FLORIDA: S. Indian River – Redfish Will Get More Active

March 1st, 2013


March has arrived on the Treasure Coast and, traditionally, we can expect windy conditions along with some rain clouds. It might dictate where and when you can get on the water, but at least we aren’t cutting holes in the ice to fish! Water temperatures will continue to rise and the fish will be actively feeding on the flats. Winter has been kinder to us this year and the fishing has been very good so far. Take advantage of the good days and get out fishing…..

As the sun warms up the water again, look for fish to travel into the shallows to feed. Trout will continue to be most prevalent in the deeper grass flats in two to four feet of water. Those anglers using live shrimp on popping corks, Deadly Combos, CAL jerk baits and top water will have the best chance at hooking up with a trout. I like to fish the edges of the shallows where the water drops off to these depths. You can find some trout on the flats early, but they tend to go deeper after sunup. Depending on weather conditions, there are many areas to fish. Round Island, Bear Point and Harbor Branch are always popular to fish in March.

Redfish will get more active this month and you can find some tailing on the flats in early mornings. Top water, DOA shrimp, CAL grub tails or gold spoons are good choices for finding a spot tail on the flats. Don’t forget to fish around the mangroves also. So far this winter, there has continued to be a good redfish population around the river and the fishing has been fantastic for them. I tend to like the east side of the river for redfish, but you can find them on the west side also. Work your baits slowly along the bottom for best results. This makes the second winter to allow us to enjoy a terrific redfish bite around the docks and mangroves with nice sized slot fish. Learn to read the water so you don’t miss what is happening around you.

Anglers will continue to target snook around the inlets, docks and bridges on the Treasure Coast. Live bait always works best, but feather jigs, TerrorEyz and BFL lures can also get you hooked up. Most of the action will be at night with best results on the high ends of the tides. As the water warms up around the area, the snook action will liven up also. Those fishing the flats can also find snook feeding early or late in the day. Fish the mangroves during the rest of the day. There has been a very good juvenile snook population on the flats this year. Top water, twitch baits, TerrorEyz or CAL jerk baits can do the trick in March on the flats.

The pompano bite started slower this year. They have moved in the river now around Fort Pierce through Stuart and they should be in this area for a while. Whiting, Bluefish and pompano will be hanging around the beaches this month. The inlet will be holding Spanish mackerel, jacks and bluefish. Jack Crevalle and ladyfish continue to haunt the river and provide fun catch for all. Bridges should give up catches of sand perch, Sheephead and black drum on live or dead shrimp.

Spring is just around the corner on the Treasure Coast. It won’t be long! Take some time to check all your equipment now and be ready as the weather improves to get out on the water. Make sure your reels are in good working order. Check your rods for broken or cracked tips and guides. How old in that line?? Get ready now on some of these windy days ahead, so you will be ready to head out to the water soon! Have a great March in 2013!

As always, remember, fishing is not just another hobby….it’s an ADVENTURE!!

Capt. Charlie Conner
Captain Charlie’s Fish Tales Charters
P: 772-284-3852

N CAROLINA: Look Reds in Creeks with Dark Colored Bottoms

February 1st, 2013

Well folks, as soon as the weather got warm, it got cold again, but wait here comes another (little) warm up? And then cold again; welcome to North Carolina winter weather! There are good things to this up and down weather, if you time it right the fishing can be good on the warmer weather times or just as it starts to cool off again! I can tell you not much has changed since my last report/forecast. I’m going to give a little more detail info on what I’m doing this time of year to keep y’all reading my reports!

The Cape Fear River Striped Bass fishing has been pretty steady for much of this winter and I’ve seen a hand full of very nice Striped Bass come form the river; a few over fifthteen pounds and one or two over twenty pounds. The most important tip I can give you for these fish is as its gets colder (water temps) you really need to slow down your presentation while fishing. I truly slow down just how fast I work my lures and it really will get you more bites when the water is colder.

Here are the ways I fish for Cape Fear River Striper’s. Try Berkley Gulp Jerkshad in five and six inch size; in pearl & new penny colors. Work these baits slowly and always rig them weed-less; there are many hangs in the Cape Fear River. Try a Moaner swim bait hook with the Berkley Jerkshad; this is a great hook at a great price. www.moanerhooks.com I use the weighted Stroker hook in 1/4oz 5/0. If you would like to cast hard baits, try casting X-raps in color green back or glass-ghost or MirrOlure 17MR or 27MR’s. Look for Stripers on drop-offs, dock pilings and reed-grass lines.

