Reports & Forecasts: March 2019

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268
March is a transitional month on Calcasieu. Trout will once again leave their winter ranges and begin a slow transition throughout the spring toward their summer haunts. Catching in March is almost completely weather dependent. Water temperatures are still chilly due to cold river water filtering through the estuary. A few late fronts will plunge south during March, which also keeps water temperatures down, but trout, redfish, and flounder are plentiful and willing to eat. Bayous act as roadways for fish, so the mouths of these drains become productive. Reds and flounder will lurk just inside the mouth of the bayou in the heart of the current, while more trout will be found on flats adjacent to the mouth of the drain. Best lures for reds and flounder are scented baits like Lil’ Johns and Gulp!. Trout will take those, but they often prefer suspending baits during this month. We always look forward to March. Trout are chunky at this time, so chances remain high for catching the trout of a lifetime. We look forward to seeing everyone fishing soon.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - silverkingadventures.com - 409.935.7242
James came off a pretty long run of charters just before giving this report. “We have been catching lots of fish, staying pretty close to deep water, but fishing shallow. We busted out a lure I hadn't used in a long time the other day and did really well with it, the pink/gold Catch 2000. I threw them a lot when we fished in Calcasieu on a regular basis. Apparently, our fish over here in Galveston like 'em too. I have also had decent luck lately on Paul Brown FatBoys in pearl/black and one of my old stand-bys, the gold/chartreuse 51M MirrOlure. Most of our fish are in water just over knee-deep, hanging around shell reefs and sand bars with even shallower water covering them. This is a typical pattern for late-winter, standing shallow and throwing at water a little deeper. We haven't had any real big fish lately, but the bite has been steady on trout about three pounds or so, with a few weighing closer to five. Normally, March will produce a few bigger trout, up to seven pounds or more, especially for folks willing to wade. And, despite the lack of a topwater bite lately, that should start up any day now and be much better as spring arrives.”


Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Fishing has been good for big trout in the areas around Rollover Pass in the days and weeks prior to this report, Jim says. “They're not catching too many fish, but the average size is really impressive. Almost all of the fish I've seen are weighing over three pounds, and some are big, up to over nine pounds. I've been fishing parts of East Bay in the marshes and bayous and catching good numbers of trout and redfish. No big trout really, but lots of keepers, up to about four pounds. We've been doing well on soft plastics most of the time, and having some luck on sinking twitch baits like Catch 5s and the old-school MirrOlures like 51 and 52Ms. This time of year, weather plays a big part in the potential for a productive trip, more so than in months later in the spring and summer. On the windy days, the fish will still bite, but people who aren't willing to get out of the boat and wade will struggle, mostly. Timing the outing to take advantage of the consistent bite leading up to dusk and into the early hours of the night is a wise choice.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323
Most of Randall's fishing had been done out of the boat on the trips he made in the month or so leading up to this report. “We've been doing best in three to four feet of water, keying on areas with some color to the water. Basically, we're looking for a muddy streak in the clear water. On some of these foggy days, it's hard to locate the streaks! One way to find the fish in to key on 'liar birds', which are terns. They can usually be found looking for and finding schools of the main forage species we like to key on this month—glass minnows. Our best catching recently has been on a silver glitter/chartreuse Norton Sand Eel Junior. I'd say this lure effectively imitates the glass minnows. The MirrOlure family of small twitch baits also work well when thrown in the vicinity of the schools of migrating minnows, especially the SoftDines and MirrOdines. If we're throwing around a bunch of rafted, jumping mullet, topwater lures come more into play. One of our favorites is the pearl white SkitterWalk. We also do well on the pink one at times.”  

