Joslin: Signs of autumn on the horizon

By By Joe Joslin / American Press

Hello, anglers and outdoors lovers.

I’m seeing a lot of work being done on deer leases in the area with trailers hauling a bunch of ATVs instead of boats. Even

though the daytime temperatures don’t show it, fall is not far away and full-out hunting season is close.

There is a cool front on the way, according to long-term forecasts, which will also bring even more teal down into our area

for our duck hunters. By this time next week we should see a moderate change in our weather. I’m for that!

Lake Conditions

The lake level early this week was 167.25 feet with one of the two generators running from 3-5 p.m. weekdays.

Considering the minimal amounts of rain

the area has received the past two months the lake level is actually

not bad for mid-September.

Surface water temps have fallen slightly the past weeks and are

running from 83-86 degrees. Water conditions are stable from

north to south with slightly stained up north, mostly clear at

midlake and very clear down south Toledo.

There is no shortage of aquatic grasses on much of the lake, especially the southern third of the impoundment. Housen Bay,

Six Mile, Sandy, Mill Creek, Indian Creek and Toro are loaded with both hydrilla as well as pepper grass.

Fishing Reports

BASS: We are working two areas of the grass with one being openings in the grass close to the bank or shoreline as well as the outside

edge of the grass, which has been one of our go-to areas all summer.

As we get into fall and water temps retreat into the 60s-70s, the shoreline areas will become even more productive. Topwater,

weightless soft plastics, frogs, spinnerbaits or buzzbaits will all be factors in catching good bass out of shallow grass.

It will be fun and topwater patterns are already improving as is fishing in general.

For topwater we are using a lot of poppers including Pop Rs, Pro Pop (Norman Lures), Chug Bug and Yellow Magic. The common

threads in these include the need of a teaser tail on the bait, plus they need to be either shad- or chrome-colored. Most

of the time we are working these very slowly, especially if there is minimal wind. Don’t be afraid to completely stop the

bait for 8-10 seconds.

As we have made plain in multiple

recent reports, a Texas rig is usually on the deck of my boat. I am

fishing three types

of Texas rigs and using Berkley Havoc’s Grass Pig rigged Texas

weightless and working it over vegetation that is both submerged

as well as floating.

In addition, we are working a Texas rig

with a 3/16- and 1/4-ounce weight with Berkley Havoc Bottom Hoppers and

Trick Worms.

We are working these on the outside edge of submerged grass in

12-25 feet. Our third Texas-rigged setup is a 3/8- to 1/2-ounce

sinker on a Berkley Power Worm with both the 7- and 10-inch

versions. The heavier rig is mostly for depths of 18 -0 feet with

22-28 the most productive.

Two other baits that continue to be in our arsenal are crankbaits and drop-shot patterns. Our two favorite crankbaits right

now are Norman’s new NXS, which runs from 12-16 feet, and the HD model DD22 which runs from 18-20 feet on 10- and 12-pound

test 100 percent Berkley Pro Grade fluorocarbon on a Revo Winch baitcast.

A near full spool of line and long rod

(I use a 7-foot-6 Veritas medium-action) is needed to make super long

cast in order

to achieve maximum depth. The Revo Winch is a smooth workhorse

when working crankbaits and takes a lot of work out of cranking

a big crankbait. The drop-shot also continues to catch bass and

there’s hardly a fishing day that we don’t catch fish on this

pattern. Drop-shot patterns are giving best results in 14-25 using

light line and a slow presentation.

Yes, schooling bass are scattered all over the lake, but deep points and mouths of creeks are holding the best schools.

CRAPPIE AND YELLOW BASS:

I have heard of a little better crappie action, but all has come from

man-made deep brush piles in 22-28 feet with live shiners.

As soon as water cools some more the crappie bite will improve. Yellow bass are more plentiful in most major creeks with spoons,

tailspinners and small crankbaits catchin’em.

• • •

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 joejoslinoutdoors@yahoo.com or visit www.joejoslinoutdoors.com