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Toledo Bend Lake

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Crappie on the Move


Tom Behrens has over 50 years experience in fishing and hunting across the United States. Much of this time was spent in Oklahoma and Texas where he became very familiar with the outdoor opportunities in these states. You may contact him by email at:

According to the fishing reports, crappie fishing is rated good in just about all the lakes in Texas. Terry Sympson at Jackson Hill Marina on Sam Rayburn Reservoir recently reported that 16 year old Kobe Shird caught a 3.61 lb white crappie, 19 ¾ inches long, that might be a new lake record.

Crappie are on the move, relocating from extremely shallow waters to good places to hole up for the summer. During the spawn, crappie can be found as shallow a 10-14 inches of water, but moving out to 10-15 feet of water in the bigger lakes such as Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn and Fork. But … there is always the exception … crappie can be found shallow in the summer if the conditions are right.

Choosing live minnows, tube jigs or hair jigs:
Many crappie anglers are exclusively minnow users. Live bait is always better than artificial. Rigging is simple: a #4 or #2 size gold Aberdeen hook. Choice depends on the size of the minnow. If they are very small, use a #4 hook. If they’re average size, tie on a #2. Hook the minnows through the lips or eye sockets to keep them alive and frisky. A # 7 split shot is a good choice of weight. Just enough to lett the minnow drop down through the water column, but not heavy enough to affect the minnows’ action.

Clyde Folse—a crappie fishing guide and crappie bait manufacturer, believes in a tube style crappie jig. He recently shared in a Louisiana Sportsman article that he prefers a 1/6-ounce jighead, not because of the weight, but because the larger # 2 hook allows him to add his soft-plastic tubes to the jig.

A new tube jig that he has been getting results is the Crappie Weapon, a tube jig with two legs, designed to a make disturbance in the water. Its body has ringed segments and bulbous eyes that add to the wobble as it falls under a cork, or is tight-lined. Where that forked tail meets the hook, he adds a Crappie Ammo bead and a similarly diamond-shaped Crappie Trailer. When fished under a cork, he pops it a few times to get the fish’s attention when they are aggressive. He changes his tactics some, but that black and white jig, Psychic trailer, Ammo, and cork are standard equipment year-round.

Crappie on big lakes like Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn go to deeper holes in the transition from spring to summer. They head out to 10 to 15 feet of water, but they may switch depths if conditions warranted it.

Check out flooded brush and logs in the water, floating mats of salvinia, lily pads, any kind of floating grass and green brush along the banks for crappie. Man-made fish attractors that anglers and fishery biologists have sunk should be on your list to check. Locations of attracting structures in Texas lakes can be found at

The fish can get up under the floating structure, off the sides, and stay there for months. There’s abundant food, from minnows to grass shrimp to all kinds of bugs and baitfish. It’s shady, and the crappie have some protection from predators.

If you are prospecting in flooded brush or in the grass, reel your jig all the way up to the tip of your pole, poke it through an opening and then drop it down a foot or two in the water. If they are there, they’ll nail it immediately.

Greg Davis, another crappie fishing guide and a manufacturer of crappie hair jigs, usually goes with black/chartreuse jigs in just about any kind of water. He fishes orange/white when the water is muddy, and when the water is greenish to clear, he likes Millwood Monkey: a dark green jig with a black tail.

For more information about The Crappie Weapon and other Crappie Psychic products, visit Davis’ baits – Crappie G Custom Hair Jigs – information can be found at



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Toledo Bend Lake Weather Forecast


Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 80

Thursday Night

Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Lo: 66


Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 82

Friday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 67


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 82

Saturday Night


Lo: 64


Partly Sunny

Hi: 83

Sunday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 66

Toledo Bend Lake Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 5/28: 172.06 (+0.06)

Toledo Bend Lake Fishing Report from TPWD (May 27)

FAIR. Water slightly stained; 74 degrees; 0.01’ high. Boat traffic has increased with pent up demand, so please use caution in boat lanes. Largemouth bass are good in the spring pattern with Carolina rigs, topwater, and jigs. There are hot spots just off of texas island drops. Striped bass remain fair in deep water. White bass are fair on deep points fishing Alabama rigs when you can and spoons when you can’t. Crappie are good on minnows. Channel and blue catfish are fair on stinkbait.