Lake Fork Report & Pics—May 12, 2011
Bass are wrapping up the spawn and concentrating on eating in both the shallows and out on deep structure. Hordes of spawning shad and bluegill plus a lot of new weed growth, in addition to the tons of stumps and stained water, mean that a lot of bass will be hanging out shallow for quite a while. For these fish, crankbait, topwaters, chatterbaits and soft plastics will provide a lot of action. If fishing offshore structure is your deal, more and more fish are migrating to classic summertime haunts each day as the water temps keep rising. And in between, fish can be caught on the same points and creek channels where they staged before spawning. Shallow, deep, or in-between, May is a wide open month on Fork that allows you to fish your strengths and catch lots of good fish.
As the bass 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 and moving baits early or all day on cloudy days. If the sun comes out, 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.
If you haven't caught it yet, I'm a frequent participant and host of "The Big Bass Battle" on Versus. The show also runs on WFN (World Fishing Network), as well as on Time Warner cable in the Dallas area. More new episodes will air soon, with trips to Fork, LA, and MS.
If you want to learn more about the shad and bluegill spawns and how to catch bass following them, you can check out my May article called "The Other Spawns" here: http://www.lakeforkguidetrips.com/fishingarticles/may2011.htm
Lake Conditions: Despite a few storms, the lake level remains low. Currently it sits at 399.66' (about 3' 4" below full pool) and a ton of stumps are visible. The boat lanes are still safe to run in general, but definitely exercise caution when heading out of the clear-cut areas. Water temps are currently reading in the low to mid-70s. The main lake is the normal greenish clear color but many creeks and the upper end of the lake are pretty stained due to all of the wind. A decent amount of milfoil and hydrilla are showing up around the lake now, but the coverage is still significantly less than in past years.
Location Pattern: For the last of the spawners, check out the main lake flats on the south end of the lake. 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, staging on their way back to deep water. On the northern half of the lake, timber or grass flats and clay points will continue to hold numbers of fish until the bluegill and shad finish their spawns and temps turn hot. Some of the early spawners are showing up on offshore structure in 12' to 30' as well.
Presentation Pattern: Topwaters are not only fun to fish, but producing some big fish all day, so try your Lucky Craft G Splashes, Kelly J's, and Gunfish. 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. 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 1.5 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. If the action slows, rig a Hyper Stick or Ring Fry 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 7'4" Dobyns Extreme DX745C 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.
On offshore structure like humps and points, deep diving cranks and Fork Flutter Spoons will catch suspended fish while Carolina and TX rigs will get the bottom dwellers. The key is to first locate fish on your graph, then let their position dictate your lure selection. Lots of bass suspend early in the season and super deep cranks like Lucky Craft's Flat CB D20 and RC3.5XD are very effective, with Sexy Chartreuse Shad and Chartreuse Light Blue being my favorite colors. To get the most depth out of them, use a small diameter sinking line like 12 lb FluoroHybrid Pro and launch them as far as you can. The hands down best deep cranking rod these days is the 8' Dobyns 805CB RM—it's a unique blend of a rod that can cast a country mile, yet has the power to handle a leaping lunker at great distance. Deep cranks are notorious for losing fish and this rod will help you keep them on-line. Fork Flutter Spoons will trigger a lot of these same fish too as they slowly wobble down through the schools like a dying shad. When bass group up on the bottom they are easier to catch. Simply keep a Carolina rigged Baby Fork Creature or a TX rigged 10" Fork Worm in front of them long enough and they'll eat sooner or later.
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.
About The Author: Captain Tom Redington
Company: Lake Fork Bass Guide Service
Area Reporting: Lake Fork Texas
Bio: My mission is to help you learn the skills to catch lots of big fish on Lake Fork—skills that will also help you catch more and bigger fish on your home lake and any other lakes you fish. In addition, I will focus my efforts on your goals for our trip—whether you want to learn a new technique, find fish for an upcoming tournament, learn the current patterns for a week’s visit to Fork, or just have an enjoyable day with friends, family or a client.