Joe Joslin Outdoors - Guide Service

Current Fishing Report for Toledo Bend Lake

Toledo Bend Reservoir Fishing Report
January 23, 2016

Hello, anglers and outdoor addicts. Winter patterns are in place on area fisheries which takes some adjusting from fishermen who might have 65 degree days one day and 28 degrees the following morning which was the case this week on south Toledo. It is a time of transition as far as fishing patterns as bass are wanting to move up to more shallow cover in preparation for the spawn. One term that is used to describe this time of the year is “staging” where bass move up from deep water to a ledge or break that is close to spawning flats. This is a time when numbers of bass sometimes are off slightly but it is a time when the fish are fat and healthy so an angler could catch a really big fish. It is also possible to find a group of big bass together which is a blast if the angler is fortunate to encounter such a find. This helps me to get out of the bed at 5 a.m. with temps near freezing.

LAKE CONDITIONS: At midweek the lake level was 172.2’ with one generator running 24 hours and 7 flood gates open 1 foot and 2 gates open 3’. Water temps have been running from 52 to 55 degrees with north Toledo stained, mid lake is slightly stained and clearing while south Toledo remains clear but main feeder creeks do have off colored water in the back portions.

FISHING REPORTS/BASS: We continue to target both deep and shallow patterns depending upon weather conditions. To simplify our pattern selection, we normally fish deeper patterns during post frontal/cold days and move up shallow during periods of warm up which is common in this neck of the woods. There are always exceptions as this description is our general approach. One exception in the past few weeks had us working shallow grass with a Texas rigged Berkley Bottom Hopper behind a strong cold front with north winds howling at over 25 mph.

They didn’t bite all day but for a couple of hours that morning they were very aggressive and we boated some really nice fish. The same pattern did not work the next morning so we had to move to deeper patterns. Such is fishing in this season of the year as we have to be able to adjust our approach. Knowing what adjustments to make is a challenge I enjoy but at times this can be tough to figure out so pursuing fish never becomes boring. The other significant element in fishing is being with fellow anglers. While occasionally I enjoy fishing alone, 90% of my fishing is done with other anglers including clients, friends and family.

If you are not comfortable fishing deep patterns you might consider making that a New Year’s resolution. I have a lot of clients who fish the Basin, The Delta and marshes where deep water is 8-10 feet and they mainly fish water with depths less than 5 feet targeting visible structure such as cypress trees and stumps as well as the shoreline. When they come to a huge impoundment such as Toledo and Rayburn with little visible structure and I pull up to a fishing hole 500 yards offshore it takes a while for them to feel comfortable. I am relying 95% on what I am seeing on my electronics so there is not much to relate to other than what is showing on the electronic units.

Our shallow patterns (4 – 12’) involve Spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, crankbaits and soft plastics including wacky rigs, jigs and Texas rigs. They are all related to submerged aquatic vegetation including milfoil and coontail grasses. I am finding no hydrilla at all. Hopefully, it will reappear this spring. We are slow-rolling ½ oz. Stanley double willow spinnerbaits over the grass and pitching ½ oz Stanley grass jigs and Texas rigged Berkley Bottom Hoppers in the grass. We are working wacky rigs, jerkbaits(Berkley’s new Skinny Cutter 110+) and Norman’s DLN(Deep Little Ns) on outside edge of the grass which is from 9-12’.

Deep patterns include a drop shot (#1 Daiichi widegap hook/8 lb test Berkly XL)using a Bottom Hopper Jr. that we nose hook and fish vertically. We also are using a ½ oz football jig and jigging spoon in depths of 25-35’.

CRAPPIE/YELLOW BASS: Holly Park Marina, located close to Chicken Coop, says the crappie are slow at the Coop as water temps are not cold enough to move shad and crappie into the famous river crappie hole. Will the Coop get hot this winter? It may not happen as it is usually better with water levels 170’ or lower and we are not close to that with rain predicted this week. The yellow bass are not as active the past couple of weeks but those that are being caught are nice size as it is getting close to their spawning time and the females are full of roe (eggs).


Joe Joslin Outdoors
Licensed Guide on Toledo Bend & Sam Rayburn
Tournament Angler & Outdoor Media
Member: Louisiana Outdoor Writers Assoc.& Southeastern Outdoor Press Assoc
160 Country Lane, DeRidder, LA 70634

Phone: (337) 463-3848