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Interesting Observation!

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Recently while reviewing Toledo Bend Lunker Program (10#+ bass) I ran across what I believe to a rather interesting fact.

 

Here's a list from TBLP by @FishNChip

Went to the Toledo Bend Lake Association Lunker Bass page hoping to get some historical info.  Unfortunately, they only have print outs for last year and the current year. They did however have a bar graph of lunker bass caught by month from 2012-2016.  Here's my best attempt to read and add up the data.  Please feel free to correct me if my eyes didn't get it right.

 

2012:  26

2013:  69

2014:  59

2015:  118

2016:  139

2017 to date (not on the graph):  69

 

2016 was is where I noticed strange about this banner year that set it apart from the others.

 

On close examination the best month that year (May 2015-May 2016) was March, accounting for 48 of the 139. OK I'm thinking pre-spawn/spawn not unusual until it dawned on me what took place that March.

 

The first week of March 2016 saw torrential rains hit the lake itself with 18" & the surrounding runoff areas with 26" of rain rasing the lake to historic levels.

 

The effect on the numbers caught is there by why?

Was it because it scattered the fish or because it consecrated em to a particular area?

 

http://www.toledobendlakeassociation.com/lunker-bass-program.html

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We have a similar effect in flood years- we have no grass to speak of and when the water gets more than about 8' high the [bigger] fish concentrate heavily in the flooded green brush and tree tops... Although not 10lb + fish, we catch MANY more 4-6 lb bass in waters famous for millions of "bullets."

 

Different but similar- you have grass but maybe the draw to fresh hunting grounds and new food sources is the same.  And it's usually cool water in heavy , early season rains so the bigger fish aren't stressed as easily. 

 

I assume lizards are the draw here, because the softbait production which is normally best with craws, smallie beavers etc., shuts down and lizards get red hot when pitched into these green bushes.

 

The other possibility is the new conditions took the bass out of there normally guarded state and made them more susceptible to eating "new things."

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@flechero actually the grass was drown last year!

 

Sadly no information as what the fish were caught on.

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I have wondered this myself because I fished during and after that flood and we caught bigger bass in areas where we typically don't catch bass bigger then level keeper size for the Bend.

 

I also remember the fish holding up in those new flooded area's longer then they typically do after spawn.

 

I saw several first during and after the flood, during the flood I caught my biggest flat head cat ever and three days after the water settled I caught what is my personal best bass of 9.14.

 

I think the reason was because the high water had a huge impact on the shad schools and where they were staying in the water level.

 

I remember that all the flooded brush and grass that was close to shore seemed to be just covered in shad for about two weeks after the water leveled off, I think that's what caused it to happen so much more of the lake's shad population was up close to shore and that intern brought up more of the big girls then normal.

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I believe the rising water did have something to do with March 2016 being a banner month.  It's when I caught my PB of 11.33.  In general there are more bank beating anglers than deep water anglers, especially in the spring.  Fish tend to follow a rising water line but not necessarily a falling one.  A Perfect Storm (pun intended) sort of situation occurred in March 2016.

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Fishnchip thanks for the link.

 

I went throw it and I will be the first to say I'm not all that good with understanding government write up's and how they list data but if I'm understanding it correctly they show and trend of more non tournament anglers releasing bass back to the lake every year.

 

Maybe this year I will finally land one over ten.

 

Well to be honest my PB of 9.14 was over ten but she throw up a big bluegill while in the tank waiting to be weighted and that brought her down to 9.14, I was sick to say the least.

 

 

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you should have re-fed it to her!  lol

12 minutes ago, A5BLASTER said:

 she throw up a big bluegill while in the tank waiting to be weighted and that brought her down to 9.14, I was sick to say the least.

 

 

 

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I know @A-Jay is fishing but where's everyone!

 

@WRB @Team9nine @RoLo @Paul Roberts @Raul @Bluebasser86 @J Francho & @roadwarrior Kent I know y'all experienced major flooding!

 

High water levels are normal for our "spring" but not historical levels.

 

This rain event changed the entire lake level, temperatures, clarity, everything in 24 hrs.

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I would have to agree with FishnChip in that most fishermen are bank beaters. So the newly flooded areas were a big attraction to both the anglers and the fish.

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Been accused more than once of getting too much into the weeds of a subject.  From the Graph of the TBLA Lunker Program website, the three standout March months occurred in 2016, 2015, and 2012 (I think).  From the TPW TB 2015 Report, Figure 1, water levels were above full pool in March 2016 and 2015.  And while below pool in 2012, levels increased tremendously (10 ft) in the beginning of the year.  This isn't conclusive, but it doesn't dispel a possible correlation between higher water levels and larger number of big bass caught on TB.

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What jumps out to me is FLMB stocking program started 1985 has continued annually since 1990 vs the initial stocking of LMB 1967. The NLMB strain is probably gone by now and FLMB strain are dominate with new genes added each year. If you add 10 to 12 years for average age to gain max weight for FLMB you see the stocking program and lake levels resulted in a high survival rate and growth rates. 2010 to 2013 being low water periods may affect the big bass population for 2020 to 2025 the stocking program should offset that. 

I think the higher catch rates has a lot to do with higher angler pressure, high population of big bass do to the stocking program, you are the #1 bass lake in the country and according to the info 82% of anglers target bass with a high catch rate. 

High water levels equal high recruitment rates do to more newly flooded cover. Extremely fast water level raise with water temperature changes and fall during the spawn isn't good for recruitment, but you have a annual stocking program to off set some of those problems. 

