Reports & Forecasts: March 2015

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
Cold temperatures have been keeping the trout bite somewhat slow. However, during warm periods between fronts, good numbers of solid fish have been coming off the south bank of West Cove and Joe's Cove. Redfish are still stacked at the weirs, and on the banks adjacent to them. There is not much going on in the main lake as of now for trout, but that will change as temperatures continue to rise. The warmup will push big trout to the flats to feed and start preparing to spawn. If the water is clear, fish it! Turner's Bay is always a March hotspot. Concentrate your efforts in this area during outgoing tides. West Cove and Joe's Cove are also great early spring areas on incoming tides. As the month clicks along, trout will start to move up to the east bank of Calcasieu. Commissarry Pt. and Basket Reef are usually the first reefs on the east bank to be invaded. The weirs on the south end of the lake will continue to be an effective place to catch reds as winter gives way to spring.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
Fishing has been good recently, James says, with a variety of options proving fruitful. "We have been catching well lately out of the boat at times, and by wading. When it's windy, we are wading protected areas and catching best on slow-sinking twitch baits like Catch 2000s, Catch 5s and Paul Brown Lures. Also doing good with the old-school 51 and 52M MirrOlures in colors like pink/gold and gold/chartreuse. Action on soft plastics has been steady too. Out of the boat, the soft plastics on heavier jigheads are working better. We've caught some decent trout and lots of slot reds fishing the deeper water on calmer days. Once we get into March, and the end of winter, the wading will be even more at a premium. We'll target the bigger trout along shallow shorelines in all the area bays, keying on areas holding lots of mullet and other bait fish. March is a windy month, and we do have some lost days, but in the breaks between the blows, it's one of the best months of all to catch big trout by wading."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
"We had a little dose of freshwater running into the back of the bay lately, and it created problems for a short time, but then stacked the fish into fairly small areas and made the fishing easier. People were whacking the fish in the upper parts of Trinity wading before the influx of freshwater. Now, the catching has picked up in the bayous over here in East Bay lately. The bite has been best in the late afternoon areas, and waders are catching more of the big trout. Paul Brown Lures and MirrOlure SoftDines are the go to lures for the waders. As usual, soft plastics are working best out of the boat. Not much action on topwaters lately. Any of the slow-sinking twitch baits will work, really. My normal drill this time of year normally includes leaving the dock in the middle of the day and fishing for a couple hours out of the boat, then wading right as it starts to get dark. Most of the time, the best bite this time of year is around dusk, but in March, I'll start leaving the dock in the morning, as warmer water temperatures improve the early bite."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall reports decent fishing on soft plastics, with a mix of reds and trout filling the boxes. "Today, we fished in about three to four feet of water and caught our limit of redfish on red magic Norton Bull Minnows pushed onto three eighth ounce Norton jigheads. We're fishing areas with a bottom which has a mix of mud and shell. Yesterday, the same lures were working, and we limited on reds, with some solid trout mixed in. The other thing we're doing is targeting areas with water which has some color to it. Clear water is a deal breaker. Topwaters haven't been producing much lately. Paul Brown Lures have when we've been wading areas close to reefs, pulling them over shell and mud. Next month, we'll be looking for an influx of glass minnows, in areas with some grass on the bottom. Early spring is one of my favorite times to fish, especially when we get a push of migrating bait. I'm loving my new E-Tech motor. It has tons of power and pushes my JH Performance craft like a champ."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
"In March, we normally continue to catch some big trout in East Bay, especially when winds are light. When wading mid-bay reefs, we usually use topwaters during the break of day, then switch over to Paul Brown Lures or SoftDines. Eventually, we make it to soft plastics on light jigheads. We also spend some time wading the south shoreline with topwaters and slow sinking lures, targeting big trout. If we are drifting the scattered shell and deeper reefs in East Bay, we're using quarter ounce jigheads and keeping our soft plastics in contact with the bottom. When we head to West Bay, we like to fish the shorelines with dark soft plastics, staying close to the grass beds right on the bank early, then moving out to the drop offs and guts around the offshore sand bars later. With the new 55 acres of reefs we've got in West Bay, drifting is also a good option on some days. I sometimes use topwaters when fishing them, but mostly we fish those reefs the same way we fish the ones in East Bay, using soft plastics on quarter ounce heads."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Winter patterns continue to produce fish in our local bays. Trout have been stacked in the turning basin all winter and will continue to stay there as long as the water temps stay in the fifties. We have been catching plenty of keeper fish on VuDu Shrimp covered in VuDu shrimp sauce in the deep pockets of Turning Basins 2 and 3. Our redfish bite has come mostly from the local creeks and bayous that feed our major rivers. Quarter ounce gold spoons and VuDu Wedgetails in in Cajun pepper have accounted for most of the bites. March is one of my favorite months, as lots of bait starts the migration back into our bays, and with all the freshwater we've had this winter, we ought to have a good hatch. Look for shell reefs in three to four feet of water to produce trout and reds, along with the occasional drum. Flounder fishing should be back in full force by March, and targeting the mouths of area drains and bayous ought to provide real opportunity for catching some good ones.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
In March, Lynn expects to be wading around in the shallow areas of the back lakes in his area and targeting big trout. "We'll be hitting areas with plenty of grass, mud and shell, using slow sinking lures like Paul Brown lures and other MirrOlures. Of course, we usually encounter some redfish in these areas while trying to catch the trout. Lately, the reds have been pretty easy to catch on main bay shorelines adjacent to the entrances of the lakes, because the tides are so low. Normally, toward the end of winter and on into spring, we tend to get some higher tides. When that happens, the fishing in the shallower backwater areas turns on. With Cedar Bayou opened up, I'll also be heading down to the bays in that area, Ayers, Mesquite and Carlos. I like to target shell pads and grass beds on the shorelines in those bays during times when the current is moving and bringing water up onto the flats. The opening of that pass will help that pattern tremendously in the coming months."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Now that the hunting seasons have ended, Blake intends to spend all his time fishing hard. "In March, I will throw topwater lures a lot, fishing in bays with sandy, grassy shorelines like Aransas and Corpus Christi Bays. With the topwaters, we generally target both trout and redfish in water about mid-thigh deep, working around points on the shorelines, where both sand and grass make up the bottom. Some of the best trout of the year tend to bite the floating plugs during the last month of winter/first month of spring. I will also be pulling out soft plastics like Norton Sand Eels in dark colors with chartreuse tails and bouncing them around some of the shell reefs in bays like Mesquite, St. Charles and San Antonio. This pattern also works well during the transition from winter to spring, especially when winds are relatively light and the silty water around the reefs has a chance to settle out and holds good clarity. The spring break month is a great one for catching fish in the Coastal Bend."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
My fishing logs of the last few years reveal much information when I look at the month of March. The air temperatures are climbing and the water temperatures are also on the rise. This translates into the fish coming up out of the deeper holes and into shallower water. It is important to look for and follow the bait because that is what the trout and redfish are doing as well. I will be looking for mullet or shad just below the water's surface, swirling on the surface or jumping. I'll also be looking for seagulls hovering over a particular area, diving brown pelicans or fish slicks. My logs remind me that the fish are in about three feet of water or less, especially after four or five days of warm weather. There will be a variety of baits on the end of my line, like live shrimp under a Bass Assassin Kwik Kork. If the perch are too hard on the shrimp, I'll tie on a four inch Berkley Gulp! shrimp under the Kork. A sixteenth or eighth ounce Spring Lock jighead rigged with a natural colored Bass Assassin Die Dapper will always be ready for some action.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Clear water has inundated the entire Upper Laguna Madre and is also gracing the front of Baffin when tides are high, and the fishing is outstanding on most days lately, Joe says. "With this clear water, it's easy to see the bottom, and that makes the fishing easier. If we have low-light conditions, meaning it's overcast and cloudy, the fish are easier to catch in shallower water if the water is really clear. In such situations, I like to stay close to shallow shorelines and structures, casting at potholes in the grass or grass edges or around rocks in places like the Kenedy Shoreline, along the ICW and along the King Ranch Shoreline. When the sun comes out, catching is generally better in a little deeper water, in areas like channel edges, and along the edges of the deepest grass beds lying next to the open basins. Beacroft's and Emmord's Holes are good places to fish when the sun comes out, as are areas in and around the Crash Channels and the Boat Hole. March should continue to provide excellent opportunity with these patterns."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Spring equinox will occur on March 20, tide level along the PINS beach typically runs higher this month. Strong winds contribute to many unfishable and very marginal days but when conditions fall into place fishing can be very good. Sargassum can become a problem to beach fishers and good way to be daily advised is to monitor FriendsOfPadre website and various other internet surf fishing forums. Large jack crevalle traditionally show within the first ten days of the month. Redfish action is often very good and bottom fishers seeking sheepshead, black drum and whiting will do well on freshly peeled shrimp and Fishbites. Lesser blacktipped sharks should be available on baits cast from the sand, occasionally bull sharks and other species too. Avoid beach travel during northers and always reference local marine forecasts before heading down the island. Beach drivers are reminded to observe the posted speed limits on PINS and to drive carefully when entering camps. Spring break can be busy, especially if the weather is favorable!

