Reports & Forecasts: March 2016

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

March is usually a good month to catch a big trout. Water temperatures will be on the rise, and big trout will be moving up on flats to feed on mullet. Big lures like Paul Brown Devils and FatBoys work well. Later in the day, topwaters or Paul Brown Original Lures will work well. If you're looking to catch a lot of fish, try soft plastics on eighth or sixteenth-ounce jigheads. They will work well over reefs in three to five feet of water. Turner's Bay is a great place to concentrate your efforts in March. This area contains oyster flats and sand flats, as well as plenty of reefs in the three to five foot depths. If you're looking to catch redfish, the weirs will still have them. Remember, fish the lakeside on outgoing tides and marsh side on incoming tides. Gulp! Lures rigged on quarter-ounce heads are usually what we fish, but heavier heads may be necessary if currents are really strong. Flounder will also be here in March. Cuts leading to the marsh in Calcasieu, West Cove, Joe's Cove, and the weirs will be the places to be on incoming tides.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242
James says the quality of production when fishing in March is greatly weather-dependent, as are the patterns which work best. "Wading is the way to go when onshore winds are blowing water into the bays and filling the coves and sloughs along the south shorelines of both East and West Bays. Wading can be great in Trinity and Upper Galveston too, if the water is salty enough. When wading, we'll throw topwaters some, but mostly slow-sinking twitch baits like MirrOlure Catch 5s and Paul Brown Lures. Of course, I like my old stand by 51M in yellow and pink. Soft plastics will catch a lot of fish for waders too, but targeting the bigger trout is best done with the other plugs. If the tide drops out, fishing from the boat is often better. Usually, catching lots of fish from the boat happens after winds let up following a front, before the tide gushes back in. Normally, it's tough while the wind is still up. So playing the wind, tide and water level and adjusting strategy is always important, never more so than in a transitional month like March."

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Jim says the fishing had been a bit hit or miss a lot of days immediately prior to giving this report. "We have been catching fish in the bayous and wading the shorelines too. Sometimes, we are catching quite a few fish in really small areas in corners and curves of the bayous. Other times, we are able to catch fish spread around on the shoreline areas, and it's cloudy, with the wind blowing out of the east, and the tide's pretty high, we'll catch pretty good for a while wading. March generally offers conditions like that on a pretty consistent basis. There have been some really fat trout caught lately. I got a confirmed report of a nine pounder that was only twenty eight inches. Same guy caught a couple seven pounders the same day. This was in the area of the Pass. Typically, March produces some good catches of big trout in the Pass itself. Right now, a dredge operation has the area kinda messed up, but it will probably be over by next month. When the winds blow southwest, best bet is to head to shorelines on the other side of the bay."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323
Randall says the fishing in his area in February was good, and he expects the action in March to be great. "We are already seeing glass minnows. In March, the glass minnow pattern is the ticket to success. One of the keys is to fish late, from about 4:30 until dark. The native shrimp colored Norton Sand Eel Juniors rigged on quarter-ounce heads seem to work best to trick fish keyed in on the minnows. Slow-sinking twitch baits like MirrOdines work well too, and when the water temperatures reach sixty five degrees and higher, topwaters take their share too." He also says he'll be getting a new JH Performance boat this month. "It will be rigged with the new G2 motor from Evinrude. This will be my second G2. I can't say enough good things about these motors. One of the top features to me is the fuel efficiency. This thing gets five miles to the gallon! I'd like to thank the people at Sport Marine for keeping me running in such fuel-efficient and high performing boats."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service - 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
"In March, we often drift the areas with a mix of mud and scattered shell in the west end of East Bay. When doing this, we'll throw heavier jigheads to keep the lures close in contact with the bottom. Over there, we like to throw bright colors and stick with the paddletails. Sometimes, we prefer the drifting in the East end, where we tend to key on schools of bait more often. When fishing in West Bay, we will fish the coves for reds on low tides, throwing dark-colored soft plastics on lighter jigheads into the guts and around grass beds lying adjacent to them. If the tide is higher, the trout fishing is usually better in the coves, and we'll often target them with small topwaters like Super Spook Juniors in bright colors like the Clown and chrome/blue. Another productive West Bay pattern is the new fifty acre reef. It's an artificial reef, with lots of rocks. Fishing it is best when the fish will bite topwaters, because you don't have to worry about getting hung up. Using lighter jigheads is the best bet when soft plastics are required to get a bite."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204
Extreme low tides here recently have congregated our fish into deep bayous, guts and the deepest holes in the back lakes. We have been finding our fish sitting stationary on the muddy bottoms in these types of areas. Redfish have been easiest to catch on a consistent basis, with lots of smaller slot fish from twenty to twenty two inches being easy pickings when you find the right gut. Cajun Pepper Mambo Mullets and VuDu shrimp have been best lures to use to get their attention. Trout fishing has been tough, except for night fishing off the seawall and piers. Spec rigs in colors like glow and chartreuse and pumpkinseed/chartreuse seem to be the best lures for getting bites from the trout. The trout definitely bite best when late-evening tides are flowing in. March will find us still targeting areas with a mix of mud and shell on the bottom and areas holding lots of mullet. We should have a good spring with the rains we have had, since the freshwater should help produce more great batches of the prey species.

