Lake Fork Report—November 12, 2009
<p>Lake Fork has finally settled down after repeated flooding rains. Despite the water clearing and the lake level being back at normal pool, the fish seem to be stuck in a late summer malaise with all of the warm days lately. The result has been a pretty slow bite overall this fall. As cold fronts make their way through Texas with more regularity in the coming weeks, look for the shad to show up in their regular cooler water spots and both the shallow and deep bites will become consistent. The good news is that the fall fishing should stay good into December this year instead of slowing down quickly in some years when things turn bitterly cold early.
With the holidays just around the corner, I do have gift certificates available for those looking for a present for their angling buddies. 2009 has been another super year on Fork, with the lake being full and in great shape for the coming season. Prespawn starts in late-December, so it won't be long until my favorite lunker time of the year is here, January through March. If you're looking for a fish of a lifetime, prespawn is the time to head to Fork.
Boat for Sale: My 2009 Ranger Z520 boat is for sale. It is fully loaded, rigged with a 250 HP Mercury Pro XS motor with a 5 year warranty (good until 2014). It's value priced and will save you about $10,000 off the cost of a new boat. For more details and pics of the boat, please check my website (www.lakeforkguidetrips.com) or drop me a note.
Lake Conditions: Finally, Fork has returned to normal water levels and clarity. The lake level is currently at 403.31' (4" above full pool). The water clarity is clear on the south end, getting more stained as you head up the lake. Water temps are reading from 65 to 70 in most areas. I normally have my best fall fishing with the water temps from 55 to 65 degrees, so we're getting close to the magic range.
Location Pattern: Shallow has been more consistent than deep most days lately, with a lot of the deep fish remaining suspended and hard to catch. Fishing shallow grassbeds on the main lake all the way to the backs of major creeks has produced best. Early and late and all day on cloudy and windy days, I'm focusing on shoreline grass, openings in clumps of grass, and the inside weedline. When the sun gets up, concentrate on the deep weed edge in 8' to 12'. Key on points, inside turns, and along ledges and you're likely to find more fish. Most of the shallow fish have been in groups, so you'll fish for a while without getting a bite, and then catch several in a small area. I'm also catching bass back in the coves along creek channel bends, and this bite will only improve as the water temps drop. For the deep anglers, concentrate on main lake structure in 18' to 33'. The best areas and depths change daily, so you'll need to do some scouting to find the schools each day. Watch your graph closely and key on schools located tight to the bottom if you can find them, because they are normally easier to catch than the suspended schools.
Presentation Pattern: In the fall, bass key on shad and most of my lure choices and colors will reflect that preference. Shades of white or chrome are always good choices in the fall on Fork. In the shallows, topwaters are catching fish early and late. Smaller topwaters closely imitate the size of the shad and catch lots of keeper fish, so go with smaller sizes of poppers like Lucky Craft G-Splashes or Gun Fish when it is calm, or switch to the walking baits like Sammys if there is more chop on the water. I throw these topwaters on floating mono line like PowerSilk for the best action with my lures. After the sun gets up a bit, the bass often stop coming to the top, so I switch to shallow running crankbaits like Lucky Craft RC 0.5, RC 1.5, or BDS 0 square bills, ¼ oz spinnerbaits, and 3/8 oz chatterbaits with 3.5" Live Magic shads. To keep those money fish hooked up on crankbaits with treble hooks, I like fiberglass rods like the Dobyns 705CB Glass. The slower action of fiberglass allows bass to deeply take the lures and also keeps them hooked up well when fighting them in. Match it with sensitive line like FluoroHybrid Pro and you'll still have great feel, even with a fiberglass rod.
If the bass aren't in a chasing mood, switch to a Texas rigged watermelon/red or watermelon candy 8" Fork Worm or wacky rig a Hyper Finesse Worm, Zig Zag, or Hyper Whack'n worm and work it over the tops of grass and along the edges. For these soft plastics, green pumpkin and junebug colors are working best on cloudy days, while watermelon/red and watermelon are better on sunny days. These techniques will also catch additional fish in areas where I've already caught some fish on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwaters. For bigger fish, a 3/8 oz green pumpkin Mega Weight Jig with a matching Fork Craw or Hyper Freak trailer or a 10" Fork Worm Texas rigged will produce big bass when pitched on 15 to 25 lb FluoroHybrid Pro line to the deep weed edge, especially on points and around creek channels.
If you're fishing deep, these basic patterns generally work best in the fall. For the suspended bass, Fork Flutter Spoons and Lucky Craft Flat CB D-20 crankbaits in shad or yellow bass patterns work best and will catch some lunkers too. The key is getting your bait down to the level of the bass and keeping it in front of them for as much of the retrieve as possible. For deep bass on the bottom, Carolina rigged Baby Ring Frys and Twitch Worms and drop shotting Hyper Finesse worms are my favorites. I use watermelon shades on sunny days, while green pumpkin hues & Junebug works better on cloudy days. I've been using the 7'8" Dobyns Champion Extreme model DX784ML lately and the extra length allows me take up extra line and get control of big fish at the end of long casts. If you haven't tried worm and jig fishing with a longer rod, give it a try and you'll land more fish.
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.