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Biologists predict banner Lake Sabine year

Biologists with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) coastal fisheries division are predicting a good year for saltwater anglers in Texas statewide.

  “Two years ago, the year began with a white Christmas and ended with a record number of hurricanes. Last year began with a severe drought and ended with no hurricanes. This year has started off chilly and wet,” said Mark Fisher, Ph.D., TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Division science director in a recent statement. 

  “Despite the unusual weather patterns, the outlook for the coastal angler is a good one.”

    TPWD reported fisheries biologists forecast angler success by analyzing the previous year’s sampling and survey data. Sampling is conducted using gill nets, bag seines and trawls; surveys of anglers are conducted throughout the year.

     “Overall, our data show our inshore saltwater fisheries to be in excellent shape,” said Larry McKinney, Ph.D., director of TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Division.

  For Lake Sabine, in particular they gave the following promising report.

# Some popular boat ramps are still in disrepair from Hurricane Rita.

# No live bait (shrimp or fish) is available in the area. (Not exactly accurate. There are a few spots with some live bait like live mud minnows.)

# The system received above-average rain since last fall. Lower salinities and higher freshwater inflows should push productive fishing to the southern reaches of the bay and out into nearshore Gulf waters.

# Black drum anglers should expect successful trips.

# Spotted seatrout abundance is at a near record high, as is southern flounder.

# Anglers should use extreme patience and caution when driving to Sabine Pass during early morning or late evening hours. During these times, traffic is very heavy due to several major industrial projects.

    Now onto the report…

North Sabine — Trout action has picked up some around East Pass by drifting limtreuse colored plastics around patches of clear water. Reds are good in the bayous on cut mullet and crab. Flounder are fair on high tides against the cane stands on mud minnows.

South Sabine — The reef is still the best spot to catch specks and reds on red or orange-colored plastics drifted over the shell. Other colors producing included morning glory and limetreuse. Flounder are slow to fair around the cuts on the Louisiana shoreline on live bait. Black drum are good on the reef by drifting shrimp.

Sabine Pass — Capt. Ryan Warhola reports anglers able to make it offshore have caught good numbers of snapper around the wrecks and rigs. The jetties are good for redfish up to 10 pounds on the channel side on cut bait.

Lake Calcasieu (Big Lake) — The Hackberry Rod and Gun Club reports Rat-L-Traps and a variety of plastics are producing good numbers of trout over shell on the south end and also some fish under birds in the mid lake area. Reds are good along the eastern shoreline of the lake on spoons and topwaters fished early and late. Flounder are fair in the same areas and in the channel around Cameron.

East Galveston Bay/Bolivar — Rollover Pass is fair for flounder on incoming and outgoing tides. Drifting shell in the bay is starting to give up some nice specks on live bait. Very few reports from the Bolivar Pocket area.

Sabine River — Catfish are good in Adams Bayou on shrimp and cut perch. Largemouths are fair to good around Blue Bird’s on small topwaters and dark-colored whacky worms.

Rayburn Lake — Guide Roger Bacon reports bass fair to good on Brush Hogs and spinners fished along the mouth of creeks and grasslines. Crappie are good on minnows and tube jigs fished over brush piles. Catfish are good on trotlines baited with shiners and nightcrawlers.

Toledo Bend — Holly Park Marina reports crappie are good on shiners fished around the bridge. Largemouths are fair on red Senkos and spinners fished in six to eight feet of water. Very few reports of catfish.

Lake Livingston — Penwaugh Marina reports white bass remain on pet spoons and slabs fished over main lake points. Largemouths are fair in six to eight feet of water on crankbaits and watermelon and junebug colored worms on a Carolina rig. Crappie are good on minnows fished over baited brush. Blue catfish are good on shad fished around boat docks and the creek channels. Anglers are starting to catch a few big flatheads on trotlines baited with live perch.

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TOLEDO BEND: Normal Level: 172.0 Current Pool Level: 170.84 (Was 170.91)

RAYBURN LAKE: Normal Pool Level: 164.4 Current Pool Level: 164.13 (Was 164.2)6

B.A. STEINHAGEN: Normal Pool Level: 85 Current Pool Level: 57.11 (Was 58.38)



Chester Moore, Jr. is the Port Arthur News Outdoors Editor