‘Don’t be scared’ to fish Toledo Bend after flooding, guide says

Bass will be hitting the banks to spawn, veteran angler predicts

News reports yesterday showed a Toledo Bend that was swollen to record levels and belching more water through the dam than flows over Niagra Falls. Many anglers figured the torrential rains would ruin the famed bass fishing — at least until the massive reservoir settled down.

But canceling your trip is a big mistake, a veteran fishing guide said today.

“Don’t be scared to come fish at Toledo Bend because it rained,” Jerry Thompson said. “We’re catching fish right now. We’re looking for big fish, but we’ve seen some other anglers catching fish.

“There was a 12-pounder weighed in today.”

The owner of Living the Dream Guide Service was on the water this afternoon and said the torrential rains might have actually helped the fishery.

“It was a warm rain,” he said. “It actually warmed up some areas. I’m looking at 64-degree temperatures.”

The key is knowing how to target the fish during this high-water event.

And it’s not fishing deep, Thompson said.

“Every fish in this lake is going to run to the banks,” he said. “These fish are going to spawn.”

While the influx of water definitely dirtied up much of the 65-mile-long reservoir, the guide said there was still plenty of clear water.

“It’s not in the creeks,” Thompson said. “It’s in the pockets.”

And when you find those pockets of clear water, it’s time to start looking for bass setting up spawning beds. In fact, Thompson said he saw fish up shallow yesterday.

“The water stabilized for about six hours yesterday, and we saw fish on the banks,” he said.

Stabilization of water levels is going to be the key, and Thompson said that should happen quicker than many anglers think.

“When it gets down to about 172 feet, they’re going to have to stop pulling (water) or they’re going to flood everybody down the Sabine (River),” he said. “When it stabilizes, (bass) are fixin’ to go about their business.”

The lake was at 174.37 feet today, according to Water Data for Texas. So Thompson believed the the taps at the dam would be restricted in the next couple of days.

That’s when anglers should be on the water.

“Every fish in the lake is going to go shallow,” Thompson said.

However, the guide stressed that anglers hitting the lake should do so with caution.

“When you do come, please be careful because there is a tremendous amount of debris that’s in the lake,” Thompson said. “This is not a time to run your boat and see how fast it’ll go. Don’t be in a hurry.”

About Andy Crawford 863 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.

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