As the waters cool down it gets a little harder to catch Redfish, but they are still here! One very good tip I can tell you about winter Redfish is; when you find a school that won’t bite for you, take some time and try to get a bite. Most of the time if you get one Red to bite the others will fire off too! Warmer, sunny and lower wind days can be the key to catching these inshore winter Redfish.

Look for these Reds in creeks with dark colored bottoms and oyster rocks; anywhere the water may be a bit warmer. Scented soft plastics like Berkley Gulp should do the trick to get these Reds to hit. Patterns in Gulp like Shrimp in sizes 2″ and 3″ are my go too, colors that seem to work the best are pearl, sugar spice glow, molting and new penny. Try lighter jig heads like 1/16 and 1/8 when winter fishing; lighter jig heads help you to work the lure much slower and still look natural as possible. I always use fluorocarbon leader when I’m fishing cold water fish; the water is almost always clear during the winter months!

When the weather warms up a bit during the winter months, you can sometimes find a good Blackdrum bite up in some of the local creeks. I find these Blackdrum in creeks from Topsail down to Bald Head Island. Look for creeks with dark mud bottoms and good oyster rocks running down the edge of a hole in the creek. These are the places on warmer days you will find red and black drum. Try smaller well scented baits like Berkley Gulp 2″ shrimp on very light jig heads. You can also try light Carolina rigs with small pieces of shelled shrimp, take the shell off the shrimp; trust me! Cast down the edges of these holes and drop offs in creeks.

Fishing gear I use:

Gear used: Redfish, Blackdrum and Striped Bass: reels PENN Conquer 2000 and Battle 3000 & 4000 spinning reels. Rods PENN Legion or Regiment in med 8 to 15# class. Line: Spiderwire Ultracast ten and fifth teen pound. Fluorocarbon leader material, Berkley Pro Spec Fluorocarbon in tints Gunsmoke for clearer waters and Tannic for river or stained waters in thirty.

Thanks for reading and good luck fishing!

Captain Jot Owens
Jot It Down Fishing Charters
p: 910-233-4139

NEW MEXICO: Trout Fishing was Fair Using Power Bait & Wax Worms

February 1st, 2013

Conchas Lake:
Fishing pressure was light again this past week and fishing was slow for all species. Anglers who wish to do so can still launch boats from the Cannon Cove area.

Eagle Nest Lake:
As of this past Saturday the ice thickness was 15 to 16 inches. Fishing was fair to good using worms for perch. Fishing for trout was fair using ice jigs, worms and Power Bait. A few northern pike were caught by anglers using ice jigs.

Lake Maloya:
Ice conditions over the weekend ranged from a depth of 10 to 12 inches. Fishing was good using homemade dough baits, salmon eggs and ice jigs for trout.

Manzano Lake:
Trout fishing was fair using Power Bait and wax worms.

Rio Grande:
The water flow Monday at the Taos Junction Bridge was 360 cfs. Ice affected flow readings farther upstream. Trout fishing was fair to good using bead-head pheasant tails, salmon eggs and worms. We had no reports on other species.

Stubblefield Lake:
The lake has reopened with a new agreement reached with the Vermejo Conservancy District. However, with the current low water conditions, fishing is discouraged at this time.

Ute Lake:
Fishing pressure was light this past week. A few white bass were taken by one angler who was fishing deep with jigging spoons. We had no other reports. The surface water temp was in the high 30s.

New Mexico
Game & Fish

MONTANA: Lower Madison River – Very Good

February 1st, 2013

Lower Madison River Fishing Very Good
The Lower has been outstanding on good days and good enough on slow days. This is always a good winter choice as long as the wind isn’t blowing too hard. Severe cold snaps can also cause the river to slush up but the weather has still been mild enough to produce good fishing and even a few rising fish over midge hatches.

Montana Angler

WASHINGTON: Steelhead – Cowlitz River Remains the Best

February 1st, 2013

For steelhead, the Cowlitz River remains the best option, and fishing is fair at best on this system. More fish should enter the system in late winter.

Other nearby tributaries such as the Kalama and Lewis remain slow but the Washougal has some spent hatchery fish in it. These fish are less than ideal for table fare.

Sturgeon fishing has slowed in the Kalama area and likely won’t pick up for several months.

