Guide Joe Joslin has been fishing on the Toledo Bend reservoir for almost 40 years, but he’s never seen anything like the flooding the lake has experienced this week.
“It’s unbelievable. Mother Nature rules, and she’s been putting on a show for the last 48 hours,” said Joslin, with Joe Joslin Outdoors. “The record high here was 173.7, and at 4 a.m. this morning (Thursday,) the SRA (Sabine River Authority) gave an update and it was already at 174.3 — and I can tell you it’s probably another several inches higher than that now.”
The Bassmaster High School Series Central Open, scheduled for this weekend at Toledo Bend, was postponed this morning. It will be rescheduled at a later date, according to Bassmaster reports.
Joslin, whose lake house is located in Indian Creek about 1 mile from the dam on the Texas side, estimated 15 to 20 inches of rain had fallen since Monday on the south side of the reservoir.
“The entire watershed, up to Shreveport, so much rain has fallen, and a lot of that rain is not even down here yet,” he said. “It’s historic.”
The guide said his phone has been ringing nonstop with anglers wanting to know what effect the deluge will have on the bass bite, but he said the unprecedented amount of rain makes that a tough question to answer.
“The fishing has been good up until this. As far as the fishing right now, who knows?” he said. “Obviously that extra 3 or 4 feet of water overnight on the lake will scatter the fish.
“It’s just hard to say because I haven’t seen anything like it to compare it with.”
Heading into this week, he said a few fish had spawned in February, but the bulk of the action was still pre-spawn.
“I’d say 75 percent pre-spawn and 25 percent spawn on the south end, and maby 50-percent pre-spawn and 50-percent spawn on the the north end before all this,” Joslin said.
Even with floodgates wide open now, he said it’s tough to put a timetable on when things will get back to normal. But when the action does resume, he expects most of it to take place in 1 to 6 feet of water.
“Any time the lake rises, normally the fish move shallow, and of course this time of year, they want to go shallow, anyway,” he said. “So I’m thinking something to cover as much water as possible, like spinnerbaits or flipping close to cover.
“I’m sure there are going to be tons of fish and water all up in the brush.”
Muddy water will make vibration and lure color even more important, he said.
“Instead of willow leaves on your spinnerbaits, it could very well mean you need to use bigger Colorado blades,” he said, noting that white and chartreuse would be solid color choices. “Rat-L-Traps over the grass would be another option, and I would say a Chatterbait or something that makes it easier for the fish to find the bait.”
Before the rain, Joslin said he was catching 90 percent of his fish with soft plastics, and he expects that bite to resume once the water stabilizes. He recommended a Berkley Havoc Boss Dog lizard in green pumpkin or watermelon in clearer water, or black-and-blue if the water remains dirty.
“We’ll go back to that,” he said. “A lightly-weighted lizard, either Carolina- or Texas-rigged, or a weightless lizard or Senko should work in that shallow water.”