Robert Sloan

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and this is typically a time when thousands of folks across Texas take to the lakes, rivers and bays in boats, jet skis, kayaks and canoes. It’s also a weekend when game wardens will be out in numbers checking to make sure that you’ve got enough life jackets on board and that the person running the boat is not drinking and driving.

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Robert Sloan photo

One of the wackiest things I’ve ever seen a game warden do was to crawl up a tree so he could see where three young squirrel hunters were heading after a successful hunt. Those hunters were two buddies and me. We were around 12 years old at the time. We had bagged five big fox squirrels on family land in Polk County not far from Lake Livingston. We saw the game warden coming down the tree. As we stood there in complete disbelief, he asks to see our squirrels, and we pulled them out of our game bags and couldn’t have been happier.

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Robert Sloan photo

Once again, we’ve got a cold front plowing through Southeast Texas, and the high winds and cold air will slow fishing down on inland lakes and coastal bays. This is unprecedented weather for the right side of Texas. Temperatures in the upper 30s and lower 40s are practically unheard of the Piney Woods at this time of year. Needless to say, we’ve had a colder winter than usual, and the spring temps are way lower than normal.

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As of Sunday, March 30, the water temperature on Sabine Lake was 67 degrees. That’s still a little cool for this time of year, but it didn’t slow the numbers of trout, reds and flounder being caught along the Louisiana shoreline in 2 to 4 feet of water. It looks like we’re in for a warming trend this week. If so that could be the rise in water temperatures that’ll turn on the topwater bite for anglers looking for double-digit trout.

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Charles Shelton

The water temperature is right around the mid-50s on Sabine Lake, but that has not affected the catches of trout and reds so far this winter. In fact, regardless of how many late-winter fronts Old Man Winter sends our way, fishing in East and Southeast Texas has been pretty darned good. For example, there was a 10-pound trout caught on Sabine Lake last week.

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This mixed bag of trout, reds and flounder were caught by these anglers fishing

The very popular Coastal Conservation Association STAR tournament starts Saturday, May 25, and runs through Sept. 2. If you’ll be fishing this tournament like thousands of other anglers across Texas, now is the time hit Sabine Lake and maybe catch a tagged red — or better yet, a double-digit trout.

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Two East Texas lakes are ranked as the Top 10 best in the nation — Sam Rayburn a

The second annual list ranking the country’s best bass lakes has been released by Bassmaster Magazine, and Sam Rayburn is ranked No. 2 with Toledo Bend at 10.

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It’s not known as the most popular bass fishing lake in Texas, but truth be known, Lake Austin is an up-and-coming star when it comes to producing 13-pound-plus largemouth bass.
“Lake Austin continued to solidify its ranking as one of the best trophy bass lakes in Texas with Toyota ShareLunker 548, caught March 27 by Round Rock angler Colin Pack while fishing in a tournament,” said Larry Hodge with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Hodge reports that Pack caught the fish in 10 feet of water using a Carolina rig while fishing in hydrilla.

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The cold front that came in last Sunday was nothing more than stumbling block for anglers in the hunt for trophy trout on Sabine Lake. The cold weather came in Sunday, and by Wednesday it was back to spring time, warm temperatures and warming tides along the upper Texas coast.

From now through the end of April, big trout will be roaming the shallows of both Sabine Lake and East Galveston Bay. Ditto that for the east shoreline of Trinity Bay. 

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This past weekend, professional and college-level bass anglers on Toledo Bend made it clear that this East Texas lake is still one of the best in Texas. They caught bass — big bass and lots of them. Could it be global warming in February? Or maybe it’s just that Toledo Bend is and has been a great bass fishing lake for decades. Whatever the explanation, one thing is certain – bass on big T-Bend are definitely not in a winter cold-water stupor.

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