GIANT Black Crappie from 3-23-13
GIANT Black Crappie from 3-23-13
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This has been an exciting month for crappie. We’ve found them in many depths through their transition. The bridges are producing crappie 8-16ft, while the staging crappie are found in timber 5-10ft and spawners 1-5ft. There are a lot of options if the weather or wind is a factor. With the crazy weather this year our water temps jumped up unusually fast and sent all the species on the fast track to the shallows. Generally the spawn drags out for a couple of months or so due to major fronts dropping water temps, but that has not been the case this year. Right now water temps are optimum and hopefully won’t affect the spawn. I am not ready for these 90+ degree days! (And I don’t think the fish are either)
As far as catching the crappie, we are using different approaches for the different depths. At the bridges we are using double rigged jigs about a foot apart. The colors producing have been cinnamon with chartreuse tails and grey with blue tail. Some days they want it straight down and some days they want it moving on the fall. For the prespawn depths we are using single jigs 1/8th oz with a Lake Fork Tackle Live Baby Shad in blue and pearl or a shad color around the timber. Then for the shallow fish we are using 1/16th oz roadrunners with chartreuse or white or a minnow on a slip bobber. So pick your favorite way of fishing and hav esome fun! Right now you never what you’re going to catch at any depth- they are all on the move.
It’s also exciting that our lake level has finally returned to only about two foot below full pool after the last set of storms that moved through. Just be extra careful out there because many stumps are just below the surface. Also keep a close eye out for floating logs while traveling around the lake. It’s just a beautiful site to see water levels finally on the rise. Also I want you to know both boat ramps are back open at Lake Fork Marina! YA-HOOO! The boat slips are also back in service!! Be sure to stop by their tackle store and check out their latest baits and tackle.
April is going to be the month for some major spawning. The fish have been staging and just waiting for the right water temerature to get right. It has tried to get their a few times then those “MEAN OLD NORTHERNS” blow through and cool the surface temperatures down. But, it shouldn’t take but a few warm days to get it back to where it needs to be. Then look out… “It’s gonna get good!”
I have to say the fish ‘quality’ this year has been unbelievable! Probably some of the nicest crappie I’ve seen in a while!! I’m just really ready for the wind to take a break and have some of those light and variable days! But right now we’re having 3 windy days to every nice day. So, if you see a calm day is coming, get out there and enjoy it!
We found a few fish shallow during the last full moon when water temperatures were around 63 – 64 degrees. Then we had a 5″ rain with dropping temperatures and it backed the fish out deeper. A few males hung around the shallows but the big fat females backed off to 20 ft. So, at that time the bridges were your best bet. We were catching them at 12 – 16ft in 20 – 24 ft. of water. Bob Young’ s “Bad Shad” and “Grey Ghost” and Hotsy Totsie” have been really producing. It’s a smaller jig that gives a slower presentation. There’s nothing more fun catching them “on the fall!”
Now for the next move – as the water temperature warms, I’ll start targeting 8 to 16 ft along the shorelines and timber. A “Bass Assassin” or “Stanley Wedgetail Minnow” will work good for this.
When the fish make their way to the backs of the coves, don’t overlook throwing very small crank baits around stumps and along the grass lines like a “chatterbait” or “Beetle Spin” or miniature “rattletrap”. Reel these just fast enough to keep the bait off the bottom. Also a slip bobber with a jig minnow should do the trick!
Now for those of you who have a dock on Lake Fork, be sure and check for crappie at night running the shoreline. They will be coming to an area near you soon!
Last but not least, there are still crappie down on the main lake points in 18 to 24 foot, also some really nice yellow bass. Crappie Busters in chartreuse and blue or metallic blue with chartreuse and blue or metallic blue with chartreuse has worked and also “Joe Spaits” flash tail spoons. Just bounce them off the bottom.
Be sure to stop by “Lake Fork Marina” You can stock up on ALL your crappie fishing needs!
Great Fishing to You all!
This is the time of the year when fishing takes time and patience and preferably NO WIND! We can bundle up and take the cold…but, this unusually windy winter can be brutal. Those are the days that give you time to service your equipment. I’ll clean and respool my Shimano reels. My favorite fishing lines are Excalibur 8lb test and when I’m using braided line its Power Pro 10lb test that has the same diameter equivalent to a 2lb mono line. I’ve tried a lot of different lines but, these work the best for me.
It is also a good time to check your life vests for any rips or tears and replace them as needed. Then something that can get overlooked is your boat trailer. The fluctuating temperatures can definitely effect the air pressure in your tires. So, be sure and check those to make sure they are properly inflated. Also check the wheel bearings and grease as needed. The last thing you need is a tire rolling off your trailer while going to or from a day of fishing!
One more important thing to check is your fire extinguisher. Be sure it is fully charged. Then give your horn a honk because if it is not working, you’ll need a whistle to be legal.
