Shallows still producing at Toledo Bend

Michael Brooks Fruge caught this 5-pound 13-ounce bass on a wacky worm at Toledo Bend.

If you think it’s time to target the deeper depths for bass at Toledo Bend, heed these words: Not so fast, my friend.

Based on cooler than normal weather in late spring and early summer and the fact the lake’s pool level has been 171.0 or higher (and rising after heavy rainfalls recently), 2 to 4-foot depths still will get my undivided attention late June through at least mid-July.

I’m encouraged by the amount of water in the lake.

Heck, it even got to the 172-foot range for a spell after the first day of heavy rains recently. Plus, there is hydrilla trying to come back in areas down south around the dam, in Housen and Six Mile, as well as up north. That should improve with consistent clear water, warmer water and sunny weather. It’s a good opportunity for grass to grow. And grass means bass.

Memorable trip

I’ll never forget a trip with the Merediths from Missouri a few years ago in early July. Yes, it was hot, but the leadup to July was much like it has been in late spring of 2022. I took them to the north side of Housen Creek and from the first cast to the last over a three-day period we caught good-sized bass, 15-18 daily, up to 6 ½ pounds. Water temperature was in the 80s and we were fishing with Stanley Top Toads in 2 to 3-foot depths. Those bass were gorging on bream around their beds.

I’m not saying a scenario like that trip with the Missourians will repeat itself this July. But it could and should, perhaps multiple times before the dog days of summer arrive. I’ll sure try to make it happen because the conditions leading up to the seventh month of the year have been favorable.

It all depends on if the water stays up and on how much/fast it heats up.

Even if the heat wave descends on lake country, the shallows ought to be the place to target bass for the first 2-3 hours in the morning and last 2-3 hours in the afternoon at Toledo Bend. The drill then will be plastic frogs — like my favorites Top Toads and Stanley Ribbits — and buzz baits, for sure.

Listen to the bass

I’ll concentrate on shallower water until the bass tell me to go deeper to fish drains and ditches that bass make a beeline for in the postspawn and as the water warms.

Then it’ll be time to fish those bass, which usually are more wishy washy and moody in 20 to 25-foot depths, with Carolina-rigged Junebug/red, red bug or plum apple soft plastics, Alabama rigs with small shad-colored swim baits, similarly colored drop-shotted soft plastics and shad or bream-colored crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps.

Crappie fishing has been very good for a couple months. They are being caught on jigs, mostly, and shiners around brushtops in 22 to 25-foot depths. Popular colors for the soft plastics are Monkey Milk, pink/white and chartreuse. That Monkey Milk Natural Forage Phat Shad has been hard to beat, according to one local fishing guide.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Fourth of July.

I’ve been guiding on this lake most of my life. Give me a call at (936) 404-2688.

About John Dean 80 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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