Higher, cooler water leads to great October bass fishing on Toledo Bend

We sure didn’t want or need a hurricane in Toledo Bend country, but that’s what we got Aug. 27 when Laura made landfall near Cameron, with 100- to 115-mph winds, moving up the corridor between Louisiana and Texas, the eye passing over Many.

A Category 4 hurricane, Laura whipped the lake we love to fish; there reportedly were 9- to 11-foot seas on the main lake, and from what I’ve heard, boathouses, piers and headwalls were damaged or destroyed. Those structures in creeks fared better, I’m told.

So this is a good time to talk about bass fishing in October.

The lake level definitely went up after the storm because of the 5 to 8 inches of rain dropped around here. Toledo Bend rose from 169.04 the day before the hurricane hit to 169.72, according to the reading I saw on Aug. 30. I’m pretty sure the lake will continue to rise with all the rain associated with that storm and rain that followed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the lake got into the 170s, quite unusual for early fall.

Ryan Lampman, a Pennsylvania angler visiting Toledo Bend, smiles after hooking and boating a hefty 3-pound bass on a Thunder Jig from lily pads while fishing with John Dean. (Photo courtesy John Dean)

Bassing success in the coming weeks, especially this month, will get better and better as we experience more fall weather and cooler air temperatures, which lead to cooler water temperatures. It’s a time when bass follow baitfish and put the feedbag on for the fast-approaching winter — what winter we do have.

On the move

By late September and, for sure, before the second week of October, we can officially say good-bye to summer. And when the dog days are behind us, expect bass to start tearing up topwaters, particularly buzzbaits and plastic frogs — or whatever you like to work on top. It’ll be like spring, except they won’t be moving shallower to make babies. They’ll be going into 3- to 8-foot depths to eat bream, shad and crawfish. Big pigs will be trying to get fatter before the winter. It’s going to be a slugfest, particularly when the water temperature gets down to around 75 degrees.

It’ll be time to store away the drop-shots, Carolina-rigged soft plastics and deep-diving crankbaits and forget about fishing deep. When the heat was on this summer, it wasn’t difficult to find fish deep, but it was a challenge to find bass that wanted to bite.

In October, bass will be on the move to feed. Topwaters, Thunder Jigs, Stanley spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps, etc., are sure to trigger bites. Golden bream is my favorite color for spinnerbaits and bladed jigs, followed by shad colors, depending on the water color.

It’s also a time in which soft plastics such as Senkos and Super Flukes, my top two choices, and Neko-rigged Senkos will add to the catch. Black, black/blue and green pumpkin should be the preferred colors, but it won’t be long before watermelon red comes into play.

I’m looking forward to some fantastic bass fishing in October.

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John Dean
About John Dean 61 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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