Toledo Bend bass stocking to bolster reservoir’s quality fishing

By Chris Berzas for Louisiana Sportsman

LDWF biologist Jason Brancamp remains optimistic that double-digit trophy largemouths will remain in Toledo Bend’s future for quite a while.

“The trend continues to get better and better, and in December we already had 36 bass over 10 pounds registered in the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program,” he said. “The fish are now appearing healthier and stronger, and recruitment is fine with the 14-inch length limit and continuous stocking of Florida bass.”

And the agency is planning to bolster the population this year.

“In the spring of 2016, we’re looking at releasing another batch — 840,000 phase 1 fingerlings in Toledo Bend,” Brancamp said.

The biologist also said he’s pretty confident a lake record and a Louisiana record largemouth are swimming in Toledo Bend.

The fact that numerous 10-pound-plus bass appear on an annual basis is an indicated of strong age classes of bass.

It’s this strong trophy fishery that led to Bassmaster ranking Toledo Bend as the No. 1 bass fishery in the USA in 2015.


Throw me something, mister! How to catch Toledo Bend’s lunker bass

The Toledo Bend trophy bass parade should crank up this month, with lunkers feeding up for the upcoming spawn. And this longtime lake guide knows exactly how to catch them.

By Chris Berzas for Louisiana Sportsman

February marks the beginning of what has become a parade of huge largemouth at Toledo Bend Reservoir.

As water temperatures increase, fish move into the shallows to stake out prime nursery locations near points and deeper channels in preparation for the spawn.

But before they go to their beds, these big sows will be feeding up, feasting on baitfish and crawfish.

And that means this is a great time to target those double-digit bass that have come by the dozens over the past couple of years.

Guide and Louisiana Sportsman columnist John Dean Jr. will be on the water as often as possible, ambushing as many of these lunkers as possible.

The 62-year-old Dean — who has fished two Bassmaster Classic and earned numerous top 50 finishes on the Bassmaster trail — has fished the fabled reservoir for nearly 40 years.

And he said any trophy hunters should make the trip to the reservoir this month.

“February is a great time to be fishing Toledo Bend waters,” Dean said. “The lake is just a super-rich environment for largemouths right now, and they’ll be roaming in and out of the shallows to fatten up before the spawn.”

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Jason Brancamp said the drive to binge eat is the first step in the annual breeding cycle.

“The prespawn is a preparatory time for bass before the spawn occurs,” Brancamp said. “Bass are getting into the mood, heading into the direction of the shallows.”

Increasing water...