Even though we have DEFINITELY reached the doldrums of summer, there is still lot’s of action out on the lake. This is the time of the year when the really early bird can usually get the worm, but Toledo Bend also offers some good fishing for you late sleepers.
August 2, 2005 – Normal pool level 172 – current level 166.44. Max temp 96-degrees, Min temp 74-degrees. Generator 1 & 2 running from 11am-8pm, Spillway gates closed. (The lake level is read daily at 6:30 AM by SRA – Louisiana).
***SRA states that they will be running two generators – nine hours a day (M-F – 11am-8pm) and on Saturday two generators will run six hours a day (1pm-7pm). Not sure if there is a set timeframe on this so it may continue under this schedule until the end of August. This is a real shame since many boat docks and ramps are already out of water and unusable. If SRA keeps pulling water and we don’t get some rain in August most lake residents will be high and dry, pvc lines from the lake used to water lawns and gardens will useless and area business’s will suffer major hardships due to lack of visitors coming to the lake for recreational and fishing purposes. What a shame!! Wonder what happened to that proposed agreement between SRA Texas and SRA Louisiana that the lake would not be drawn down below the 168’ level?
I understand the rules and regulations that govern the Texas side of Toledo Bend state that the following will be done to the best of SRA’s ability ..
(1) Insuring the quality and quantity of the waters impounded in the Toledo Bend Reservoir for it’s main purpose – Water supply and the generation of Hydroelectric power (2) Insuring maximum recreation benefits to, and development of recreational facilities for all residents and visitors and
(3) Protecting life and property
Somewhere in all this I would encourage SRA to take a long hard look at item #2 of “Insuring maximum recreation benefits to residents and visitors (can’t have much recreational benefit if you pump the lake dry and can’t launch a boat) and item number 3 of “Protecting life and property” (property can be defined as the large investments many people have made in lakefront land, homes businesses and other facilities). — You would think that with all the very knowledgeable people involved in this issue that a win-win situation could be achieved. Let’s hope..
On to a more cheerful note —
Bass Fishing – Early action has been pretty good using chuggers, buzzbaits and spinnerbaits, but when I say early I mean you better be casting at the first break of dawn. Once that sun hits the water the normal topwater action has been ending fast. Concentrate your fishing near the edges of the grass in about four feet of water and let the spinnerbaits work down into the 12-to 14-foot range. In recent days the bass seem to be holding out away from the vegetation and lighter color skirts have been most productive.
Once that sun starts bearing down there are three patterns that have been working well. The first is to use a Texas or Carolina-rigged plastic worm in the 15-20-foot depths. Smoke, watermelon-red, watermelon and cotton candy w/chartreuse tail are colors of choice. The second pattern may surprise many of you. Head to the coves that have timber or grass and work a “speed worm” in the 2-to 4-foot depths. The speed worm technique is simple yet effective, and one that resident pro A.D. White uses with much success. Add a small split-shot to your line about 6-inches above a swivel. Tie about a foot or so of line to the other end of the swivel and then add your favorite worm to a #2/0 or 3/0 hook. Fish the bait basically like you would do a spinnerbait or crankbait. Cover lot’s of water and alternate the retrieve with a fast-stop erratic type retrieve. This technique is a sleeper and at times can be super effective. The third technique involves using a ½-to 3/8-oz jigging spoon. My favorite spoon is made by Texan Lures, and I rely heavily on the spoon with a nickel finish. A spoon can be jigged along the edge of drop-offs and channels, cast and allowed to sink down through schools of feeding fish and even run along the surface of the water for those times when bass or other species are blowing up on schools of shad. A jigging spoon will catch bass, bream, catfish, stripers, crappie, and anything else that swims in Toledo Bend .. (heaven forbid even a drum or gaspergoo). I personally think the jigging spoon is one of the most under-rated and highly effective lures an angler can have on the other end of their line.
Crappie fishermen are still bringing in some nice “slabs” from brushpiles located in about 18-22 feet of water. The night fishermen seem to be doing the best for numbers of fish but I have seen quite a few big crappie taken during the day. Small tube baits fished slowly over the brush have been the ticket for the lure fishermen, but minnows are also doing well. Plan to use a number of different colors to keep the crappie interested because they usually get finicky on one color and you have to experiment to see what gets them going again. Start with black/chartreuse because it’s hard to beat for these Toledo Bend crappie.
Striper action has been a feast or famine situation. Lloyd Brack and I shared a boat and each of us had enough fish on for our limit (5 fish daily – no min length – only two striper’s 30-inches or greater may be kept each day). Our fish came from the Louisiana side of the lake fishing over about 40-feet of water .. but the fish were holding in the 18-22-foot depth. The most effective baits were a Lil Hustler 1-oz jig with a Fin-S-Fish or Bass Assassin trailer (shad-type colors), or a plain ¾-oz leadhead jig with the same Fin-S-Fish or Bass Assassin as a trailer. We “strolled” slowly along with the trolling motor and the fish seemed to prefer it best when we repeatedly gave the bait a quick upward lift of the rod and allowed the bait to fall. . Most hits occurred after the bait had been popped and was falling. Giving the baits this erratic action was much more effective that the standard slow troll behind the boat.
Once again I would remind you to be sure you have stout line and a properly set drag on your reel because a 15+ pound striper can really be something to get into the boat. Late rumor’s are that the stripers may be starting to drift up the lake toward the deeper water areas near Housen Bay. We will be checking this out on our next trip.
Schooling bass are still churning the top of the water, and some of the action can take place during the hottest part of the day. In many areas there have been some really nice black bass in the 3-pound range running with the schools and lots of yellow bass mixed in to make it interesting. The small nickel or chartreuse Texan ½-oz jigging spoon will put these fish in the boat fast. If you have cloud cover the fish will stay on top much longer and are more prone to hit small clear topwater prop baits such as a Tiny Torpedo or a baby Zara Spook. If you haven’t had the opportunity to fish for schooling bass you are missing out on some great family fun.
Yellow Bass – I like to refer to these guys as “zone” fish. To catch them consistently you need to locate the correct zone or depth that the fish are holding. Right now we are finding them in water that is from say 18- to 30 feet deep, but the yellow bass are holding (and feeding) at a depth of from 12- to 18 feet. Just a few days ago the magic depth was 15 feet. Drop a spoon down at that depth, jig it, and odds are that you will find some willing fish.
In case you didn’t hear – -Kevin Van Dam won the 2005 Citgo Bassmaster Classic that was held on Pittsburgh’s three rivers. His three day total: 11 fish weighing 12 pounds, 15 ounces. The fishing was super tough but he managed to edge out fellow fisherman and Day Two leader, Aaron Martens, by six ounces. “I fished my heart out.” VanDam told the crowd at Mellon Arena. “I had a pretty good day.” VanDam and his family climbed aboard his assigned bass boat to take a victory lap around the floor at Mellon Arena. The angler kept a tight hold on his trophy while waving an American flag as a capacity crowd of fans cheered.
A special congratulations to all of the Fairdale Baptist Church members that were on a recent Toledo Bend fishing trip involving their Royal Ambassador youth group. Great fun was had by all, the hamburger feed was super … and the fishing was pretty good too!!
Remember to drink lot’s of liquids such as water and sports drinks when you are out on the water. Also wear a wide brim hat
and make sure that you apply sun tan lotion at regular intervals during the day. Hope you have a great August and I will see you on the water — JB (PS-Think Rain)