Lake Fork Report & Pics: Jan 20, 2009
January 20, 2009
Lake Fork - Freshwater Fishing Report
Fishing at Lake Fork is somewhat like the stock market lately—very volatile. We've had some really good days and some really slow days. Thankfully, help is assuredly on the way for the fishing; with a couple days in the 70s forecast this week and more prespawn bass showing up in the shallows with each day. And even on the slow days at Fork, there is still a good shot at a big ole bass to save the day. Case in point, yesterday Mike Biggins from Missouri caught his biggest bass ever, a 9 lb 13 oz prespawn lunker that was full of eggs, on a day that the bites were few and far between. We've had to cover a lot of water to scratch out our fish the last couple of trips, while good numbers of bass aggressively chased moving baits like traps and spinnerbaits a few days before. Concentrate on key prespawn staging areas and work them thoroughly for the next couple of months and your odds of catching a giant are very good!
As a side note, for those of you asking about the Lake Fork Trophy Lures website re-launch, it is now up and running with all of their new products, including the famous Fork Flutter Spoons, Live Magic Shads, and the new Hyper Series of baits that Mark Pack used to win the $200,000 1st prize in the 2008 FLW Tour Walmart Open on Beaver Lake. They also have some great closeouts on 2008 model Dobyns Rods, with up to 40% off on some models. www.lftlures.com
Lake Conditions: Heading into the prespawn, Fork is in great shape. The lake level is currently reading 402.19' (about 10" 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. Thanks to mostly stable water levels this year, copious amounts of hydrilla, milfoil and coontail are growing in the lake, making for awesome shallow water fishing all spring. Water temps dipped to the mid-40s after a cold snap but are now rebounding, reading 48 to 50 on the main lake yesterday. We caught a number of big bass in much colder than normal conditions last spring, with water temps as low as 38, so don't let the temps discourage you from going.
Location Pattern: Much of my location and presentation info remains unchanged from last time, and will probably stay that way through most of the prespawn. Many big bass are schooled up in deep water right now and it's a great time for spoon fishermen. If you're like me though, from late-December through much of March, I concentrate on the early prespawn and staging fish on points and along edges of flats or creek channels. Areas with submerged vegetation for cover will typically have the most active fish. While about any grassy area will hold a few fish, start your search in areas that have lots of spawning fish in late February through March. It stands to reason that the coves that hold the most spawning fish in early spring will have the most prespawn fish in the winter. Main lake grass beds near the mouths of these coves are holding fish now, as are main and secondary points inside the coves—provided there is deep water nearby. During warming trends, follow bass back into the creeks and check the edges of grass flats and creek channels.
Keep in mind, too, that the absolute water temperature is not nearly as important now as the recent water temperature trend. For instance, water temps that are showing 52 degrees can result in slow fishing if the temps were 58 a couple days ago. In contrast, fishing can be great if the temps warm up to 50 while they were 44 a few days before. In general, look for bass on the flats and farther back in creeks during warming trends; conversely, drop back to points and main lake grassbeds after cold fronts. Finally, the day of and the day after cold fronts can be absolutely miserable to fish, but these frontal days after a long warming trend are usually the most productive times to fish.
Presentation Pattern: My prespawn arsenal is pretty simple for fishing along grasslines and creek channels. First and foremost are lipless crankbaits in ½ or ¾ oz. Stick with the ½ for grass that is near the surface and go with the ¾ for grass that is deeper. Red and crawfish colors are most popular and they often work well, although oddball colors often produce better on any given day. Buzzing these over the top of the grass on a quick retrieve is normally best, but after cold fronts, letting the trap fall and ripping these out of the grass will trigger most of the bites. ¼ to ½ oz spinnerbaits with double willow blades in white, black, or chartreuse and white will produce some really large bass in the same areas that the lipless cranks work, especially on windy and cloudy days. For a true giant, try swimming a 4.5" Lake Fork Live Magic Shad on the back of a ½ oz chatterbait and fish it in the same areas you'd throw a spinnerbait. When the bite slows or the conditions are sunny and calm, I'll switch to a suspending jerkbait or pitch a jig and a Texas rig. Jerkbaits in gold, silver, or clown patterns are my primary colors. Work these with long pauses over the grass and along the edges. For jigs, I go with ½ oz black and blue Mega Weight jigs with a Lake Fork Craw trailer in the blue bruiser color. For the Texas rig, I'll pitch a Lake Fork Flipper or the new Hyper Freak in black neon or blue bruiser with a ¼ to 3/8 oz bullet weight. Work your jig or Texas rig very slowly along creek channels or through deep grass for a great shot at a lunker.
Cover lots of water until you get bit. Once you catch one, work the area over thoroughly with multiple passes, employing several different baits. Fish tend to stack up in key staging areas during the winter and these spots will replenish themselves with more fish during the prespawn as more and more big bass move shallow. Find some good staging spots and you'll have a milk run of honey holes now through March.
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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