LAKE CONDITIONS: At mid-week the lake level is 170.4' with both generators running most week days from 2 to 8 p.m. Water temps are 74 to 78 degrees and will continue to climb as we approach summer. Water temps did cool a little a week or so ago when we had the late cold front with temps in upper 40s for three nights in a row. That, in my opinion, was not a bad thing as it helped to slow things down a bit. North Toledo is stained but clearing, mid-lake is slightly stained and clearing and south Toledo is clear-to-very clear with some stained water conditions in the back half of major feeder creeks.
We have plenty of grass, especially on south Toledo , with both shoreline vegetation as well as submerged vegetation. On the shoreline (6 ft and less) there is lots of eel grass(thin green stems) as well as pepper grass and lily pads starting to grow in several areas. There also is lots of submerged hydrilla and milfoil in depths of 8 to 20 feet and in some locations there is almost too much grass as the fish have so much cover it is hard to find them. We actually have been catching most of our bass in areas with scattered hydrilla.
FISHING REPORTS/BASS: Patterns changed only slightly during the past week with the only difference being that water temps eased up and the water level eased down a few inches. Grass in shallow water continues to grow which adds to the shallow cover for thin water loving bass and we have a lot of these on The Bend. Some days the shallow bite can go on all morning while other days it can be over by 7:30 mostly depending on the amount of light penetration.
The moon phase is on the decrease following the full moon this past Saturday. As we get further away from the full moon we should see an increase the feeding activity for the first hour or so each morning. On those big moon nights with water temps in 70s, bass in Toledo love to feed at night which (normally) slows down early morning feeding activity.
A comparison would be if we just finished a huge Thanksgiving meal we would not want another meal for a while. However, there is usually room for a little dessert so thatís what we try to do the morning after a bright moon in that we look for those bass who want a bite of dessert.
We usually find a few takers and then some more join the buffet line as the morning progresses. Generally speaking, the mid-day and late afternoon bite is good-to-excellent during the 5 days before and 5 days after the full moon. Please note that I said 'generally' speaking. While fishing is a science, it is not an exact science. However, when one has fished for as many years as I have, you see very strong trends develop in fishing and these assist you in making choices on how to plan a specific day on the lake and often times can increase angling success.
Shallow patterns continue to be best during early, late and cloudy conditions with top water(Pro Pop by Bill Norman and Yellow Magic), Triple Wing Buzz Baits and Stanley Ribbit frogs as our go-to choices. We also like working a Berkley Sinking Minnow and 5 inch Senko rigged weightless Texas style on Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon 12 and 15 lb test.
When shallow patterns slow we move out to 10 to 20 ft and work points and ridges with grass using TX rigs, Carolina rigs and crankbaits including Deep Little Ns(DLNs) and DD22(deep diver). Drop shot rigs and Stanley Bug Eye football jigs are also working in waters 15 to 30 feet.
AUTHOR INFO: Joe Joslin is a syndicated outdoor columnist, tournament angler and pro guide on Toledo and Sam Rayburn. Contact him at 337-463-3848 or email@example.com