Toledo Bend toads

Mr. Woody, an RN at Mercy Hospital in Houston, caught nice-sized bass like this one for a few days in February while fishing with John Dean at Toledo Bend.

Monitor changing water temps to keep up with lake’s big bass bite

Be aware of and monitor water temperatures in February and fish accordingly at Toledo Bend. This is Louisiana, and just like the weather, it’s apt to change at any time.

Do that to trigger bites on mostly moving baits — lipless crankbaits, bladed jigs, suspending jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and, sometimes even buzz baits. Those artificial lures should help put bass in the boat.

Generally, the warmer the water, the quicker the retrieve, and vice versa for slower retrieves in colder water. Warm nights and warm days would be ideal conditions but it all depends on Mother Nature. Fresh water can also change things.

Oh, yeah, I can’t wait. Just a few days after Christmas, typical Louisiana weather hit. The lake region weathered four days of subfreezing temperatures, then thawed out quickly the last few days of the year.

Lake gets a bump

The cold weather followed a heavy rain that bumped the lake level a little bit over 168 feet, and it could go higher.

Despite a few heavy rainfalls this fall and early winter, the lake’s in good shape as I haven’t seen mud lines in the main lake or discoloration in the back of creeks.

More heavy rains predicted dropped 3-5 inches on us to bring in the New Year and was followed by unseasonably warm, wetter weather for approximately three weeks or so, bringing us closer to February.

That’s why monitoring water temperature is so important. You can’t make assumptions.

Bass should be moving all the time as shad, too, start working their way up with warmer water temps and with, perhaps, more water in the lake. What’s more, many of them will be biologically ready to spawn, which means the hydrilla that covers much of the lake comes into play. The grass is becoming more plentiful; and bountiful. It looks like we’ve got a good grip on vegetation for 2023, for now.

It’s time to throw a ½-ounce red-colored Rat-L-Trap or other lipless crankbait, ½-ounce Thunder Jig or other bladed jig, gold/orange Rogue or other suspending jerkbait, and ½-ounce spinnerbaits and buzz baits. If the water temp’s in the mid- to upper-50s, slow down or back off, particularly early in the day. Target creeks, drains, coves and shotgun pockets, particularly the back end of those areas because they’re warmer.

It’s a C-rig lake

A Carolina-rigged green pumpkin, black or watermelon/red Fluke, Trick Worm or Senko-style soft plastic will shine at times in the pre-spawn and spawn. I’ll go to that frequently because, let’s face it, this is a C-rig lake, especially during midday hours when the water gains the most heat. The fish become more active.

C-rigs can be most productive in open water near and on the main lake when the water temperatures match the back end of the creeks and coves.

We’ll definitely start seeing bigger bass — 7 pounds and up all the way to double-digits. Big girls start making their move to inside grass lines. With a little more heat, a little more sun, the “toads” will make an appearance, no doubt about it.

Crappie fishing will improve by leaps and bounds. They’ll be making their move out of deep drains to spawn, too, and will be side by side with the bass. They’ll be caught in water as skinny as 2 feet deep but normally 3- to 5-feet deep on Roadrunners, mostly, and tube jigs.

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

About John Dean 97 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.