Remember this as you plan a bass fishing trip to Toledo Bend in June: It’s postspawn, sure, but those bass that left their love nests in the shallows after the deed was done will return there in late May and through June.
Why? The peppergrass, which was coming on strong and looking great on the third-to-last day of April, when I penned this column.
The haygrass offers smorgasbords for bass all day long. And once those bass finish spawning in this great lake they’ll come right back to the shallows because the food’s on the dinner table, meaning bream and shad.
The peppergrass and haygrass in 5- to 7-foot depths work because the water level and the mild water temperature dictate that scenario, just like last year and the year before.
Heavy rains the past 1½ months have left this big pond at 172.58 feet this morning, and that’s with nine gates open (seven cracked at 1 feet, two at 2 feet) to release a little more than 18,000 cubic feet per second.
Can you believe it? For the third year in a row, going into the postspawn and early stages of summer, the pool stage is high enough for excellent bass fishing in the peppergrass and haygrass — and it will stay that way because there’s no way the water will drop into the high 160s.
People ask if the high water is favorable or unfavorable. To me, it depends on which side of the fence you’re on. Sure, the lake looks beautiful and lush, with water lapping at the bases of cypress trees around the lake. It’s a time when there’s a lot of water in the lake. For sure, though, that also means the fish are scattered all over Timbuktu.
They also ask me what the best bite depth is, as far as elevation, and I’d have to say 167, 168 feet.
Lower stages pull the fish out, the drains drain and fish concentrate more. But that’s a long, long way from now — it ain’t going to happen between now and the end of June. More realistically until in July and August.
So get your favorite plastic frogs ready to work in and around the peppergrass and haygrass in June. It’s topwater time, and the plastic frog bite will be great.
I’m partial to a particular brand because I designed the Ribbit and the Top Toad, and that’s what I’ll feed to the bass in June.
I cannot wait. It’s a blast.
Believe it or not, the fishing will be fair to good offshore, too, in 10- to 15-foot depths with a Carolina-rigged soft plastic.
I made a test run, in late April after talking to my good buddy Dusty Andrus and stayed in 10-foot depths with a Carolina-rigged soft plastic outside a grass line.
I got six bites (missed the sixth), catching a 7-pounder, a 5, a 4, one over 3 and another solid keeper for a five-fish total of about 21 to 22 pounds.
That experiment told me you can catch bass just about anywhere now — 3 to 15-foot depths — and that will hold through June.
But I’ll be sticking with plastic frogs this month. If those bogus hoppers and other topwaters don’t trigger bites, I like to fish a trick worm on a 3/16- or 1/8-ounce trick worm and plain ol’ dead-stick it in the peppergrass and haygrass.
Bass can’t resist it.
The color spectrum that gets hotter and hotter as May turns to June and June turns to July changes from watermelon to june bug red, followed closely by plum apple and then red bug.
With less than a week left in the 2015-16 Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program season, 139 bass weighing at least 10 pounds had been registered in the program that awards a replica mount to the happy angler. That’s an astronomical increase over the previous year, when there were 81.
Wow! Toledo Bend is Bassmaster Magazine’s No.1 lake in the country for a reason.
White perch fishing broke out of its doldrums in mid-April, as the panfish moved from the shallows toward their summer haunts — brush piles in 22- to 25-foot depths. My buddies are whacking them now, and it will only get better for the next three, four months.
For up-to-the-minute information on bass fishing at Toledo Bend, go to johndeanjrfishing.com.
If you want to learn more about fishing for bass this spring or summer, come fishing with me. I have been guiding for years on Toledo Bend. Call 936-404-2688.