James Henderson Lake Fork Report 3-18-11

Lake is currently above full pool an rising with temps in the low 50‘s
rising up to mid 60‘s on sunny warm days. The lake is mostly dingy in the
backs of the main arms clearing to stained near the dam. I have been
finding new sprigs of Hydrilla growth in some areas .

Fishing is inconsistent due to frontal passages and night time air temps
dropping into the 30’s and 40‘s. The night time temps will be the key to
stable patterns developing as we move into the spring. Recent trips have
had between 10 to 30 bites, and fish in the double digit range being
caught. There are currently fish in several phases: late winter,
pre-spawn and spawn. There are presently males in great numbers shallow
during the warm trends. Females can also be found shallow on sunny warm
days but many are preferring the nearest break in water depth like a
creek channel or drop off. With the severe winter killing off most of the
vegetation fish are relating mainly to timber.

Primary baits for me have been lipless rattle baits, Senko type baits,
spinner baits, wacky rigs, and jerk baits. With fish making a move
towards the beds lures that usually produce the best for bedding fish are
tubes, lizards, and creature baits. Another technique that’s producing
numbers for the tournament fishermen is the drop shot around vertical
structure and deeper water near bedding areas.

My bigger fish have been coming on the lipless rattle baits in red and on
shad or chrome colors. I prefer to use the chrome/gold color on sunny
days and in clearer water and the red/crawfish colors in dingy water or
cloudy days. I usually preach ripping the rattle baits in grass, but with
little grass available try popping and twitching the bait to trigger
strikes across flats and around timber.
The Senko type bait is working well either weightless Texas rigged or
wacky. Some days you have to dead stick it , and other days they want it
moving a little faster, so play with the retrieve until you find what is
working best. Best colors have been natural hues of green.
Spinner baits in white or white/chartreuse, 1/4oz to 3/8oz size, are
also producing worked around cover. Try varying the depth of
presentation, working the bait anywhere from just below the surface to
where it can barely be seen. Work it around timber bumping off stumps
and lay downs to trigger reaction bites on tough days.
The wacky rig, although not usually known as a big fish bait if fished
correctly can produce as good as any presentation this time of year. I
normally rig with a straight tail worm or soft stick bait in natural
hues. Fish will usually hit it on the fall so work it slowly, lifting
your rod tip to raise it and allow it to fall slowly with occasional
Stick baits or hard jerk baits are starting to come on strong and will
get better as the spawn progresses. I prefer a gold with black back
floating jerk bait at this time of year. I like to cast it out and let it
set just a few seconds. Then just twitch my rod tip to make it wobble and
flit around on the surface. This is excellent for drawing strikes around
bedding bass and they will annihilate it at times. After twitching it on
the surface then start to work it down with a series of sharp twitches
and snaps of your rod tip. The strikes will almost always occur as your
raising your rod while the bait is sitting still in the water column. Be
sure you have premium hooks on because a lot fish will swipe at the bait
and good hooks will ensure you catch fish that slap at the bait. Your rod
for this presentation needs to have a slow action, a quality glass , or
composite cranking stick works best, allowing you to impart the most
action to the bait and still land fish that are hooked in the side or
outside the mouth.
With fish relating to timber so much the jig and pig is also working well
and an excellent BIG fish bait. Flip jigs or Texas rigged creature baits
to timber on structure such as along creek channel bends, ditches ledges,
etc. This is an excellent bait after a cold front when the fish pull out
to the breaks and get tight to cover. Be alert, because the bites can be

As you can see a lot of techniques are producing right now, some better
than others. The number one determining factor is the stage the fish are
in that you are targeting. You can catch pre-spawn still, with the first
wave of fish moving into spawn mode. Pick the technique to fit the
situation and you will catch fish. It won’t be long before the majority
of fish will be in full blown spawn.
If I can be of any help to anyone or if you have a question, just give
me a call. I do have a few days at the end of this month open and
several days next month if anyone is interested. I still have dates
available for April but they are going quick so if your still in need of
a guide just give a holler.


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2 Responses to “James Henderson Lake Fork Report 3-18-11”

  1. Wayne Lindsay Says:

    James, the first line in your report of 3-18-11 says, ” the lake is currently above full pool and rising. ” That can’t be correct. We’ve had no rain and the lake is currently almost four feet low.

  2. terry Says:

    full pool ????????????????? what year was this writen ?

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