The Guides Forecast

S. CAROLINA: Catching Trout in the Deep Creeks

February 1st, 2013

We still have been catching trout in the deep creeks the past couple of weeks, along with a few Redfish on the flats on lower water. But had a nice day on Monday and Capt. Bryan Freeman of Brays Island and I ran out to some of the nearshore wrecks to look for sheepshead. And we found some really nice ones. We used fiddler crabs mostly, and a few live shrimp that the black sea bass gobbled up on us. We caught 10 sheepshead, and kept 5 for Bryan to feed his family that weighed between 4 and 8 pounds. Really pretty fish, and very fun to catch. We caught around 15 Black sea bass, which are out of season. Was hoping to find a few nice black drum to go with the sheepshead, but we only caught one, and it was short of the 14 inch minimum. Stopped at a favorite Redfish drop on the way back in, and I put one nice top of the slot Redfish in the boat to top off the day. Fun trip.

Capt. Rick Percy
Reel Chance Charters
p: 803-535-6166

TEXAS: Couple Monsters While Gigging the Shallow Waters of the Back Bays

February 1st, 2013

TX_2-1-13Well, the black drum bite is slowly starting up here in Galveston. I have actually seen a couple monsters while gigging the shallow waters of the back bays, but the majority of these beast are staging along deep channels around structure. Our favorite area to fish for these brutes are along the North and South Galveston Jetties. Our bait of choice lately has been cracked crab when available. As the water warms up the crabs will be more abundunt in the bait shops, but for now they are somewhat hard to come by. Crawfish work well also, and are a little more available this time of year.

One thing I like to encourage when catching these monster fish from the deep channels is to be sure to deflate the fish before release. We take a syringe and from the bottom side of the fish, between the pelvic fins – insert the syringe and release the air trapped in the fishes bladder. This allows for the fish to recover quick, and fight another day!

Capt. Greg Verm
Fishing Galveston TX
p: 409-739-8526

MISSOURI: SPRO McStick & Megabass Vision 110 baits Are Still Top Producers

February 1st, 2013

Branson: Fishing guides are still catching fish both shallow and deep on the lower end of the lake but with the warm rain early in the week the week the deep bite is starting to wane. The best shallow bite has been on a couple of patterns; a stick bait five to fifteen feet deep and a football jig ten to twenty feet deep. SPRO McStick and Megabass Vision 110 baits are still top producers, look at the inside of points and transition areas to be the most productive. Jewel ½ and 5/8 oz. football jigs in PB&J or watermelon candy with a green pumpkin J-Tail or Tightlines jig trailer have been the most effective jigs.

Kimberling City: The shallow bite is still the most productive pattern for Branson fishing guides in the mid lake area. Stick baits and Jewel football jigs are top presentations just like in Branson. Fishing guides are also doing well with Storm Wiggle Warts on gravel and mixed gravel and rock points on windy days. Brown craw and phantom green have been the best colors; look for points that have a transition from rock to gravel and deep water close by to out produce flat points.

James River: The same patterns are working in the James River as in the mid lake and Branson. Fishing guides have been putting some quality fish in the boat on an Umbrella rig as well; look for most of these fish to be relating to wood cover on the insides of main lake points suspended between six and twenty five feet deep. The best baits on the rig have been natural shad hues including smoking shad and silver with a black back and the top producing baits are Tightlines UV broken back jerk and Zoom swimming fluke jr.

White River: Stickbaits, jigs and wiggle warts will all put fish in the boat on the White River. The same locations and patterns are working from Baxter to Eagle Rock as in the mid lake and Branson. Fishing guides have been doing well in the Kings River around laydowns and log jams in some of the creek arms and bluff pockets. Start out by throwing a stickbait around the wood allowing it to rest around ten seconds close to the cover. After thoroughly working the wood with a stickbait, move in and pitch a Jewel Flippin’ Finesse jig to shady areas to pick off any remaining fish.

Capt. Eric Prey
Focused fishing Guide Service
p: 417-860-4743

LOUISIANA: Trout Were Eating Up Our Matrix Shad Lemon Heads

February 1st, 2013



I jumped onboard today with Leonard Adkins. One stop is all it took to bust our limit of trout up. Good as it gets as the trout were eating up our Matrix Shad Lemon Heads. Slow steady retrieve and wait for the bump!! We had a blast reeling in 60-70 specks (keeping our limit) and 5 reds (only keeping two).

