Best Toledo Bend Fishing Guide

Toledo Bend Fishing

Toledo Bend is the largest man-made lake in the South. It was the largest in the world when it was originally constructed in the late sixties. It covers over 186,000 square acres and is over 80 miles long. If you stretched the shoreline out it would run from New Orleans to New York.

Toledo Bend Alpine Marina
Alpine Marina, Toledo Bend; image via

If you love bass fish, crappie fish, or bream fish, then welcome to Toledo Bend, the “Fishing Capital of the World”! Toledo Bend Reservoir is world-renowned for its fabulous bass fishing and crappie fishing. Catfishing is great too! Did you hear about the 92-pound flathead Huxley Bay Marina weighed in a few years ago?

Aggressive, striped bass are here too. How about bow fishing? Huge alligator gar and buffalo fish call Toledo Bend home. On 186,000 surface acres of water, the variety of fishing you can enjoy is limitless!

Toledo Bend, located on the Texas and Louisiana border, was built in 1966 through a joint effort between Texas and Louisiana to produce hydroelectricity for both states, creating the second-largest man-made lake in the U.S. Today it’s still the largest man-made lake in the south and fifth in the U.S. By damming the Sabine River, it created a lake that is approximately 80 miles long, covers 186,000 square acres, and has approximately 1,200 miles of shoreline.

Map of Toledo Bend Fishing

Directions from Center, TX: Hwy 87 South to Shelbyville (approx 5 miles). Take Left on Fm 417 in front of Farmer’s State Bank. Continue approx 2 miles to a fork in the road. Take Right on FM 2694. Follow FM 2694 & Signs for 11 miles. Marina will be on the right.

Besides having a worldwide reputation for its quality fishing, Toledo Bend has some unique qualities. It has a limit of eight black bass per person per day with no slot limit and a minimum of 14 inches. Crappie has a limit of 50 per person per day, whereas most other lakes have a limit of 25. Recent studies have indicated that there is an average of 300 pounds of game fish per acre in Toledo Bend. That’s over 55 million pounds of game fish!

An aggressive Florida bass stocking program that began in the ’80s and continues today, has resulted in breaking the Toledo Bend lake record almost yearly. Presently, standing at 14.50 lbs. many feel a 16-pounder is lurking just around the corner.

Come see for yourself the many splendors of Toledo Bend.

Toledo Bend Lake Records

DRUM 31.50
*world record

Toledo Bend Fishing Report 2023

The lake is 162.90 msl, and the high pool is 172 msl, over nine feet low. The water temp is running in the low 70s. The north end of the lake is stained from high winds and clearing as you go south. Extreme caution should be used running the lake even in marked boat lanes due to the low water conditions. For available ramps, you can contact the Sabine River Authority. We are still able to launch at Huxley Bay but it’s one ramp, one boat at a time.

This week’s warming has increased the water temperature and slowed the bite down compared to the last couple weeks but fishing remains good to excellent across the board. It’s just taking a little longer to bag the fish.

Black bass has been coming off C.R. or Texas-rigged soft plastics in watermelon flavors and black/blue jigs. Mid to deep-diving crankbaits are also producing fish. The top water bite and schooling activity has been increasing. The river and creek channel ledges and drops have been the most productive areas.

The Crappie have been affected the most by the warming water and have really slowed way down compared to the last couple of weeks. Some good sacks are coming in but the reports indicate you have to cover a lot of brush tops, pick up a couple of fish, and move on. Shiners work best.

The Whites are holding onto the river channel sand bars in 14 to 20ft of water. ½ to ¾ silver slab spoons and tail spinners work best.

Fishing Tips and Seasonal Patterns on Toledo Bend

Spring-March through May

Black Bass

The bass are in pre-spawn and spawning conditions. Main lake ridges and humps, shoreline buck brush, and coves will be producing the best. Northwest pockets will warm quicker and fish will move into these warmer pockets first. Spinner baits, stick baits, jigs & pigs, soft plastics, and jerk baits will all be productive. On cloudy days and stained muddy water use darker colors, on clear days use brighter colors. If you locate one fish, there will probably be more around. The males will move into the shallows first making the beds and the females will come in later. Once the female drops her eggs the male will move back onto the bed and guard the nest.

White Bass

The Whites will be moving back to the main lake out of the river proper from their annual spawning grounds. For Whites still remaining in the river above Circle Drive, concentrate on the bends and points of the river sandbars. Live crawfish usually work best but Road Runners in white or chartreuse are also productive. Tail spinners in the same colors work well. Once the Whites move back into the main lake, start on the north end and concentrate on the points and bends of the old river channel with slab spoons, tail spinners, small crankbaits, and silver traps. Use your electronics to locate the bait- fish and the Whites will be close by. The Whites will continue to migrate south following the old river channel.


