After a week of more wind and rain, the conditions improved drastically for the weekend angler. I feel certain most of them had already written off any hope of fishing, but they could not have asked for two prettier days than Saturday and Sunday.

Only because my clients preferred trout to redfish, we took our chances on Big Lake rather than Sabine. Sabine has continued to produce very consistent catches of reds in spite of terribly dirty water, but the trout bite is not there.

It was cold and windy Saturday morning, but after it warmed up a bit, we found a decent bite on red shad Assassins in two to three feet of water. Our largest trout was only three pounds, but at least we were able to catch trout along with a bunch of small redfish. We made our last cast around three o’clock that afternoon and the water
temperature was up to 64 degrees!

We drift fished from the boat, but we did see two groups of waders catch a number of trout in that same depth of water on Corkies and motor oil-red flake tails. I talked with one of the groups at the landing at the end of the day and they said that their largest trout would not make four pounds.

Folks from Houston do not make the trek to Calcasieu this time of the year in pursuit of numbers, but the poor water clarity made trophy trout hunting a tough gig. Look for that bite to start up again if we can go two or three days with no rain. J.D. Longlois called me this week with both a great fishing report off Toledo Bend as well as a caution for folks that have not been on the lake in a while. “We very nearly had another drowning last week right here in Indian Creek,” reported Longlois.

“Two elderly fishermen hit a stump and capsized their boat. Their three or four year old grandchild was the only one wearing a life jacket. Thanks to the quick response by an angler a short distance away, they will live to fish another day.” J.D. was adamant regarding the need to wear a lifejacket, but also wanted folks to know how dangerous the lake is right now. “Even If you have a camp on the lake, but haven’t been up here in a while, everything is going to look different due to the lake level,” he said. “The water is back up just over the stumps and boat lanes and creek channels are not as open as they appear!”

With the spawn already cranking up, there will be increased boat traffic over the next two months. I would urge you to heed J.D.’s timely advice and check out everything from wheel bearings to trailer lights before you make that first pre-dawn run up hwy. 87.

His fishing report just might put you in the garage checking out everything tonight. It is very seldom that the bite is as good in fifty feet of water as it is in two feet of water, but that has been the case on Toledo Bend for the resident bass fisherman. “If the weather permits it’s a toss up as to whether I tie a spoon or a Whacky Worm on my line each morning.”

“We have a lot of new grass on the south end,” he points out, “and those bass have been in that shallow stuff for at least two weeks. We haven’t seen any giant fish yet, but they are solid bass in very good condition.” He has been using a color other than the reliable watermelon, but you cannot expect him to share all of his secrets.

He said others were doing equally well on everything from flukes to spinnerbaits, but most importantly, the bass are already nosing around the shallows. Harold Addley would second that assessment as he only caught seven bass last Tuesday night fishing Lizards in Buck Creek, but two of the fish were over seven pounds!

J.D.’s second bit of good news will require a little homework on your part, but it is well worth the effort. He has been spooning the deep drops near flooded timber for two months and has just hammered the fish on a very regular basis.

“We are paying close attention to the depthfinder and I can almost tell you when you are going to get a bite,” he stated confidently. “The yellow bass and the whites are schooled very tightly in 40 to 50 feet of water. The black bass are suspended on the same tree lines anywhere from twenty-five to twenty-eight feet deep.”

“The biggest surprise for us has been the size of both the blacks and the yellow bass,” he adds. “The yellow bass have averaged a pound to a pound and a half and we have had days when we caught several blacks in one spot over six pounds.”

They release most of the largemouths, but he added that six pounds was far from the largest. “We have taken some pictures of some of those deep water bass that would really surprise you!”

Tommy Dickerson led the Stren Texas Tournament on Rayburn after the first day with 24 pounds 6 ounces of bass that he duped with a red Trap. He has always been tough to beat with the Trap. His big fish moved on

him after that and he failed to qualify for the finals, but that is fishing. Dicky Newberry of Houston had a big final day to win the event with 74 pounds 1 ounce.

Last year’s winner, Stephen Johnston, finished third and earned $8000 in spending money for his first FLW Tour event in Florida this week. Last week, he thought that he might get to Florida to practice early if he failed to qualify for the final day on Rayburn, but I am sure that he did not mind the change of plans!