Reports & Forecasts: March 2017

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268
March is a transitional month. Trout will make the change from winter patterns into more spring-like patterns. Large speckled trout will be lurking on shallow flats and around oyster reefs throughout the estuary. Best numbers of trout will be found on reefs in three to six feet of water. Productivity this month is highly weather dependent. Historically, salinities are lower at this time of year than at any other point. Strong southerly winds sometimes make for poor water clarity, but trout will still be present. Darker colored soft plastics rigged on lighter jigheads used with much slower retrieves are sometimes necessary to trigger bites. We usually stick with translucent colors in clearer water and solid colors in stained water. Redfish will once again be prowling the middle of the lake in search of whatever they can find to eat. Diving birds and slicks usually give away the locations of these giant schools. Good luck to everyone and hope to see you all out there fishing soon!

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242
James says the fishing in his area lately has been hit or miss, with some really good outings and a few tough ones. “Really, our best catching has been when the water temperatures are between 50 and 60 degrees. When it warms up, it gets tougher. And, lately, we've done best when the tide is low. Some of our best fishing on low tides has been done on mid-bay reefs, when we can wade them, and at other times, we're catching them in shallow areas along the shorelines. If the tide gets low enough, the fish get dumped out of the marsh, and that helps the pattern work. We did have one day recently on which we caught a bunch of trout between five and six pounds, and several between six and seven. That day, I had a lot of bites on a red and white Bass Assassin rigged on an H&H Flutter Jighead, but the other guys did well on Catch 5s, Catch 2000s and FatBoys too. In March, fishing will be much the same as it is now, with wading producing best most of the time. We'll probably see things improve in East Bay and around San Luis Pass.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Duck season had just ended when Jim gave this report, and he was ready to get back onto the pond regularly again. “We caught a bunch of trout and reds last time out, fishing from the boat in the bayous. Nothing big on the trout, just solid keepers. The guys who are wading in East Bay have been catching some good stringers lately, though. The north shoreline never really produced like it does most winters, and now we've got some freshwater runoff, so the fish are pressured onto the south side a bit. I believe once it warms up some more towards the beginning of spring, the fish will spread out some, and we'll be able to catch 'em in more places more of the time. In other parts of the area, fishing is really good, like in the upper parts along the ship channel and over in West Bay. Guys over there have been doing good wading the coves and other shoreline areas. Upper Parts of Trinity have been messed up recently by water flowing down the river, so it hasn't been so good up that way.” 

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323

Randall expects to be running charters in his new 25' JH Performance boat by the time this report comes out. “It will have an Etec on it, as always. I have had great luck with these boats and motors. I'd also like to mention how much I like my new Daiwa Tatula reels. They cast like nothing I've used before. Get 'em at Fishing Tackle Unlimited. As for the fishing, we're seeing an early bloom of what I call button shad right now. When the bays fill up with tiny forage species like that, it can be hard to get the trout and redfish to take lures. When it's like this, we have the best luck on lures with white on them if the water's off-color a bit, and colors like red magic if it's clear. And small soft plastics definitely work best. By the time we get to March, I expect the glass minnow hatch to be fully under way. The key to locating and catching the trout and reds then will be finding the herds of glass minnows. Watching various species of birds helps narrow the search. Tossing topwaters around the balls of minnows usually produces well.”

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service - 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037

March is a good month for drifting in East Bay, over mud-flats in the east end and around the main humps in the west end, according to Tommy. “I normally like to throw bright paddeltails like electric chicken rigged on quarter-ounce jigheads, keying on slicks and mud stirs to locate the fish. We also wade in East Bay quite a bit around drains coming out of the marshy areas, throwing topwaters and slow-sinking twitch baits. We'll catch quite a few big trout doing that in most years during the month of March. I also usually spend some time wading the south shoreline of West Bay this time of year. Over there, I throw topwaters like bone Super Spook Juniors and also the twitch baits, particularly early in the mornings, when I like to stay tight to the shorelines and reefs. Later in the morning, I find the action is often steadier if I switch over to dark soft plastics and rig them on light jigheads and work them slow, kinda fluttering them off the bottom. On some days, we find the deeper guts lying further from shore full of fish mid-day.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204
Fishing remains steady in our area despite the crazy trend in weather. Trying to pattern fish when water temps go up and down so rapidly every week has been a challenge, but we are still catching. Trout fishing has been most productive along the seawall, over shell and in the turning basins. When we have had mild weather, the trout are hanging in three to five feet of water and have been eating Paul Brown FatBoys readily. Fish up to three pounds have been the norm. Colder water temps push the fish into the harbor and turning basins, where they take VuDu shrimp covered in VuDu sauce slowly bounced along the bottom. Redfish continue abundant in local drains/bayous/marshes. Gold spoons and pearl/chartreuse paddletails have produced best, with most fish falling in lower end of slot. I expect March to be a good month, since we have had warmer than normal weather, which should bring plenty of bait into the bay earlier than normal. Areas to focus on will be places that hold lots of shell with a mixture of mud/sand in the mix.

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

In March, Lynn finds the fishing for big trout in the Port O'Connor area to be about as good as it gets all year. “We'll be targeting mostly big trout this month, fishing with topwaters as long as we can get the fish to show interest in them, switching over to the slow sinkers like FatBoys and Catch 2000s when the blow ups aren't coming regularly. We like to fish in the back lakes a lot when tides are high and coming in, focusing on areas with a muddy, grassy bottom, perhaps some scattered shell. We also like the late-afternoon pattern when tides are flowing out of the lakes. On times like those, we often set up to wade in guts which funnel the current and bait out of the back lakes toward the main bays. Keying on bait presence is, as always, a major key to locating the right places, ones which are holding plenty of fish. Right now, both the redfish and the trout are gathered in pretty large schools, and that should remain the case right through the end of winter and into the start of spring.”

