What's Biting: Little Lagoon
The cold front that came through late last week shows just how blustery conditions can get here on the Alabama Gulf Coast during the fall. One of the best places to get out of the wind and find fish is Little Lagoon on the west end of Gulf Shores. To help increase water quality in the lagoon, Little Lagoon Pass on West Beach Blvd. was widened last year to 40 feet across and dredged for a significant depth increase The increase in water flow through the pass and the exchange of water also allows an exchange of fish from the Gulf.
Look for guts between sand bars in the lagoon, where species like speckled trout, white (sand) trout, redfish and flounder like to hang out to ambush prey. As predicted, the increase in salinity in the lagoon also makes it suitable for species like Spanish mackerel. That effort at Little Lagoon Pass appears to have worked, according to Jay Gunn of JayHook Inshore charter service, who recently found a nice mixture of fish in the lagoon.
The beauty of Little Lagoon is you never know what you're going to catch. An added benefit is you can find protected water when the wind is howling. Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, nice white trout, redfish, bull croakers and flounder are being caught in the lagoon on minnow-imitation plastic jigs and Gulp shrimp. Although Gunn said the lagoon's west end seems to be a little more productive right now, he recommends moving around and drifting until you locate the fish because there really isn't a consistent fishing pattern in Little Lagoon. “The fish may be in a different place every day,” Gunn said. “I think the work at the pass has helped. The water is not any deeper in the lagoon, but the fishing has been good. When you're catching Spanish mackerel in the lagoon, you know the salinity is good.”
During the cooler months, the fish stay pretty active all day as long as there is a little tide movement, according to Gunn. Now that the pass has been opened up, it means the tidal flow can proceed unabated. “Little Lagoon Pass is the only connection to the Gulf, so everything, whether fish, bait fish or shrimp, has to come in through the pass,” he said. “The quality of fishing in the lagoon is dependent on the water flow you have through the pass. The more water flow you have, the better the water quality and the better the fishing.” Gunn recommends light spinning tackle with 10-pound test line because of the clarity of water. Right now, the fish are taking plastic grubs and shrimp imitations, but if you have access to live bait, try bull minnows, menhaden and alewives. As the water continues to cool, you can use live shrimp, but don't try it during the warmer months because the pinfish will steal your shrimp.
While some anglers will head to the pass to try a little wade fishing or fishing from the bank, the best success has been from a boat. The best boat ramp is at Lagoon Park located 1.8 miles west of Hwy. 59 on Fort Morgan road.