This year’s milder-than-usual winter has been nice for those who aren’t big fans of the mercury dropping — and it looks like you can include Big Lake speckled trout in that number.

Before this week’s cold front, Capt. Nick Poe with Big Lake Guide Service said water temperatures recently had been running in the upper 50s pretty consistently — even hitting 60 degrees on occasion — and the speck action has been solid almost all winter long.

“Man, it’s been good,” Poe said. “It seems like there’s just a bunch of fish so far. I guess with the winter being so mild, the water temperature never really fell out and they just kept biting straight through. 

“It’s been cool because we’ve been able to fish places we haven’t fished in a while and everywhere you go you get bites.”

Even in late February, Poe said shrimp are still plentiful in the lake.

“There’s still a lot of shrimp, which is really weird,” he said. “I hit a school of redfish down on the east bank the other day, and there was shrimp all in them.

"Until lately, we really haven’t had any big fronts that dropped our water. We had so much rain early, and the water stayed so high because the river was flooding. Now that the river is down, when we get a front it drops the water out, so I think that’s pulling what little bit of shrimp is still in the marsh out of there.  It’s been pretty good.”

Poe said most of the damage is being done on speckled trout with MirrOlure Lil Johns in opening night and golden bream on an ⅛-ounce jighead. Suspended baits like the MirrOlure Soft-Dine and the Paul Brown Fat Boy have also been effective.

“I fished topwater Saturday for a while and got one blowup, so they’re not real interested in it yet,” Poe said. “But my wife was throwing a suspended bait and she was catching pretty good." 

Poe said both West Cove and Joe’s Cove had been solid speck locations this month, as well as Turner’s Bay. 

Redfish-wise, they’re easy to catch now — just look for the birds.

“There’s birds picking everywhere, and it’s all redfish,” he said. “There’s a few trout mixed in with them, but they’re picking along the entire east bank, and it’s almost all redfish.

“I think you could throw a beer can out there and they’d eat it.”