The Crappie will be scattered along the grass lines close to deep water in the coves and creeks. They will also gang up on the edges of the creeks over brush tops either planted or natural. Follow the grass line and throw 1/32 oz jigs parallel to the line. Vertically fish the brush tops in the creeks with shiners or jigs. Follow the creeks using your electronics to spot brush tops and bait fish.

Toledo Bend Fishing Crappie
Fishing Crappie, Toledo Bend

Late April and early May the Bream will start moving on their spawning beds in 3 to 8 ft of water. Depending on the lake level will determine our fishing pattern. If the lake is mid-range (168 ft) we’ll concentrate on the main lake ridges and humps in 6 to 8 ft of water. Crickets and worms usually work best fished with ultra lights or cane poles with corks or straight lines. If the lake is below 168 ft we’ll concentrate on the coves and pockets protected from the wind. Look for honey-combed holes along the bottom of the shallow water to find the beds, not unusual to catch 700 to 1000 per day.


Concentrate on 12 to 15 ft of water in the creek channels, sloughs, and old river channels. Stink bait, worms, cheese, and commercial catfish bait products all work well. If we have a lot of water coming into the lake, concentrate on the mud line in the back of the creeks and where a strong current is present. Trotlines and set hooks baited in the same areas will produce well. For Flat Heads always use live bait, either large shad or bream works best.

Summer-June through August

Black Bass

In the first part of this quarter, the bass will be in a post-spawn pattern and will be coming off the beds. The bite will be slow and the bass will be lethargic from the spawn. Start in 5 to 10 ft of water along the creek points closets to the spawning areas. The bass will hold in these areas to regain their strength before they move into deeper water and their summer patterns. Crankbaits and soft plastics worked slowly will produce the best. As the water continues to warm the bass will move into their deeper holes along the river channel, sloughs, creeks, and grass beds. Deep diving crankbaits in shad or bream colors, Carolina or Texas rigged soft plastics in green and reds will be producing the best. When the grass starts showing up, jigs and large worms will work best. Early morning and late evening throw buzz baits and top water plugs over and next to the grass close to deep water.

White Bass

The Whites will continue to work along the old river channel points and bends but they will start to move over main lake humps close to the river channel in 15 to 20 ft of water. Shallow diving crankbaits, spoons, top water plugs, and tail spinners will all be productive. Look for the bait- fish on your electronics to locate the Whites. Also, watch for schooling activity along the river channel and road- beds.


Concentrate in the creek channels and sloughs in 10 to 15 ft of water. Natural and planted brush in these areas will hold the Crappie. Shiners and jigs fished vertically over the brush tops work best.


Concentrate on the points and bends in the creek channels with crickets or worms in 6 to 10 ft of water. Isolated patches of grass dropping off into deep water will also hold some bream.


Concentrate on main lake sandy points, ridges, and flats in 8 to 10 ft of water. Worms, shiners, marshmallows, cheese, and commercial catfish baits all work well. Sometimes the Catfish are feeding on clams and the marshmallows will be more productive. The trick is to spray some Catfish attractant on the bait. Use heavy weights to keep your bait on the bottom.

Fall-September through November

Black Bass

As the water temperature starts to drop and the days become shorter the shad will start moving into the coves and pockets. The bass will start moving from their summer haunts following the shad, feeding heavily in anticipation of winter. Work the points and bends in the creek channels with crankbaits and soft plastics. Any brush along these areas will usually hold some fish. Look for schooling bass. Traps, shallow diving crank baits, top water plugs, and Texas-rigged plastics will all be productive. Also, fish the edges of grass that drop off into deep water with jigs and large plastics.

White Bass

Concentrate along the main lake river points and bends in 16 to 20 ft of water. Also, look for schooling whites in the same areas. The Whites when located will usually be in a feeding frenzy. Spoons, tail spinners, traps, and shallow diving cranks baits are all productive. When schooling, top water plugs, and shallow diving crank baits work best.


The Crappie will start moving from the deep water creeks to the main river channel and normally will be more productive on the very north end of the lake early in the season. As the water temperature continues to fall the Crappie will move south down the lake along the river channel. Concentrate in 12 to 20 ft of water with shiners or 1/32 jigs fished over brush tops on the ledges of the river channel. Early in the season, the Crappie seem to hit shiners best and as the water gets colder and the fish get deeper the jigs become more productive.


As the water temperature starts to drop, the bream will start following the creeks out to the main lake into deeper water and become scattered. Following the creeks and the grass edges dropping off into deep water, crickets, and worms are most productive.


Concentrate in 10 to 15-foot flats close to the river channel with shiners, worms, and commercial attractants. Trot lines and set hooks in the same areas with cut bait or live bait work best.

Winter-December through February

Black Bass

Early winter the bass will be holding along the river channel and along the points and bends in deep-water creeks. 3/4 to 1 oz. Pig and jig or 3/4 to 1 oz spinner baits slow rolled will be most productive. You need to fish very slowly. The bass will be held close to the cover. Towards the end of January and into February, the larger bass will start going into a pre-spawn pattern. They will start staging off the points of the creeks leading into the spawning flats or start moving into the buck brush. Spinner baits, traps, cranks and soft plastics worked in the creek points will be most productive. Darker colors and colors imitating crawfish seem to work best. Jigs, tubes, brush hogs, and plastics flipped and pitched into the buck brush will produce better fish. This is the time of the year to catch a double-digit bass.

White Bass

The White Bass will start migrating up the lake into the river proper. Concentrate on the lower end of the river in the first part of the season and work north as the fish move north. Work the sandbar points and bends along the river. Live Crawfish, Road Runners, spoons, and tail spinners are all productive. As the Whites work their way back to the main lake, you can work the same points and bends. It’s not unusual to have your limit of Whites in a couple of hours.


Concentrate in 15 to 25 ft of water along the ledges over brush tops in the old river channel. The Crappie will move further south along the river and move into deeper water as the temperature drops. 1/32 oz jigs seem to produce better than Shiners as they move deeper.


The Bream are scattered in deep water along the creeks and river channels. Bite is normally very slow this time of year.


Concentrate along the main river channel and deep creeks. Shiners, worms, and commercial attractants work best. Trotlines and set hooks strung along the river channel, deep water sloughs, and deep water creeks with cut bait and live bait work best.

Toledo Bend Fishing Guides

Robinson’s Toledo Lodge Road

Shelbyville, TX 75973, 936 368-2211

Mark Robinson has been fishing the Sabine River and the Toledo Bend Reservoir since it was created back in 1968. Many changes have occurred in the lake’s structure and diversity during the almost 45 years he has spent fishing its abundant habitat. Initially, he fished for just about anything that would bite a hook, often catching multiple species each outing. –

Toledo Bend Guide Service – Hook ‘Em Up, LLC!

(225) 721-7417

Come join us for an amazing time on the amazing Toledo Bend Lake! Our guides make it their mission to show you and your group a fantastic time on the water! We are a professional guide service on Toledo Bend Lake, our mission is to share our love for the Lord and for fishing on this amazing lake! –

Toledo Bend Guide
Toledo Bend Guide

What can we fish for? I specialize in fishing for black bass year-round. The limit is eight bass per person with a 14-inch minimum length. I also fish for crappie, white bass, and bream and maintain over 100 brush tops on the old river channel for crappie. The crappie season begins in the middle of October and runs through January. We have a creel limit of 50 crappie per person per day with two pounders not being unusual. The white bass run starts in late February and runs through April with plenty of schooling action in the summer. The creel is 25 per person per day. The bream spawn starts in April and runs through June with catches of 700 to 1000 per day not being unusual. I also conduct guided trips for bow hunters seeking that 100-pound plus alligator gar in the spring and summer.

Sac-A-Lait Slab Hunter Guide Service

(318) 228-5169

We specialize in Sac-a-lait (Crappie) and Bream fishing – The fish that are most fun to catch! SSH Guide Service offers morning and evening fishing trips for some of the best Sac-A-Lait (Crappie) and Bream fishing on Toledo Bend Lake. We also offer Sunset and Family Sightseeing Tours. –

Toledo Bend Lake Fishing
Toledo Bend Lake Fishing

Darrell W. Lyons – DW’s Guide Service

120 Creekside Drive
Hemphill, TX 75948, (409) 787-3664

Fishing Toledo Bend Reservoir since 1972. A professional guide since 1990. Guide service for Toledo Bend Reservoir and Sam Rayburn Reservoir. –

Toledo Bend Pro Guide Service


26 Years of experience fishing Toledo Bend Lake. Most of the folks we take fishing are repeat customers. We do have openings, so please call us for a memorable Toledo Bend fishing experience. If you wish to Sac a lait (Crappie) fish, we have the team. –

Toledo Bend Pro Guide Service
Toledo Bend Pro Guide Service

Toledo Bend Guide Service

(936) 368-7151

I’m Greg Crafts, your fishing guide for Toledo Bend Reservoir. I own and operate Toledo Bend Guide Service. If you’re ready to catch fish, I’m ready to show you where and how. And if you want great accommodations for your stay at Toledo Bend Lake, you’ll really enjoy my Toledo Bend Cottage. –

Mudfish Adventures with Captain Steve Stubbe

Hemphill, TX, 713-825-8464

Come ride with me to experience the mudfish adventure on Toledo Bend Lake. It’s not just a guided fishing trip on Lake Toledo Bend, it’s an adventure. Guided fishing trips for all species including Fly Rod Fishing. –

Cajun Joe’s Fishing Guide Service


We guide on Toledo Bend Lake for sacalait crappie- white perch called Joe Duhon. –

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