Bass pile up in Toledo Bend’s big creeks

Ronald Sparrow of Houston holds a 4-pound bass caught on a black/blue plastic lizard while fishing with John Dean. Bass as big and bigger can be caught at Toledo Bend in October.

Low water, cooler weather send bass on an October trip; will you be there to meet them?

Look for an increase in bass-fishing success, particularly an increase in schooling activity, this month at Toledo Bend.

It’s going to be a special season as summer turns to fall and, eventually, water temperatures fall to ignite the fishing frenzy we know and love on this great lake shared by Texas and Louisiana. It’s a fun time to be on the water setting the hook on so many bass that a few months ago had lockjaw in the dog days of summer.

Of course, Toledo Bend’s pool level will be low in late September and October. While that concentrates bass and the baitfish they’re gorging on in deep drains and creek channels, the extremely low water must be navigated with extreme caution.

As of Aug. 30, the level was 165.51, 6.49 feet below full pool. The pool level should be in the low 165s or even, 164 in October. A lot of shoreline and, naturally, acres and acres of wood are showing and will be showing.

Where to fish

Bass pile up in major creeks such as Six Mile, Negreet, Housen, San Patricio, Wilson, Martinez and so many others — you name them — including my all-time favorite since starting my bass-fishing career on this lake: San Miguel. I’ve logged countless hours over the years starting across from Grace’s Landing to where the depth goes from 5 to 6 feet to 18 feet and following that deep water, fishing the channel swings and targeting stumps and deadfalls with spinnerbaits and jigs with soft-plastic trailers.

That pattern can and will be repeated in any of the aforementioned creeks during this low-water event. You can add any artificial lure in your tackle box to the list of those that will trigger bites as you work that cover along and near the dropoff.

You can follow those channels and drains even if you don’t have marine electronics by reading the wood. Look for the biggest, heaviest, old trees, the hardwoods, and you can identify how a creek runs in this low-water situation. Follow the size of the wood and you’ll stay in the drains. Go all the way to the back of everything, especially after the water temperature drops out of the 80s.

Lures to use

Work the break with a ½- or ¼-ounce chartreuse/white spinnerbait, depending on the wind, or a ½-ounce black/blue, black/chartreuse or black/brown jig-n-pig and one or more of those are sure to put bass in the boat.

The lake’s main-lake points and ridges can give up bass, too, weather conditions permitting. But generally, the water’s cooler in the creeks, and the creeks can be protected from high winds. And, remember, fish in creeks never leave.

There are many, many other artificial lures that will be effective. Like a 3/8-ounce black/blue Chatterbait, a ½-ounce chartreuse/white or white buzzbait. It depends on what they want. Even a chrome/blue or chrome/black, 1/2-ounce Rat-L-Trap might work. Plastic frogs and walk-the-dog topwaters like a Zara Spook are old reliables for October.

If all that isn’t enough good news, there was another positive as fall arrived Sept. 23. The low water can do nothing but help the deplorable grass situation from the upper end to the lower end, east to west. Hay grass should be abundant after this low-water period, as it was after the drought in 2010.

And I’m already seeing green stuff growing, fresh bushes and such. If we get any kind of underwater vegetation growing, that’ll be a godsend. This is an opportunity to replenish, and I hope it does.

If you want to catch bass in October, I’ve been guiding on this lake most of my life and you’re more than welcome in my boat. Give me a call at 936-404-2688.

John Dean
About John Dean 42 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.