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Part II
Trinity Bay

by A.C. Becker, Jr.



lunar phases

"Speckled trout fishing and the movement of specks is influenced by the saline content of the water. The specks move from Trinity Bay to lower Galveston Bay and Galveston East Bay when the salinity of Trinity soars during drought periods or plummets when heavy rains on the bay's watershed cause a massive fresh water runoff. When the saline level goes to extremes on either end of the scale, speckled trout and their less regal cousins, sand trout, move into adjacent bays that are closer to the Gulf of Mexico.

Fortunately for the people who fish Trinity Bay, redfish, flounder and croakers can tolerate greater ranges of salinity. Consequently, fishing for these species is almost the year around.

In the case of redfish, there is another reason for them to linger the year around along the north and northwest shoreline. It's the Houston Lighting and Power Company' s Cedar Bayou generating station. The plant's cooling canal flows into the north side of Trinity Bay. The warm water flows over a spillway and into a small lake, which in turn spills into the bay. Some of the best redfish action of the year occurs in the warm water outflow during the winter months. Until a few years ago much of the-canal, the spillway and the lake were open to the public, but disregard for property and littering caused the power company to close off much of the area.

Fishing the birds, working structure and wading the flats are the popular ways to fish this bay. The wading is along the northwestern and eastern sides of the bay. The wade fishing is generally best from early spring to early summer and again in the fall, especially in October and on flood tides. Speckled trout, redfish and flounder are usually plentiful on the flats during these periods. But fishermen need to note that heavy rains on the bay' s watershed or periods of drought can seriously affect wade-fishing. When this occurs fishermen need to move more toward the middle of the bay and resort to drift-fishing or working structure.

Much of the shoreline around Trinity is marshy. Hence the adjacent bottom of the bay is soft and boggy. Wadefishing isn't easy. However, drift-fishing can substitute for wading when winds blow parallel to the shore. This means light southerly or northerly winds are best for working the east shoreline. A light easterly or northeasterly wind is best for the north shoreline. Westerly winds, however, will quickly cause the bay to become quite sandy.

Trinity Bay is noted for very good structure fishing. The bay is loaded with both natural and manmade shell reefs as well as a lot of manmade structure in the form of pipe stands, production wells, separators and wrecks.

Vingt-et-un Island at the south end of the bay is a bird sanctuary and fishing is not allowed in immediately adjacent waters.

There are, however, a number of very productive reefs elsewhere in the bay. The better known and more productive ones include: Clamshell, Trout, Dry Hole, Dow Fisher, Beasley, Trinity, Old Yellow, Lonesome, Eddie' s Little Pipeline and Tidewater. Some of the reefs are marked.

Drift fishing and fishing the slicks are best in spring and fall. This kind of fishing can be excellent in years when the weather is normal. It' s poorest when there are floods on the bay's watershed. The fresh water runoff simply makes Trinity "too sweet" for consistent speckled trout fishing. Some of the guides, however, claim to have found a way to overcome this handicap. They advise fishing deep to get down under the layer of fresh water. Most fishermen get around the lack of trout action when Trinity turns " sweet" by simply going to lower Galveston Bay or East Bay.

There is some good speckled trout fishing in the winter in the water just out from Anahuac, but on the whole there is not a lot of speck action in Trinity in the winter because it is a wide bay with little protection for the wind. This bay becomes very rough and muddy during the passage of northers.

Trinity Bay has a few deep holes near some of the channels that cut into it or across it, but for the most part the water depth ranges around 8 to 10 feet. Since there is very little to break the wind, Trinity can become very rough in heavy weather. Most of the people who fish this bay do so in large outboards. It's not the kind of bay one fishes from a 12-foot craft with a five-horsepower engine. It' s important that boaters pay close attention to what lies ahead. This bay, particularly the upper part between the mouth of the Trinity River and Umbrella Point, is loaded with all kinds of pipe stands, pilings and abandoned rigs. A lot of this is unmarked or very poorly marked and can be a hazard to boating at night or under conditions of low visibility.

The Trinity River Channel and the Anahuac Channel offer good fishing for speckled trout, redfish and flounder. The Anahuac Channel, which extends straight out from the town of Anahuac, offers good fishing along its spoils banks. The Trinity River Channel is some thing of a misnomer. It doesn't connect with the Trinity River but deadends near Anahuac. This particular channel deserves special attention from fishermen. It is separated from the bay by a long spoils bank with openings to the bay near Anahuac, Double Bayou and Lone Oak Bayou. The channel stretches from Anahuac all the way along the east side of the bay to Smith Point. The channel is nine feet deep. Since it is separated from the bay by the long spoils bank, it can be fished when the bay is too rough for small boats. This channel is reasonably clear even during rough weather.

But the channel handicaps wade fishing along the east side of Trinity Bay. A boat is necessary to cross the channel to reach the wading flats on the bay side of this long spoils bank.

Bait and boat launching facilities are available at Smith's Point, Lone Oak Bayou, Double Bayou, Anahuac and several fishing camps along the northwest side of the bay in the stretch between Sea Crest Park and the mouth of the Houston Lighting and Power Company' s cooling system discharge canal.

Mentioned earlier in this article is the fact that Trinity Bay has been stocked with striped bass fry on several occasions because the bay has the potential of supporting a striped bass fishery. A must in developing such a fishery in a saltwater bay is that a river with at least 50 miles of water flowing over a gravel bottom must feed into the bay. This is so that striper eggs are properly tumbled so they will hatch. Trinity Bay has that river in the being of the Trinity River. The river from below the Lake Livingston Dam to Lake Anahuac and where it enters Trinity bay fills the requirements.

It's interesting to note that striped bass to as large as 20 pounds have been taken from Galveston complex bays. This has been occurring for the last six years. Most of the striper have been caught in nets in Trinity Bay and East Bay. Some have been taken on hook and line from Trinity Bay, East Bay, Offatts Bayou at Galveston and the Galveston South Jetty. The striper taken from the South Jetty is currently the state record fish for salt water. Biologists claim these stripers are fish that escaped from Lake Livingston and Toledo Bend Reservoir, followed rivers to salt water and then grew up in upper Texas coast bays.

Trinity Bay deserves the attention from waterfowl hunters. The marshes that border the north part of the bay as well as the Trinity River delta support excellent duck hunting. This is a particularly good area to hunt mallards and wood ducks. The vast marshes along the east side of the bay support very good duck and goose hunting.

And finally there is crabbing. Catching blue crabs is more a pastime than a sport, and one of the finest areas to seek them is in Trinity Bay, particularly from late spring until early fall.

Galveston Bay complex Part Three next: East Bay.

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