch baits still producing well. Later in the month, with warmer water temperatures, you should start finding some trout over oyster reefs in depths up to six feet. Best baits will be soft plastics both with and without a cork. Topwater baits should also produce well if the water clarity is good. Flounder will still be coming in from the gulf with the best fishing around the bayous and cuts going into the marsh.  Soft plastics and live mud-minnows will be your best choice of baits. The redfish will be everywhere this year from the Cameron jetties to Lake Charles. We have a lot of redfish this year. Spinner baits, soft plastics, spoons, cut & live bait, topwaters and anything else that hits the water will get eaten, so don’t fall in!!

Sabine Lake | Dickie Colburn
Colburn's Sabine Connection | 409.883.0723
In spite of the fact that it will not quit raining, thus far January and February have produced some of the best big trout fishing I have experienced in several years on Sabine. Most of the lake is fresh and muddy, but the big sow trout couldn’t care less. I have had a number of clients already catch and release their personal best this year. We have made a living with the Catch V, the new Mirrodine, and the five-inch Assassin rigged on an eighth ounce head. Most of our fish are coming out of less than four feet of water. Thus far, structure has not played a big role as the fish are ranging all over the shallow flats hustling finger mullet. Rita buried a lot of our scattered shell along the Louisiana Shoreline, but the fish are still using those flats. I look for the same pattern to only improve with warmer temperatures and a little less rain in March. Add more slot reds to the mix as they are already showing up on the warmer days and this should be a spring to remember.  Bring along a youngster and respect the resource.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
“West Bay has some good fishing right now,” James says. “With the big heavy rains, the fishing in the upper  reaches of Trinity, Galveston and East Bays kind of shut down, but over here in West Bay where the salinity stays higher in those conditions, catching remains consistent. There are big trout coming out of the shoreline coves for the waders who know how to target muddy guts and find the bait schools. Topwaters, Catch Vs and 2000s will be the ticket in there.  Also, drifting mud streaks out in the middle around Mecom’s and Green’s cuts and Carancahua Reef will be consistent into March. Sometimes, we get some high tides this time of year and when we do, the coves will be really good. On lower tides, focusing on shell and mud drop offs will be better.” “If we don’t get any more big rains, the fishing in East and Trinity will pick back up. There are usually some big trout in the back of East Bay and on the East shore of Trinity this time of year. Keying on slicks and jumping bait should be productive.”

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
 Jim has put the shotgun up and is back to fishing hard. “Just got back from Florida working the redfish, but I’m about to crank it up here in East Bay. Fishing was tougher behind the heavy rains before I left. The bayous dumped a lot of fresh water into the back of East Bay and the fish scattered. It should rebound nicely now, though, since it’s been drier. Lately, the fishing in West Bay has been better, with some big fish coming out of the coves, the open water in front of Green’s and even out of the deeper channels running out of the bay on both sides. As soon as we get our salty water back, we’ll be having good days again.” He says he will be wading whenever the tide is higher, drifting when it’s low. “I like afternoons better in March for catching numbers and bigger trout, especially when the tide is high and it turns to go out. Match that with an approaching front and you can catch a bunch of big fish. If it’s colder and the water’s lower, drifting out in the middle or in the drains and ditches is better.  Any moving water will help you then.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall reports that the fishing has been inconsistent lately, tough when the weather is rough and rockin’ when it’s nicer. “We had some nice trout the other day, wading and casting Corkies and topwaters over mud and shell. The trout ranged up to about seven pounds, with several others in the five to seven pound class. They were mixed in with some chunky slot reds. The action was on pearl Skitterwalks and silver/holgram Corkies. We also got them to eat the pearl/chartreuse Sand Eel too. But when it’s like that and you can catch them the way you want to, I want to feed them my Skitterwalk!” On other days, he says that the drifting is better. “When we’re drifting on the colder days, we’re focusing on deep holes and areas with a mud and shell mix. Slow presentations near the bottom are key on days like that.” He expects the fishing to become more consistent in March. “This is one of our best months around here. We get some sow trout coming in out of the surf and a run of glass minnows too.” He’ll be following both migrations closely!