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service - 713.725.2401
“March is a great month for catching big trout in East Matagorda Bay,” Charlie says, “but with the Colorado River running high, we've also got a bunch of fish in West Bay. People wanting to avoid the crowds can do well on the shorelines and in the coves over there. Especially when March turns out to be windy, as it usually does, hiding from it and finding clear water can be easier in West Bay. Normally, this month is a really good one for catching on slow-sinking twitch baits like SoftDines, MirrODines, Catch 5s, Catch 2000s and Paul Brown Lures. We've been having high rates of success with some of those lately. As water temperatures warm up more around Spring Break, we often see a tremendous improvement in the topwater bite. Haven't had much luck on them lately, but their time is right around the corner. The end of winter and beginning of spring are fun times to target both numbers of fish and big trout in the shallows on the shorelines of both of our bays. We are set up for a real run of excellent fishing, I think.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam
www.palaciosguideservice.com - 979.240.8204
This has been one of the best winters for keeper trout in recent memory. We've been able to drift over shell in three to four feet of water and catch trout nearly every cast for several hours, so fishing is good. Our trout have not been big, but we've caught lots of limits of keepers to about eighteen inches lately. We've been doing best with quarter-ounce jigheads rigged with DSL lures in dirty tequila and chicken of the sea. Under corks, we've been throwing white three-inch Gulp! shrimp rigged on about a thirty-inch leader. Redfish have really been way back up in the marshes, giving lots of opportunity for sight-casting, which is a blast. Norton Bull Minnows in pearl/chartreuse have been the hot lures. March should continue to be great. Focusing on shell and mud lying in three to five feet of water with active bait should create consistent potential. Redfish and flounder back in the marsh should continue to bite steadily too. Most any ditch or bayou that comes out of a back-lake should provide a chance at a good bite on moving tides.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434
Lynn expects to be fishing much the same areas and same patterns in March as he has been in the weeks before he gave this report. “I like to stay in the coves and back-lakes most of the time during March. Tides are normally high, winds can be pretty strong much of the time, so finding some protected, shallow water in the back corners of the bay makes good sense. Most of these areas have pretty soft mud on the bottom, also some scattered shell and grass beds in places. Areas with a mix of all three tend to produce best. Finding good concentrations of mullet and other small fish also helps us key in on places holding some trout and redfish. Some of the big trout seem to prefer hanging out with the reds, or at least in the same places the reds like. So, we often find ourselves culling through a few reds in our search for a big trout. As in February, slow-sinking twitch baits work really well, since they fit these areas perfectly, allowing for slow to medium-paced presentations without snagging on the bottom. With any luck, the topwater bite will kick off this month. Catching big trout and reds on top is about as good as it gets.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake expects to be fishing much the same way in March as he did in February. “Our fishing has been really steady lately. We're catching good numbers of trout, with lots of them being really nice and heavy for our area. Best bite has been on Paul Brown Lures, one of them a purple one, the other a chartreuse/pearl. We're also having decent luck with small topwaters, especially the Baby SkitterWalk. Of course, soft plastics are working too, when the bite's tougher. I'll be looking for my fish in shallow water this month, keying on shorelines and other areas with water ranging from about knee-deep to maybe waist-deep. Much of the time, I prefer a hard sandy bottom with lots of grass this time of year. The soft, muddy areas don't seem to concentrate the fish the way they do in the colder months. I will also fish some of the shell reefs out in the middle of the bays, if light winds prevail for a couple of days or so. Also, if winds get light, I might head out and try the fishing in the surf. Some years, the biggest surf trout of the year show up in March.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – rz1528@grandecom.net - 361.563.1160
March is approaching, and it brings high expectations for all kinds of good fishing. The air and water temperatures are generally increasing, as are the wind speeds. Best of all, the fish will be moving up into shallower water, and this translates into greater catching success. The Upper Laguna Madre trout are in great shape, and so are the redfish. Also, to our advantage, the water in our part of the Laguna has exceptional clarity lately. The flashy, suspending MirrOlure Catch 5 in colors like BNSBO, CHBL, #11 and BCH should be productive now. If there is too much floating and suspended dead grass, I will switch to the Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like sand trout, plum/chartreuse, salt & pepper, silver phantom/chartreuse or chicken on a chain, rigged on sixteenth-ounce Spring Lock jigheads. I look for areas with potholes or grass lines in three feet of water or less. All who choose to wade should be on the look out for stingrays and never leave the boat without wearing ForEverLast Ray Guards.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez – www.sightcast1.com - 361.877.1230
March is a month for targeting trout and redfish in super shallow water in the Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay, according to Joe. “In the Lagoon, with the super clear water, sight-casting is more of an option, and catching fish on flies is also realistic plan on some days. On the best days, with light to medium winds, it's possible to see redfish, trout and drum milling around in water less than knee deep on some of the flats and shorelines between the JFK Causeway and Baffin. Watching these fish strike in such places is about as fun as fishing can get! In Baffin, the water isn't quite as clear most of the time, so fishing more conventional methods works better, for the most part. Historically, some giant trout mix with slot and over-sized redfish on muddy, grassy flats in parts of Baffin this time of year. Locating them often means keying on signs of nervous baitfish. Using a stealthy approach and making lots of casts with soft plastics on light jigheads around potholes, thick grass beds and rocks on the flats can produce the trout of a lifetime.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 | Oceanepics.com
With winter’s harshest weather pushed well to the east, we should expect the surf zone to warm earlier than normal as spring approaches. Red and black drum, sheepshead, whiting, and pompano will all be running the surf in different stages. Pompano action is winding, down but cool days with good water clarity could still produce. Shrimp and Fish-bites cast beyond the first bar should result in either pompano or one of these other species. Every few years, when the surf warms early, we can expect little tunny (cousin to Atlantic bonito) along our beaches. Little tunny plow the shallows, feeding on small baitfish, and are suckers for small spoons and flies. Sometimes, Spanish mackerel mix with the little tunny. Trout are typically slow this month, but still possible. On the shark side, we will still have a run of winter sandbars as other species begin to trickle in. Blacktips and scalloped hammers should be available, but you have to run baits out there to find them. March is famous for heavy fog – so be cautious when driving the beach!