Capt. Marty LaCoste
Absolute Fishing Charters
p: 985-856-4477

COLORADO: Southeast – Rainbows & Kokanee Up to 14” Near Inlet & the Dam

February 1st, 2013

Beaver Creek Reservoir: This 114 acre reservoir is a State Wildlife Area near South Fork. There is vehicle access to the parking lot near the boat ramp. Anglers should expect to catch rainbow trout from 10-16 inches and brown trout and kokanee salmon from 10-14 inches. Due to dam inspections, the water level will remain 10-20’ below the high water mark for the foreseeable future. Anglers should take caution on steep slopes approaching the water. Anglers have been successful for rainbows and kokanee up to 14” near the inlet area and along the dam. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Monte Vista office (719-587-6900).

Big Meadows Reservoir: This 114 acre reservoir is a State Wildlife Area southwest of South Fork. From Highway 160, access along Forest Road 410 (two miles) is typically accessed by snowmobile, skis or snowshoes. The road is open but has not been plowed. Access by full size vehicle is not recommended. There has been very little fishing pressure and a report is not available at this time. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Monte Vista office (719-587-6900).

Big Molas Lake: This 20 acre natural lake is located near Silverton. Ice conditions are good, however, the fishing success has been poor.  There are typically a few “holdover” trout from summer stockings. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Durango office (970-247-0855).

Blue Mesa Reservoir: This 8,900 acre reservoir is located west of Gunnison. Winter fishing is excellent for brown trout , lake trout and rainbow trout. Due to an over-abundance of small lake trout, harvest of lake trout less than 30 inches is recommended. The bag and possession limit for lake trout is unlimited, only one of which may be greater than 38 inches in length. Ice development started slow in 2013 but recent cold weather has resulted in most of the reservoir capping over the second week of January. Ice on the Iola Basin to the Elk Creek Marina area is good but ice thickness is expected to vary significantly as you move toward the lower west most basins. Ice on the Cebolla and Sapinero basins, where larger lake trout are more abundant, is building but is thin in many locations. Fishing should be good for lake trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout in the Iola Basin. Rainbows up to 18 inches in length and lake trout 17 to 20 inches are commonly caught. Anglers may check on current conditions by contacting Curecanti National Recreation Area at (970-641-2337) or by visiting the National Parks Service web site.

Crawford Reservoir: This 390 acre reservoir is a Colorado State Park located 2 miles south of Crawford. As of January 14 there was about 10-12 inches of ice on the lake. The lake level is low and access can be difficult due to steep, rocky slopes and long distances to water. Fishing has been fair for small pike, medium sized black crappie and yellow perch around the dam. There are still a few tagged pike from population monitoring work done in 2007-2008, please report any tagged fish to the state park office or call (970) 252-6017. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact Crawford State Park  (970-921-5721) or the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Montrose office (970-252-6000).

Echo Canyon Reservoir: This 118 acre reservoir is a State Wildlife Area located a few miles south of Pagosa Springs on US 84. Ice conditions are good but no recent reports on fishing success. Trout fishing is usually good this time of year.   For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Durango office (970-247-0855).

Groundhog Reservoir: No current reports. Ice conditions should be good with the cold weather we have had in the past month. The reservoir is very low and fish should be concentrated rewarding those anglers willing to make the long trek up there by snowmobile. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Durango office (970-247-0855).

Island Lake: This 179 acre lake on the Grand Mesa offers good ice fishing opportunity for 10-12 inch rainbow trout, a few wild cutthroat and brookies, and good-sized splake as well (8-28 inches). This lake is popular with anglers with snowmobiles. Check with the USFS for road and ice conditions (970-874-6600) or contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Montrose office (970-252-6000). Fishing has been good for splake and rainbow trout.

Lemon Reservoir: Located approximately 15 miles northeast of Durango. No reports of angling or ice conditions. The reservoir is very low and we have had cold weather for the past month so there should be adequate ice for fishing. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Durango office (970-247-0855).

Miramonte Reservoir: This 400 acre lake is located 20 miles south of Norwood on the Dan Noble State Wildlife Area. Ice fishing season generally runs from December to March. There is vehicle access to several points around the reservoir. Fishing can be good for larger than average rainbow trout with occasional brown trout being caught as well. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the CPW Montrose office (970-252-6000). As of January 14th there was about 12 inches of ice on the lake and fishing was steady for good sized rainbow trout. Hot patterns include jigs and wooly buggers tipped with wax worms.

