Understanding the Spring Transition

It’s March and at the time of this writing the Atlantic Coast has been bridled by extreme cold and snow, and the Gulf Coast is enjoying unseasonably warm weather. Florida is caught somewhere in the middle. Even with the current conditions at some point the fish will begin transitioning toward their spring locations. The Spring Transition – while multi syllabic, IS a four letter word! It even challenges many pro-level anglers.

First of all, what’s happening that causes the fish to move during the spring? Several variables are at play and may even cause dynamic situations when working against each other, or working with each other synergistically. Let’s talk about the biggest variable for the fish…FOOD. Their food source is changing quickly and drastically at this time. The last of the winter forage is dwindling, and now the trout and reds are ready to move to look for other larger mass forage sources.

Compounding this, is the fact the the water column is beginning to warm even though surface air temperatures fluctuate. Similar to your truck cab on a warm spring day the water column can warm and hold heat with the shifting sun angle despite the chill in the air. With this, the fish can spread out. Spring water conditions are perfect for fish to spread out far and wide to find food. The water temperature is still cool enough to hold maximum oxygen levels in all water depths and yet warm enough for them to no longer need the deep water for refuge. They can roam and look for food all while heading toward the areas where the next LARGE forage mass will come from.

At the same time that these warming conditions are showing up, the weather is still fluctuating and so are tide and water temperature levels. Salinity levels could also vary with late winter and spring rainfall amounts. It’s no wonder the fish are hard to find.

Trout and redfish will first look for the the spring eel hatch near oyster reefs, and quickly move to follow brown shrimp from the wintering grounds (marsh creeks and rivers) as they move across the bay and out. Look for where the small new crop of bait is coming from and look for small bait. While small, these new mass forage crops are where you are going to find the fish. The incoming tide warms, look for structures that receive flows from the incoming tide. The incoming spring tide will also be bringing with it a new crop of white shrimp and juvenile menhaden.

‘Find the bait find the fish’. Is it just that easy? In order to catch them, and this goes without saying, you have to fish the structure that’s holding the fish with the bait on it and know what that looks like during differing weather conditions.

Tobin created TroutSupport.com – 100’s of Testimonials, Visual Examples, and Your Personal Resource for Fishing like the Pros.


My Story. Born right on the water in Southern Louisiana, I was fishing with a Snoopy pole while still in diapers. Fished Freshwater until the end of college catching large mouth bass in the 8, 9, and 10lb range. Decided to give the saltwater bays a try and my first attempts I got my 'butt' handed to me even though I was a good bass fisherman with numerous fish over 8lbs. That was 20 years ago. So to say that we understand your saltwater fishing frustration is to say the least. We've been there, and we've figured out what works and what doesn't. I started diving into the knowledge and using my skills from Ecology and testing those hypothesis to find what works and why as it pertained to where the fish actually were, and then also to find them the day of. I was lucky enough to find some great fishing guides along my journey... those that think fishing guides don't have your best interest in mind haven't fished with the guides I know and how quickly they forgot the guides and articles that they learned from. Guides are a valuable collective of people in our fishing community and I feel like finding a couple good ones after use the best learning resources will greatly shorten your learning curve. I know we all want to do it on our own, but there is also something to say for utilizing, and partnering with guys that are on the water everyday, to Maximize your putting that education into practice. With our DVDs you can do it on your own, but you can also learn to do it faster combining the resources of the community. Over the 20 years that I fished saltwater I have fished all Texas Bays and into Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina. Not only that but my understanding of how each estuary and bay system works, and how I can simply teach it to you is also something I've been very fortunate, and blessed to be able to deliver to you. I now mostly help you guys and develop new tools for you. I am forever indebted to my customers for the life and chance I've been given. It's something I don't overlook. I don't fish as much as everyone would like to believe, running TroutSupport.com and making sure you guys come first takes a lot of time and resources. But I still go when I can and when I do I like to go to different areas and fish new water every chance I get.