Tom

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With all the flooding, massive flows in all creeks and rivers, I'll be looking for trout stacking up at the mouths. It's a little early for bass, but I might try a pond or three in the afternoon. None of the rivers are safe to even attempt. Looking forward to the high water in a week or two, when things settle. I have LOTS of places that were not even accessible due to drought last year. I'm not going to make any assumptions about location or seasonal patterns until I get on the water. It's a hard concept for me, but I'm going in with blank slate. 

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1 hour ago, Smokinal said:

I would have to agree with FishnChip in that most fishermen are bank beaters. So the newly flooded areas were a big attraction to both the anglers and the fish.

 

I think that the high water makes much of the previous bank and accessibility, inaccessible... at least around here.  The parks close at about 10' + water and the rest of the lake is either unimproved corps land/bluffs/brush/etc or private.  If just a few feet high, I could see it but it takes more than that for our water to get into the good living brush. 

 

I guess if it were easy to figure out, we'd all be on big fish all the time.  :lol:

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It might sound unusual, but the first thing I normally do is subtract 10 to 12 years

from the peak or banner year, which represents the mean age of trophy-class bass.

For instance, Dale Hollow Reservoir is the home of the world-record smallmouth bass.

Dam construction was started in 1942, and Dale Hollow was declared a new impoundment in 1943

(took a year to form a substantial shoreline). Then in 1955, (12 years later), David Hayes

harvested the new world record smallmouth bass, a world-record that stands to date.

 

By the same token, the trophy-class bass landed in Toledo Bend during 2016 were most likely born

between 2004 and 2006 (When many of us joined Bass Resource). The lion's share of bass do not reach

their 8th birthday, while an infinitesimal percentage may live longer than 12 years, but don't count on it.

In overview, the 2004 to 2006 period may have been punctuated by high water levels in the Big-T,

which would maximize the number of trophy bass in those year-classes (That's the 1st half of the equation).

 

On the flipside of the equation are the high-water levels during year 2016.

Biologists maintain that every female bass does not spawn every year, but the greater the area

of protected bedding flats, the greater the number of bedding bass (plausible to me)

That being the case, high water levels during 2016 may have attracted a higher percentage

of spawning females than usual. A higher number of spawning females would translate to more

productive blind-fishing for pre-spawn trophies and more productive sight-fishing during the spawn.

 

Roger

 

 

 

 

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Interesting answers!

 

When we look at the lake level 170' mean sea level (MSL) is consider normal & 172' msl being full pool. Any thing above 172' is considered entering flood stage.

 

Normal water for "spring" is 169/170' on Thursday 3/10/2016 Toledo hit a historic high level at the dam of 174.36 MSL at about 6:00 AM. Male bass have all ready started building next & I'm quite sure some females had laid eggs.

 

It is widely believed the bigger females move up first, apparently not.

 

@RoLo here's a link to water level since the lake was impounded.

 

http://www.toledo-bend.com/toledo_bend/index.asp?request=lakelevelhistory

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Drove by the City Dump this morning. Looks like I'll be fishing in a lake of Guinness Stout. Ugh. 

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I have to get into a different mind set when looking at depth fluctuations of a few feet having an impact to spawning success. The trophy bass lakes in SoCal fluctuate over 10' during the spawn on a regular bases, the terrain isn't flat it's steep so the bass don't need to move far and have acclimated to depth changes during thier life cycle.

Hill land lakes like Toledo Bend have a relatively flat terrain compared to highland lakes and a few feet of water depth change could mean the bass need to move a greater distance through lots of cover to spawn, they are also acclimated to their environment over a lifetime. The advantage I see is Texas stocks FLMB every year in TB since 1990, except 2006, this rejuvenates the gene pool and assures recruitment servival. Toledo Bend is a big reservoir with a population of FLMB for over 20 years and I am surprised the record is under 18 lbs. Lots of water going through TB annually, with a few years of drought being the exception, brings nutrients and prey with massive areas to grow big, it's just a matter of time before this lake produces a 18. TB is in great shape for years to come.

Tom

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Major flooding usually scatters our fish and makes it extremely difficult. Our lakes don't have the populations of fish that lakes like T-bend have though so when they spread out they can get spread really thin. 

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Been fishing. It stunk. 

 

First. Looks like population of large bass is up. The upward trend over consecutive years would suggest a strong year class, or supportive environment, for bass survival and growth. Lots more big bass in the Bend now? They gotta be there to catch them.

 

Some thoughts as to why March was such a strong month:

 

Are most big bass females caught off on beds? If so, then maybe the high catch rate is due to an extraordinary spawn movement event.

 

Tropical bass (well S of their native range) do not receive temperature cues (to speak of) as water temps are always above what we more northerners know as "spawning initiation temps". Tropical bass scarcely receive photoperiod cues either, although they do at some level I've discovered from living in the tropics. What researchers found for LM in Puerto Rico (18N) though was that bass spawned on water level rises.

 

In my waters (40N) I've seen that bass have spectacular fry survival during wet springs, when water levels flood shoreline terrestrial cover providing complex cover for fry. According to fisheries managers, the greatest population surges for bass result from strong hatch/survival years. It would make sense then that the Puerto Rican observations on rising water levels are not simply an anomaly but possibly due to natural selection. The idea is that the selective forces that support success become inherent. Water level rises may be a “hard-wired” trigger for all bass, because it increases the chances for successful spawning. 

 

Pure speculation, but a possible explanation.

 

 

 

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Major flooding has put my home river out of commission for a few days. Waters high, staying high cause of heavy south winds. Boat launches closed. Current is making Whirlpool I. The middle of it. Oh I'm just dandy over here

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