February is still a deep water fishing month and don’t think just because of “No minimum length law” is still in effect this month that you won’t catch big crappie. In fact there are some monster crappie being caught right now. Typically what I’m finding is that bigger baits are catching bigger fish. If you stop and think about it, there are no samller baitfish right now until the new hatches of early spring. So, the fish are feeding on larger baitfish (you’ve probably noticed this when cleaning your crappie.) So, I’ve “UP SIZED” my baits by throwing 1 1/2″ to 2″ bodies like Pradco grubs, Storm’s “Wild Eye Curly Tail Minnows” or Wave Worm’s “tiki drops” Pearl white and shad colors are working great. To add to the surprise, these baits are also catching some nice black bass and yellow bass!
As far as depths, they have been holding in 30 to 45 foot depths on main lake points. Except during a new moon or full moon feeding period. These crappie can be found in 16 to 24 foot.
To be very honest, if you don’t have good electronics especially this time of year, it can be really tough finding fish. Hands down Lowrance is as good as it gets! So, if it’s time to upgrade, buy the most vertical pixels you can afford. Because the first key to catching deep water crappie is FINDING THEM.
Don’t let the fact that it is winter keep you from going out and enjoying some of the best fishing of the year.
It is almost that time to go for some Crappie on Lake Fork! Just a few more cold days of the new “winter”
Fishing is a bit on the slow side. The afternoon bite starts about 2pm and ends at dusk- Don’t waste your time deep, find grass on a windy bank (doesn’t have to be hydrilla, coontail and milfoil do the trick) and cover a lot of water. 5/8oz Yo-Zuri traps have been producing well for me, no monster fish yet but nothing under 3lbs. My numbers have been averaging about 5 per trip in the afternoon with fish up to 7lbs.
What is making this tough is the wind, we haven’t really had a break from very high winds in the afternoon lately so I have only been going out a couple of afternoons a week.
Catfish are insane right now. Some customers bank fishing are catching limits on night crawlers, most in the 2.5lb range but they did weigh a 13lb channel cat.
Crappie- Slow, the normal 515 bridge and mainlake points at the dam have been out of the question with high winds.
Lake Fork Report: Sep 30, 2008
After a couple of tumultuous weeks in early September dealing with many rainy days and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, we’ve had several of the most consistent weeks of weather I can remember at Lake Fork. Every day starts off cool and clear, warming into the mid-80s under mostly sunny skies. Once you figure out the fish it is easy to stay with them, since there aren’t any fronts to change things up. Don’t expect it to last forever though, as fall is just around the corner and we’ll start getting cold fronts and chances of rain on a regular basis once again. And that’s good news, because cooling water temps usually result in good bass fishing at Lake Fork until things turn really cold in late November.
On a personal note, I finished up my season on the FLW Stren Series and did well enough to qualify for the Walmart FLW Tour next year. I’m looking forward to an exciting year in 2009, guiding for lunkers on Lake Fork and also competing against some of the world’s best anglers on the FLW Tour.
Finally, I’m headed to Mexico to fish Lake Baccarac in Nov and Dec this year for trophy bass. Our group had one angler drop out of our first trip due to health reasons, so I’m looking for someone to fill his spot for that trip. It’s Nov 21-26 and we’re flying a charter plane directly to the lake. If you’re interested, please let me know.
Lake Conditions: With no rain and light winds, the water conditions are quite stable at Fork. The lake level is currently reading 402.58’ (about 5” below full pool). Some creeks are quite clear, although much of the main lake is brownish due to the fall turnover. Water temps remain fairly warm due to the sunny days, reading in the upper 70s in most areas. As the water level has dropped this summer, the expansive hydrilla and milfoil beds are really matting up, which makes for good fishing in late summer and fall.
Location Pattern: The best pattern for numbers of bass is fishing shallow grassbeds on the main lake and in the first half of major creeks. Early and late and all day on cloudy and windy days, I’m focusing on shoreline grass, openings in clumps of grass, and the inside weedline. When the sun gets up, concentrate on the deep weed edge in 8’ to 15’. Key on points, inside turns, and along ledges and you’re likely to find more fish. Most of the shallow fish have been in groups, so you’ll fish for a while without getting a bite, and then catch several in a small area. I’m also catching some bass back in the coves along creek channel bends but this pattern hasn’t really picked up yet like it will as the water cools. For bigger bass, concentrate on main lake structure in 15’ to 35’. As the lake settles down from turnover and cools, this pattern will really turn on. Watch your graph closely and key on schools located tight to the bottom if you can find them, because they are normally easier to catch than the suspended schools.
