Girls can too! Lots of fun on this evening trip. These ladies were on ‘em before sunset until the storm ran us off.
We waded crotch to waist deep sand pockets throwing DSL strawberry wine. Lots of trout 16-18”, and a few that slipped away. Good times had by all! Thanks Brett and Carrie Garmany Mauthe for a fun evening.
AUSTIN – Many Texans opt outside to reconnect with nature after a long winter, but spring break adventures aren’t limited to swimming, camping and hiking. Fishing also offers a great way for families to experience the diverse aquatic life and scenic places that Texas has to offer.
Here are 10 ideas to help families to make memories fishing this spring break:
Learn the basics at a fishing class: More than a dozen Texas State Parks and other locations around the state are offering beginner fishing classes throughout March to help anglers learn the fundamentals of fishing and give them an opportunity to catch a fish. Fishing poles and bait are available for families to borrow for the day at many locations, and no fishing license is needed to fish in a state park. Find a full list of events, details and maps and directions in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Fishing Events Calendar online.
Go kayak fishing on the Texas coast: The newest coastal paddling trail, the Seadrift Paddling Trail, features 20 miles of freshwater and saltwater paddling from the Guadalupe River to San Antonio Bay. Anglers can find prime red drum and spotted seatrout fishing opportunities along this scenic float, along with wildlife watching opportunities for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and a variety of shorebirds and migratory birds. Kayak and canoe rentals are available in nearby Victoria. Eight other coastal paddling trails can be found on the Texas Paddling Trails website.
Catch your first fish at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center: The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, located about an hour drive from Tyler and Dallas and less than two hours from Fort Worth and Waco, offers several stocked fishing ponds, ample fishing loaner equipment, a full production hatchery and a vast array of aquatic exhibits to explore. After catching catfish and rainbow trout in the fishing ponds, spring breakers can see other interesting creatures like paddlefish and American alligators, watch a live fish-feeding dive show, and take a narrated tram tour through the outdoor hatchery facility.
Experience the spring white bass run: White bass provide anglers of all experience levels with exciting action during their annual spring spawning migration up river and stream tributaries. The best time for white bass fishing is usually in March, but with the recent cold snap anglers should look for areas where the water temperature has reached at least 54 degrees, or where the redbuds or dogwoods are blooming. In East Texas, anglers can try Chandler River Park on the Neches River or the Grand Bluff Boat Ramp on the Sabine River for white bass fishing access. Central Texas locations can be found in the TPWD publication White Bass Fishing In Central Texas.
Visit marine life at Sea Center Texas: At Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson, visitors can explore aquaria and exhibits of Texas marine life, the largest redfish hatchery in the world, 36 one-acre fish culture ponds, an outdoor wetland exhibit and a youth fishing pond. A 20-foot touch pool allows visitors to gently touch marine animals such as blue crabs, hermit crabs, stone crabs, snails and even anemones. On April 6, families can attend the free Kids Reel Big Fish Event to learn how to catch and release fish and get a free fishing pole (limited to the first 100 kids).
Fish for rainbow trout in East Texas: In Texas, cold-water loving rainbow trout can’t survive past the winter. Spring breakers can harvest the last of the year’s stocked rainbow trout for free 8 a.m. to 12 p.m March 11-14 at the Tyler Nature Center in East Texas. TPWD Inland Fisheries staff will have loaner equipment, tackle and bait on hand to help families catch and clean up to five rainbow trout each at the free event. No fishing license is needed to participate. After spending the morning on the water fishing, anglers are encouraged to put on their hiking shoes and explore the nearby scenic outdoor hiking trails.
Catch and cook a crappie:Crappie are a delicious and popular sport fish that are easiest to catch in the spring when they move to shallow water in preparation to spawn. At Granger Lake, north of Austin, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates four parks that provide campgrounds, restrooms, picnic areas, boat ramps, and opportunities for shoreline fishing on this reservoir. Other popular crappie lakes include Lake Fork, Toledo Bend Reservoir and Sam Rayburn Reservoir.
Target the state fish of Texas:Guadalupe bass, the state fish of Texas, can be found in the rocky, spring-fed rivers of the Texas Hill country. Anglers can find public fishing access, kayak and canoe launches and other amenities on several of the rivers that Guadalupe bass call home, including three sites on the Colorado River, two sites on the Brazos River, and four sites on the Llano River. A list of all of the public fishing access sites, along with details and directions, can be found on the TPWD River Access and Conservation Area Program website.
Tour a Texas state fish hatchery: Anglers and future fisheries biologists can see first-hand where millions of fish are raised each year for stocking into the public waters of Texas at five inland fish hatcheries located across the state and three saltwater fish hatcheries on the Texas coast. Many of the hatcheries welcome the public to come and visit their educational and informative facilities through scheduled tours or by appointment. Learn more on the Texas State Fish Hatcheries website.