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000
Crazy weather, somewhat typical this time of year, but not much consolation when you're trying to dial into a pattern. Deep water in the harbor can save a trip on a really tough "norther" day. The bite there is never fast and furious but it can produce some quality fish. Recovery days between fronts have been good for both wading and drifting the Laguna, working structure around drains, guts and bars. The west shoreline has been producing solid trout during warm-ups. Corky Fat Boys, Bomber Badonk-A-Donk SS, and K-Wiggler Ball Tails have been producing fish. The bite is very light on cold days, you might feel a slight tick, and then the line feels heavy. Spoil banks along the ICW are always good places to try in March. The quick drop to deep water offers shallow feeding areas and also a nearby place to bail when the temps drop. Finding bait to point the way to feeding fish has been a challenge, some days all we see are a few flickers or ripples, but DO NOT PASS THEM UP! Tight lines and calm seas!

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
This winter had been a whirlwind of big trout and reds! We're lucky to have the business of our Winter Texans, for three reasons: they can work around the weather, they have the right clothes for the season, and they all know how to fish. We've had a good winter, boating trout up to 28 inches, (no thirty inchers yet, but the season is still on), and some large redfish. Some weeks we get at least one oversize every trip on both boats. We're fishing on the bottom with cut bait while the water temperature is below 70. Freddy says, "As soon as the water begins to warm up, the hardhead catfish move in and swarm the baits. The last couple of years have seen an increase in the number of the bottom feeders. We are even catching them on artificials, which was unheard of in the old days." When we get good incoming tides, sunshine and a break from the cold, the trout turn on and feed voraciously. Limits of reds are most common, but when conditions permit, we've also been limiting on black drum. Help stop open bay dredge disposal!