THE WINTER MONTHS are behind us, and school will soon be dismissed for the upcoming summertime break.
Family vacations along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico have already been planned. Coastal anglers of all ages can’t wait to get to the edge of the nearest Texas bay system to try their luck at some big, healthy, late-spring and early-summer speckled trout fishing.
It’s a time of the year when the searing heat of summer has not yet set in, and the air temperatures are still quite mild and rather comfortable for a fishing trip. With the speckled trout spawn upon us this month, May anglers should be able to find good numbers of speckled trout along area shorelines as the fish gather to begin their breeding practices.
Whatever you can learn about the May trout spawn will only benefit you this month as you target one of those “Big Gals” along a saltwater shoreline. Some people claim the speckled trout spawn begins as early as April, but the majority of the spawning trout wait until May for just the right conditions.
The prime water temperature preferred by the trout to begin their spawning activity is the low-to-mid 80s. This can often extend into months of the year when water temperatures are in the low 70s and as high as the lower 90s.
For our portion of the Texas coast, this typically means we’ll see the trout spawn take place between the month of May, and can sometimes possibly extend as far as into the month of September in some instances.
Once spawning trout come in sync with the preferred water temps, the affair between the males and the females unfailingly starts taking place near dusk each day, As the sunlight begins to disappear below the horizon, it happens in a water depth of between three to six feet deep and generally where underwater vegetation is readily available. A grassy area with any type of water movement will be even better.
The salinity level of the water also plays a significant role in finding some of these behemoth trout this month. Water that’s too fresh means eggs from the spawning females will sink to the bottom, greatly reducing their chance of survival. On the other hand, water that’s too salty will certainly mean death for the trout eggs.
A salinity level between 18 to 25 ppt is preferred (which is very salty), but various bay systems will present the spawning trout with various salinity levels.
The eggs typically hatch within 12 to 16 hours of the spawn, which means much of the hatch takes place under the cover of nighttime darkness. Whatever amount of larvae survive are carried by the tides, current, and the wind to the marsh where they find nourishment and shelter and where they learn to survive on their own.
The spawning trout focus on providing us with our future fisheries, but they also become very, very hungry, especially the big females that carry all the eggs. Just like any other pregnant mother, spawning female speckled trout exude a tremendous amount of energy. This, in turn, means they tend to build a tremendous appetite.
If you’re successful at putting your lure in front of one of these big mommas at dusk, or later in the evening, you have a good chance at getting her to consider your bait right away.
If you’re even luckier you’ll be wading, or fishing out of your boat, on a windless May evening while a full moon rises and the tide begins flowing accordingly. If so, you’ll definitely have a greater chance at hooking into one of these big trophies. This month presents a lot of opportunity for catching a trout of a lifetime, so make your plans now to be in the right place at the right time, and good luck to you all!
As we discussed earlier, May means the weather will still be fairly comfortable. So, there’s no better time than now to get out on the water in search of a personal-best trophy speckled trout while tossing your favorite artificial baits. Do yourself a favor and get out there and enjoy it while you can. The next couple of months will present much hotter weather conditions that often become unbearable. Until next time, tight lines to all!
Email Chris Martin at [email protected]
or visit bayflatslodge.com