The three phases of the largemouth bass spawn were pushed back by more than 60 hours of subfreezing temperatures in late February here at Toledo Bend.
The fishery’s timetable will be closer to normal on this great lake on the Texas-Louisiana border as the calendar turns to June.
Toledo Bend rose to nearly full pool in late April. I tell you what, this lake is beautiful when it’s up, when the water’s in the bushes, tullies and cypress trees. What’s more, it’s a shallow-water fisherman’s dream. June should offer even more shallow-water fishing, plus fair to good bassing in 12- to 20-foot depths as post-spawn fish move offshore to the ridges and other high areas.
By June, spring as we know it will be pretty much done. The February ice storm shoved our seasonal spring back, but more sunshine and warmer air temperatures should bring the average water temperatures well into the 70s, perhaps the upper 70s, but I believe it won’t touch the 80s until late June.
June’s shaping up to be the normal, transitional month it usually is. I think we’ll have a moderate to high water levels in June, which should mean continued success in shallower areas, because bedding bream will be there. There will be a tremendous amount of shallow-water action this month and, hopefully, the water level still will be up, around full pool of 172.0 feet.
What to use
June will be a prime time to work bladed jigs, like a bream-colored, Delta Lures Thunder Jig and, my favorites, plastic frogs, in the shallows, say 6 feet and less. Senkos and wacky style soft plastics also trigger bites in the shallows, as well as out deep.
I’m going to be venturing out to deeper water to target bass on drains and humps near drains, the highways bass use to go into the spawning areas and leave them after the spawn. Those post-spawn bass can be wishy washy, with more fish suspended than not.
My lures of choice will start with suspending jerkbaits, square-bill or deep-diving crankbaits, Carolina-rigged soft plastics and even walk-the-dog-type topwaters. I’ll cover some water, but when I find a brush pile, I’ll fish it with a ½-ounce jig.
Why offshore? I started testing the deeper waters, so to speak, on a Sunday in late April in Housen Bay. I wanted to put a suspending jerkbait to work, and it paid off with a 2½-pounder on my first cast. I had 10 bites, bass up to 4 pounds, on a post-cold front day. It wasn’t a very good day, weather-wise, but it was good enough to get bites. I didn’t put all of them in the boat but, man, the outing was a precursor for late May and June.
John Dean has been guiding on Toledo Bend most of his life. If you’d like to join him on a trip, call him at 936-404-2688.
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