Heat on high at Toledo Bend

Brian Matthews holds a 5-pound, 10-ounce bass he caught on a plastic frog while fishing with his son Max and guide John Dean at Toledo Bend.

Fish early or late until water temps cool

Toledo Bend bass anglers stymied by the dog days of summer can’t wait to escape the blistering heat and welcome the cooler temperatures of (hopefully) late September.

Until then, the oft-unbearable high temperatures have got the lake’s bass in nighttime or early morning mode. Some of the best bass angler’s on the water are getting half-dozen or so bass in the boat early, while the nighttime guys are getting more quantity and quality — including some 8s and 9s over the past few weeks.

Otherwise, getting bit with any kind of consistency during the heat of the day is a challenge. Those sticking it out  are probing the 20- to 22-foot depths with drop-shot rigs and Carolina-rigged soft plastics — water temps nearly in the 90s will do that.

Barring unseasonably early cool fronts, that’s going to be the status quo well into September, probably until at least the latter half of the month when cool fronts start blowing through with some semblance of consistency. That’s when I really believe we’ll see catch numbers go up significantly.

Until then, I don’t see anything changing. The lake may be a little lower than it is now, but barring a prolonged, heavy rain event, it’ll still be H-O-T.

Until the cool down, you’ve really got to be on the water at breaking daylight. After that, you’ve got a one- to two-hour window when the odds of getting bit are good. I’d choose thick peppergrass (or even haygrass) in 3-foot average depths to fish at that time. Personally, I tie on a Stanley Top Toad, watermelon red/pearl mostly, but sometimes black or white. They eat it. It’s a bulkier, bigger profile, and it tends to get bigger bites.

Also try that pattern with your favorite plastic frogs and topwaters the last few hours of the day. And, if it’s heavily overcast, sneak back into the peppergrass.

Just before the furnace really got cranking in July, I took Brian Matthews of Kansas City and his son, Max, 12, out on the lake. Talk about good timing. They caught bass up to 5 pounds, 10 ounces, on plastic frogs. It was a special two days, but the bite was short-lived. After that, the average water temperature stayed 87 to 90 degrees, after it had been averaging 83 to 87.

Speaking of peppergrass, the growth has intensified rapidly and it’s a beautiful sight to see. Six Mile has the prettiest stuff I’ve seen so far beside Housen. Plenty of shad are in it, and I’ve seen bass move in it, even in 2- to 3-foot depths. Hopefully, the water doesn’t get any lower, or the shad and bass could leave the peppergrass. The deepest I’ve seen the peppergrass is 3 ½ feet. We sure could use another 2 feet or so in the pool level to ensure some late summer and early fall bassin’ success in the peppergrass.

After fishing the first few hours of the day, it’ll be time go deep and either drop-shot or Carolina rig. Top colors for the soft plastics are plum apple and red bug. I’ve also been having success dropping a plastic worm rigged wacky style under a ¼-ounce worm weight alongside deep grass, so you may want to try that too, in September.

The heat wave has slowed the crappie fishing considerably. Those anglers are also waiting for a consistent cool spell.

If you want to catch bass in September, 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.

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John Dean
About John Dean 54 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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