Matagorda | Don Wood
Bay Guide Service | 979.240.4137
Don has been having good luck in East Bay lately, drifting almost all of the time. “Some of the other guys are doing well wading, but I’ve been sticking to the drifting mostly.” He’s been focusing on scattered shell over mud, keying on water depths of four to four and a half feet. “The fish that are out in the middle seem to be hanging out in that depth. I’ve been catching them on the woodpecker and space guppy Bass Assassins, rigged on eighth ounce heads, fishing them real slow, basically just dragging them on the bottom and making short hops. We’re catching redfish mixed in with our trout. Most of the trout are between 15 and 20 inches, but we did have a 27 1/2 the other day. On the better weather days, limits are not a problem, especially in the afternoons when the water warms up.” In March, he says he will continue to key on East Bay for trout, though West Bay will become a good place to target reds in the guts on the shoreline. “If the river clears up, we’ll be in there too, especially on windier days.” 

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
The recent cold snap has trout and redfish ganged up in deep holes in the Palacios area. The water temperature as I am writing this is 48 degrees. Trout ranging from fifteen to twenty six inches and small slots reds up to twenty three inches have been coming from the deep guts of the Palacios Harbor and South Bay Marina on Berkley Jerk Shad rigged on quarter ounce leadheads in watermelon, rootbeer gold, and natural color patterns. Slow rolling these baits along the bottom until you feel them stop has been the best retrieve to use for catching these fish. The flats along the Palacios Ship Channel produced several trout from twenty four to twenty seven inches on Corky Fatboys in pearl/black and chartreuse/gold/orange this past weekend as the sun warmed the flats in the afternoon. March should be an outstanding month as temperatures start to rise and bait starts to move back into the bays. The area shorelines with mud/grass/shell mixed together would be good spots to look for springtime specks and reds.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn expects to be on a trophy trout mission in March. “We’ll be wading as much as possible, targeting big trout in areas with a lot of soft muddy bottom and scattered shell. Locating large concentrations of bait is a key to making this pattern produce. I’ll still be leaving the dock a little later on the cool days, especially early in the month while the weather is more winter like. The warm afternoons on the muddy flats with jumping bait are best on days like that.” He expects to be throwing soft plastics and Corkies a lot. “I like the Bass Assassins and the Norton’s too.” He mentions morning glory and pumpkinseed/chartreuse colors in the worms. “Of course, this time of year is great for the Corky. I like to throw the Devil most of the time lately. I’ve been having good luck on the dark ones, primarily one that is kind of a root beer color. When you have dark skies like we’ve had most of the time lately, the dark colors seem to produce best, both in the Corky and the worm.” Knowing Lynn, he’s likely to reach for his Super Spooks too, especially on the warm days.

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake’s been on some consistent action in his area lately, mostly in back bays around Lamar and Rockport. “We’ve been catching trout on a variety of lures on recent trips, everything from topwaters to the Berkley Gulp. That Gulp is a favorite of some of my customers, and it really does work. I had some guys throwing them today and they caught a lot of fish. I like it when someone in the group uses them, as they tend to prove that fish are there. I was catching my fish on a green Fatboy, and even caught some on a black/chrome Super Spook. My fish were slightly better sized, but the guys with the Gulp caught more. Our fish were shallow today, even though the water was in the mid fifties; they were on knee to thigh deep flats. The topwater worked best on a windy shore.” He expects to wade a lot in March in the back bays, and also fish Aransas Bay some too. “We tend to have some really shallow fish starting in March. They start to prefer a harder bottom, lots of sand with a little firm grass mixed in.” 

