The rest of the nation is about to find out what pretty much everyone in Louisiana already knows: Toledo Bend Reservoir is the No. 1 bass fishery in the land.
According to published reports in Wednesday’s Shreveport Times, Bassmaster Magazine will release the official list on Thursday, and for the first time ever the 185,000-acre reservoir straddling the Louisiana/Texas line will be in the top spot.
“It’s a great honor. It’s not easy to have the numbers to grab the No.1 spot,” Bassmaster Magazine editor James Hall told the newspaper. “Toledo Bend is a tremendous big bass factory right now. It’s the first time a lake below the Mason Dixon line has been No. 1 since our inaugural list. But the data from Toledo was so overwhelmingly impressive that the South rose again.”
Catches like those caught on this video by New Iberia angler Caleb Sumrall provided vivid proof of just how good Toledo Bend's fishery has become.
To create the Top 100 list that will be released on Thursday, Hall said a potential list of candidates was created and then sent to the 3,500-member B.A.S.S. Council Panel.
“It’s a very elite group of anglers from across the country who fish a lot,” Hall said.“They helped organize the Top 100 into what we felt was a solid ranking. To put an exclamation and polish on the final list, I have a group of about 15 people — kind of a blue-ribbon panel of industry guys, media and anglers who fish all over the country — who look it over.
“Some lakes moved up, some moved down. Everyone signed off on it.”
One angler in agreement on the No. 1 designation is reigning Bassmaster Angler of the Year and Sportsman TV host Greg Hackney.
“Early in my career it was known to produce big numbers of bass, but it has turned into the premier bass fishing lake in the country, and it’s exciting to see,” Hackney told the newspaper. “I have some friends who were catching 8- to 9-pounders there just a few years ago. Now, no one pays any attention unless it’s a double-digit weight.”
According to the Times, the Bend finished ahead of Sturgeon Bay, Lake St. Clair, the California Delta and Sam Rayburn Reservoir in the list. Additional Louisiana venues making the Top 100 list were Lake Bistineau (No. 27), the Red River (77) and the Atchafalaya Basin (98).