Take advantage of shad spawn at Toledo Bend

Largemouth bass will take advantage of baitfish spawn through April and into May

At Toledo Bend, spawning season is winding down for the reservoir’s bass population.

In April, only a few of these lady largemouths will be taken on beds — with even less fish pushing toward the shallows as spring progresses.

But not to worry; prime time is not over. The summer doldrums have not arrived, and a great window of opportunity is coming open to catch numbers of quality bass.

It’s called the shad spawn; it usually begins in mid-April and runs into May.

Doug Guins of Lake Charles and his daughter, Annabelle, enjoyed a great April day on the water in 2019 — the duo ending up with 22 bass.

“We were fishing right in the middle of the shad spawn,” said Doug Guins, 48-year-old. “The bass were pushing those shad, and most ranged between 2 and 4 pounds. Our largest weighed 5.”

Annabelle Guins, a sophomore at McNeese State University and vice president of the school’s fishing team, has been fishing for bass with her father “as early as I could walk,” she said.

At Toledo Bend, she had much to say about catching largemouths during the shad spawn.

“I would advise anglers to stay in shallow waters in the back of the coves,” she said. “And it seems always better on the north sides of the coves.”

Anglers will often see shad pushing through buck brush, aka  buttonwoods, and schools of bass will be ambushing them as the shad pass by. This usually happens in the early morning.

“And this could be happening in coves on both sides of the lake,” she said.

CW Custom Baits’ Ol’ Faithful is a favorite of Doug and Annabelle Guins when the shad spawn begins on Toledo Bend.
CW Custom Baits’ Ol’ Faithful is a favorite of Doug and Annabelle Guins when the shad spawn begins on Toledo Bend.

Shad spawn lures of choice for Guins and her father are spinnerbaits.

“Clint Ward with CW Custom Baits came out with a prototype which is a 3/8-ounce spinnerbait designed on a ¼-ounce frame,” Doug Guins said. “With the way it is designed, it is easier to sling it up under the trees. And although it’s a smaller-frame spinnerbait, it is heavier and doesn’t rise above the water column as it is worked.

“It has a Colorado blade in the front and a willow-leaf blade, and we cast chartreuse-and-white as well as blue-chartreuse-white colors.”

The spinnerbait is being marketed by CW Custom Lures as the “Ol’ Faithful.”

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