Lake Fork Seasonal Patterns

I talk to fisherman that want to hire one of the Lake Fork bass fishing guides, and one question comes up more than any other, is ” when is the best time to come fish Lake Fork?” So as you read the patterns for the different months, think about when you might like to come fishing on Lake Fork and give me a call to set up your trip. These reports by month has the approach we are having a normal summer and winter for our region.

JANUARY
Probably the hardest month to catch bass of all 12. Lake Fork water temperatures will be their coldest of all months. Most bass will be deep and not very active as the water reaches low 40’s. It is like when the water temperature is below 45 very tough fishing. I throw a black/blue jig along deep creek channels around the bigger stumps and am fishing for 3-7 bites a day. I also like to dress my jig with a black #11 pork trailer. Crawl the jig along very slow on the bottom and give is a shake when you hit a log or tree roots on the bottom.

February
The first half of this month is usually cold and the Lake Fork water temperature will be still in the lower 40’s. But the big female bass start moving this month. So search the creeks close to spawning flats in the 8-15 ft range. Bass will start suspending around wood this month, so the baits I like to throw will the jig black/blue, the A rig on the deeper main lake points, and the suspending jerk bait. As we get to the second half of the month, we will start having some warmer days and will have several in a row and the water will start warming up. If we have grass growing in the lake, the rattle trap will catch the most bass. Look in areas like Burch, Running Creek and Glade to find the early action. The females will continue making their way towards the areas they will spawn in, and will be feeding along the way. A big spinner bait or chatter bait will catch those bass suspending around the big stumps. We are in the early stages of pre spawn heading into March.

March
This is the month the big females really start to move around thinking about spawn. They will be feeding as they move towards the spawning areas starting at the north end of the lake first. They will follow creek channels, road beds, ditches and fence rows as they move and feed on their way. A good map of the lake will show you these spots for you to check out. The last 2 weeks of March will find some of those females getting ready to spawn in those protected areas of the lake that will be warmer than the other water. Burch, Running, Glade and Coffee are areas that you may find bass on the beds at the end of March. Early in the month I like to throw the A rig, black/blue jig and suspending jerk baits along with the rattle trap in red or red chartreuse. Also a shad colored square bill crank bait will do the trick. If I find an area that holds bass that are about to get on the beds, I like a split shot rig with a magnum black finesse worm or a Texas rigged lizard in green pumpkin or same color baby brush hog. Water temperature is the key to the spawn, so look for that area that you find 63-66 degree water and you will find the females shallow.

April
The spawn starts on the north end of the lake very early in April and moves south as the month goes on. I continue using those baits I use at the end of March and if I am looking for bass on the south end of the lake (still pre spawn) the chatter bait works good along with the big spinner baits. The A rig will catch a lot of bass moving towards the back of the major creeks like Wolf or Bell. I also like to throw a carolina rig with a baby brush hog (green pumpkin) looking for those pre spawn bass on main lake points or those staging close to those spawning areas. Again key on the water temperature in the mid 60’s to find the bass ready to spawn. By this time North West Bay will be producing bass. But not all the bass spawn in April.

May
This is a fun month to fish and my favorite month of the entire year. You will find bass spawning on the main lake areas that are protected from the wave action of a north wind or strong south wind. Areas like Chaney will have bass on the beds in May. On the upper end of the lake where the spawn has ended a couple weeks ago, the bass will be in the post spawn pattern and a yellow magic top water bait or frog will catch a lot of bass. Also the carolina rig will be one of the main things I will be throwing. I look at the off shore humps and creeks to find the post spawn bass. A wacky worm or weightless fluke also works well for the post spawn bass. Towards the end of May the brim will start to spawn and those female bass will be feeding on brim on their beds. I love to throw a black/brown/amber jig and watermelon red trailer in the shallow water and hang on!!! Ray, Dale, Chaney, and around the golf course will be places to look to catch these bass. Off shore on the deep main lake points and humps the DD22 type baits and the swim baits will catch those big bass feeding on schools of bait fish. Again a good Lake Fork map will show you these places. Or you can hire me and use my guide service to show you these places.

June
This is a month where the bass, crappie and sand bass move to deeper water. Not all the bass move as some spend most of their time in 10 foot or less. But most move to the deeper creek channels and main lake points for the summer. They feed on the many schools of bait fish moving around this time of the year. Best baits for them will be a chrome rattle trap, swim bait, DD22 type crank baits, and jigs. For the shallow bass, I like the carolina rig using baby brush hogs, or black, brown amber jigs around off shore humps. Bass can be hard to find in June so might want to think about using one of the Lake Fork bass fishing guides. Crappie fishing in June is very good in the brush piles. Minnows are your best bet to catch a mess. Sand bass will be on the deeper humps and ridges and swim baits will work well for them.

July/August
I lump these two month together as they can be hard months to catch bass. They will be moving around a lot and can be hard to find from day to day. Spoons and swim baits along with chrome rattle traps will catch these bass. They will start schooling and so you will want to have a top bait tied on just in case. A spook or yellow magic will do the trick. Look at the deeper points on the lower end of the lake for these bass. Again a great time to think about using one of the Lake Fork bass fishing guides. But make sure they are full time guides not some one that has not been on the lake for most of the summer. Crappie will be deeper in the brush piles and so will be the sand bass.

September
The shallow bass start feeding shallow on carolina rigs, crank baits, swim baits and top water baits. Deeper bass are still doing what they were for the August time frame. This is a great time for numbers and also a great time to learn to fish with plastics. The bite gets aggressive this time of the year. Crappie can be found in the brush piles and under the bridges. Sand bass are still on the deeper humps and main lake points or deeper road beds..

October
One of my favorite times to bass fish, the bite is aggressive and you can catch them deep or shallow. Also this time of the year most any bait will work. Bass are feeding up for the fall and will hit almost any thing. Same for the crappie and sand bass. Jigs for the crappie and spoons for the sand bass.

November /December
I also put these two months together and they will be weather driven. If we have a warm fall, the bite will be good on carolina rig, jigs, crank baits and rattle traps as well as spoons. Main lake points, creek channels is a great place to check out. Bass will push shad schools to the back of pockets and you can find them shallow even as it gets colder. I have caught bass on buzz baits in December. Crappie will be moving deeper toward the flats in the mouth of Little Caney. Jigs and minnows will catch these fish but you will need good electronics to find them. Same for the sand bass.

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