Joe Joslin

Hello, Anglers. Most of us love to hear what kids have to say about a lot of things. An elementary teacher recently asked a seven year old boy to name the four seasons. His response was not at all what the teacher was expecting when the lad said "let's see....there's fishing season, duck season and deer season but I'm not sure about the other one". Kids are great,aren't they?

HODGES GARDENS RE-OPENS: After being closed for nearly two years, Hodges Gardens who for many years was operated by private owners, re-opened this April as a part of the Louisiana State Parks system. This is the same state organization that operates both North Toledo Bend State Park near Zwolle as well as the new South Toledo Bend State Park just north of the dam. Oftentimes it is hard to find a state agency which performs efficiently, but in the case of both North and South Toledo Bend Parks, the Louisiana State Parks system has done an outstanding job in running/maintaining these facilities. I have come to that conclusion from both personal observation as well as feedback from numerous of my customers who have used the parks. We should assume that this operating efficiency will be the same for beautiful Hodges Gardens. The website for Hodges is and their e-mail is

LAKE CONDITIONS: The lake level is near 171 feet with both generators running at the dam 5 hours daily from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. The water temperatures are running from 78 to 82 degrees and the lake has great water quality from north to south. Due to a few scattered heavy rain situations and the fact that water is being pulled through the dam, a few of the main feeder creeks have some slightly stained water in the upper ends.

FISHING REPORTS/BASS: Early morning and late afternoon have improved for top water patterns. I have found the early morning times the best for topwater on a dark or new moon phase and late afternoons tops on full moon phases. I have observed that pattern played out time after time on my favorite fishing hole. During the warmer months, Toledo has mostly clear water conditions and bass will feed heavily at night under those conditions and many will become inactive during the hot periods of the day. On the dark/new moon phase, bass seem to feed less at night and more in the daytime.

These are general trends/statements as fishing is not an exact science. However, before I became a professional angler and could only fish for extended times during vacation leave time, the family would always plan our summer vacation during the dark moon. I was convienced, even then, that in the warmer months especially, daytime fishing activity was stronger on dark moon phases. I especially am a strong believer in the 'moon under foot' phase where the moon is directly underneath us on the other side of the earth.

Now, back to earth. A deep running crankbait is a good choice when fishing points as is a Texas Rig and carolina rig. I am also starting to catch bass underneath schools with jigging spoons and drop shot rigs. Schooling activity has picked up and bass appear to be willing to hit this year where as some years they seem to ignore most offerings. Good schooling baits include 1/4 ounce spoons, 1/4 ounce Frenzy Rattl'r and Rat-L-Traps in shad/chrome, 100 Series Bandit crankbaits in shad patterns as well as a weightless Berkley Jerk Shad and Fluke in pearl/shad patterns.

CRAPPIE/BREAM: The best crappie patterns are over deep brush and creek bends in 18-28 feet from first light until 9 a.m. Live shiners, fished vertically yields the best success. If you get out early (first light-5:45 a.m.) and fish until 8 or so, you should also be able to catch some fish on a 1/16 ounce jig. Make sure you add a Berkley Power Nibblet to your crappie jig. It will increase your success rate two-fold.

Bream are being caught in good numbers in 2-8 feet with live crickets, worms and Berkley Power Maggots. Some are also moving deeper to flats after they have spawned in 12-15 feet.

AUTHOR INFO: Joe Joslin is a syndicated outdoor writer and also a licensed pro guide on Toledo and Sam Rayburn. He can be reached at 337-463-3848 or e-mail at

Fish Species: Bass
Bait Used: see full report
Tackle Used:
Method Used: see full report
Water Depth: 6 to 25
Water Temperature: 78
Wind Direction: south
Wind Speed: 10-15

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Joe Joslin

About The Author: Captain Joe Joslin

Company: joe joslin outdoors

Area Reporting: South Toledo Bend

Bio: Joe Joslin is a syndicated outdoor writer and writes for several Louisiana newspapers and numerous magazines including Texas Game and Fish, Louisiana Game and Fish, CenLa Sportsman, Louisiana Sportsman and LakeCaster. Joe has been fishing Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn for 25+ years and is a frequent tournament angler. Joe has been a full time pro guide on Toledo Bend/Sam Rayburn since 1998.Joe Joslin Outdoors Fishing Guide Service Wholesome atmosphere * Safety minded * Latest equipment, featuring 21i Class Skeeter with 300 hp Yamaha HPDI * Tackle supplied upon request * References available upon request * Available Year-Round. E-Mail Joe at

337 463 3848
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