Hello, Anglers. Our weather is definitely in a summer pattern as afternoons are mixed with sun and thunder storms. Some of the storms this week have been strong, especially the one that hit us on Sunday afternoon. There can be some good fishing times in between but you need to be a close weather watcher as the winds Sunday afternoon had to be over 50 knots plus heavy lighting. There were lots of mid-to-large sized limbs/branches lying in yards as well as along the side of the road-way. For a summer angler, nothing is more dangerous than lightning when you are on the water. If my stats are correct, lightning kills more people each year than Hurricanes and tornadoes combined. Every year, a fellow angler is killed in this area by lightning. My clients will tell you that I have a disclaimer speech about lightning. "I will fish in the cold, in the wind and in the rain but I don't "do" lightning." If there is a storm approaching, I get off the lake.
As any guide will tell you, we have to become "sky readers" when a storm is approaching and I have seen numerous storms approach Toledo and they, for the most part, have a pattern as to how they move and in what direction. Weather apps have helped immensely but they don't tell you everything. If I am on the lake and I look in a particular direction and see a storm cloud forming, I may not move at all and just keep fishing. However, if I see a cloud that is forming in the opposite direction, I may quickly move closer to the boat ramp and see how the cloud moves or forms. Those decisions are made from past experiences and what I have seen weather systems do. Once you have been caught out in a major storm on a huge body of water like Toledo or Sam Rayburn, you become much more cautious.
It is amazing how fast the lake can go from a slight ripple to waves you cannot see over. One more thing, if you have crossed the lake and a storm comes up, please remember you do "not" have to cross back to the other side. The decision to try to get back to your point of origin can be deadly. Find a place to weather the storm on the safe side of the lake and then cross back after the storm has passed. Many boats have been swamped by boaters making that wrong decision. Once you have started and are out in the open lake, you are committed. Also, make sure your boat has 2(two) bilge pumps and they both are working. I suggest one auto (float activated) and one manual. Bilge pumps are cheap and they can save your life. Go to my website http://www.joejoslinoutdoors.com/ and check out a feature I have entitled "Stay Pumped". Be safe fellow anglers and boaters.
LAKE CONDITIONS: The water level is at 170.8' with no generators running yesterday (Tuesday). However, most days they have been running for 4 to 6 hours per day. Water temps are running from 85 to 89 degrees with the lake mostly stable. North Toledo is stained, mid lake is slightly stained to clear and south Toledo is clear to very clear. There is plenty of shoreline grass all over the lake with pepper grass growing out to as deep as 4 to 12 feet and hydrilla on the south end of the lake growing to as deep as 24 feet.
BASS FISHING REPORT: The patterns are in Summertime trends with little change expected for the next 6 to 10 weeks. On clear mornings, top water, frogs, spinnerbaits and light weighted soft plastics are working in depths of 2 to 12 feet. Occasionally, there will be heavy cloud cover for a couple of hours after daylight which will extend the shallow bite. These mornings are "gifts" as the top water, spinnerbait and light weighted worms will (often) produce for half of the morning or more when these conditions are present. However, if you fish a lot you know nothing is a 'given'.
Some of the most consistent patterns have been deeper patterns of 3/4 oz Stanley Bug Eye Football jigs, drop shot and Carolina rigs in 20 to 28 feet. Schooling bass are also doing well but I prefer the dark cycle of the moon phase for schooling bass. The schoolies are pretty active at times and some of the schools have some quality bass mixed in.
Look for schooling bass along the edge of creeks.
CRAPPIE/YELLOW BASS: Man-made brush piles are still producing crappie with live minnows the ticket in 22 to 28 feet fishing about 18 feet from the surface. Lakefront property owners on the south end of the lake with deep piers are also catching crappie off their docks at night with live shiners. Some are fortunate enough to have piers in 20 or more feet of water. Yellow bass are still available with main creek beds the place to look for them. A hint I have given many times is in the summertime to find schooling largemouth bass and fish for the yellow bass with a jigging spoon or tailspinner underneath the largemouth.
AUTHOR INFO: Joe Joslin is a syndicated outdoor columnist, tournament angler and pro guide on Toledo and Sam Rayburn. Contact him at 337-463-3848, firstname.lastname@example.org and website at Joe Joslin Outdoors - Guide Service - Toledo Bend Lake - Sam Rayburn Reservoir