Tom Redington Lake Fork Report

The fishing at Lake Fork has been good to fantastic almost everyday for the past week. Since last Tuesday (April 27) through yesterday (Monday), we’ve had at least a 7 lb’er in the boat every single trip and a number of 8 to 10 pounders. Our best 5 fish weighed 31 to 36 lbs each day from Wednesday through Saturday. The good news is that most of the fish are still up shallow and many folks are really strokin’ them right now on a wide range of presentations. Basically, focus on a shallow technique that you like and you’ll probably be able to catch some good fish right now. Muddier than normal conditions have them holding shallow and actively feeding as opposed to being spooky while shallow in clearer water. Because of the late spring, a lot of bass are still spawning and many of the early spawners are just now starting to turn on again while chasing shad and bluegill. 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 or all day on cloudy days. After that, it is offshore structure fishing the rest of the day on possibly the best structure fishing lake in the country. So if your plans didn’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. In addition to catching a lot of big fish, it is also the premier time to learn how to read your electronics to graph big schools of bass on deep structure. Lake Conditions: Lake Fork is full and considerably more stained than normal. The lake level is currently 403.29’ and steady, about 3” above full pool. Water temps are reading from 68 to 72 in the main lake, warmer in the creeks. Location Pattern: I’m finding most of the bigger spawning fish near the mouths of coves and on main lake flats in 6’ and less. The northern half of the lake still has a few spawners, but the south end has more fish moving up. The slightly deeper structure like points, creek channels, and ledges in 4’ to 12’, adjacent to areas with numbers of shallow spawning bass, is where we’ve found most of the bigger females, both prespawn and postspawn. On the northern half of the lake, grass flats and points will continue to hold numbers of fish until the bluegill and shad finish their spawns and temps turn hot. In general, the fish up north are getting way less pressure than the areas down south too. Presentation Pattern: Topwaters are starting to turn on, and Lucky Craft G Splash, Kelly J’s, and Gunfish will get a lot of bites early and late. You can work these baits all day long and catch good fish, especially if you are in areas with lots of bass fry. Work these lures on a floating mono line, like 15 lb PowerSilk. A Dobyns 704CB Champion rod will cast these smaller topwaters very well and has a soft tip to help you land more fish too. Around heavier grass or pads, throw Fork Frogs and buzzbaits too. If the wind kicks up, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and vibrating jigs work well in shad or bluegill color schemes. ¼ oz Redemption spinnerbaits, Lucky Craft RC 2.0 square billed cranks, and Phenix Vibrator jigs with 3.5” Live Magic Shads will all catch good bass, especially on the windy and cloudy days. For a real pig, try slow swimming a 5.5” or 8” Live Magic Shad on a swimbait hook through the same areas. You’ll get fewer bites, but some real monsters. For bass that are on spawning flats and on points, weightless Texas rigged or wacky rigged soft plastic jerkbaits like Magic Shads, Zig Zags, and the all new Hyper Stick work. The Hyper Stick combines the shape of Senko-style stick worm baits with the segmented body action of the Live Magic Shad. The result is a worm with unique action from even the slightest rod movement. Shades of green pumpkin and watermelon are normally top colors, but don’t forget Blue Bruiser with the muddy water this year. These fish are often spooky, so long casts are key. For weightless soft plastic jerkbaits, I’m using Dobyns’ 733C with 14 lb FluoroHybrid Pro 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 FluoroHybrid Pro line has the feel and invisibility of fluorocarbon, yet it casts well and ties strong knots like mono—it’s truly the best of both worlds. If the wind is blowing, rig the Hyper Stick on a 12” leader and a ¼ oz weight on a Carolina rig with 17 lb FHP line and you’ll keep on catching them. 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 to shallow cover like stumps, laydowns, and clumps of grass, plus pitch to the deep weed edge. Big females hang out here before and after the spawn and this is a great way to catch a lunker in the late spring. 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 http://www.LakeForkGuideTrips.com , where your satisfaction is guaranteed. Good Fishing, Tom

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