Angler’s choice

Plenty of pre-summer spots to choose from at Toledo Bend

Thank goodness for the peppergrass growth all over Toledo Bend.

It’s beautiful and healthy and gives me and countless others hope for consistently fair to good bass fishing success in June. That’s a positive note following a spring that had its great bassin’ moments but otherwise was tougher than past springs. There were times when it was a challenge to put numbers together.

Anglers might want to target the peppergrass. I fell like you’ll have some luck there this month. And, I’m pleased to say, there are areas where the hydrilla seems to be coming back after pretty much pulling a disappearing act within the past year or so. I’m seeing it sprout in places and, hopefully, we’ll be seeing more and more of it as the year goes along.

Going into the first few weeks of May, there was a slightly disconcerting sign — there wasn’t a significant influx of shad to the shallows. The shad spawn just hasn’t happened yet and when it does, bass will come in with them regardless of the fact that the bass will be postspawn.

Bass also realize the dinner bell is ringing this time of year when the bream move up to spawn. Bass are waiting for the T-bone steaks to arrive on the dinner table and when they do the action gets fun and furious in the peppergrass.

Water temperatures won’t be hot enough in June to drive bass to where they can be caught on tried and proven deep patterns. I’ll be surprised if the average water temperature is much over 80, if at all, at least through the first two or three weeks of June. But because it’s not quite summer, anglers will catch them deep.

Anglers should be able to target the depth of their choice in June. Target the peppergrass with soft plastic frogs and topwaters or probe the depths with football jigs, Carolina-rigged soft plastics, crankbaits, tailspinners and those giant structure spoons. There are some guys who have learned how to vertically jig Alabama rigs on deep breaklines and similar areas in 20- to 25-feet of water.

And I’m thinking there might be a repeat of the awesome schooling bass action that so many of us enjoyed last year. It was unreal. There were schools of bass up to 4 pounds that were staying up for hours while they smashed the living daylights out of baitfish and artificial lures, especially Zara Spooks. We haven’t seen schools like that since the 1980s. That’s something than can happen in June. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

As of May 3, the pool stage was 170.8 with two gates open. The water level has been coming up slowly and steadily since the beginning of the year thanks to periods of heavy rainfall in the region, particularly in April.

I’m going to turn my attention to the peppergrass and fish with a Stanley Ribbit. That’s no secret. Although the plastic bite has been way off in the weeks prior it was supposed to be on this spring, I’m confident they’ll be eating it this month. My favorite flavor is watermelon red/pearl but I’m quick to throw white or black in and around the peppergrass and other vegetation. Pads will hold their share of bass but I stick to the peppergrass because in my mind it offers them more cover.

Stanley Ribbits and Stanley Top Toads should be top meal tickets in the shallower depths in my book. Chartreuse/white buzz baits and any other favorite topwaters also will be effective, as will June bug red and cotton candy Senkos. Similarly colored swim baits, wacky worms and trick worms are hard to beat at times, too.

If you love to shallow water fish like I do, I think you’ll find good opportunities in June.

Like I wrote earlier, there will be plenty of bass caught deep. Shad-colored deep-diving crankbaits will work. So will Carolina-rigged creature baits, Zoom Trick Worms and Senkos. Another proven artificial lure out there is a ½-ounce football jig in black/blue, peanut butter-and-jelly or camo.

For sure, you have the chance to fish either direction and do well — shallow or deep. You’ll see the bass deep on your electronics but those fish aren’t consistently in a feeding mode.

Fishing success for crappie and bream ought to be good to excellent in June. Bream will be up where you get to them easy with worms and crickets. Crappie will be in and around sunken brushtops in 22- to 25-foot depths, where they can be caught on shiners mostly and some on jigs.

I’m looking forward to the overall fishing prospects in June.

If you want to catch some bass on plastic frogs or other artificials in June, I’ve been guiding on this lake most of my life. Give me a call at (936) 404-2688.

About John Dean 99 Articles
John Dean has been guiding on Toledo Bend most of his life. If you’d like to join him on a trip, give him a call at (936) 404-2688.