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Joslin: Cooler months best time to be on Toldeo Bend

Last Modified: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 7:15 PM

By Joe Joslin / American Press

Hello, Anglers.

Last week’s weather during Thanksgiving weekend was basically about as good as it gets for mid-November while this week we have had some cold frontal rain. While the lake was not crowded at all, a fair number of fishermen were on the lake and fishing was good and at times even excellent.

We had spurts where we were catching fish on almost every cast and other times where we would go 10-15 minutes without a bite and have to move around on the lake to find active fish. However, it was a very pleasant experience and just another reason why I really enjoy the cooler months of the year.

Lake Conditions

The lake level is 167.6’ with one generator running at the dam from 4 to 6:30 p.m. 2-3 days per week to maintain the integrity of the Sabine River below the dam. Water temps are running from 59-63 degrees which is about the same as last week.

Water clarity all over the lake is good with north Toledo slightly stained, mid-lake is mostly clear and south Toledo is very clear. If you like to fish off-colored water conditions, there is some stained water in the back of major feeder creeks and good populations of fish are now in these areas.

Bass Reports

We continue like to use many of the same patterns and techniques we have used over the past several weeks while making adjustments on how we are fishing them as well as what depths we target. These adjustments are largely based on weather and lake conditions as we fish more aggressive presentations during stable weather and more finesse and subtle techniques when post-frontal conditions are in place.

We had several cold nights last week and bright skies which had us fishing deeper and slower with spinnerbaits, Texas rigs, crankbaits, spoons and drop-shot. The only decent spinnerbait bite was the first 45 minutes at dawn and the last 30 minutes at dusk when the bass would move up to feed. We used Stanley VibraWedge with double willow blades with shad colored shirts and fished them either in 2- to 6-feet on the shoreline or on the outside edges of the deep hydrilla in 12 to 20 feet.

We fished the Texas rigs mostly on deep points and ridges with deep grass from 10 to 25 feet using Berkley Havoc’s Bottom Hopper (6, 25 inches) in Shady w.m. candy and watermelon. We also used Trick Worms in w.m. red, w.m. candy red, w.m. candy and candy bug.

On our crankbaits we used two types: One was Norman’s DLN (Deep Little N) as well as their deep diving DD22 using fire-tiger colors early and shad patterns in bright conditions. Crankbaits were worked on outside edges of grass as well as on deeper humps and ridges up to 25 feet.

On our jigging spoons we are using hammered style in 1/2- and 3/4-ounce sizes depending on depth and wind conditions in 25- to 50-feet depths near creek channels using 17- to 20-pound test mono (Trilene Big Game mono) and Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon.

Drop shot patterns include 3/16- to 1/2-ounce size sinkers with Bottom Hopper Jrs. (4.75 inch) in shady w.m. candy and watermelon with 8-pound test Berkley XL and Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon on medium action 6’6” Veritas spinning rod with Abu Garcia Ora spinning reel.

Crappie/Yellow Bass Reports

Many yellow bass anglers are finding fish on sand bars near the river as well as on the edges of major creeks and they are feeding almost exclusively on shad. Jigging spoons and tailspinners like Little Georges/Knock-off (Norman Lures) as well as Rinky Dinks are good choices for catching yellows that are showing up in depths of 20 to 50 feet. Crappie fishing has been improving along the river (Sabine) as well as up major creeks in brush piles. Live shiners and 1/16 oz jigs are the best choices for bait.

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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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