At the end of the line sits the town of Indianola. Once a thriving port, it rivaled Galveston. But over the years hurricanes have taken their toll. Once a town of 5000 and now a small fishing destination, Indianola had a major hurricane in 1875 that killed hundreds. Though it was rebuilt, it was dealt a death blow in 1886 with a major hurricane and then a fire. Once a major shrimping port, that too has gone by the wayside. Today it is a small settlement with beach houses, fish camps, and a marina. Through it all the fishing has remained the one constant.
Indianola is outside of the town of Port Lavaca. Texas 238 runs south out of Port Lavaca and then you continue on as it turns into county road 316. Take it until it dead ends at Lavaca Bay, take a right and drive to the end of the line to the Indianola Fishing Marina. It is a fairly well stocked marina, with bait, tackle, and not to bad a little restaurant. There is usually someone there at 5a.m which is really nice if you do not want to stop or need some bait first thing.
Also back down the beach is the small town of Magnolia Beach. It has a small gas station that I think has re-opened and there is a free ramp at the beginning of the beach. It is directly on the bay and there is apparently funds for improvement and will have a breakwater in the future. It is also a great place to camp if that is your thing.
The marina has a good ramp, which is $5, that is well protected from any winds and is a good place to launch. The marina has a fishing pier which sits right on the pass into Powderhorn Lake, and it costs $5 to fish. A deep pass, it is known for all the usual suspects, but in the fall it has a great black drum run. Fish over 20lbs are common and many larger are taken every year. Many of the larger fish are taken at night on cracked crabs fished on the bottom with heavy tackle. It is a great place to eat a burger, drink a cold one (which the marina sells), and catch a few fish.
There are a few, very few, places to stay. A small motel, rental houses, and small rental cabins at the Marina are the only options. When I first started fishing the area I stayed in Port O’Connor and trailered over as it is only about 20 miles. Of course, you can just launch in POC and motor over in a few minutes.
The Indianola Fishing Marina
The marina offers access to Lavaca Bay. It is a short run to Port O’Connor, Keller Bay, and Matagorda Bay from Indianola. Powderhorn Lake is a large bay that can only be accessed in a standard bay boat from the pass. The back end of the Powderhorn is crossed by a bridge on 1289 off of highway 238 as you head to Port O’Connor. It is a good place to launch a kayak and is also a popular bank fishing spot.
The Powderhorn is a big dishpan, and after navigating the pass in, the deeper part of the bay is 4 feet, with the majority being 3 feet or less. When entering the Powderhorn you follow the channel staying to the left, then when you see the stakes you stay left of them entering. As you follow the stakes keep in mind that on your left, parallel with the channel stakes, is a long reef with scattered grass which at times is perfect topwater country. The area to the right of the stakes is a huge flat covered in oysters and is shallow. I have never tried it, but do see some folks wading the edge for reds, but is to shallow for a boat. As you pass the stakes you are in open water which is generally 4 foot.
The Entrance into the Powderhorn – Keep to the right of this marker and point, go around the point staying in the middle and bearing to the left, and then head to the right when you see the white stakes keeping the stakes on your right.
When you go, keep in mind that the majority of the bay is 2 foot or less. When you head to either shoreline, keep it slow until you are familiar with where it shallows up.
Redfish inhabit the whole bay. Much of it has a grass shoreline and is littered with shell. A lot of the bottom in the first half of the bay is hard enough for good wading. At high tide reds can be found along the banks. Topwaters, Wakers, spinnerbaits and plastics all have their time. Most of the way back in there is a small cove on the left you can see on the map. It is very shallow getting in there, but on a high tide it can hold some great reds. Banks like the example below have scattered shell with occasional shell points. Along the left hand side of the Powderhorn is a few small marsh ponds which are really shallow. When the water falls out of them on an outgoing tide the mouths of these ponds and the points will hold reds. When I have the skiff, and not the flats boat, I am able to get into some of them on real high tide which can result in some great shallow water fishing. Be sure when the water starts to fall you are backing out with it, just like the redfish.
Typical Powderhorn Shoreline (Where I caught 5 today, 9/14/2011)
The trout can often best be found by using the wind and drifting. Using a popping cork allows you to cover a lot of water around the boat and to narrow down the area the trout are using. Once you catch a couple it is often possible to make multiple drifts to keep on them. The left side along the grass reef is a good place at the entrance for drifting for trout. After you pass the stakes going in the right side has a long reef in 3 foot of water and is another good place to drift. And of course the bait, if you see it, fish it. If the water is clear it can be a great for topwater trout.
Additionally you can anchor anywhere near the marina and pass and live bait fish. Also, when you leave the marina, and enter Lavaca Bay, the bank on your right heading back towards POC runs several miles is covered with scattered grass. It holds trout and at times is heavily worked by the birds. And across Lavaca Bay is Keller Bay which is one of my favorite places and is my fall back position if I can not get them to cooperate in the Powderhorn.
The wind can be a problem on the Powderhorn like any other bay. If the wind is straight out of the south it tends to muddy up. But the Powderhorn is also a great place to get out of a brisk southeast wind. The left hand bank as you enter is high enough it provides some relief and is an especially good place in the winter to catch trout. Just remember when you enter you have to follow the stakes on your right until they end, then you can head left. The grass reef runs along those stakes and once inside it you can use the stakes to gauge your position once you catch a few trout.
Though this is just enough information to get you going, it is hardly a detailed primer on fishing the Powderhorn. If you go, take it easy, it is not a hard place to learn, but there are some shallow areas. These articles are not for the pros, they are for guys like us, just trying to catch a few fish. I try to let you know what I have learned the hard way in hopes if you want to try something new it can give you a little jump start. Of course if you have any comments or suggestions let me know, anything you can add is always appreciated.
And one last note. This is my wading boat, river boat, cat fishing boat, and whatever else results in dirt and grime, which is much easier to clean than the flats boat. So if you see me out there stop and say hi, and you can tell me where to catch em!