Fishing Lines: Trout are back! - sort of

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By Capt. Dennis Voyles

Trout season opened March 1 with cold water on the flats and mixed results.

Many flats fishermen thought that the 29-day closed season might leave the trout hungry and ready to jump on fishermen's offerings, but several cold nights and cool days recently have kept many of the trout deep in their winter pattern.

Sure, a few fishermen were able find trout on the flats, but very few returned to port with success stories.

It seems that for the most part, north of Horseshoe and south of Ozello had the best trout results this weekend.

Many fishermen pay little attention to water temperature...big mistake. The fish are certainly moved by length of daylight, their type of calendar... but water temperature plays a much larger role in their activity.

Now go just 30 to 40 miles to the south and everything changes. The flats around Homasassa are producing good catches of spring trout that are more than willing to play tug-o-war.

Even some pelagics such as Jack Crevalle and Spanish mackerel have arrived in that area. But there are a million factors that go into the fish equation and when it all adds up here, the fish will cooperate.

The grouper situation for next year tends to be a hot topic anywhere fishermen meet. It looks as though the grouper season will be closed next year from Jan. 15 through April 15. The bag limit will be reduced to just one gag, one red and one "other" per angler.

It's just talk right now, but the commission in charge is allegedly going to decide for sure in April. Currently the grouper season remains closed in federal waters until March 15.

There is still only one launch ramp open downtown Cedar key, but progress seems to be going along well.