Reports & Forecasts: March 2018

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

The spring season officially begins in March. As temperatures rise, speckled trout will begin to make their migration from their winter homes to their summer homes. They will be appearing on reefs in five feet of water or more. This opens options throughout the estuary. Commissary Point, Long Point, Turner's Bay, Joe's Cove, and West Cove will become hot spots for catching numbers of trout, eliminating the need to fish deeper for numbers of trout. Big trout will still be found shallow, but will also start showing up on deeper reefs. Topwaters will become productive when water temperatures rise into the seventies. Redfish action will still be good at the weirs, but will also be productive in the middle of the lake under birds. Look for gulls diving over schools of giant bull redfish. Catching the schooling reds can be difficult, since they tend to move quickly. Best bet is to try to constantly move in the direction they are going, to intercept them.. Strong trolling motor batteries and keen eyes are important when targeting fish in these big schools.

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

James had a great morning on the day he gave this report. “Man, I really walked into 'em today. Water was really clear; I could see the fish eatin'. Really good numbers of three to six pounders. Just snappin' for several hours. Catchin' 'em first on pink and yellow TopDogs. When the topwater bite ended, we moved on to MirrOdines and kept catchin' the same fish that way. Most of the time, we're catching pretty easy limits of fifteen to seventeen inchers, but once a week or so, we walk into a school of the big ones. When we get into the schoolies the old red Bass Assassin with a white tail catches 'em about as fast as anything. The redfish have been so thick lately, it can almost be a nuisance. When they're really bitin', it's hard to catch the trout. We plan to stay shallow and wade in March. All of the local bays are holding fish, so we'll play the weather and move around where we need to, depending on which way the wind's blowin'. One thing we know, it will be blowin' some direction or another most of the time at the start of spring.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054

Heavy rains fell a week or so prior to Jim giving this report, and the freshwater changed things in the back of East Bay. “Water hyacinths are floating out of the bayous in the back of the bay right now. We had about six inches of rain, and it temporarily messed things up. People were catching good during the cold weather in those areas when it was salty, but now those fish have likely returned to East Bay itself. That's probably a good thing in the long run. In a typical March, we usually have productive fishing on the shorelines in various parts of East Bay. Wading can be really effective for numbers of trout and redfish, and some of the trout will likely be big. When wading, we catch good numbers of fish on soft plastics rigged on lighter jigheads, like eighth or even sixteenth-ounce. If we're specifically after the big trout, twitch baits like Paul Brown Lures, MirrOdines, Catch 5s and of course topwaters like SheDogs sometimes work better. This time of year is prime for making afternoon wades and fishing into the early hours of night.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays

Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service

979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323

Since it's been harsh some of the time, the weather has affected the potential for success on recent outings more than normal in Randall's area. “When the weather's milder, and winds lighter, we're having good luck catching. It's tougher on the cold, windy days. As we get into March and the temperatures warm up some, the consistency of production should level out, as long as onshore winds don't blow too hard. Lately, we're catching best on trick or treat Norton Sand Eels rigged on quarter-ounce screw-lock jigheads when we're targeting our fish in four to eight-foot depths. When we're wading, the Paul Brown FatBoys in pink and emerald/silver are working best. We expect to be doing more wading as the spring gets started, since the fish tend to move shallow and stay in those depths most of the time. I'll be watching for the onset of the glass minnow migration into the bays. We normally find them first on grassy flats warmed up by the sun in the afternoons. Watching the activities of terns, gulls and brown pelicans helps.”

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski

Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401

As usual, Charlie mentions the ripe possibilities for catching trophy trout when giving his March fishing forecast. “This is a great month to target some of the biggest trout in the area. People have been catching some really big ones lately, and this should continue into the early parts of spring. As many people know, East Bay produces the biggest big trout around here. But we're catching some nice ones in West Bay too at times. The entire area can produce monster fish as long as the river stays salty. As of this report, people are catching plenty of trout in there. Wading is generally the best way to target the trout of a lifetime. Fishing around shallow grass beds in secluded corners of the bays is a good way to up the odds. March is a windy month generally, so some areas get messed up on a regular basis. Hunkering down along protected shorelines and working drains and guts and grass beds thoroughly is the key to success in high winds. If we get some calmer weather, the mid-bay reefs can bust wide open though, as the water clears.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204

Our fish are still holed up in the rivers, bayous and turning basins here in the Palacios area. We have a shallow bay system and our fish have not made it back out to the flats and shorelines yet. Luckily, we have avoided a fish kill in our area. We are still throwing three-eighths ounce jigheads rigged with Down South Lures in white ice/dirty tequila for best results. The fish have been concentrated in the deepest holes and you can't fish too slow for 'em. Sometimes, you will feel just a tick and the fish will be on. Trout have been medium sized, most between sixteen and eighteen inches, and most reds have been in the middle of the slot. . I look for March to be a great month, with water temperatures rising and bait starting to show back up. Shorelines with shell and three to five-foot depths would be good places to start. The wells and shell pads out in West Matagorda are usually late-winter hotspots. Also, in most years when we have really cold weather, the birds work real good in South and East bay, so that will be a good option as well.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith

Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434

“In March, we'll be mainly targeting the larger trout, wading shorelines adjacent to the back lakes. One of the best patterns this time of year is to fish in the afternoons on outgoing tides. We find the fish will move out of the of the lakes and set up along the shorelines when the current is pulling out of the lakes, especially in areas near the drains. Stretches with dark grass on the bottom and some mud and shell close by seem to hold the most fish. Sunny days are common in the month of March, and this pattern works well in the afternoons on bright days, when the water pouring out of the back lakes is nicely warmed. For the most part, we'll catch trout fishing this way, throwing slow-sinking lures like Paul Brown Lures and SoftDines, but we'll encounter our fair share of redfish too. The first part of spring is a great time to catch fish in the Port O'Connor area, and we're expecting lots of productive days in the month ahead.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
With duck and dove seasons closed, Blake is back to fishing all the time again by March. “Things are improving around the Rockport area slowly but surely, in terms of lodging and amenities. We should be back to close to normal soon. Fishing has been outstanding lately. We're catching plenty of trout and redfish, and March is a great month to target both in the Coastal Bend. It gets pretty windy during March in most years, and our bays provide numerous protected shorelines. When fishing this month, I'll be targeting trout and redfish along sandy, grassy shorelines in various bays, keying on the presence of bait and slicks to figure out where to start. Focusing on areas close to drains connecting backwater areas to the main bays is another key to finding fish. Generally, with warmer temperatures, the bite on topwaters picks up this time of year. We'll throw floating plugs as long as we're getting blow ups. Slow-sinking twitch baits produce well in the moderate temperatures of March too, as do soft plastics in dark colors with chartreuse tails.”

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

With the arrival of the month of March, things tend to heat up. The air and water temperatures are up, the fish are up shallower and the catching consistency also moves up. Instead of areas with muddy bottoms, I’m looking for areas with a mixture of sand and gravel that are three feet or less in depth. I’ll be looking for signs of fish in the area like bait jumping or swirling on the surface and slicks along grass lines, or around potholes, drop offs and shallow rocks. Topwaters like MirrOlure SheDogs in natural colors work well. I switch to a slow-sinking lure like the Catch 5 if I get a lot of blow ups with few fish hooked. Bass Assassin Texas Assassins and Die Dappers in colors like plum/chartreuse, salt & pepper silver phantom, sand trout and chicken on a chain rigged on sixteenth-ounce SpringLock heads work well too. March is likely to be a windy month . When and if strong winds stir up the bottom too much and create murky water, I will fish with live shrimp or a smelly artificial shrimp under an Assassin Kwik Kork.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | | 361.937.5961
“Our trout and redfish tend to stay really shallow most of the time in March,” Joe says. “This makes for excellent sight-casting opportunities on a daily basis. Of course, wind is a help in the sight-casting game. To a point. You need enough breeze to break up the glare on the surface, so you can see into the water. Too much wind will muddy things up, of course, so medium wind speeds provide the best opportunities. In March, we do have heavy winds some of the time, particularly from the middle of the day on through the afternoon. Because of this, late-morning is the best time-frame, on average, to search for trout and reds in the shallows. Before this drill gets underway, it's often possible to catch them without seeing them, of course, on soft plastics rigged on light jigheads, also on slow-sinking twitch baits and/or topwaters. When the fish are up near the shorelines, on top of sand bars or in the shallowest parts of grassy flats in low-light conditions, they often feed vigorously, so the bites can be frequent and memorable.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
Winter is drawing to a close, and many species of game fish will soon be in the surf zone. Along with plentiful red and black drum, chances for a powerhouse jack crevalle increase as the waters warm. Pound for pound, jacks are some of the strongest fighters in the surf. Both live and cut mullet are excellent baits for all three species. The pompano bite should be solid if the water is relatively clear and hasn't warmed too much. Shrimp and Fish-bite combo rigs are usually a winner for these tasty fish. Sharks typically begin to appear in March, some sandbars during the early weeks and increasing numbers of blacktips and scalloped hammerheads later on. Primary forage for both species will be smaller finfish, mostly whiting. The arrival of larger sharks – tigers and makos – will depend on the abundance of jack crevalle and little tunny. Lingering cool surf temps can produce extremely thick fog. Beach drivers should exercise caution, especially around camps. Setting up any camp well away from driving lanes is strongly advised.

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

Spring will soon be here, and fronts will pass less frequently. Warmer days and more regular rain showers should become the norm. As the metabolism of the fish rises, they'll feed more vigorously and show a willingness to take topwaters more consistently. My favorite topwaters this time of year are the Spook Junior, One Knocker, and SkitterWalk in the M08 size. March is almost always windy – direction and speed dictate my fishing plans. If winds are light to moderate, I like to begin my day on the ICW spoils or along the west shoreline. When it's blowing harder, say more than 15 mph sustained, I usually head down toward the Saucer area. We wait all winter for a topwater bite, but don’t be stubborn with them – MirrOdines, Paul Brown Lures and soft plastics are still the go-tos when the blow-ups stop. KWigglers Ball Tail Shads will get lots of playing time too. I like eighth-ounce heads in waist-deep water and sixteenth-ounce ones along the shorelines. Try the new KWigglers Willow Tails, they've really made a believer out of me.

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

We’ve been staying busy taking our Winter Texan friends fishing, without whose business, we would be hurting during January and February. These people know how to fish, and they already have the right clothing for that bitterly cold run up north at daylight. The redfish bite has been outstanding most trips, especially when the wind is helping move some water. The tidal flats of the Lower Laguna Madre are dependent on the wind to churn oxygen into the shallow hypersaline environment that supports marine life in many forms. Trout are starting to push back into the shallower water and hit Berkley Gulp! three-inch shrimp under FP3 corks on a sixteen-inch, thirty pound test monofilament leader. Freddy says, “The tides are getting higher, the water’s getting warmer and fish are becoming more active as we enter the windy spring season; this is an exciting time of the year to witness new growth and old patterns emerging! Check out the FP3 for reds, trout and flounder. You will be impressed with the results!”No more open bay dredge disposal!