Lakecaster Online

ANGLING NEWS
TOLEDO BEND: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

By Joe Joslin

As another fall is approaching, I am reflecting on one of my favorite places in God's beautiful creation...Toledo Bend. As I think back over the past years of fishing The Bend, I have so many wonderful, exciting thoughts of clients, friends and family outings on this outstanding fishery. The past two years have been excellent as far as catching fish and winter/spring/summer 2004 have been some of the best months in a number of years for me personally. She may be old as far as impoundments go.....35 years, but she has a lot left for anglers who are willing to adapt to changing patterns and structure.

Every year is somewhat different on most southern United States reservoirs because of water levels, current, weather patterns and submerged vegetation. A few reasons the past 7-8 months have been so productive on Toledo are excellent water levels, slightly cooler than average temperatures and a significant increase in hydrilla and other beneficial submerged grasses. When talking about an increase in submerged grasses, I am speaking mainly of the southern part of the lake. However, there have been grass coverage increases in the mid and northern areas of Toledo also, so the prospects certainly looks more hopeful for those areas that have been bare of grasses for the past few years.

Another exciting item on the southern part of the lake is the soon opening of South Toledo Bend State Park. A scenic 1,023-acre area on the Louisiana side just above the dam, South Toledo Bend State Park will be located on La. 191 in Sabine Parish. Facilities at the park will include a visitor/nature center, 19 two-bedroom cabins, 60 campsites, a comfort station, a picnic area, a beach swimming area, a boat launch and a canoe launch.

The park is projected to open late 2004 and is a part of the Louisiana Department of Tourism. If South Toledo Bend State park is embraced by the public in the same manner in which North Toledo Bend State Park has been, the park will experience a very high volume of happy campers. I don't (can't) say this about every state-run facility, but North Toledo Bend State Park has been a complete success and as I understand it, South Toledo Bend State Park will be run under the same guidelines. As a guide who is always looking for quality accommodations for my customers, this new park will certainly be beneficial to me.

FALL 2004 ON TOLEDO: If this fall on The Bend is going to be like the past months, we should have a super time catching fish. Really, I look for the next three months to be almost outstanding as cooler weather, lower water levels revealing grassy humps/ridges, less angling pressure and fish moving into the shallows all add up to some super fishing trips. The Florida Bass Stocking programs continue to pour thousands of fingerlings into the lake greatly increasing all angler's chances of catching a bass of a lifetime. Remember, catching fish is just a part of the fishing experience. To be able to be on the lake with a good friend, spouse or family member makes lifetime memories. Cherish those times and do not take them for granted!

AUTHOR INFO: Joe Joslin is a syndicated columnist, tournament angler and pro guide on Toledo Bend/Sam Rayburn. His sponsors include Yamaha/Skeeter Boats and Motors, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Fenwick, G.T. Industries, ReAction Lures, Stanley Jigs Inc., Jay's Carpet One and TTI Industries. He can be reached at 337-463-3848, 409-565-1288 and jsoutdrs@wnonline.net.

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