Joe Joslin

Hello, Anglers. Fishing has been off the charts on my favorite fishing hole as last week was the best single week of guiding since 1999 when we started Joe Joslin Outdoors guide services. One reason was we had about 10 days straight of mild weather without a major cold front which moved water temperatures from the low 40s to the upper 50s and in some areas, low 60s. The cold front of last Saturday/Sunday will cool things off a bit (both the water temps as well as the fish activity) but things should rebound by the time this goes to press this week.

CATCH AND RELEASE Currently, the bass population is starting the spawning process on my favorite fishing hole as well as on most fisheries in the area. Toledo's water level remains historically low as I have been fishing the lake for 35 years and have never seen it this low the first half of March. Bass are coming in to spawn and there is no place for them to hide and they are extremely exposed to sight fishermen. My personal wish is that the game and fish departments of both Texas and Louisiana would allow only catch and release until the end of May. That is how I see it with no scientific data to make that statement but it is just how I see things from being on the lake a majority of the days so far this year.

I strong suggest, encourage and urge all bass anglers to release all larger fish of 4 pounds or more, especially now. If you want fish to eat, keep the spotted bass and the largemouth 15 inches and under. There is no minimum requirement for spotted bass (Kentucky Bass) and a 10-14 inch spot is very tasty/flaky and the lake is loaded with them. When you catch your biggest bass ever and you want to mount her you have some options.

First, never consider anything but a fiberglass replica as the price is the same, it looks good for a lifetime with minimum maintenance being a damp cloth to wipe off the dust. The best part of a replica is that you get to have your trophy and the bass lives again to make more huge bass. And not to be under estimated is the huge personal satisfaction of releasing a big, beautiful, wild creature back into it's environment. To encourage catch and release the Texas Parks and Wildlife, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and Toledo Bend Lake Association all have highly successful FREE replica programs.

The angler must have it weighed officially and it must be alive. In 2010 the Toledo Lake Association presented 36 replicas over 10 pounds.

In addition, Ricky Yelldell, Toledo biologist with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and A. Kell McKinnis III, representing the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, presented seven additional replicas of largemouth bass to those fishermen who caught fish over 12 pounds. These are outstanding programs and are a win, win for all concerns.

LAKE CONDITIONS: Even with some of the heaviest rain in weeks, the lake level has not moved and is 164.60'. The area is so dry that there was minimum run-off. Water temps range from mid 50s to upper 50s at mid week showing a slight cooling. The lake has been low for so long that on the south end new submerged grass is starting to grow out from the bank as well as on (now) shallow ridges in 8-10 feet that once was 15 to 20 feet.

FISHING REPORTS/BASS: As mentioned earlier, we have been catching so many beautiful bass on several patterns. We have been targeting depths of 2 to 12 feet and have been hitting the real shallow stuff when bass are active such as just before a front or following multiple mild days. For the 2 to 8 feet depths we are using Stanley's Vibrashaft and new VibraWedge double willowleaf spinnerbaits in white, chartreuse or shad patterns. We are using the 3/8 oz. most of the time and will go to a 1/2 oz. when bass are sluggish and down in the cover/grass. The original Trap (Bill Lewis Rat-l-Trap) is also catching its share in shallow to mid-depths with top colors being Toledo Gold and chrome/blue.

We are also doing well on weightless soft plastics rigged both Texas as well as wacky style. In addition, a TX rig with light weight continues to produce for us as it has for the past 4-5 months. For weightless soft plastics wacky style we like Berkley Sinking Minnows, Senkos(5 inch) and Kandi Stixs and for TX weightless we like Berkley Hollow Belly Swimbaits, Senkos and Flukes. Post fronts we are still finding some bass in 15 to 25 feet on deep diving DD22s, Carolina rigs and drop shot.

CRAPPIE: There's lots of crappie in shallow water but the front last weekend slowed them down somewhat. Live shiners under corks in 2 to 4 feet as well as jigs in 4 to 8 feet have been catching a lot of crappie in ditches as well along the edge of ridges close to deep water. Johnson Beetle Spins and Blakemore Road Runners are also catching some really big crappie when worked slowly along the bottom in the back of creeks and drains. Night fishing under bridges accounted for some big catches.

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: L.M. Bass
Bait Used: Stanley VibraWedge spinnerbaits, Berkley Sinking Minnows, Senkos
Tackle Used: Abu Garcia Revo Reels(STX/Winch), Fenwick Rods, All Star Rods, Berkley 100% Fluo
Method Used: Wacky Senkos and Sinking Minnows, Carolina Rigs, spinnerbaits over the grass
Water Depth: 4 to 12
Water Temperature: 54-58
Wind Direction: south
Wind Speed: 10-15
This 11.2 lb toledo largemouth hit a spinnerbait
This 11.2 lb toledo largemouth hit a spinnerbait

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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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