Anglers should adapt to fishing new areas at Toledo Bend

Kerry Stanford of Dallas has a good lip grip on a 4-pound class bass he caught last winter about this time on a Carolina-rigged Fluke at Toledo Bend while fishing with John Dean.

We all wait for February bass fishing on Toledo Bend. We know it’s a magical month as the pre-spawn and, even, in some instances, the spawn itself gets underway.

The lake level has frustrated many bass fishermen, especially those who are used to higher water in the fall and early winter. The amount of water in the lake is going to make even more of a difference as February rolls around. If the pool stage stays around what it is now, we can forget targeting bushes and woods with 14 or so inches of water around them.

Hoping for rain

I’ll be the first to cross my fingers hoping this region gets significant rainfall early this year. That just hasn’t been happening with the typical cold fronts we’ve been experiencing in western Louisiana and eastern Texas. We haven’t been getting enough measurable precipitation to fill a birdbath. I know. I’ve been putting water in both of the birdbaths on my lawn on the shore of Toledo Bend.

If rains don’t push up the water level, we’ll have to resort to catching bass on flats holding stumps we can’t see. Generally, the flats that give up many of the bass this month will be those at the back ends of creeks where the water temp is two to three degrees higher than at the mouth of the creeks.

It’s chunk and wind time with moving baits when the water’s low and you’re fishing the flats. Time to throw Alabama rigs with shad-colored soft plastics for sure; lipless crankbaits like Bill Lewis crawfish-colored Rat-L-Traps; bladed jigs like Delta Lures Golden Bream Thunder Jigs; and Carolina-rigged soft plastics in watermelon/red, black or June Bug. Also try gold/orange Rogues and reddish color square bill crankbaits.

“Circling” back for bass

One of the best areas to fish with the lake level so low is Circle Drive. It has more water depth around cover than anywhere on Toledo Bend. Bassers will find lots of wood cover in the water, places that attract bass wanting to get on beds. That’s the north end of the lake and some nearby areas just as appealing to bass in low water include from the “Government Ditch” down to Cow Bayou.

Hopefully, the water will be 3 ½ to 4-feet or so higher in February than it was at the end of 2021. If that’s the case the patterns are more obvious as the bass follow the water and we can see the inundated structure — like bushes, wood and vegetation (bank grass and hay grass that has been growing).

It’s on, then, for pitchin’ and flippin’ soft plastics. It’s a visual thing. Bass anglers can see what they want to fish. The big girls, the double-digit bass, the 3- and 4-pounders, they all fall hard this time of year for wacky worms, Senkos and Flukes. Watermelon/red, black and june bug typically are the top colors.

Of course, soft plastic creature baits, crawworms and lizards and other “old school” stuff are still effective and will account for many bass of all sizes in February.

I’ll have a Senko or a Fluke on a Neko Rig, or fish with an unweighted (or with a very tiny weight) Fluke. Deadsticking a Fluke is very effective in February. For sure, whenever the biological clock strikes the right time, the big girls will be ready to do their thing in February.

And there’s a bonus this time of year. The crappie move up to spawn with the bass. They can be caught on pink/white Roadrunners and tube jigs or hair jigs.

I’ve been guiding on this lake most of my life and you’re welcome in my boat. Give me a call at (936) 404-2688.

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About John Dean 73 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.

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