Wading into trout fishing on Sabine Lake, East Galveston Bay

Staying comfortable and dry is the key to successful wading during late winter.

One of the very best ways to catch more and bigger trout on most days is to wade. But on many bays, more and more folks are reluctant to get out of the boat.

“I’ve spent decades wade fishing from the Chandeleur Islands to the Laguna Madre. It is the best way to catch big trout, especially right about now when we’ve got some pretty heavy trout roaming the shallows,” says guide Charlie Paradoski. “I can remember when we were catching a lot of solid trout on Sabine Lake about 10 years ago. There were very few local anglers that wanted to wade. But a lot of us that came in from Galveston and Matagorda were gung ho about getting in the water. And when we started catching quality trout, all of a sudden there were dozens of people wading all over Sabine.”

That’s about the same thing that’s happening over on Lake Calcasieu. Guide Buddy Oaks says that from now until about the end of April, they will have more waders on the water than at any other time of year.

One place that definitely doesn’t have a lack of waders is the Galveston Bay system. East and West Galveston bay are packed with waders on any given day. One reason for that is due to its location – a straight shot down I-45 from Houston. But also, the wading on these bays is consistently good and does produce a good number of solid trout – fish in the 4 to 7 pound class.

But there is a time and a place for tapping into wade fishing adventure. It’s most popular now for a few reasons. One is the chance to hook up with shallow feeding trout. Plus, there are very few stingrays to contend with and the chance of getting vibrio vulnificus (a flesh-eating disease) is slim and none while the water is cold.

Guide Jerry Norris has waded his way around Sabine Lake and the nearby surf for decades.

“It can be a good option at times, especially right now,” says Norris. “Wading the Louisiana shoreline from Coffee Ground Cove and on down to Blue Buck Point can give you a real chance of catching some really nice trout. But you can also catch some of those same fish by staying in a boat and using a trolling motor. That’s what I prefer. But that’s just my preference. However, during the summer months, I won’t waste a chance at wading the surf. That’s always fun, especially when the tide is clean and green to the beach and the mullet are thick.”

The thing about wading is that first, you have to get out of the boat. Second, you’ve got to wear waders when the water is cold. Third, you’ve got to have a pair of wading boots. That’s the basic outfit. The idea is to be waterproof. And that is not always so easy. Recently while wading on Baffin Bay one of the guys in our group stumbled on a rock and ripped a hole in his waders. The water wasn’t exactly freezing, but it was far from being spa warm. That’s why it’s always good to pack along some dry clothes.

Gear for wade fishing includes a belt that that will hold a small tackle box, a pair of pliers and a stringer. The Foreverlast wading belts are very popular. They not only come rigged and ready to wade, but also offer excellent back support.

Wading might not be for everyone, but it’s definitely a proven way to catch big trout during March and April. It’s how almost all of the double-digit trout have been caught for years along the Texas coast.

Final update completes Great Texas Wildlife Trail Maps Collection

Drive on the wild side of the prairies and forests with two newly updated Great Texas Wildlife Trail maps. The updated Prairies and Pineywoods East and West maps mark the completion of the entire collection, displaying more than 920 wildlife-viewing sites all across Texas.

The nine wildlife trail maps invite nature lovers to discover the best of Texas’ native wildlife. Highway signs mark the wildlife-viewing sites, or print maps with GPS coordinates to guide them can be purchased. An interactive version of the map is also available online to explore the region.

To view all nine Great Texas Wildlife Trails maps or to purchase a printed map, visit tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wildlife/wildlife-trails. Each regional map details several smaller trail loops for easy driving trips throughout Texas. The maps also list contact information, entry fees and operating hours for attractions along the trails.

To commemorate the launch of the new maps, TPWD and community partners from the City of Bonham and Fannin County will hold a public event at Bonham State Park Tuesday, March 7, from 1-2 p.m. The park is part of the Prairies and Pineywoods East map on the newly created Bois D’Arc Loop. The new maps will be unveiled and representatives from the community and sites along the trails will be available with information about wildlife-viewing opportunities in the region. Some points of interest at the park include Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed footbridge, pump house, dam and fireplace.

The new wildlife maps were made possible in part from the support of a number of sponsors, including the Wildlife Diversity Conservation License Plate Program and Toyota.