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza
Snookdudecharters.com – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
March can bring favorable conditions for bay fishing and even short offshore trips. Chances for a personal best trout are very good. Floating Paul Brown Lures, Super Spook Juniors, SkitterWalks, and KWiggler Ball Tails and Willow Tails are recommended. In the Paul Brown family, I like gringo, plum nasty and double bubble colors. My favorite KWigglers are Mansfield Margarita, bone diamond, flomingo and Lagunaflauge. I run all these on eighth-ounce weedless or standard jigheads. On lighter wind days, I usually fish the west shoreline up north, especially when targeting big trout, starting with a topwater or floating FatBoy and switching to plastics according to the bite. I also like the spoil dumps along the ICW, and never pass Gladys Hole or around the game warden shack when up that way. Additional productive spots would include deep potholes near the Weather Station and Dubb’s Island. Further south, check out the area from The Saucer to Green Island. The best signs to key on are active bait – especially finger-sized mullet. 

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | tightlinescharters.com – 956-639-1941
Fishing has remained consistent lately. Our most productive lure in clear water has been the KWiggler Ball Tail Shad in the sand color on eighth-ounce screw lock jigheads. We’ve been predominantly running slow retrieves, almost like fishing for flounder. No doubt the colder water temperatures are playing a role in this. With spring weather patterns soon to emerge, water temperatures will be rising. Periods of howling south wind will become common, and grass floating on the surface will once again complicate our efforts. Expecting this, and in anticipation of increased surface feeding, I have already begun rigging all my topwaters with single hooks. Anglers will do well to target lines of mullet and other prey species as they become more prevalent in shallow water. Look for sandy bottoms along the east side of the Laguna to hold greater numbers of fish. Schools of redfish and trout should mingle together in coming weeks. From what I have seen recently, I am predicting our fishing will get even better during March.

 
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