CAREFUL AS YOU GO
Last updated 9/10/2019 at Noon
The following is a tip that could save you a day of fishing on Toledo Bend.If you arrive at a boat launch and it appears that you are the first to arrive…..get a grip before hurrying to launch! Walk down to the ramp and check it out before backing your boat in the lake.The two problems we encountered due to the low water were the end of the ramp wasn’t deep enough and the clay covering the newly exposed concrete offered very little traction.
We didn’t initially try a public launch because a neighborhood launch closer to the area we wanted to fish was steep and I figured we could launch with no problem.I was wrong, but at least we didn’t back the wheels off the end of the pavement.We decided to drive to the first public launch we found with trucks and empty trailers and had no further problems.
Unlike 2011 when Toledo Bend shrank below 160 feet, there are a lot of launches still available.If you haven’t been on the lake since it hit the 165 mark, you would do you and your boat a favor by keeping your head on a swivel and running boat lanes a little slower.
Trees that have rotted off near the surface over the years are still solid at the shallower level.We slowly negotiated a creek channel winding through the timber near Boone’s Crossover that I never knew even existed, but we will check it out again in the fall.
The surface temperature is hanging around the 88 degree mark and that dooms the shallow water bite pretty quickly in the morning.We found school bass about halfway back in two different creeks and they were pretty solid fish.They would blow up on a chrome or bone Chug Bug, but seemed to prefer a four-inch pearl-silver flake Swim Bait.
I don’t know if we just weren’t mad enough at the fish due to the heat and gave up too quickly, but we found less grass in areas that had much more grass a month ago.We fished a lot of 17 to 22 foot water and in looking back I think that we may have been too deep with the lake down.The bass we caught on Carolina rigs were still holding in scattered grass, but it was a tough bite for the most part. I also feel like the crappie must have abandoned the brush piles temporarily, because we talked with two guides that were catching some very solid fish with shiners working the tree lines in deeper water.I didn’t ask them how deep they were fishing, but it looked to be 12 to 15 feet deep in water as deep as thirty feet.
When their bite slowed they simply idled along the tree line looking for concentrations of suspended shad much the same way we do when vertically jigging spoons for bass.The tree lines they were jigging were not far from their brush piles so they must figure that bite will pick back up with a little cooler weather! On the local scene, the bass catching is far easier that the trout catching.We are starting to catch better numbers of under sized specks thanks to clearer water and better salinity, but it is far from a cake walk and three-pound fish are scarce.
The lady fish and gafftop are seemingly everywhere, even on the north end, but the trout aren’t really hustling the massive schools of small shad.On the other hand, we are catching reds both running the shoreline and occasionally stumbling up on schooling fish.We have found small schools in Coffee Ground Cove and just south of Stewt’s.
The bass bite just seems to be where ever you are any time you have good tide movement.We recently fished a stretch of Cow bayou that has never been good to me with a small crankbait and a 3-inch Usual Suspect and caught 10 to 13-inch bass non-stop.
Dale Bergeron said that he caught a limit of bass and fifteen to twenty goggle two days in a row fishing a popping bug on a fly rod.He said that he was fishing a small yellow/black Pecks Popper.I didn’t ask, but I feel reasonably certain he was fishing out of his kayak! A little shot of cooler weather may be all we need to turn things around.