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Toledo Bend Lake

Because Life is Better at the Lake

Gillard Finally Lands First Lunker, Wins Big BassHonors


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:

With more than 55 years of fishing under his belt, and a few close calls along the way, a double-digit bass has always eluded John Gillard. Fishing with partner, Randy Pennington in the Toledo Bend Oilman's Classic, he finally caught his first lunker, 10.98 lbs., 25 1/2 inches long, and a grith of 19 3/4 inches on April 27.

His big fish was up on the nest, in the spawning mode. The water wasn’t really clear, and Gillard actually noticed the lateral lines of another big bass, not 10 feet from the boat. He thought the second fish was about a 5-pounder, and started throwing his blueberry Texas-rigged Zoom lizard its way.

He made one more cast to the spawning bass before he and his partner headed back for the weigh-in. In Gilard's words, “Podnah, when I set the hook, all hell broke loose.”

The big bass took off for the buck brush, which provided for some tense moments before getting it into the boat. Pennington netted the big bass, but Gillard didn’t realize then that his 55-year pursuit of a double-digit fish was about to come to an end.

Pennington told Gillard that he had a 10 lb. bass. At Toledo Town and Tackle’s certified scales, the big bass officially weighed 10.98 pounds.

“The way it all happened was so unbelievable. In a million years I’d have never thought anything like that would have ever happened,” Gillard said. “It was just meant to be.”

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Toledo Bend Lake Weather Forecast


Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 83

Monday Night

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Lo: 70


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Hi: 81

Tuesday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 62


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 87

Wednesday Night


Lo: 60


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 89

Thursday Night

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Toledo Bend Lake Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 7/22: 169.59 (-2.41)

Toledo Bend Lake Fishing Report from TPWD (Jul. 17)

Water murky; 84–88 degrees; 1.52’ low. Black bass are good on chartreuse soft plastics, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits. Striped bass are fair on chartreuse striper jigs. White bass are fair on minnows and Li’l Fishies. Crappie are good on minnows and white tube jigs over baited holes. Bream are good on crickets. Channel and blue catfish are good on trotlines baited with shrimp and stinkbait in 20–30 feet. Yellow catfish are slow.