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

Blake called to make this report after spending the day catching well over one hundred redfish and trout on topwaters. “This warm weather makes it feel like March already. Today we had a great topwater bite.  Caught probably a hundred redfish and lots of trout too. I expect the same kind of fishing once we get to the start of spring, with increasing chances for big trout. I'm using the air boat most days, because I'm fishing shallow areas in the back lakes, where it's tough to get in a regular boat. The areas holding the most fish are basically knee-deep, and they have either a sandy or muddy bottom, covered with various amounts of grass. Small topwaters like the Super Spook Junior and the Baby Skitterwalk work well in the shallows. We've also had good luck on Paul Brown lures lately, so I expect to be throwing them plenty in March. We will, of course, always remain ready to switch over to dark Norton Sand Eels with chartreuse tails rigged on light jigheads when the going gets tougher, and will use Gulp! split-tail Shads some.”

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

Everything is on the rise during March, including the wind speeds, air and water temperatures. Because the fish are coming into shallower water, the number of fish being caught is also on the rise. Our speckled trout in the Laguna Madre are in great shape, and so is the rest of our fishery! I’m still wearing my waders and ForEverLast RayGuards when I’m wadefishing, and I’m concentrating on water depths of three feet or less. The water clarity is good almost everywhere, so I’m looking for areas with gravel and sandy bottoms, potholes, grass lines, shallow drop-offs and shallow rock formations. The food sources the trout are feeding on are small, so I will match them with the Bass Assassin Elite Shiner in colors like mama’s 14K, Houdini, salt & pepper, silver phantom and meat hook. The five-inch Saltwater Shads will also work in colors like plum/chartreuse, bone diamond and pumpkinseed/chartreuse. Rig these plastics on sixteenth-ounce Spring Lock jigheads with eighteen inches of 20-25 lb. test fluorocarbon shock leader.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez - 361.937.5961
March is among the best months for targeting big trout in the Corpus Christi area, Joe says.  “We catch some of our biggest trout of the year in the month of March.  Working shallow areas tight to the shoreline of the King Ranch usually has great potential.  The best days for catching the fish in the really shallow, clear water are ones with heavy cloud cover.  It's also a good idea to fish early and/or late, when the sun is just coming up or sinking below the horizon.  In the middle of the day, with bright sunshine, sight-casting becomes much more likely.  We often see quite a few big trout and some redfish moving around over the sandy bottom in potholes surrounded by darker grass beds.  Of course, on some days in March, strong onshore winds muck up the water somewhat.  I find the fishing more productive along deeper grass edges in the Upper Laguna in places like Emmord's and Beacroft's Holes on days like that.  If it gets really windy, the entire Lagoon can become a mess, and fishing in areas like Shamrock Cove and East Flats can produce better.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
Let the action begin! March is a month of migration and movement in the surf. Mullet start running once again and jack crevalle come crashing onto the beach. Jacks are easily tricked with live mullet, topwaters and spoons. Red drum will also be on the move and are suckers for mullet. With all this activity, expect an array of sharks. Large, pregnant blacktips can be taken on whiting and large mullet in the first gut. Depending on water temps, bull sharks may move in close as well. Large scalloped hammerheads will also be possible on close baits, especially later in the month. Expect sandbar sharks after each cold front. Water clarity will be important. If semi-clear, expect everything from little tunny to Spanish mackerel inshore. It has been a slow winter for trout in the surf, yet some still will be present with good water clarity. Large whiting, slot drum, sheepshead, and pompano will all be possible on shrimp and Fishbites. Thick fog can develop with south wind immediately following a front. Extra caution is advised when driving near camps.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000
Fishing continues great at Port Mansfield! The weatherman throws us a curve some days, but in general I would say we are blessed. Good advice for wading anglers would be to target potholes on grassy bottoms and ICW spoils. Both types of areas will reliably produce solid trout with some redfish. The west shoreline north of port has also been productive. On charters, I typically place an angler closer to the shoreline for a shot at a big trout. The small Rapala SkitterWalk or Spook Junior is a good bet when conditions are right. K-Wiggler Ball Tail Shads and the new K-Wiggler Willow Tail Shad are our go-to soft plastics. Can’t beat Mansfield Margarita and plum/chartreuse. If you’re more inclined to drift, I would recommend working the three to five-foot depths in the Pipeline area, the old Weather Station, and Century Point. Trout, redfish and the occasional black drum can be found in these areas. On slow days, tie on a three-inch new penny Gulp! on an eighth-ounce jighead about 15-20 inches below a Cajun Thunder cork.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty 956.943.2747
We’ve been limiting on reds every trip when the water temperatures are below seventy degrees, anchoring and setting out cut ballyhoo. Most mornings while it’s still cool, this method works great, but once the day gets warmer, and the shallows begin to fill back up with perch and hardheads, it's time to start drifting with artificials again. Freddy says, “FP3 is still working the best with Berkley Gulp! three-inch shrimp on a sixteen-inch leader. Not only does the cork offer longer casts in the shallows of the Lower Laguna Madre, but the vibrations from the innovative popping cork rig call fish from a much greater distance than ever before!” We’ve been catching some lunker trout along with our limits on many of our charters on warm days, and frequently bringing in oversized redfish with the slot-fish. The tides this winter have been some of the lowest in memory, especially when the wind is out of the southeast, which will blow the water out and away from the docks in Laguna Vista, so caution is advised. Let’s stop open bay dredge disposal!