Joslin: Cooler months best time to be on Toldeo Bend

By 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.

• • •

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