James Henderson Lake Fork Report July 6th 2010

Lake Fork Report
07/06/2010

Lake Fork fishing is in full swing summer patterns now with plenty of big fish being caught deep and shallow. Constant cloudy weather with pop up showers have kept fish biting well most of the day, and you can catch fish on a lot of different techniques right now.

Lake Conditions:

The lake is currently only 6 inches low but with the rain in the forecast, due to bands of clouds coming from the south , it could be full pool again soon. Water surface temps are in the mid 80’s. There is hydrilla , coontail, milfoil, and lillypads in abundance all around the lake so you can fish whatever type of vegetation you like. Water clarity is excellent to lightly stained. The thermocline has set in hard on the lake from 21 to 25 ft in most areas.
There has been some spraying to control noxious vegetation taking place in some areas of the lake. These sprayings can cause fish to relocate, and currently there is no official notifications of what areas or where the sprayings are being done. Most are confined to extreme backs of creeks because of the type of weeds they are targeting so they are not effecting most summer patterns.

Locations:

The early top water bite shallow has been very good, but due to rain the fish have been moving a lot. Main lake pockets and points are areas to key on for top water bites early. Pockets with feeder creeks could have fish all the way to the back, if there a little run off to pull the bait fish in. Cool rains can drop the water in these creeks by 10 degrees and wash a lot of nutrients into these areas, stimulating bait and fish to feed.

The deep bite has been the most predictable with fish moving on to points, ridges, and humps above the thermocline to feed. The schools of fish will generally suspend over deeper water when not feeding but can sometimes turn on and feed while suspended. These can be seen surface schooling sometimes over creek channels and near deep structure. They are usually triggered to feed when a school of shad gets to close and can make for fast action. Some structures can also hold fish even though fish are suspending nearby. This is where finding the key spots on a hump or point come into play. There could be a ditch on a point or cover such as rocks and brush that hold fish all the time on a specific piece of structure.

Nighttime fishing has been great all year, but right now it is the best way to beat the heat, if you are wanting to get out and catch big fish without cooking in your own juices! Best areas are outside weed edges near structure such as creeks or points. Large fish will cruise the edges of the cover searching for an easy meal of crawfish, bream or anything else unlucky enough to cross its path in the darkness. Fish the darker water, or shadows near lighter areas. Just like during the day the large bass will hide in the shadows to ambush prey. Lighted docks can bring in a lot of baitfish and deserve a lot of attention at night. Look for docks that have lights on regularly, not just on the weekends. Lighted docks near creeks or deep water are also prime for really big fish.

Presentation/techniques:

Shallow morning bite for me means a big walking bait over points and near drops. Zara Spooks, Sammys or other similar baits, have all been working well from 6 inches deep out to 10 feet. Popper baits are also putting fish in the boat at times and can produce a lot of numbers at times.In areas where you can see a lot of small bait fish flicking the surface, call for the poppers in shad or clear colors. Another good option in this situation is also a prop bait. Prop baits are not seen by fish on Fork very much anymore and can be real productive. A torpedo in clear or a devils horse still works to catch big fish. If fish are slapping at your baits and not hooking up, try changing the size or color of the bait. You can also try a weightless plastic just below the surface like a wacky worm or circus rig. If you find fish at the backs of feeder creeks, as I mentioned earlier, frogs worked in and around the shoreline cover can produce some heart attack strikes.

Deep structure fishing and crankbaits go hand in hand. The two best ways to cover a piece of structure deep is with a crank or carolina rig. I try to avoid graphing structure when I first pull up, so as not to spook the fish, especially if I know they have been hanging out there already. Boat position is critical when casting a big crank because you are only in the strike zone for a short time due to the pendulum effect. You want to make contact with the structure or the cover. As I have mentioned in previous reports, I don’t like to use buoy’s because they tend to draw unwanted attention , but be ready to mark any location where you get bit, by lining up objects on shore or by kicking a buoy in the water as a reference point.
Another technique that works well especially for fishing road beds, bridges and ridges is strolling, or trolling. This involves first casting your crank bait and either using your trolling motor or big engine to let all or most of the line out of your reel. You can then either start cranking or trolling, this along with using a thin diameter gets your bait down quick and keeps it in contact with the strike zone for hundreds of feet of the retrieve. The only problem is with other anglers pulling up on to your structure as you troll out of it, and it can be very problematic on Fork. For really deep cranking try DD-22s, Hot Lips, or Fat Free shads. Most of the time crank colors are simple with shad colors working best, during low light situations or heavily overcast skies a darker shade or chartreuse is preferred.
Jigs , spoon, and heavy swim baits are also working around structure when the fish are suspended. Stroking a jig or ripping a swim bait through a school of fish can get your rod yanked out of your hand and trigger a school of fish to feed.
Other deep water presentations working well right now are carolina rigs with various soft plastics in shades of green such as watermelon, pumpkin or chartreuse. Texas rigs, and shaky heads are also pulling fish worked in the same areas and along the outside weed edges.

At night I have been using big worms on Texas rigs in black/blue fleck, as well as a drop shot, especially around lighted dock areas. Try big Colorado bladed spinner baits, and black buzz baits over grass beds to really get you woke up when a monster fish blasts it in the dark.

Pics:


Summary:

The weather is hot and so is the summertime fishing. If you can take the heat, NOW is the time to enjoy some of the best summer fishing around. I have plenty of dates available, so give a holler if you want to get out on the water. I am available for full, half, or split days. If you can’t take the heat at all I am available for night trips as well. If I can be of any help to anyone just give me a call or I will respond to your e-mails ASAP.

Good Luck and Be Safe,

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