John's Journal...

Finding the Ghost Trout of Alabama’s Mobile Bay

Understand the Trout Migration Schedule

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Most visitors to Alabama’s Gulf Coast fill their ice chests with speckled trout, redfish and flounder during the spring, summer and fall. Five and 6-pound trout comClick to enlargee frequently from the artificial reefs, numerous oyster reefs and oil rigs in Mobile Bay. But when Jack Frost comes calling, he seems to cause the trout in the bay to vanish like ghosts. Only the locals and some veteran fishermen know the secrets, which they pass down from generation to generation, to finding these trout that take a northern wintertime vacation to warmer waters and more-abundant food. What we’ve learned from these ghost-like trout in Mobile Bay may help you find where cold-weather trout stay in secluded hot spots all along the Upper Gulf Coast.

Captain Gary Davis of Foley, Alabama, who’s guided and fished for 40 years on Alabama’s Gulf Coast primarily fishes the eastern shore of Mobile Bay’s brackish-water rivers with high salinity, during the winter months, including the Bon Secour, the Fish and the Magnolia rivers. These river systems have numerous deep holes in them. When the weather starts turning cold, the baitfish move out of Mobile Bay north into Weeks bay and then further north up the river systems explains, speckled trout and redfish in Mobile Bay follow their annual migration. Davis explains, “Smaller specks and reds will begin moving up these brackish-water rivers first, following the baitfish, about the first to the middle of October when our section of the coast starts getting occasional cold fronts.” Click to enlarge
Davis reports that the trout swim out of Mobile Bay to the mouth of Weeks Bay at the jugneck formed where Weeks Bay empties into Mobile Bay. A deep channel rClick to enlargeuns between the two narrow points of the jugneck where trout generally will hold on the insides of those points for about two to three weeks, before heading up the Fish and the Magnolia rivers. The migration up the Bon Secour River happens at about the same time. The trout will stage at the mouth of the Bon Secour River for about one or two weeks and then swim north, further upstream, searching for deep holes. “During December and January, you’ll usually locate trout in the deepest holes – 12 to 30 feet of water - and channels of these three rivers and many of the other rivers that feed into Mobile Bay,” Davis reports.

When planning a trip, check out Tidewater Fishing Service (Captain Gary Davis), Foley, AL 36535, (251) 943-6298 and, 1-800-745-7263.

Tomorrow: Fish Artificial

Check back each day this week for more about "Finding the Ghost Trout of Alabama’s Mobile Bay"

Day 1: Follow the Bait to Find the Trout
Day 2: Understand the Trout Migration Schedule
Day 3: Fish Artificial
Day 4: Enjoy Hot Fishing in Cold Weather
Day 5: Where to Find the Trout


Entry 381, Day 2