CAREFUL AS YOU GO
The following is a tip that could save you a day of fishing on Toledo
Bend.If you arrive at a boat launch and it appears that you are the
first to arrive…..get a grip before hurrying to launch!
Walk down to the ramp and check it out before backing your boat in the
lake.The two problems we encountered due to the low water were the end
of the ramp wasn’t deep enough and the clay covering the newly exposed
concrete offered very little traction.
We didn’t initially try a public launch because a neighborhood launch
closer to the area we wanted to fish was steep and I figured we could
launch with no problem.I was wrong, but at least we didn’t back the
wheels off the end of the pavement.We decided to drive to the first
public launch we found with trucks and empty trailers and had no further
Unlike 2011 when Toledo Bend shrank below 160 feet, there are a lot of
launches still available.If you haven’t been on the lake since it hit
the 165 mark, you would do you and your boat a favor by keeping your
head on a swivel and running boat lanes a little slower.
Trees that have rotted off near the surface over the years are still
solid at the shallower level.We slowly negotiated a creek channel
winding through the timber near Boone’s Crossover that I never knew even
existed, but we will check it out again in the fall.
The surface temperature is hanging around the 88 degree mark and that
dooms the shallow water bite pretty quickly in the morning.We found
school bass about halfway back in two different creeks and they were
pretty solid fish.They would blow up on a chrome or bone Chug Bug, but
seemed to prefer a four-inch pearl-silver flake Swim Bait.
I don’t know if we just weren’t mad enough at the fish due to the heat
and gave up too quickly, but we found less grass in areas that had much
more grass a month ago.We fished a lot of 17 to 22 foot water and in
looking back I think that we may have been too deep with the lake
down.The bass we caught on Carolina rigs were still holding in scattered
grass, but it was a tough bite for the most part.
I also feel like the crappie must have abandoned the brush piles
temporarily, because we talked with two guides that were catching some
very solid fish with shiners working the tree lines in deeper water.I
didn’t ask them how deep they were fishing, but it looked to be 12 to 15
feet deep in water as deep as thirty feet.
When their bite slowed they simply idled along the tree line looking for
concentrations of suspended shad much the same way we do when vertically
jigging spoons for bass.The tree lines they were jigging were not far
from their brush piles so they must figure that bite will pick back up
with a little cooler weather!
On the local scene, the bass catching is far easier that the trout
catching.We are starting to catch better numbers of under sized specks
thanks to clearer water and better salinity, but it is far from a cake
walk and three-pound fish are scarce.
The lady fish and gafftop are seemingly everywhere, even on the north
end, but the trout aren’t really hustling the massive schools of small
shad.On the other hand, we are catching reds both running the shoreline
and occasionally stumbling up on schooling fish.We have found small
schools in Coffee Ground Cove and just south of Stewt’s.
The bass bite just seems to be where ever you are any time you have good
tide movement.We recently fished a stretch of Cow bayou that has never
been good to me with a small crankbait and a 3-inch Usual Suspect and
caught 10 to 13-inch bass non-stop.
Dale Bergeron said that he caught a limit of bass and fifteen to twenty
goggle two days in a row fishing a popping bug on a fly rod.He said that
he was fishing a small yellow/black Pecks Popper.I didn’t ask, but I
feel reasonably certain he was fishing out of his kayak!
A little shot of cooler weather may be all we need to turn things around.