Lake Fork Report —July 18, 2010
July 18, 2010
Lake Fork - Freshwater Fishing Report
The bass on Lake Fork are well into their normal summertime patterns now. As is the norm, the thermocline is setting up around 25 to 28' deep and some bass are suspending over open water or in the tops of trees. While suspended fish are harder to keep your lure in front of long enough to make them bite, they will still eat. If possible, find schools on the bottom and you'll likely do better. Overall, not much has changed in the past few weeks with the patterns. The bite seems to have slowed down a bit, with some better and slower days now, whereas the deep fish seemed to bite very well just about every day up until recently.
Deep structure fishing is really a matter of being on the right school when they are biting, so timing determines whether you are catching them or just practicing your casting. New breakthroughs in sonar technology have made finding these schools of fish buried in timber much easier, so now is a great time to work on your deep structure fishing skills by catching a few hogs. The hot, sunny afternoons of summer are prime time to catch these big schools of big fish, and thankfully we have a nice breeze most days to keep us cool. If you're looking to learn deep structure fishing skills—reading topo maps, setting up your graph correctly & decoding the images on your sonar to find schools, and learning deep water techniques like big spoons, football jigs, drop shots, Carolina rigs, swimbaits and deep crankbaits—now through early September is the time to head to Lake Fork. And not only is it a great time to learn, but you'll probably catch some big fish as well.
Boat for Sale: My 2010 Ranger Z521 boat is for sale. It is a demo boat through my dealer with low hours and you'd be titled as the first owner. She's value priced to save you big bucks off the cost of a new boat. For more details and pics of the boat, please check my website (www.lakeforkguidetrips.com) or drop me a note. Here's a video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=OatBx6KpyJk
Lake Conditions: Fork is in good shape for the middle of the summer. The lake level is currently 402.58' (about 5" below full pool) and slowly dropping. Water temps are on the rise, reading 86 to 90 in the main lake and water clarity is the normal Fork clear green to light stain. The hydrilla and milfoil are starting to mat up a little in the shallows as the water drops.
Location Pattern: Early and late and when it is cloudy/windy/rainy, I'm finding bass feeding on points and flats near or in the main lake. These fish are mostly in 6' to 12', often around the deep edge of the hydrilla or milfoil. Deep structure like points, humps, and roadbeds in 12' to 28' are best on the sunny days, both for numbers and size. While bass are suspended over many deep structure spots, finding places where they are one the bottom has been the key. Most of these schools are relating to a few pieces of isolated cover, so watch your depth finder closely or you'll bypass the mother lode.
Presentation Pattern: Topwaters have been good some mornings but the bite only lasts until the sun cracks over the horizon. Poppers like the Lucky Craft G Splash work best some days, while walkers like Sammys and Gunfish are better on others. Around heavier grass or pads, throw Fork Frogs and buzzbaits too. Once the topwater action slows, Texas rigged worms and wacky worms have been the best producers on the edge of the grass. We've had good luck on blue fleck, junebug, and green pumpkin 8" and 10" Fork Worms (TX rigs) and Hyper Finesse Worms (wacky rigs). Finally, I'll pitch a 3/8 oz green pumpkin MPack jig with a matching Fork Craw with a 7'3" Dobyns 736C Champion rod and 25 lb FluoroHybrid Pro to shallow cover like stumps, laydowns, and clumps of grass, plus pitch to the deep weed edge. The jig will produce fewer bites but a good shot at a lunker.
On offshore structure like humps and points, deep diving cranks and spoons will catch suspended fish while Carolina rigs, drop shots, and TX rigs will get the bottom dwellers. The key is to first locate fish on your graph, then let their position dictate your lure selection. Lots of bass are suspend this summer, often schooling on the surface. Deep diving cranks like Lucky Craft's Flat CB D20 and RC3.5XD are very effective, with Sexy Chartreuse Shad and Chartreuse Light Blue being my favorite colors. When bass are high in the water column and schooling, I'll throw them on 20 lb PowerSilk line and use a stop-and-go retrieve to keep my lure running shallower. When they are closer to the bottom, use a small diameter sinking line like 12 lb FluoroHybrid Pro and launch them as far as you can. The hands down best deep cranking rod these days is the 8' Dobyns 805CB RM—it's a unique blend of a rod that can cast a country mile, yet has the power to handle a leaping lunker at great distance. Deep cranks are notorious for losing fish and this rod will help you keep them on-line.
When bass group up on the bottom, they are easier to catch. Carolina and Texas rigs are my first choice. I'll try a variety of baits on both rigs and let the bass tell me how much or how little action they want. Hyper Worms, Fork Worms, Fork Creatures, Hyper Lizards, & Hyper Freaks have a lot of action and trigger big aggressive fish. If the bass are more finicky, straight tail baits like Hyper Finesse Worms, Hyper Sticks, and Twitch Worms are normally more productive. The most productive bait seems to change daily, so experiment until you find what they want. If the bass won't respond to those offerings, switch to a Hyper Finesse Worm on a drop shot with 12 lb FluoroHybrid Pro line and a Dobyns DX743 spinning rod and you can still catch them, although the average bass size will run a bit smaller. On darker days, junebug, green pumpkin, and Bama bug have been good, while the various shades of watermelon have worked on the bright days.
Here's hoping you catch the lunker of your dreams. If I can be of assistance, please contact me at 214-683-9572 or e-mail me through www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com , where your satisfaction is guaranteed.
More Fishing Reports: