Lake Fork Report Feb 28, 2009
February 28, 2009
Lake Fork - Freshwater Fishing Report
Spring fishing is kicking into high gear at Lake Fork, with a few bass already starting to spawn. Most of the bass are still prespawn and many won't hit the beds until April. I suspect we'll probably have our first major wave of spawners in the next couple of weeks though. Fishing has been getting more consistent with warmer temps and our numbers have been pretty good most days, although we've still had some really tough postfrontal days mixed in. With the vast majority of the bass in the lake holding in the shallows for the next 2 months, it's the most popular time of the year for bass fishermen. Despite the crowds, fish thoroughly and you'll have a shot at a monster bass this spring.
February was a very busy month and overall it was quite productive for my customers and me. I started off my FLW Tour season with a 36th place finish at Lake Guntersville and a solid check. I continued my guiding ways at that tourney, putting my day 1 co-angler on an 8-5 and an 8-11, and a 25 lb 9 oz sack. He ended day 1 in 1st place, including the 2 largest co-angler bass of the day. Well done Jason! After that, I spent the rest of the month following Fork lunkers as they moved towards the spawning flats. It's amazing to think that my favorite time of the year is already almost over (prespawn from Jan-Mar), but at least my 2nd favorite fishing (offshore structure bassin' in late Apr-Aug) will be starting soon as well.
As a side note, I posted an article from the current Bass West USA magazine, www.basswestusa.com on my website. It details my big flutter spoon pattern for Fork and similar lakes. www.lakeforkguidetrips.com/fishingarticles.htm .
Lake Conditions: The lake level is currently reading 402.10' (about 11" below full pool). Most of the lake is clear, with stained water on the north ends and in areas where the wind has been pounding. There are still large areas of milfoil and hydrilla but the grass coverage seems to be getting thinner. I expect these areas to green up and start expanding as the water warms. Water temps really climbed the last few days, with temps in the mid-60s in protected pockets, while the main lake was running from 57 to 61.
Location Pattern: For prespawn and staging fish, key on points and along edges of flats or creek channels. Areas with submerged vegetation for cover will typically have the most fish. Main lake grass beds near the mouths of these coves are holding some fish, as are main and secondary points inside the coves. During warming trends, follow bass back into the creeks and check the edges of grass flats and creek channels. After the fronts, drop back to deeper water adjacent to where the fish were before the front and you'll quickly relocate them. For spawning fish, look for protected bays in the north end of the lake or at the very backs of major creeks. As the water continues to warm and we move towards April, bass will start spawning nearer the mouths of creeks and in deeper creeks. The main lake flats are typically the last areas to spawn, often as late as early May.
Presentation Pattern: For prespawn bass, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs, and lipless crankbaits are still catching numbers of good fish, especially on overcast and windy days. For a big bass, go with a ½ oz chatterbait with a shad colored 4.5 Live Magic Shad trailer and swim it in the same areas you throw a trap or spinnerbait. On calm days, you'll typically do better by switching to a suspending jerkbait or pitching a jig and a Texas rig. Go with gold or clown colored jerkbaits on cloudy days, while silver color schemes work better on sunny days. Work these baits with a few twitches and long pauses. For a real prespawn monster, pitching heavy cover along the first breakline and creek channels is the way to go. I go with a 3/8 oz Mega Weight black and blue or green pumpkin jig with a Lake Fork Craw trailer in the blue bruiser or watermelon candy colors. For the Texas rig, I'll pitch a Lake Fork Flipper or Hyper Freak in black neon, Bama Bug or watermelon/red with a 1/8 to 3/8 oz bullet weight and slowly work it around cover. Or try the new 8.5" Hyper Lizard from Lake Fork Trophy Lures. It features a huge thumper on a segmented tail and produces a wild thumping action when it swims and hops along cover.
For bass that have moved onto spawning flats, weightless Texas rigged or wacky rigged soft plastic jerkbaits like Magic Shads, Live Magic Shads, Twitch Worms, and Ring Frys become your best option. Shades of green pumpkin and watermelon are normally top colors. These fish are often spooky, so long casts are key. For weightless soft plastic jerkbaits, I'm using Dobyns' new 733C with 28 lb PowerSilk line. The 7'3" rod whips the baits out there, while it still has enough backbone to drive the hook through thick worms on long casts. The new PowerSilk line from Lake Fork Trophy Lures is super thin (28 lb test is the same diameter as most 20 lb lines) with zero memory and it is super sensitive because it has a low 11% stretch. If you haven't checked out the new Dobyns Rods or LFT lines, give them a try and you'll love them. Another great option is the wacky rig and it'll produce bites and some lunkers on the toughest days. The new Hyper Whack'n Worm from Lake Fork Trophy Lures has a segmented body, so both ends of the worm quiver as it falls slowly to the bottom. For spawning bass, white or watermelon Top Dog lizards, Flippers and Craw Tubes work great. White baits allow you to clearly see your bait on the bed, while more natural shades of green are often needed to catch the more finicky bass. Many spawning areas have water that is too muddy to see bedding fish, so pitching Texas rigs and weightless soft plastics to any wood cover and holes in the grass will catch the spawners that you can't see. Or in clear water, back off the visible beds that everyone else is pounding and catch the unpressured bass that are slightly deeper with a finesse Carolina rig. I use about a ¼ oz sinker and a 12" leader with a Magic Shad, Zig Zag, or 5" Hyper Worm on the hook and slowly crawl this rig along the bottom for staging and deep bedding bass.
Here's hoping you catch the lunker of your dreams. If I can be of assistance, please contact me at 214-683-9572 (days) or 972-635-6027 (evenings) or e-mail me through www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com , where your satisfaction is guaranteed.
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