The View: April 2024

The View: April 2024

April is one of those months you love to love and love to…well. It’s all about the changing water levels, falling moons, and rising barometers. Some of the largest trout of my career have been caught in April. And, some of the toughest bites I can remember have been in April.

It’s that tired old cliché – transition. Winter to spring, maybe spring to summer? All I can say is just keep fishing in April. There are some awesome trout to be caught in April on the shorelines and, depending how warm it gets this month, we should start to see glass minnows moving along the shorelines of West Matagorda Bay.

Glass minnows are really just bay anchovies. Little white, silver flashes that swim in herds and like to be swarmed by hundreds of brown pelicans, trout and redfish. When the fish go off and gorge on the big balls of minnows it can get really silly.

The good thing is some of the best wading happens on the afternoon incoming tide. Get a good night's rest, eat a little breakfast and hit the dock around noon. Take your time and wait for the tide to usher the minnows to the grassy south shoreline of West Bay.

We expect swollen tides in April, which gives us another plan in our back pocket if March’s wind lingers into April. The reefs along the north shoreline will hold good numbers of trout, redfish and black drum for anglers tossing popping corks with live shrimp in the shallows.

Back lakes like Oyster Lake, Crab Lake, Lake Austin and Boggy have become popular in April for their propensity to cough up consistent bites for redfish and black drum. When tides are swollen you have a chance to bend a rod, even with winds in the 20-knot range.

If you are not a live bait angler, try a Gulp, Vudu, or 3-inch DOA Shrimp. On certain days, especially with cloudy water, these lures often catch fish better than live. We like throwing Mid-Coast corks, especially the 4-inch versions, on the edges of reefs and drop-offs.

The Colorado River and Diversion Channel have seen a lot of freshwater since January, which has repositioned fish that have made these locales their home through almost two years of drought. The Colorado is a great spot to keep in your back pocket for windy days; however, when Matagorda is wet and the river is brown and muddy, our estuary thrives. We need freshwater to balance the brine from the bottom to the top of the food chain.

With the rain we received early this year, expect our shrimp, shad and mullet to thrive; and, a bay full of bait leads to a bay full of healthy fish.

Applause is definitely due TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries staff, the commission, and all anglers who have campaigned for more conservative speckled trout regulations. Hopefully, within a few years and no further shenanigans from Mother Nature, our trout population will again thrive to the levels we took for granted in the not-so-distant past. Attitudes and actions are changing the way we look at fishing and we will be rewarded with bigger, better bites in the coming days.

Please keep doing what is best for our estuaries. Treat other boaters and anglers with kindness and treat the bay as your own backyard fishing hole.

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