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
March marks the return of several shark species and large jack crevalle to the surf of PINS. The blacktipped sharks are typically near full-term pregnant females and are at their heaviest. Male scalloped hammerheads averaging 8 feet in length also pass through during this time frame. All of these fish are available on cast or kayaked baits. Redfish, black drum, sheepshead, whiting and pompano are available on dead shrimp and Fishbites. Speckled trout and little tunny are possible throughout the month when conditions are appropriate. The little tunny are feeding on tiny fry and anglers targeting them successfully are usually slowly driving the beach, spotting a school and then sightcasting with spec rigs, Manno lures or light silver spoons. Tackle capable of throwing these ultra light lures into head winds is required. The ultimate way to go after these fish is with 8 wt. fly tackle. Overall, March is marked by tough fishing and driving conditions with high tides associated with the spring equinox and extended periods of high winds and rough seas.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The month of January was a month for the diehard fishermen. It was cold and  rainy, but the fishing was still quite good. All of the cold fronts that came through our area had quite an effect on the water temperature and the wind direction. The objective was to take advantage of the leeward sides of islands and shorelines that have shallow water with mud and shell bottoms adjacent to deeper water. The water temperatures dipped into the low fifties and high forties right after some of the cold fronts and that means that we had to work the soft plastics very slowly along the bottom in order to convince the fish that is was worth the effort to expend some energy and take a bite. The catches in January had a good mixture of speckled trout and redfish, with some of the trout reaching 30 fi inches. February is a notorious month for me in which we catch some very big trout and as we move into March the trout will get a little bit heavier. I’ll be using smelly soft plastics like Exude RT Slugs and the MirroLure Catch V in CHBL, CH, #11 and #18.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Joe says he’s excited to be fishing from his new boat. “The guys at Ronnie’s Marine did me right.  I’ve got a new Majek Illusion that is beautiful. I think it’s going to work great for me in my shallow water sightcasting excursions.” Fishing has been good lately, he reports. “We’ve been fishing everywhere from the JFK Causeway to the Land Cut. The water is really clear lately, so I’ve been throwing the Exude Dart some. I like the clear one with glitter and the natural shrimp color when the water is letting the fish get a really good look at the lures. That Dart seems to make the finicky fish take more bites sometimes. We also had some good days around the bridge working dropoffs with the Exude RT Slugs, same old colors I always like there, the bloody white and pumpkinseed/chartreuse.” In March, he plans on fishing around the Cut some, working the Kenedy shoreline throwing at rocks. “We should be able to sightcast some big trout this month along with our reds. This clear water is a real blessing.”

Port Mansfield | Bruce & Brandon Shuler
GetAway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
Bruce says that the fishing in Port Mansfield for big trout has remained consistent from December through the time of this report. “Even though we were close to having a pretty significant fish kill behind that big chill, we are still catching good numbers of trout over 7 pounds. Around here, you are usually either catching small fish in the 15 to 18 inch range, or you are catching big fish over 27 inches. We don’t seem to have the good numbers of the medium sized fish. The snook faired more poorly in the cold waters. We saw quite a few dead fish in the 8 to 12 pound class floating in the harbor when the water was at its coldest.” He mentions that most of the big trout have been biting Corkies and Catch 2000s thrown over muddy bottoms slightly off the beaten path. “I have been switching to the baby Bomber in gold/black on the calm days when the fish are finicky.” In March, given a warm up in the weather, he expects the fish to move shallow onto hard sand and grass in a pre-spawn mode. “Then topwaters rule.” 

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
Despite the thunderous roar of a dozen or more airboats working nearby and poor water quality, which is the result of brown tide mixed with drilling debris from seismograph testing holes, we’re limiting on reds daily.
We’re throwing Maulers, but alternating the Gulp baits with Freddy’s Miracle Lures in the original color (pearl and gray with glitter) with a chartreuse tail, or we’ll substitute a gold weedless spoon when we drift the super skinny waters, because the fish we’re cleaning are packed with perch. The spoon seems to imitate a perch  better than most other offerings. The trout are biting a little slower, so we’re dragging a jighead with a red and white shrimptail through potholes in about two feet of water. When it’s calm, we’re rounding up large, spread out herds of redfish that are milling around on shallow bars on the East Side. Freddy says, “We’re picking up some nice fish, but the ambiance is not what it used to be.”