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Joslin: Cooler weather a welcome site on Toledo

Last Modified: Tuesday, October 02, 2012 7:37 PM

By Joe Joslin / American Press

Hello, Anglers.

It doesn’t get any better than this with morning temps in the upper 50s and low 60s.

Dove, teal, bow seasons are already open with squirrel season getting underway this weekend and area fishing holes showing signs of lots of hungry fish.

Sportsman’s Paradise no doubt!

On the fishing scene, not just reds, specks and bass either as I saw one of the most impressive bunch of crappie I have seen in a long time. Check out the photo.

Lake Conditions

Water temperatures are cooling to 76 to 81 degrees with the lake level jumping a foot or more to 169.40. Some parts of the lake received up to 6 inches of rain with the last weather system over the weekend which has stained the back portions of all major creeks. In addition, there have been reports of large mats of salvinia in the northern part of the lake and attempts are being made to spray. At times heavy rains can cause a rapid rise in the lake thus “floating” the mats of salvinia out where they can be reached to spray/treat.

According to a report from Holly Park Marina, this is happening in Patroon Bayou which is a major feeder creek on the Texas side and about 4 miles north of Pendleton Bridge.

I recall when Toledo had its worst infestations of salvinia several years ago as we had similar conditions with a huge amount of rain in a short period of time. There were some salvinia mats an acre or more in size that floated out of the creeks to the main lake which made them accessible for manual spraying. Hopefully, this will occur again to help control this invasive tropical plant. It is unlikely we will ever completely rid this plant from Toledo but we are learning to control it.

Fishing Reports

BASS: The cold fronts are giving me more fishing options as cooler air temps are bringing water temps down basically eliminating the thermocline. The thermocline forms in June on most of the areas deep reservoirs and is a line of demarcation where the oxygen-rich warmer water is on top and the colder, low-oxygenated water is on the bottom. During the summer it is difficult for fish to survive below the thermocline which on Toledo and Rayburn is normally around 25 ft. On my Hummingbird unit in Switchfire mode/max” you can see evidence of the thermocline as a horizontal thin field of debris around 25’.

In the fall with the arrival of several cold fronts, the surface water is cooled and becomes heavier and sinks to the bottom pushing the bottom layer of water off the bottom where it mixes with the rest of the water volume thus eliminating the thermocline. This process is commonly called “turn-over”. I saw the beginning of this phenomenon last week and it is accelerating currently as brownish foam is on the surface in some areas. In certain conditions there can even a distinct odor which I would describe as a musty smell. With the thermocline gone, there will be decent oxygen all the way to the bottom of the lake allowing bait and fish to again relate to the bottom no matter how deep. There are times when we often fish those deep areas (30-50 ft) from October through early February with water temps determining when we move shallow in the early spring.

Fall patterns are in place with bait and bass moving up drains and ditches all over the lake. Top water patterns include working Pro Pops(Bill Norman), Chug Bugs and Yellow Magic on grassy points during low-light conditions. The full moon this week has slowed the morning bite but the afternoon bite has been strong. Spinnerbaits continue to hook up on bass with a 3/8 oz double willow Stanley Vibra Wedge my top choice as we are targeting windy points and the back 1/3 of major creeks. We also like Norman’s Triple Wing buzzbait.

Shallow and mid-diving crankbaits are catching bass as are Bill Lewis Rat-L-Traps in red craw and shad patterns. On our crankbaits we are using Deep Little Ns and Baby Ns in chartreuse/black and also shad patterns in depths of 6 to 15 ft. We are also working DD22s on deeper points, ridges and humps from 15 to 30 feet with shad patterns working well.

On soft plastics we are spending a lot of time on Texas rigs in 8 to 20 ft. with Havoc Bottom Hoppers, Rocket Craws and Trick Worms with watermelon colors our top choices. On deeper structure (15 to 30 ft) we are slow-dragging Carolina rigs and Stanley Bug Eye football jigs in ½ and ¾ oz. We are also fishing jigging spoons and drop shot rigs with Havoc’s Bottom Hopper Jr (4.75 inches) my drop shot choice.

CRAPPIE/YELLOW BASS: Keithon and Sherry Perkins of DeQuincy caught over 75 crappie last weekend with some of them truly ‘slabs’. They were fishing brush piles with live shiners in 15 ft depths and the crappie were suspended over the brush. They also caught several catfish up to 9 pounds. There have been other reports of anglers catching crappie and yellow bass on Road Runners and Beetle Spins using light line (6-8 lb test) and targeting points with grass.


Joe Joslin is a syndicated outdoor columnist, tournament angler and pro guide on Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn. His column appears Thursdays. Contact him at 463-3848 or or visit

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