Hello, anglers and outdoor addicts. My favorite fishing hole is on the ‘come back’ as we had some outstanding weights at several tournaments the past couple of weeks. Some reported catching their fish shallow (3-10’), plus some mid depths (12-16’) while others from deep structure. (16-26’). It is early February so more and more bass will begin to move to the shallows especially since we are getting more hydrilla. The back of Housen Bay, Hurricane Creek and back of Mill Creek all have a significant amount of hydrilla. In addition, some of the heavy bags weighed in recent tournaments were caught from fish ‘staging’ in preparations for the spawn.
LAKE CONDITIONS: The lake level early this week was 168.02’ which is basically 4 feet below full pool with surface temperatures running from 48-52 degrees. They are running one generator weekdays for a couple of hours from 6:00 a.m. until 8 a.m. North Toledo is stained with recent rains, mid-lake is slightly stained and south Toledo is mostly clear with some slightly off colored water in Housen Bay, Six Mile/Sandy and the back portion of Mill Creek.
BASS FISHING REPORT: I am already noticing a better shallow bite, especially prior to a strong cold front. My best shallow tools for catching bass from 2 to 12 feet include Square Bill crankbaits (Berkley’s Squarebull), Jerkbaits (Cutter 110 and Skinny Cutter 110), weightless soft plastics such as The General and Senkos which I fish both Texas weightless and wacky rigged. In addition, one of my ‘go to’ shallow rigs is a light weighted Bottom Hopper rigged Texas style om June Bug, Green Pumpkin and Shady watermelon Candy. We have caught hundreds of bass since last September using a Texas rigged Bottom Hopper.
CATCH AND RELEASE: One neat thing about shallow bass in the spring (February – May) is that big fish move in to the shallows to spawn. Please make sure you release all largemouth bass over three pounds allowing these fish to spawn. If you want to take home some fish keep the 14 inchers as well as Spotted Bass. There are several names for Spots including Kentuckies and there are plenty of them in the lake. They also are great table fare and for me personally, other than crappie (white pearch), they are the best eating fish in the lake. Their meat is white, flakey and mild.
Another thing about Spots (Kentuckies) is there is no minimum length. At one time there was a 12 inch minimum but that was dropped 5-6 years ago. However, if you keep a Spot, it does count toward your 8 bass limit on Toledo and 5 bass limit on Rayburn. As I have said earlier, I wish that Toledo had a 5 bass limit like Sam Rayburn. Numerous anglers have a tough time distinguishing a largemouth bass from a Spot. There are several methods to ID a Spot. One being to check the tongue as a spot has a rough tongue, in addition the lateral lines are much more pronounced on a spotted bass.
Also, the mouths of spots are smaller than a largemouth. I’ve seen so many I can usually ID them the water as they have a lighter color about them especially on their back. I seldom catch one in grass and usually catch them off rocks, sandy points or deep structure. In addition, they love a drop shot.
White perch/crappie guide, Jack Adams, says crappie are moving to the creeks and to brush. The crappie they are catching are mostly running from ¾ to 2 pounds and an occasionally a 2 (plus). Both live shiners and crappie jigs are working.
Joe Joslin is a syndicated writer and is published by numerous websites, newspapers and magazines plus is a pro guide on Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn and a TPWD licensed guide since 1998. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org, 337-463-3848/409-565-1288 and website www.joejoslinoutdoors.com.