Fly Fishing the Texas Coast

Lower Coast Flats: Arroyo Colorado River Area

Proceeding south from Port Mansfield, boaters will find a variety of

excellent flats and spoil islands to fish around the mouth of the Arroyo Colorado River. The spoil islands east of the Arroyo offer excellent sightcasting prospects, but poling or driftfishing is required because of oft bottoms.

Green Island is located in this area. The flat running east of this island is one of the favorite wadefishing and sightcasting destinations for lower Laguna Madre flyfishers. Features include hard sand and grass bottoms with potholes. Trout frequently will stack up around cuts where there is water movement. And don't be surprised on occasion to find that a fly thrown into a pod of tailing redfish sometimes gets pounced on first by a big trout.

Rattlesnake Bay is another prime angling destination located near the mouth of the Arroyo Colorado. Its shorelines and spoil islands are known to hold large trout. Flyfishers should focus on the area behind the spoil islands. A nearby slough, which holds trout and tailing redfish, has a soft bottom but is ideal for fishing from a kayak. This bay is seldom fished because it is such a small system. But the cuts that come off the old well channels, marked by wellheads on local fishing maps, provide habitat for trout and redfish. Fish congregate in those old silted-in channels even if there is only a 6-inch difference in water depth between the channel and an adjacent flat. Flyfishers should target these features on days when the water clears in these cuts and you can pole down the middle of the channel looking for targets. The old pipelines also have pothole-like indentions that often hold fish. These deepwater features are best fished on low tides. When tides start coming back in, the fish will move out of the channels, and it is wise for anglers to fish the edges of the drop-offs and back on the flats.

The spoil islands along the east and west sides of the Intracoastal Waterway on this part of the Laguna Madre (from Port Mansfield south to below the mouth of the Arroyo Colorado River) regularly attract and hold some of the highest concentrations of big sow trout on the lower coast. From early summer through August, look for trout and occasionally redfish feeding over stingrays around spoil islands. Some of these spoil islands are wadable. Others have soft bottoms that require flyfishers to drift or pole across in a flats boat. Laguna Madre guide Eric Glass says uniform-density or sink-tip lines with Clouser Minnow patterns can produce exciting trout action here during the summer months.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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