Catch a big bass in West Texas: In Texas, March is considered one of the best months to catch a whopper bass. With recent rainfall, many West Texas lakes have higher water levels and are producing “lunker” bass for anglers, including Oak Creek Reservoir, O.H. Ivie Lake, Twin Buttes Reservoir and Lake Amistad, to name a few. Pick a fishing spot in the TPWD Angler’s Guide to West Texas online, and find detailed fishing regulations, angling opportunities, cover & structure, and tips & tactics for it in the Texas Freshwater Lakes list.
For anglers over 17 years old, a valid fishing license with a freshwater or saltwater endorsement is required to take fish, mussels, clams, crayfish or other aquatic life in the public waters of Texas. A fishing license is not required if fishing from the bank in a state park or in waters completely enclosed by a state park.
More information on current fishing regulations, limits and license requirements can be found online in the TPWD Outdoor Annual, or get the mobile app free for iOS and Android here.
This go round in Port had some highs and lows. We started off the trips with just a handful of trout bites, but the right ones with fish between 5-8.5# and 29″. Our most productive areas were ones holding rafts of mullet in knee to crotch deep water. Areas that just had widely scattered jumping mullet didn’t produce much more than a handful of 16-18″ trout and a few mid-slot reds.
Water color ranged from clear, sandy green, and muddy. Our bait selection ranged from topwaters, DSL soft plastics, to Corky Softdine XL’s. Matching up color selection in these different waters was key, and once we had the right match we had a consistent bite. The majority of our fish were caught in clear to sandy green water, walking slow and targeting edges of grass mats worked well. Sometimes it was on the third or fourth cast to the same area.
Unfortunately as the last couple days we were met with a good bite until about 11am then the bait seemed to disappear and the bite of big trout shut down. When that happened the redfish bite was good. We kept at it because I am a firm believer that big trout roam behind redfish, and you just have to be lucky enough to slip it past the aggressive reds to give that big trout a chance to eat it.
All in all it was a good trip, these repeat customers always seem to have a ball no matter the conditions, personal best were matched this week, and two were lost. One from the violent head shaking these big fish are known for, and the other broke of a topwater moments before being netted. Give us a call for open dates to go try your hand at landing your personal best, it has been a great winter in Port Mansfield, and I am confident it will continue to produce for us.
AUSTIN –The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is expanding public fishing and paddling opportunities on the Llano River with four public access sites opening just in time for winter trout stocking this month.
“The Llano River is a short drive away from major urban areas like San Antonio and Austin, but in the past recreation on it has been limited by a lack of public access points,” said John Botros, TPWD River Access and Conservation Areas Program Coordinator. “These new sites greatly expand the public’s options for safe, legal and high-quality bank fishing and paddling access on the river. Seasonal rainbow trout stocking this month makes it the perfect time to explore this scenic Hill Country river with family and friends.”
The four Llano River public access sites secured by the TPWD River Access and Conservation Areas Program can be found at:
South Llano at County Road 150: A kayak/canoe launch and a quarter-mile of bank fishing access on the South Llano River upstream of Junction at the County Road 150 bridge crossing.
Main stem Llano at Pete’s Pecan Patch: A kayak/canoe launch, 800 feet of bank fishing access and day-use picnicking areas surrounded by a historic pecan orchard near Junction at 325 Kimble County Road 3121.
Although all of the sites are now open for public access, historic flooding on the Llano River in October 2018 impacted some amenities at the sites including signage and kiosks. Anglers and paddlers hoping to utilize these sites should keep in mind that they are mostly in a natural state, meaning no staff, restrooms, running water or other features they would expect from a park. A map, area descriptions and special conditions on public use for each site can be found on the TPWD website.
To provide seasonal fishing opportunities for anglers and paddlers while the weather is still cool, TPWD will be stocking rainbow trout in the Llano River in late January in the reach downstream of Castell in Llano, at South Llano River State Park in Junction, and at the James Crossing in Mason at Highway 2389. Dates and directions to each stocking site can be found online in the TPWD rainbow trout stocking schedule.
Although rainbow trout make for great winter fishing, year-round the Llano River is home to many popular sport fish including largemouth bass and the Texas state fish – the Guadalupe bass. Anglers are encouraged to practice catch-and-release of sport fish in this river, especially after recent flooding which may have displaced some of the native fish populations.
As part of the river access agreements with cooperating landowners, TPWD biologists will be conducting scientific surveys in the river this spring to monitor fish populations and streambank vegetation, and to identify opportunities for invasive species treatment and habitat restoration. Survey data will be used to ensure that increased public use does not have a negative impact on natural resources.
As I halt all outdoor activities while this strong cold front bears down on us today in the middle coast I am reminded of how solid the first half of October has been. When the calendar turned to ten-one, it was almost like a switch was flipped and all of the sudden we had higher, more normal Fall water levels. The air seemed different even though a front had not slipped through. The water seemed cooler and the fish more active. The days are shorter giving way to more overnight rest. Even the crowds had thinned out around here as if deer season had already begun. Add it all up and the result was a fish almost every cast!