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

"In March, I'll be wading in the back lakes a lot, focusing on areas with a mix of mud and shell most of the time, chasing the big trout. We'll be throwing twitch baits like Paul Brown Lures in floating and sinking versions, depending on the depth. Overall, we like a high tide better for fishing this pattern, but a low tide can be good too. If the tide gets low enough, the fish will get trapped in the low spots in the lakes, meaning the sandy potholes. If you can find some green water in areas with really soft bottom, the fish will likely be in there. If you can find bait in a small part of the lake, when there is no bait in the rest of the lake, the fish will likely be there. We've been finding some pretty good trout over the last few weeks, meaning fish in the twenty four to twenty eight inch class, and those are the ones we'll be targeting through the end of March. Often, the trick is getting to the fish and finding a way to approach them. It requires a shallow-draft boat and often some motivation to wade over a soft bottom."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake expects to be fishing knee to thigh-deep waters on shorelines adjacent to sloughs and bayous leading into the marshes in March. "We're catching tons of redfish lately, more than I've seen in a long time. In March, more trout will start showing up in these same areas. I still prefer fishing areas with a soft bottom a lot of the time, unless the weather is warm, then I tend to switch over to targeting more of a sandy bottom. All the bays are producing quality fish right now, and I'll be found everywhere from Corpus Bay to San Antonio Bay this month. It's a great month for catching trout on topwaters too. I like to throw the chrome Super Spook Juniors a lot. I will also try fishing the surf a few times this month. Last year, we started catching some pretty big trout out there on the beach front in March, and I'm hoping for a repeat of that action. Just today, I was out there. My customer caught a twenty-seven incher right away. Didn't translate into a steady session of catching after that, but those kind of days could be right around the corner."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata [email protected] - 361.563.1160
I really like fishing during the month of March! The fish are recovering from the cold winter temperatures and they are feeding more aggressively. The trout and redfish are moving into shallower water, about three feet and maybe more shallower if we get four days or more of warm sunny weather. The water temperature will still be cold enough to make me wear waders and my ForEverLast Ray Guards. A big portion of the Upper Laguna's water is in great condition, so finding the right structure to fish around should be easy. I'll be looking for gradual drop-offs, pot holes, grass lines and rock formations. The trout will be following bait, so look for swirling or jumping mullet or fish slicks. Also, look for working sea gulls in four feet of water or less to find both trout, and redfish. If the water is clear, use natural colored Bass Assassin Die Dappers and bright or dark Die Dappers if the water is dirty, Use eighth-ounce jigheads. Sight-casting in less than twelve inches of water will also provide much fun.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez - 361.937.5961
Crystal clear water throughout most of the Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay has Joe excited about the prospects of sight-casting for big trout and redfish in the first month of spring. "Late-winter and early-spring are great time frames to catch big trout and redfish in shallow water in South Texas. The fish seem to want to be in shallow water this time of year. When the water is clear, this means it will be possible to see them on many occasions before a cast is made. For shallow water fishermen, this can be the ultimate thrill. I'll be targeting my fish over a sandy bottom with plenty of grass beds around, but looking for the fish in the shiny sand pockets, in areas adjacent to shorelines, or near the spines of spoil banks, or in other shallow areas where sand spots make it easy to spot the fish. When targeting the fish, I normally use soft plastics, and try to cast in front of the fish and reel the lures close in f front of the fishes' noses.

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
Coming off a mild winter, springtime action could begin earlier than normal. This could mean jack crevalle in the surf during the first days of March. Early-run jacks can be targeted with topwaters and live finger mullet. Be advised, they can be moving fast. Your best option is to run the beach to locate the chaos and then set up ahead of them. Shark action will be picking up and I expect lots of blacktips and scalloped hammerheads. When cownose rays are present you can expect hungry sandbar and bull sharks. Redfish should be fairly thick and eager to take gold spoons, live and dead bait. Based on what I've seen I am predicting minimal speckled trout action. Driving conditions are good, remnants of tire-puncturing fish skeletons from last year's red tide have decayed or become buried in sand. March can bring lots of sea fog, extra caution when driving is advised, especially during the busy Spring Break weeks. Spring is a magical time in the surf zone, lots of species moving in, you just never what to expect.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000
Fishing has been generally very good around the Port Mansfield area. We've had a steady redfish bite in off-colored areas of the flats; fresh mud streaks are excellent indicators of school locations. Our steadiest action for keeper trout to 20-inches has been coming from deeper grass beds and along spoil bank drop-offs. Bait activity is usually scarce this time of year and I sometimes key on only a single mullet jumping or a blue heron stalking the shallows, but this winter has been different. Bait has been easier to locate in the prevailing warmer weather. Black drum have been congregating on east side flats and taking Gulp and dead shrimp. There are pods of reds mixed with them. Gold spoons and K-Wiggler Ball Tails are good choices for the reds. Topwater action is patchy at best, but I look for it to improve soon as things warm up. The bigger trout are in knee to waist deep soft-bottom guts and Corkys are the best lures most days. Weights are improving; please practice CPR on the heavier fish for the future of our fishery.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty 956.943.2747
When tides are right, fishing has been productive. A recent trip yielded a nine pound trout over thirty inches and several oversized reds, along with a limit of both species. We're fishing shallow water, whether it's warm or cold. Freddy says, "This time of year, typical South Texas fishing is your butt is freezing while your face is burning. Drifting with a north wind has advantages, especially when the tide is outgoing, making the water movement even stronger by combining to empty the flats." We're throwing Cajun Thunder corks with quarter-ounce jigheads and Berkley Gulp! Live three inch shrimp in New Penny and Nuclear Chicken when the water warms up and on the days that are below fifty-five degrees or early on cold mornings, when the water temperature slows the movement of predators, cut ballyhoo on the bottom. Remember, low tides are lowest in the winter months, but the flats will fill up again as the spring highs bring influxes of bait and new growth. Help stop open bay dredge disposal and keep the LLM healthy!