Mountain Home Reservoir: This is a State Wildlife Area near Fort Garland. The water level in this reservoir is variable and may be low during the winter. It is accessible by vehicle to the boat ramp. Anglers have reported fair to good fishing for rainbow trout up to 16 inches using powerbait. Anglers have also reported catching northern pike. This was most likely due to an illicit introduction and anglers are encouraged to keep all northern pike they catch as the bag and possession for this species is unlimited statewide. Northern pike can decimate a trout fishery in just a few years. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Monte Vista office (719-587-6900).

Pastorius Reservoir: Ice conditions are suitable for ice fishing and the fishing has been fair for 12-14 inch rainbows on mealworms. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Durango office (970-247-0855).

Rito Hondo Lake: This 40 acre lake is a State Wildlife Area located west of Creede. Access is by snowmobile, skis, or snowshoes. This is a good opportunity for anglers to potentially have the lake to themselves. Anglers can expect to catch brook trout and occasionally cutthroat and rainbow trout. Anglers have reported fair to good fishing for brook trout up to 15 inches. Jigs tipped with meal worms and kastmasters work best. Fair to poor action for rainbow trout. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Monte Vista office (719-587-6900).

Road Canyon Reservoir: This 140 acre lake is a State Wildlife Area located near Creede. The reservoir is accessible by vehicle however 4WD vehicles are advised. Anglers can expect to catch rainbow trout, and brook trout from 10 to 18 inches. Anglers have reported good fishing for rainbow trout up to 3 pounds on jigs tipped with meal worms or red worms. Fair action for brook trout up to 15 inches. This reservoir is completely frozen and fishable however, anglers should use caution as ice thickness is variable especially around the aerators. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Monte Vista office (719-587-6900).

Sanchez Reservoir: This large reservoir is a State Wildlife Area near San Luis. It is accessible by vehicle to the boat ramp. Due to the low water levels this winter, anglers may find that the fish are more concentrated and easier to catch. Fishing is reported as fair for pike, walleye. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Monte Vista office (719-587-6900).

Smith Reservoir: This is a State Wildlife Area near Fort Garland. Water level is very low and fishing conditions are poor. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Monte Vista office (719-587-6900).

Summit Reservoir: Summit Reservoir is a 350 surface acre lake located about 8 miles NW of Mancos and 20 miles NE of Cortez. Summit is stocked with rainbow trout, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish. No reports; ice should be suitable for fishing though.

Taylor Park Reservoir: This is a 2,000 acre reservoir located northeast of Gunnison. Taylor Park Reservoir did freeze late this year, but was iced over in early January. Anglers can expect to catch lake trout and rainbow trout. During the winter, the road is plowed to the Taylor Park Trading Post. Road work was completed to improve the Taylor River Road in 2012, and those improvements were completed prior to the winter season. The Taylor Park Marina entrance road from the Taylor River Road (FR 742) is no longer maintained through the winter. It is advised that ice fishermen plan to access the reservoir by snowmobile, snowshoes or skis as snow depths otherwise make access difficult. For updated ice conditions, contact the Taylor Park Trading Post at (970) 641-2555 or the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Gunnison office (970-641-7060).

Totten Reservoir: This small reservoir (204 acres) is located a few miles east of Cortez. The lake sits at a relatively low elevation and anglers should be cautious venturing out on the ice. No reports on fishing. Totten is known for larger perch, bluegill, and some northern pike. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Durango office (970-247-0855).

Trujillo Meadows Reservoir: This 69 acre lake is a State Wildlife Area located 40 miles west of Antonito. Access is by snowmobile, skis, or snowshoes. Anglers can expect to catch brown trout and rainbow trout. A current fishing report was not available. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Monte Vista office (719-587-6900).

Vallecito Reservoir: This 2,700 acre reservoir is located NE of Durango. Ice is suitable for fishing but anglers should use caution when venturing out too far. The fishing as been slow to fair for 12-14 inch rainbow trout on jigs tipped with mealworms. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Durango office (970-247-0855).

Williams Creek Reservoir: Williams Creek Reservoir is covered with about 10 inches of ice. The road was open last week to within a couple hundred yards of the lake but with recent snows anglers should contact the Pagosa Springs USFS Ranger District at 970-264-2268. Fishing has been fair for brook and cutthroat trout on mealworms. Please note that snowmobiles are allowed only as an aid to ice fishing and not for recreational use on the lake. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Durango office (970-247-0855).

Parks & Wildlife