Advertise Contribute My Account

Toledo Bend Lake

Because Life is Better at the Lake

May-June, Prime Time for Catfish


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:

Largemouth bass are the number one sought after recreational fish by Texas freshwater anglers, but the catfish is a close second. Recent surveys conducted by TPWD fishery biologist and game wardens report that 80 percent of the state’s anglers target catfish during some of their trips.

May, going into June is prime time to try your luck catching catfish. Types of catfish in Texas Lakes include channel catfish (also known as Willow Cat, Fiddler, Screwtail and Spotted Cat), Blues, Flat Head (Opelousas, Ops, Yellow Cat and Shove Head) and Bull Heads.

Catfish weights can range from 1- 2 pounds for Channel Catfish, up to more than 100 pounds for Opelousas/Flat Heads.

Channels and blue catfish ( can be in good numbers around bulkheads and shorelines; drifting shallow flats, dragging a dead or live bait can provide catching experiences. Timbered points and shorelines are other good locations to seek Mr. Whiskers. Check out structures such as cavities under logs, root and rock jumbles, undercut banks.

Channel Cats can be taken with fishing tackle as simple as a cane pole/line/hook, to more technical fishing equipment such bait casting rod/reel and spinning rod/reel combinations. For the more passive catfish angler, bait up with a jug line or trot line.

For the really adventurous angler, the Noodler, ( go barehanded and search possible underwater structure such as over-hanging banks, sunken logs, submerged rocks. Reach in, feel around for what you hope is catfish, grab him by gills and pull him out…the battle is on; hope you have a big catfish, not a snake or big snapping turtle!

Catfish Baits:
Live bait: Hellgrammites, minnows, catalpa worms, night crawlers, earth worms
Dead baits: preferably the more the smellier, the better … Commercial or homemade stink baits, such as dead shrimp, chunks of gizzard shad or other fresh dead baits. Cheese, hot dogs, etc... the more stinky the better.

Fishing methods: fish have your bait no higher than a foot off the bottom using a sliding cork/float rigging, or let the bait lay on the bottom rigged with an egg-shape sliding sinker.

Looking for big fish: focus efforts on deep water, submerged river channels that serve as travel categories. Live sunfish 3-5 inches long are the most popular baits whether using rod/reel, trot lines or jug lines.

Texas state record for blue catfish taken on rod & reel comes from Lake Texoma, 121.5 pounds. The rod & reel record for flathead comes from Lake Palestine, 98.5 pounds. The heaviest flathead, 114 pounds caught on a trotline came from Lake Livingston.

Other hot catfish lakes: Wright-Patman, Toledo Bend, Choke Canyon, Richland Chambers, Lake Lewisville, and Lake Conroe (for bulkhead fishing).

High lake levels, muddy water is no drawback from having success in catching Mr. Whiskers. Just be careful while you are out on the water.

Photo courtesy TPWD Dale Hodge


Tell us what you think!

Toledo Bend Real Estate

Toledo Bend Lake Email Updates


Visit our Toledo Bend Lake Sponsors!

Toledo Bend Lake Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.


Toledo Bend Lake Weather Forecast


Partly Sunny

Hi: 71

Thursday Night

Slight Chance Rain Showers

Lo: 56


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 72

Friday Night

Mostly Cloudy

Lo: 48


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 57

Saturday Night

Mostly Cloudy

Lo: 44


Partly Sunny

Hi: 64

Sunday Night

Mostly Cloudy

Lo: 55

Toledo Bend Lake Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 12/5: 164.90 (-7.10)

Toledo Bend Lake Fishing Report from TPWD (Dec. 4)

GOOD. Water slightly stained; 61 degrees; 7.00’ low. Largemouth bass are good on crankbaits, jigs, plastic worms, and spinners. The best largemouth habitat is vegetation and creek channels along the Sabine Forrest. Striped bass are good on topwater, rattle traps, and spoons on humps and along river channels. White bass are fair on spoons and small crankbaits. Channel and blue catfish are good on live bait and stinkbait. Crappie are good around on jigs and live minnows.