Toledo Bend cool down

John Dean
John Dean caught this nice bass while ‘dropping’ a soft plastic in the grass this summer.

Bass should begin to move back shallow from deep water

Bass anglers who frequent Toledo Bend can’t wait for hoodie weather in this part of the state.

That means it’ll be cool enough to put on a hooded sweatshirt and, most importantly, lower water temperatures and get the bass on the move from the depths toward shallower water, from the upper-end to the lower-end of the lake.

It’ll be a tell-tale time, as well, for us to determine if there just might be something slightly awry with the bass fishery on this great lake shared by Louisiana and Texas.

With the exception of fair to good bassin’ between sundown and sunrise, this has been a blistering hot, trying summer as far as putting bass in the boat. Let’s just say it’s been more than tough for three months.

It’s still brutal, still tough — even the deep fish. I’m ready for a change. So are many other folks, including many fishing guides who have basically ceased going out on the water.

Thankfully, October should be a game-changer. Fall, according to the calendar, officially started on the third week of September. Hopefully, around then we’ll start seeing cool fronts go all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. That’s what we need to see a significant cooling of air and water temperatures.

What will happen then? When the water temperature gets out of the lower-90s and upper-80s, baitfish like shad respond and move shallower, as do the bass.

Bass go into 12- to 15-foot depths when they first move from deep water where they’ve been cooling their fins. Then they eventually go into 2- to 5-foot depths.

Prime fall fishing should be when the water temperature gets into the mid- to upper-70s, just like during the spring. The bass should pig out, and pig out often. It should be a time for numbers and there’s always the opportunity for a fat girl, a double-digit bass in October. I believe we’ll see a big increase in 10-pound-plus bass in October.

If the bite doesn’t turn on then, there may be some kind of problem. Those who have been grumbling about bass success, or the lack of it, have been asking questions the past few months — wondering what’s wrong with Toledo Bend.

For sure, the food is here in the lake. There are millions of shad — huge balls of them.

The pool level has been pretty much average for late-summer and early fall elevation.

I’m optimistic the coming cooler weather will make a big difference in angling success. Traditionally, bass move up and bite —  and I’m all for tradition. It should be a fun time. We may see some schooling action. I sure hope so.

Look for vegetation, which at the moment is at a premium after such a promising start earlier this year. Definitely, there isn’t as much grass in the lake overall as there was at this time in 2017. However, lily pads are plentiful, so those who enjoy fishing lily pads should have a field day.

Topwaters probably will catch more bass than anything else in October. Chug Bugs, Spooks, buzzbaits — you name it, throw your favorite topwater. Plastic frogs will trigger plenty of bites, too.

Moving baits will be the order of the day once there is a cool down. Half-ounce shad- or bream-colored Rat-L-Traps, ½- or 3/8-ounce golden bream, green pumpkin or black/blue ChatterBaits, shad- or bream-colored jerkbaits and june bug Fluke-type soft plastics and Senkos all should do well.

The bass fishing should be awesome through October, November and hopefully December. My fingers and toes are crossed.

If you want to catch bass in October, 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.

John Dean
About John Dean 31 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.