Lake Fork Report Guide Tom Redington 4-13-08

With bass in all 3 phases of the spawn and sections of the lake that are clear, stained and muddy, it’s possible to catch big Lake Fork bass on just about any shallow water technique right now. Spawning and post spawn patterns are producing the biggest numbers of fish, with some good ones mixed in. My customers and I concentrated mostly on slightly deeper structure just outside shallow spawning flats, a pattern that catches big prespawners moving into the shallows and also big females on their way back out. With so many bass up shallow right now and so many different patterns working, anglers can concentrate on their strengths and fish the pattern that suits them best—be it flipping heavy cover in muddy water, finesse fishing with light line or sight fishing in clear water, to anything in between. In general, the windier and cloudier the day, the better our fishing results, while sunny and calm winds made things a lot tougher.

I expect the spawn to continue into early May, as it does most every year on Fork. By the end of April, many fish will already be in post spawn and early summertime patterns. As those females feed up after the spawn, the result is our most consistent fishing of the year for numbers of quality fish in the 3 to 7 lb range, with a shot at a 10+. That means topwaters early and all day on cloudy days, and then deep water structure fishing the rest of the day. So if your plans don’t allow you to take advantage of the spawn this year on Fork, don’t despair, you can still enjoy what most locals consider the best fishing of the year on Fork—May through July.

Lake Conditions: Another couple rounds of storms brought Lake Fork up over full pool once again, currently reading 403.10’ and falling fast (about 1 inch above full pool). Much of the north end and backs of major creeks are stained to muddy, but the south end still remains quite clear. We’ve been catching the bass equally from muddy and clear water, so don’t let the stained water keep you out of productive coves. Water temps were reading from 64 to 69 degrees on Saturday, perfect for spawning.

Location Pattern: For prespawn bass, concentrate on points, creek channels, treelines, and inside or outside grass lines near shallow spawning flats. For these big prespawn females, we did better around grass and wood cover in 4’ to 10’ in the middle to mouths of creeks or on cover on the main lake. For spawning fish, concentrate on the very back ends of large creeks. In addition, flats and protected bays nearer the mouths of coves are also holding some spawners. Spawning activity seems to be sporadic, so you may need to move around to a few coves to find an area with a wave of bedding fish.

Presentation Pattern: For prespawn and postspawn bass, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwaters, jerkbaits, and lipless crankbaits are catching big fish, especially on overcast and windy days. With lots of stained and muddy water, bright color schemes that include a lot of orange, chartreuse or red have worked best. For a big bass, try slow rolling swimbaits through the shallow grass and wood, like a 4.5” or 5.5” Live Magic Shad on a matching Lake Fork Trophy Lures’ Ultimate Swimbait hook. On calm days, you’ll typically do better by pitching a jig and a Texas rig to shallow cover. For the jig, 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. Meanwhile on the Texas rig, I’ll pitch a Lake Fork Flipper or Top Dog Lizard in black neon, green pumpkin or watermelon/red with a 1/8 to 3/8 oz bullet weight and slowly work it around wood cover and in any holes in the grass. For bass on 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 top colors in clearer water, while blue bruiser, black neon, and June bug work better in the murkier water.

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. Most 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. Work your bait very slowly and keep it in place on the bottom for a long time or you’ll pass up all but the most aggressive fish.

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.

Good Fishing,

Tom

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