Redfish are the talk right now with numbers of undersized fish in the 18″ to 19″ range abundant. My experience has been the smaller under 10″ rat reds are not as common as these larger ones ending up on the hook. Limits of slot redfish are almost the norm with a few oversize thrown in to keep it real. I have polled our guides with text messages throughout the day and they are catching similar fish too. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s live or dead shrimp but they are both working better than cutters.
The speckled trout catch isn’t up to snuff in my trips right now like in the past few years for this time of year. Most of my guys are in the boat throwing bait and I chalk it up to the higher than preferred winds we have been seeing due to these fronts that are now blasting through Texas. I cannot seem to get out on the reefs where they have been holding because of the angry bay both before and after the fronts. The wade fishing trips however have produced impressive numbers and size of trout using either croaker or lures, true to wading year round.
Black drum and Sheepshead with a rare showing of Flounder are the other species we have been boxing regularly in this first half of October. This is to say we are not limiting out on these guys but seeing good numbers. This should continue in the rest of the month and on into the end of the year.
It’s no wonder why this is our favorite time of the year and why the lodge is booked almost every guide for every day. This is the perfect time to round up the family or customers and get to the coast. When you are catching a fish on almost every cast it makes you realize what a wonderful abundant resource we have in our coastal waters. There are many to thank for such a bounty aside from mother nature and the time of the year. Conservation efforts are working and you can see that in the numbers of fish we have and also in the health of our bay and our estuaries. Donate where you can to these groups and participate with your time and effort to ensure the future generations not only will have the right to fish and the waters to do so, but they will likely enjoy days like we are having right now wearing out your arms and putting some fine fish on the dinner table.
Capt. Chris Martin, owner of Bay Flats Lodge, pulled me aside at breakfast and asked if I wanted to hook up on something special. Yes, I do! He then introduced me to Capt. Garrett Wygrys who explained that he had located a pod of Snook that had somehow found their way into the Seadrift area. Snook? You bet!
Snook are plentiful in Florida and can be found in the Lower Laguna Madre of Texas. However, it is rare to catch snook in our middle Gulf Coast. Capt. Garrett found these fish some months back and has been keeping tabs on them ever since. They are growing about 1″ a month so they could be something truly special in another year if they stay local. Continue reading Snook in Seadrift!→
I took a road trip across Texas for work with my truck, a fishing pole, and my drone. There were so many amazing spots to stop and explore as I traveled from Houston to Borger, Texas just past Amarillo.
Capt. ‘Lil John Wyatt – We had a great day on the water with this group for the second day. The kids had a blast, and there was never a dull moment with this group! The kids caught a little bit of everything – speckled trout, black drum, and sheepshead! They had two full days of fun in the sun, and I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed it! I know I did!
SUNDAY – July 15th
Capt. ‘Lil John Wyatt – Today turned out being a slow day for us out on the water, but today’s group of four out of the Tony M. party managed to pull together a small box of fish. Conditions were quite warm, and winds were low most all day, but the bite never increased throughout the day.
Capt. Stephen Boriskie – It seems as thought the fish may have been on vacation here along the middle Texas coast the past few days, but my crew caught a few and it was our newbie that had the most luck, boating his first, second and I think third-ever speckled trout! What a way to break someone new into the sport of coastal fishing. We couldn’t have asked for anything nicer!
MONDAY – July 16th
Capt. Todd Jones – It’s always fun to see kids catching fish! The young guys took some really nice trout this morning, as well as redfish to 24-inches! They showed the older members of today’s crew how things are supposed to be done! It was a fine day all the way around!
TUESDAY – July 17th
Capt. Doug Russell – We’ll see what tomorrow brings, but today was a blast! My party of three from the Dale S. party really enjoyed themselves! They caught some of the best trout I’ve seen in the past few weeks. I hope Wednesday’s just as good!
A big “THANK YOU” to the Austin Chapter of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) for showing you care about our bay systems and the marine habitat – your donation is appreciated by many! The Building Conservation Trust (BCT) and the Texas Coastal Conservation association (CCA-Texas) have a strong partnership that has resulted in several successful marine habitat projects throughout the years. Their relationship is now expanding through a partnership with Bay Flats Lodge Resort & Marina. Together, these three groups, along with our BFL guests, are enhancing marine life from Matagorda Bay to Rockport that will be appreciated and enjoyed by the local community for many generations to come.
Congratulations to Captain Jason Wagenfehr for the 1st-place win at Bay Flats Lodge Resort & Marina in the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and the Austin Chapter AGC first annual fishing tournament. Trout to 27″ for Captain Harold Dworaczyk for 3rd-place, and trout to 24″ for Captain Cooper Hartmann’s team. Conditions really went south overnight, making catching much harder for the 18 fishing teams.
THE GUIDE REPORT
THURSDAY – June 21st
Capt. Billy Freudensprung– Today, we were able to stay away from the storms, and on the fish. My guys managed their trout limit regardless of the pressing bad weather, and everone ended up having a good time!