Lake Fork and Monticello Report by Lake Fork Guide Ronnie Kelley

First off I’d like to wish everyone a VERY Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 2010 was an incredible year. Fishing was great and Lake Fork is healthy. Lake Fork is an incredible lake and I thank God every day for the opportunity to fish it on a daily basis. As winter set in, Lake Monticello got hot and it has been great as well. I want everyone who fished with me this year to know that I really appreciate you, and I can honestly say I had a great time with everyone. Thanks to all the other guides on Lake Fork who I worked with this year. You guys are great. I am so honored to work with some of the best fisherman in the business. My sponsors have been amazing, without your support I couldn’t do this, so thank you very much. I am excited about 2011. I think it will be incredible. Lake Fork is in great shape and has an abundant amount of grass and forage and that makes for world class fishing. If you didn’t get a chance to come fish Lake Fork in the spring this past year don’t miss out in 2011. I have trips available for spring, and if I’m not available I’ll get you setup with a first-class guide! If you are planning on coming this spring call me soon, as the dates will book fast. Remember that one call is all you have to make and I can arrange for your full accommodations. Lake Fork Marina is where I launch and recommend for lodging. Along with Tiffany’s Restaurant, Lake Fork Marina has everything you need, including Lodging, fuel, tackle and incredible food….My, oh my, the pie!

Right now Lake Fork is about 4ft low and that is making a lot of areas tough to run, if your headed this way please be careful. Remember the fish live here, they are not going anywhere so take your time! The water temp is in the low 50’s and high 40’s some days. I have been fishing mostly shallow. I’ll start the day with rattle traps, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, and swimjigs over grass and around creek channels. I am throwing a lot of red traps right now. It gives you a good chance at a big one, if they won’t touch the red I’ll go to chrome/blue back. The red really gets the big girls fired up. I’m using a heavy rod to make sure I get it out of the grass and it is clean. These fish here aren’t vegetarians! I’m throwing my traps on a Falcon Cara Mike McClelland 7’4” Heavy. Now this rod is heavy, but it has a lot of tip and I can throw it a mile matched with 15lb Seaguar Invizx. On my swimbaits, spinnerbaits, and swimjigs I’m using white and shad colors. I’ll throw all of these on a 6’6”-7’ Med/Heavy Falcon Cara. 20lb fluorocarbon is the only way to go. Bumper Stumpers Pro Series Spinnerbaits have been deadly in Chart/White and White. I’m throwing a Black Angel Swimjig and Pheonix Chatterjig and using a Live Magic Shad for a trailer on the Chatterjig and a Skinney dipper on the jig.
Into the day there are a few different patterns working well. The deep bite is good. Roadbeds and main lake points are holding schools of fish. Electronics is the key in this. If you’re fishing an area you know well, stop and make a few casts before graphing it. If you’re not very familiar with the spot run over it and locate the fish, this will make your offshore fishing a lot more successful. Once you locate the fish a few different baits will work. If they are suspended a Lake Fork flutter spoon and a white 1oz Bumper Stumper spinnerbait with a pearl live magic shad and the skirt trimmed way back will do it. Fish the flutter spoon with small strokes, and let the spinnerbait fall to the bottom and slowly reel it back. If you are seeing them on your graph suspended below the boat drop a Hyper Finesse worm in green pumpkin down on a drop-shot and put it in front of them. They can’t resist it! Try using light line with this technique; 8-12lb test. I wouldn’t go below 8lb test, that’s just asking for heart break. If the fish you locate are relating to the bottom a Carolina Rig with a Hyper Stick of ring fry, use green pumpkin and junebug. A football jig will catch some big ones. I am throwing a 3/4oz Black Angel jig in Black/blue and garden pumpkin with a Lake Fork flipper in black/blue and green pumpkin.
I also fish the main-lake grass and creek channels with a jig. I’ll use a Black Angel Flipping jig in garden pumpkin with a LFT Flipper around the grass with 25 Seaguar Abrazx. Fish the very edge and parallel the grass making short cast in front of the boat. Fishing the creek channels you’ll want to use braid depending on the timber. This time of year the big girls are out and about and you don’t want to risk losing a big one on a huge stump. Use Lake Fork Special and black/blue flipping jigs with a Hyper Freak as a trailer. Keep a rattle trap handy as they will come up and chase shad some days and you can really catch some quality fish when they come up. Focus on creeks in 8-15ft of water and the swings and sharp turns will be key areas.

If you’re not much of a winter fisherman head to Monticello. The lake is great right now. We are catching good numbers and great quality. I’m starting each morning throwing a medium diving crankbait in shad or red around the corners of the bridges. This is a great opportunity to catch a big fish. After I fish the bridges I move to the pads and timer. Put the trolling motor down and throw a spinnerbait or swimbait. A Bumper Stumper Pro Series spinnerbait in white or white/chartreuse will kill them. Into the day fish the pads and timer with a LFT Magic Shad or Hyper Stick in green pumpkin or watermelon red. The fish are really shallow, I’m concentrating on 2-5ft of water and patience has been the key. Let the bait soak, there are pre-spawn and spawning fish in the pads. The topwater bite should start real soon. That’s right, topwater in January!
Monticello is fishing great and I am still doing the 2 for 1 lake trips. I’ll fish this trip until February. We fish Monticello in the morning and Lake Fork in the afternoon. These trips are the same price as one lake. Monticello will only get BETTER, so if you want some spring fishing in January give me a call!
Good Fishing and God Bless,
Ronnie Kelley

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