High, warm water has vegetation flourishing, bass fishermen chomping at the bit
I am anticipating higher water than usual and warming water in June and July, which bodes well for a development that should put a smile on the face of all bass anglers who fish Toledo Bend.
I hope you’re sitting down as you read this because grass, even hydrilla mixed with milfoil, is starting to materialize and prosper in many areas of the lake. Based on past experience, all it takes for the grass to take off is a higher water level and warm water. That, my friends, means there’s a strong possibility we could be dropping and/or punching grass in July.
There are many bassers who know grass is present and trying to secure a foothold or stronger. I want to put in my 2 cents and share with all. There is grass growing in 12- to 15-foot depths, but in most cases 6- to 8-foot depths.
That comes on the heels of a report a few months ago that a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department official talked about the critical loss of grass on this lake since the mid-2010s and declared the TPDW would no longer spray grass south of Tenaha Creek.
Isn’t that all great news?
I’m expecting the lake’s pool stage to be at least above 170 feet, and in all likelihood higher, considering it was almost a foot above pool (172) as May turned into June. There have been several heavy downpours in the region and more to come, according to weather forecasts.
The lake’s still inching up despite two generators running 24/7 and all 11 gates open 1 foot, recently reduced from 2 feet.
If Toledo Bend stays up, expect many bass to stay shallow as long as the bream and shad are using the shallows. It’ll be full-blown post-spawn, for sure, because the last group of bass to spawn would have made the move at the full moon in late May.
I’ll concentrate on the shallows, like I have for many years, until the baitfish leave. It’s time to throw plastic frogs and topwaters. My favorite is a Top Toad, even in mid-day hours. A man and his son caught 5s and 6s all-day long two summers ago on that bogus frog; the water was high and in the bushes.
What else works? Pop-Rs, walk-the-dog type topwaters — whatever your favorite might be.
Of course, it’s high time for the typical post-spawn pattern, which means fishing deeper water with DD22s, plus drop-shots and Carolina-rigged soft plastics. That could wind up being the most-dominant pattern in early summer
And fish the grass. If I can find hydrilla in 12- to 14-foot depths that has matted and formed a canopy, I’ll punch it with soft plastics, usually a junebug/red Senko under a ½-ounce tungsten weight. It all depends on what happens with development of the underwater vegetation between now and then.
Fishing for crappie, aka white perch, should be red-hot. In late May, 100-plus fish days were common for anglers dropping artificial jigs around brush tops in 20- to 30-foot depths. They are plentiful and suspended around brush tops.
John Dean has been guiding on Toledo Bend most of his life. For a guide trip or more information, call 936-404-2688.
JOIN THE CLUB, get unlimited access for $2.99/month
Become the most informed Sportsman you know, with a membership to the Louisiana Sportsman Magazine and LouisianaSportsman.com.