Fall bass moving shallow at Toledo Bend

This 7-pound, 2-ounce bass was caught by Dusty Anders of Alexandria on a Top Toad in the 12-15 area.
This 7-pound, 2-ounce bass was caught by Dusty Anders of Alexandria on a Top Toad in the 12-15 area.

But lack of hydrilla concerning …

There was a brief chill to the air in late September, so much so that we opened all the doors to our place and turned off the AC here behind Toledo Town & Tackle just west of Many.

It was 65 degrees on Sept. 27, a welcome change from the high 70s or so we’ve been waking up to during the heat wave of the past several months.

A mild cool front entered the region, the first significant weather system of the fall, with a stronger expected to follow.

We already were experiencing cooler temperatures because of a rainy stretch and, my goodness, what a difference it seems to have made on the bass bite at Toledo Bend.

When November rolls around, I’m expecting bass fishing success to be pretty solid after a subpar late spring and summer that was as confusing as it was frustrating.

If it isn’t, well, that’s another story — and the issue will be to find out why.

From all indications, bass are biting as the water temperature starts to cool. Dusty Anders, a good friend and part-time guide from Alexandria, is out right now after some encouraging trips. He told me recently he did well on a plastic frog in shallow water, which coincides with other reports of schooling action and bass on the move in traditional migratory patterns. With consistent 95- to 100-degree days over now, bass will exit their deep domains and that means more and more will be found from the bank out to 6-foot depths, especially in late October and November.

Isn’t that great? It’ll be like springtime. I’ve got my fingers crossed and I’m excited about this month.

Before I get into patterns, I need to talk about the lake level. It was at 168.25 in late September, and I don’t expect it to vary much from that range because, based on reports, repairs to floodgates are scheduled to start in mid-October and end next April — which means the pool stage must be maintained at that level or below until the scheduled restart of generating next May.

So for November, what you’ve got is what you get at 168. Ditto for the winter. And the same for spring. There won’t be any bush fishing to speak of for those folks who love to get into the flooded environments.

Bass certainly still will be able to do their thing — spawn — next spring. But the lower lake level will affect available habitat, what they’re going to do and where they’re going to go.

I really don’t see a negative in this, but it will be different from what we’re accustomed to at Toledo Bend.

As for November, the feedbags should be on the lake’s bass population. Moving baits such as your favorite topwaters — including ½-ounce white or chartreuse/white buzzbaits or plastic frogs — ½-ounce chartreuse/white spinnerbaits, ½-ounce chrome/blue Rat-L-Traps, bream-colored ChatterBaits and jerkbaits should account for most of the bass this month.

Why? Shad are in the lake by the zillions. There are shad balls everywhere. Bass will follow them to the points and secondary points, and to the drains and ditches, which are their travel highways.

Other go-to artificial lures this time of year include Carolina-rigged soft plastics, wacky worms, Flukes and Senkos. Top colors should be watermelon/red. Black’s always good, too, as is june bug.

I am concerned about the lack of hydrilla in so many places, including Housen Creek. Last year at this time it was carpeted front to back, no matter the depth. Now it’s gone, totally stripped in vast areas.

Thankfully, the shallow-water grass such as peppergrass, some milfoil and some coontail remain across much of the lake. And there are miles of lily pads.

For sure, there’ll be a lot of open water out there as outdoorsmen take to the deer stands and duck blinds in November. But believe me, many of them will be kicking themselves that they aren’t bassin’ on Toledo Bend.

At least I hope it’s that good.

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

John Dean
About John Dean 31 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.