Joe Joslin Outdoors - Guide Service

Current Fishing Report for Toledo Bend Lake

Toledo Bend Reservoir Fishing Report
January 16, 2018

Hello anglers and outdoor addicts. Most all hunting seasons are winding down, especially deer and duck hunting. Duck season has just under a couple weeks left and deer season is different depending on what region you live in. Deer season has been somewhat better than duck season but oftentimes the last part of duck season can be the best.

LAKE CONDITIONS: The lake level has been mostly stable for the past month holding around 167.4’ to 167.6’ according to info from the SRA (Sabine River Authority). Water temperatures rose slightly this past week from 46 degrees to 47.5 degrees as of Monday but this cold front with sleet and snow will definitely move the water temps lower….lows tonight (Tuesday) are predicted to be 18 which will bring the water temps to low 40s.

The water condition has been stable with north Toledo running stained to slightly stained. Midlake is mostly clear to slightly stained while south Toledo is clear to very clear.

However, there are always some stained water conditions in the back portions of major feeder creeks.

FISHING REPORTS/BASS: Our best pattern yesterday (Monday) was Stanley ½ oz. Bugeye Football Jigs in 18-22 feet. Patterning bass currently is an interesting and sometimes difficult task. Normally when the water temps are in the 40s I can find fish in my deep winter holes. We are catching a few fish deep but we usually load the boat the last half of December and January. We are catching some fish shallow but on points that have deep water close using jerkbaits, Texas rigged Havoc Bottom Hoppers and squarebill crankbaits. I like Berkley’s Squarebull.

On rigging a jerk bait, I use either a 10 or 12 lb. test Trilene 100% fluorocarbon plus a low profile Abu Revo STX reel with a 7:0 retrieve ratio ( a fast retrieve) to allow you to catch up with the bass as often they will hit the bait and run straight to the boat/deep water. I like to make long casts when fishing a jerk bait and the light line helps me to do that. Another advantage of the fluorocarbon is it sinks which really assists in keeping the jerk bait down in the zone. The fluorocarbon helps the jerk bait to get down another 6-12 inches which can mean the difference between catching and not catching bass. I use at least a 7’ rod (mostly a 7.2’ to 7.6’) medium action rod.

Another ‘go to’ pattern currently is a Carolina Rig which I use 17 lb. test Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon for both main line and leader. Presently I am using a 36-42 inch leader and dragging the rig slowly, VERY slowly with favorite baits including Berkley Chigger Craw and Baby Brush Hog both in green pumpkin blue and watermelon red. We also are chunking ½ and ¾ oz. Stanley Bug Eye football jigs in black/blue and green pumpkin. We are also using Chigger Craws and Baby Brush Hog for trailers. I always dye the tails chartreuse with a Spike It “pen” and never a “bottle” of Spike It to prevent a major spill on boat carpet.

Finally, we also use drop shot and spoons. On drop shot I use both the light weight version which I fish totally vertical and nose hook the worm as well as the heavy version which I bury the hook in the worm and I cast this rig. We are using both ½ and ¾ oz. jigging spoons and fish these vertical about 90% of the time but I do have some areas with hard bottoms with clean bottoms which I can cast, let it sink and use a yo yo retrieve back to the boat.

The new Ultrex Minn Koto trolling motor is taking a lot of the work that I have been doing as a guide. When a client catches a fish I can hit “anchor” on the Ultrex foot control, dip net the fish and when I o finish the boat is holding on the spot the client caught the fish instead of the wind blowing the boat 50 feet away from where the fish were. It helps even more so on windy days. I can pull up to a windy point and hit “anchor” fish that area out and move up 50’ and anchor again. When I hit anchor I do not have to have my foot on the trolling motor foot control. I can fish without having to control the boat.

CRAPPIE: Crappie guide, Jack Adams, reported that the crappie are beginning to bite at the Chicken Coop. Also I talked to the lady I always talk to at Holly Park Marina which for years has been a reliable source on The Chicken Coop. She said three people in a boat Sunday all had their limit by 9:30 a.m. fishing live shiners in 30 feet.

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, 337-463-3848/409-565-1288 and website


Joe Joslin Outdoors
Licensed Guide on Toledo Bend & Sam Rayburn
Tournament Angler & Outdoor Media
Member: Louisiana Outdoor Writers Assoc.& Southeastern Outdoor Press Assoc
160 Country Lane, DeRidder, LA 70634

Phone: (337) 463-3848