Joe Joslin

Hello, Anglers. In light of the recent development on Toledo, this week's column will a little bit different and we will return to our regular fishing report format next week. However, we did include current fishing info at the end of this column.

TOLEDO DRAW DOWN: Just after press time last week we received a memo from the SRA(Sabine River Authority) stating that they will draw the lake down to 165' mean sea level (msl) which will be approximately 2.5 feet lower that what it is currently which will be 7 feet below full pool which is generally recognized as 172'. The purpose of the draw down is for routine repair of the surface of the dam which is constructed of soil cement. I personally have seen multiple damaged areas all along the dam from the generators all the way north to the spillway as water erosion never stops on a large impoundment and does a lot of damage. Such repairs are always attemped in the fall since lake traffic is the least and lake levels are already low due to power demands, evaporation and low rainfall.

STATS ON TOLEDO BEND: According to SRA info Toledo Bend

is the largest man-made body of water in the South and fifth largest in surface acres in the United States with water normally covering an area of 185,000 acres and having a controlled storage capacity of 4,477,000 acre-feet (1,448,934,927,000 gallons). That is approximately 1.5 trillion gallons of water storage. The dam is approximately 11,250 feet long including the main north/south dam as well as several dikes. The top width is 25 feet and the maximum height of the dam is approximately 112 feet with the top of the dam at elevation 185' msl.

The upstream(waterfront) slope of the embankment is constructed with soil-cement which minimizes erosion but can not totally prevent it. The last time the dam was repaired and we had a draw down was in 2006 when the lake was pulled all the way down to 162.35' which is the lowest I have personally seen it and I've been around the lake since 1974. The 2006 draw down was a challenge as far as boat ramps were concerned but we were able to keep our guide service open all summer/fall in 2006 when it went to 162' so the scheduled 165' will be a piece of cake.

DRAW DOWN SCHEDULE: Beginning Friday, September 10 both generator units will run 24/7 until desired level of 165 msl is achieved and without heavy rainfall the desired levels should be reached in approximately 2 weeks. When necessary repairs are completed the lake level will be allowed to return to normal contracted levels.

ON THE POSITIVE SIDE: In my opinion based from earlier draw downs, fishing will be even better with bass concentrated in less water with all creeks, ditches and points exposed. If you are fairly new to the lake or even if you have fished it several years it will be a great time to learn the lake with so much of the lake now visible. We anticipate our guide business to be very busy because of the great fishing but also some anglers/boaters will not feel comfortable operating their rig with the lake level so low.

In addition, if you are looking for a lake house or lakefront property, a draw down is a great time to look at prospective property. The spring or early summer is, in some ways, the least favorable time to buy because those months the lake is normally full of water and all lakefront land looks good. Also, a portion of homeowners would like to sell in the fall to keep from making payments/paying taxes all fall and winter when many seldom use their lake houses so selling prices could be less. The down-turn in the economy has made lake property prices stablize so there may be some deals available.

LAKE CONDITIONS: At midweek the lake level was 167.34' with one generator active weekdays from 3 to 5 p.m. Water temps are slightly lower and are 84 to 87 degrees. All the lake has good water conditions with north Toledo slightly stained due to low levels and strong southeast winds churning shallow flats, mid-lake is clear and south Toledo is very clear. The lake is low and going much lower so use EXTREME caution when navagating ALL boat lanes especially those off the main lake leading into feeder creeks.

FISHING REPORTS/BASS: Fishing continues to improve and slightly lower water temps have been one factor. You can catch fish on a large variety of patterns and lures but we have had success on the very basics. On windy days(plenty fo those) we like a Stanley VibraShaft double willow spinnerbait worked over grassy points. In addition, we are throwing a Texas rig in the medium depth grass and are targeting points with grass and these are easy to see with low water levels.

We continue to work Caroliina rigs on deeper points and ridges as well as deep diving crankbaits(DD22s). The top water action is also good with early morning and late afternoon the top times and also grassy points are prime topwater areas. With lower water temps, we are also having increasing action on TX-rigged weightless soft plastics with Senkos, Berkley Sinking Minnows and Flukes our top producers. We are mostly working these over shallow grass.

CRAPPIE/CATFISH AND YELLOW BASS: Guide, Noe Garcia continues to catch crappie in 20-28 feet with live shiners fishing main lake brushpiles when winds alllow him to get on main lake and that has been a challenge recently. Catfish have been biting on trot lines and individual drop lines/floatlines using live bream, large shiners, cutbait as well as Gulp! Catfish Chunks. Yellow bass are in good numbers along main creek channels and can be caught with small crankbaits, Rat-L-Traps, tailspinners and jigging spoons.

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 or and WEBSITE

Fish Species: bass and crappie
Bait Used:
Tackle Used:
Method Used:
Water Depth:
Water Temperature:
Wind Direction:
Wind Speed:
pic info: Louisiana anglers Mike Black and Alanna Heinrich with stripers, white bass and largemouth bass all caught on a south Toledo grass flat.  Photo by Joe Joslin Outdoors
pic info: Louisiana anglers Mike Black and Alanna Heinrich with stripers, white bass and largemouth bass all caught on a south Toledo grass flat. Photo by Joe Joslin Outdoors

Do you want to leave a comment? Login or register now to leave a comment.

No comments so far

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
Click Here For Past Fishing Reports by Captain Joe Joslin