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Joslin: Always keep one eye on the weather

Last Modified: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 10:00 AM

By Joe Joslin / American Press

Hello, anglers.

Here is a page from a guide’s notebook in mid-February: Fishing on my favorite fishing hole last week took some frequent weather app scanning as well as interpreting what the various weather sources had to say about severe weather conditions. While all of this info/data is extremely helpful, it still comes down to having to make a decision as to whether to give the green light or to pull the plug on the day’s fishing trip. At the same time our clients, who we are briefing and keeping in the loop, are wondering what their plans will include.

One factor I seriously consider is whether my clients are already in the area or if they will be traveling from a significant distance. If they are in the area, I will sometimes move the percentages of fishing more in favor of not canceling since travel is a minimum and weather forecasting is not an exact science.

Also, when a weather system slows down (stalls) on the south end of the cold front, as it often does in this area, fishing can be awesome as in off the charts.

However, there are days when Mother Nature says, “Nope.” Words like “squall lines,” “severe lightning” and “hail” gets my attention and suggest that I might need to keep the boat on the trailer and spend a day with the wife and work on her list.

We did have a weather cancellation last Thursday and got the rest of the trips in.

Lake Conditions

Water temperatures last week were running from 54-59 degrees with the lake level at 169.2 feet mean sea level and both generator units shut down.

The lake is in great shape with north Toledo stained, midlake slightly stained to clear with south Toledo clear. All major creeks have stained conditions, especially in the upper sections away from the main lake.

Fishing Reports

BASS: As normal for late February/early March, there are multiple patterns and lures catching bass these days.

Anglers did have to make adjustments the past week due to multiple cold fronts and colder air temps did not allow for any warming of shallow water.

Looking at long-term weather trends, this colder air will be in place all this week in the Toledo area with forecasts for overnight lows in upper 30s each night.

We have been fishing mostly slow patterns the past few weeks, but had to slow even more last week with a lot of the bites occurring when the bait was stopped. We were able to catch a few on the Rat-L-Trap (Cherry Bomb) and Stanley Vibra Wedge spinnerbait, but we had to use various retrieves as chunkin’ and winding did not get it done.

We used a lot of weightless and light-weighted soft plastics last week when winds allowed us and these worked well most of the time with the best times being in cloudy conditions as well as late afternoons.

We have been using a Havoc Bottom Hopper and Trick Worm rigged both Texas and wacky and working them on points (both primary and secondary) as well as in ditches and drains. We are also using the Berkley Sinking Minnow, Kandi Stik and Senko rigged both wacky as well as Texas weightless and weedless. Other patterns include Stanley’s Swim-Max jig and Norman’s DLN crankbait both worked along outside grassline in 6-14 feet.

There were also times recently when we continued to use the drop-shot. Love the drop-shot. We still like Havoc’s Bottom Hopper Jr. (4.75 inches) for our drop-shot worm choice in shady watermelon candy and green pumpkin. Football jigs (half-ounce Stanley Bugeye) are also getting some action when fished in similar depths as we are drop-shotting, which is from 15-30 feet.

CRAPPIE/YELLOW BASS: The shallow crappie bite has slowed down a little, but by the time this is published things could be heating up again.

They have been in the mouths of small creeks and ditches and have been hitting small jigs or minnows under corks in 2-6 feet.

At the other end of the depth chart, crappie guide Ernie Cole said he continues to catch a decent number of crappie at the Chicken Coop since the water has cooled some. He does have some brush piles there that are helping him.

The yellow bass patterns are still deep and on the ledges of main creeks and the river bed.

• • •

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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