Hello, Anglers. Spring is on its way.

Hello, Anglers. Spring is on its way.

UPDATE: Last Wednesday we received an update concerning the potential Toledo Bend lake record spotted bass caught by area angler David Bercier. It seems that Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Ricky Yeldell has ruled that the fish submitted by Bercier was a largemouth Bass and not a Spotted Bass. This ruling leaves the current lake record of 3.40 caught by Larry Upshaw in February 2009 still standing. I am sure that Bercier is disappointed but there are times when it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two species. This is especially true in cold water when the fish have been in deep water all winter and appear to be lighter in color. I can usually I.D. a spotted bass while it is still in the water but they can be tougher to identify in cold water conditions. I am sure Toledo biologist Yeldell, a highly respected and experienced LDWF employee, would loved to have seen a new Toledo spotted bass record. Maybe soon!

LAKE CONDITIONS: The lake level early this week was 169.27' with both generators at the dam shut down. Water temps are climbing into the low to mid 50s. However, cooler but not cold weather is moving in so they may stay about the same temperature during this week. North Toledo is stained, mid lake is slightly stained and south Toledo is clear. Submerged grass is great on the south end but it is also decent in some of the mid-lake areas which is a super improvement over past 8-10 years.

BASS REPORT: From numerous reports last week the bass are moving to more shallow water. There are several reasons for this happening including spawning season is approaching, the females are full of eggs plus water temperatures have moved up 4-5 degrees in the past 7 to 10 days. With bass moving up, shallow water producing baits are coming more into play including Bill Lewis Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits and shallow-running crankbaits. The lake is down 6-8 inches than what it was a couple of weeks ago so on the south end of the lake so you will need to look around some for areas with less grass because some areas have grass growing all the way to the top. In these areas it is difficult to almost impossible to work Traps and spinnerbaits. However, there are areas where grass grows up to 2-3 feet from the surface which makes it ideal to run spinnerbaits, Traps and shallow running crankbaits. Some ideal areas are in the back 1/3 of major creeks.

There remains a deep pattern as well where Carolina rigs, drop shot, heavy jigs(1/2 to 1 oz) and deep-running crankbaits are working. These are on deep ridges, humps and deep points. If you can find a little deep grass on these then all the better. An ideal hump or ridge with grass in 16 to 22 feet would be ideal for these deep patterns.

Suggestions for Carolina rigs would be 1/2 oz sinker, 17 lb test Berkley Fluorocarbon both on main line and leader (24inch leader) plus a magnum 8 inch lizard in watermelon red or green pumpkin. I like a 4/0 Daiichi or XPoint off-set hook for this rig. For drop shot I use 8 to 10 lb Berkley Trilene Fluorocarbon, #1 and 1/0 wide-gap. I am drop-shotting a little deeper from 20 to 30 feet, depending on weather conditions.

CRAPPIE AND CATFISH: Very few crappie anglers catching fish with a few being caught in back of creeks after several days of warm weather. This pattern will improve. Catfish are being caught on Noodles, according to Holly Park Marina. Noodles are bright colored floating devices with a short line attached that you bait and throw out over an area. This method can be very effective for caching catfish.

AUTHOR INFO: Joe Joslin is a syndicated outdoor columnist, tournament angler and pro guide on Toledo and Sam Rayburn. Contact him at joejoslinoutdoors@yahoo.com and at www.joejoslinoutdoors.com.