As we prepare to flip the calendar over and head into April you can almost hear fishermen from Toledo Bend to the Gulf of Mexico rejoice. April is easily one of the favorite times to be on the water, any water. One of the absolute coolest things about living where we live is the multitude of options that we are blessed to have within such short distances. A small drive in just about any direction is all that’s needed to be in the middle of some world class water, both fresh and salt.

Right now the fishing world has one thing on its mind and that’s “big fish.” There are some serious big fish being caught on both Toledo and Rayburn right now and Sabine and Calcasieu are not far behind. The spawn is in full swing on Rayburn and most fishermen have converged on the shallows to sight fish these big females on the beds. A truly concerted effort is being taken by most anglers to release those better fish once they catch them if at all possible and that speaks volumes about the conservation type attitude that the majority of anglers now embrace. To see a big bass handled gently and released to fight another day is now the norm rather than the exception.

Saltwater fishermen have just been doing a number on some great speckled trout and its only getting better as the days get longer and the temperatures warm up. Several patterns have been working well lately and that makes it easier, especially since we have had our fair share of wind. Folks wading and drifting are both taking some giant fish, especially in the afternoons. I have seen a few fish in the nine pound class and a pair that actually topped the magic 10 pound mark. With the warmer temps there are more options to choose from as far as technique and lure selection go. Everything from Corkies to topwater plugs have been producing some of the better fish. Swim baits and larger soft plastics on light jig heads seem to be the most consistent producers but the topwater folks will argue the surface strikes make up for anything they miss in the way of numbers.

Obviously the bass and speckled trout receive the lion’s share of attention but don’t overlook the crappie or the flounder bite in the coming days and weeks. The crappie are trying move into the shallows on both of the big lakes but I’m sure this cool weather will hurt that situation for a few days. The flounder are scattered along the banks and their numbers seem to be improving daily. Wade fishermen are enjoying the flounder as a “bonus fish” as they probe the shallow flats looking for a trout. Keeping a few flatfish is never a bad thing, especially if you are releasing a big speck.

The forecast is looking more favorable each day and the cold weather may finally be behind us for another year. The upcoming month of April brings with it much promise and a multitude of options for area fishermen.