Picture a chilled champagne bottle, shaken and gripped in a white napkin; the cork pops and out spews the bubbly. But after that initial blast, the remaining liquid settles and allows you to pour it out in measured elegance. 

Given this winter’s severity so far, that’s kinda what we’re expecting at the state’s crown jewel of bass fishing — Toledo Bend.

Now, it would take another Ice Age to effectively halt the Bend’s spawning season, but in all likelihood, the extremely cold conditions that winter unleashed in January, at the very least, pumped the brakes on this annual parade of piscatorial procreation. 

As of this writing, anglers were reporting some of the coldest temperatures seen in several years, but a lake that big — and one so packed with bass — will, no doubt, march forward with plenty of seasonal opportunity.

“We had some really cold water in the mid-40s, and it hadn’t been there for quite some time,” said Toledo Bend guide Dave Mansue. “Typically, when it’s like this, you’re going to have more prespawners, especially early in March, than you’re going to have spawners.

“Then, as the month progresses and things start to warm up, that’s going to transition into a full-blown spawn. Also, remember that Toledo Bend is so big and there are so many fish here, the spawn can take a very long time. But if March sees the combination of a warm front where the water temperature comes up pretty quickly and a full moon, you could see a major rush to the bank.”

Indeed, staging prespawners are anxious enough, but add some weather delays and those fish