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Saturday, April 29, 2017
Southwest Louisiana ,
(Special to the American Press)

(Special to the American Press)

Joslin: Fish moving into fall migration patterns

Last Modified: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 12:43 AM

By Joe Joslin / American Press

Hello, anglers.

The fall season is on its way and I could not be happier. We witnessed multiple flocks of teal on the lake this week as they passed through headed south to the many marshes along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. Some of the flocks had 30-50 birds.

Maybe duck hunters are going to have a good teal season. The early mornings have been so very pleasant recently and this week is no exception with another cool front arriving.

How has this impacted fishing?

We had some good days on the lake last week with Friday being the best, catching 32 bass and 10-12 really solid fish up to 5 pounds.

The biggest change in bass patterns has been more bass in less water as a good number of bass are moving shallow, which is part of the annual fall migration pattern.

Also, bass are really relating to points both on the main last as well as in major and minor drains. In addition, large numbers of shad are moving up creeks and ditches and the bass are tagging along for a free meal.

The bass on Toledo are so very healthy and well-fed as there is no shortage of food for them.

Spinnerbaits (I like Stanley’s 1/4- and 3/8-ounce Vibra-Wedge) with double willow blades with skirts in white, white and chartreuse as well as one of the new colors, LSU.

Spinnerbaits have been productive on windy points with grass as well as in creeks and drains where grass grows close to the deeper water. Work the spinnerbait along the edge of the grass while keeping boat in deep water.

Other bass-catching patterns include working a Texas rig on the outside edge of the grass on points as well as along creeks. Texas-rigged soft plastics for us have included Berkley Havoc’s Bottom Hopper and Rocket Craw (new), Berkley Power Worms and Trick Worms.

Best colors for us in Havoc series are Shady Watermelon Candy and watermelon. Other producing soft-plastic colors are watermelon purple flake, red bug and candy bug.

Topwater patterns are also good with Yellow Magic, Pro Pop (Norman) Pop R and Chug all catching bass. Shad-colored baits are best on topwater baits. We are working topwater baits mainly early morning on outside edge of the grass and the deeper the water close to the grass, the bigger the bass.

Schooling activity has been good with topwater lures, weightless soft plastics and small spoons all catching schoolies. Drop-shot patterns also continue to catch bass.

Lake Conditions

At midweek the lake level was 168.4 feet with minimal generating at the dam, according to Sabine River Authority information and personal observation. Actually, there has been very little change of the lake level in 2-3 months.

Also, the entire lake has great water conditions with north Toledo slightly stained, midlake is clear and south Toledo is very clear with visibility 6-10 feet.

Water temperatures continue to slide and last week ran from 80-85 degrees. By today, I look for them to be in upper 70s.

Crappie moved somewhat more shallow with reports fishing in 12-18 feet on docks and under bridges.

Live shiners and black-firetail jigs early and blue-white tail later in the day. Yellow bass are in the back third of major creeks as are white bass and are hitting Bill Lewis Rat-L-Traps, small crankbaits and spoons.

Big Lake Report

“Looks like the fall season is here,” said Capt. Bruce Baugh, who reported the shrimp have started migrating out of the marsh.

Yes, bird action is picking up and the cold front that just past will pump things up even more. Once the frontal winds subside by midweek we should really see the bird action heat up.

Last Sunday Baugh had a major fishing product rep in his boat, Ashushi Matsui from Japan,who wanted to try to catch a Louisiana redfish. He was not disappointed as he and Baugh waded into several schools of reds chasing shrimp right on the shoreline.

Shrimp were actually jumping out on the bank trying to keep from being enguffed by a redfish. If the shrimp got out of the water a gull had a feast which made it a bad morning to be a shrimp. Baugh also added that Matsui also learned not to lip-grip a speckled trout. Once is all it takes! Baugh also reported fishing mid-lake reefs for trout while catching decent numbers on topwater (She Dogs) and the color did not seem to matter.

Captain Kevin Broussard of Big Lake’s Cajun’s Paradise Lodge reports good fishing action from Salt Water Barrier down thru Lake Charles, Prien Lake and Moss Lake as he states that there are lots of trout and reds in the north part of the fishery. This really helps to spread out the anglers instead of everyone trying to fish the same areas down south. It is good news to know the conditions in the northern part of the fishery have greatly improved. Broussard suggests soft plastics, live shrimp and live shad have been the go-to baits. Broussard did mention West Cove for trout action and lots of reds at the Gulf Jetties when wind conditions permit.

The minimal times the Wiers have been opened seems to really be bunching anglers in that area. All anglers, both guided and un-guided parties are encouraged to respect other anglers. If another boat is already on your chosen fishing spot, seriously consider going somewhere else and come back there later in the day. Fishing will be very good for the next couple of months as late September through November is as good as it gets around here.


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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