Presentation Pattern: As fall approaches, bass will start keying on shad and most of my lure choices and colors will reflect that preference. Shades of white or chrome are always good choices in the fall on Fork. In the shallows, topwaters are catching fish early and late, as well as Fork Frogs in the lily pads. As the sun gets up a little higher, shallow running crankbaits, small spinnerbaits, and Lake Fork Tackle’s 3.5” and 4.5” Live Magic Shad swimbaits work better, especially on windy banks. When the bass aren’t in a chasing mood, switch to a Texas rigged watermelon/red or watermelon candy 8” Fork Worm or the new Hyper Finesse Worm with a 1/8th oz bullet sinker and work it over the tops of grass and along the edges. For bigger fish, a 3/8 oz watermelon red Mega Weight Jig with a matching Fork Craw or a TX rigged watermelon/red or Bama Bug colored Hyper Freak produce well when pitched to the deep weed edge.
Out deeper, Carolina rigs, drop shots, jigs, and Texas rigs will catch bass from schools located near the bottom on deep structure. I go with a green pumpkin or watermelon red 8” or 10” Fork Worm for my Texas rigs. Meanwhile, watermelon candy, watermelon/red, or green pumpkin Baby Fork Creatures, Ring Frys, and Twitch Worms are on the business end of my Carolina rigs. Drop shots will catch good numbers of fish and the occasional big bass, rigged with a watermelon or green pumpkin Hyper Finesse Worm. When the bass are suspended, Fork Flutter Spoons and deep diving crankbaits in shad or yellow bass patterns are working better than the bottom presentations, and catching some lunkers too.
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 http://www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com , where your satisfaction is guaranteed.
Lake Fork Trophy Bass Report
Submitted May 15, 2008
By Guide James Caldemeyer
The fishing on Lake Fork has been great lately with many big fish being caught on a variety of different techniques and patterns that range from shallow spawning fish to deep structure fishing for those post spawn feeding bass. Don Barry and Bob Bostick, from Martin Gas Company, shared the boat with me yesterday and caught 28 fish with only a few that weighed less than 4 lbs. Lots of 5-6 lb fish and Bob took big fish honors with a 8lb. 13oz. hawg! Days like these have been regular and you can expect them to get better over the next few weeks.
Lake Fork water levels are currently about 3 inches below full pool but will be rising quickly with the rain that came today. Water clarity is stained in the backs of the creeks, especially up north, and starts to get clearer mid-lake all the way to the dam. Water temperatures have been ranging from 67-74 degrees on the main lake, with some water near 80 degrees in the backs of the creeks.
Top water baits early have been a great way to start the morning off. Yellow magics, frogs, and buzz baits have done very well lately fished over the grass in 5 foot or less. Fishing these baits all day can be very productive, especially on cloudy days. After the top water bite dies, Wave Worm Shadicks www.wavefishing.com and flukes have been good. Any shade of watermelon has been best. I will use a 4/0 hook with a 1/32 or 1/16 oz. weight molded in the bend of the hook to help get the bait down in the grass and lily pads. Green pumpkin and pumpkin/chartreuse 6” lizards are also a good choice. I have been rigging these on a light carolina rig with a split shot above the swivel and 12”-14” leader. Fishing it around areas that the fish are still spawning in will catch some nice ones. On windy or cloudy days a shallow running crankbait, chatter bait, or 1/4 – 3/8 oz. white Talon double willow spinner bait will cover a lot of water and catch a lot of fish. www.talonlures.com
The deep bite is starting to pick up quite a bit. A lot of the fish that have already spawned are out deep gorging on bait fish. You can find schools of fish holding on main lake points, humps, roadbeds, pond dams, and ridges in 20-35 foot of water. There are a lot of schools of shad out deep and when you find a spot that the fish have moved up on to feed, you can load the boat with some real pigs! Knowing how to read your electronics is critical this time of year but it will pay off big when you find the fish. After I have located a school of bass on my Lowrance I have been throwing a carolina rigged Wave Worm Tiki Gorilla in green pumpkin or watermelon red or 4” Tiki Stick or Zoom centipede. A 1 oz. weight and 4-5 ft. leader with a 3/0 wide gap hook attached to some 20 lb. Gamma Edge fluorocarbon line will put a “noose” around their necks when they bite! When the fish are suspended off the bottom, deep diving crank baits are effective as well as a big swim bait, spoon, or tail kickers. These fish are hungry and strong so if you get bit out deep, HOLD ON!!
This time of year, through summer and even into fall, is a great time to get acquainted with deep structure fishing for big bass. And what better lake to do it on than Lake Fork. If you are interested in booking a trip for some of this great post-spawn fishing, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or just give me a call (903)736-9888. I would enjoy making your trip to Lake Fork a productive and memorable experience. I like to thank my proud sponsors for their support and to my clients for the memories that they allow me to be a part of each day on the lake. Please pray for those that have lost loved ones recently and for their families!
Read Matthew 6:34
Tight Lines and God Bless,