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Lake Fork Fishing: What You Need, and How to Catch The Big Ones

Lake Fork Fishing
YouTube: YourLakeForkGuide

The Lake Fork fishing report is in: big bass and sore arms galore!

The Lake Fork Reservoir was built way back in 1980 by the creation of the Lake Fork Dam and it has since become one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country. This East Texas impoundment has become synonymous as a largemouth bass fishing Mecca, but anglers looking to stuff a bucket with catfish do quite well here too.

One of the best resources nationwide when it comes to their own state is the venerable Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. They call Lake Fork "one of the country's premier trophy bass lakes" and rightly so. In the coming months we'll discuss some of the best bass fishing destinations across the country, and this reservoir constantly makes the top five.

Before we go any further, it needs to be said, and the TPWD states, "Although access through the reservoir is provided by numerous buoyed boat lanes, submerged timber represents a substantial hazard, so care should be exercised while boating in all areas."

And the fact is that bass fishing stumps, brush piles, and submerged timber was almost certainly made famous by Lake Fork.

Bass Fishing Lake Fork

17.67 pounds, caught from Lake Fork in 1986 by fishing guide Mark Stevenson. Though surpassed by the St. Clair bass as a...

Posted by Lake Fork Monsters on Friday, July 17, 2020

If you want to fish cover, then Lake Fork has all that and more: hydrilla, Eurasian milfoil, coontail, American lotus, water primrose, water hyacinth, alligatorweed and pennywort are all present and accounted for in this impoundment. While it is true that Hydrilla and Eurasian milfoil are invasive species, the TPWD's view of these aquatic plants has changed over the years.

Even though white and black crappie, channel catfish, white bass, and sunfish are prominent in the lake, it is the largemouth bass that garners the most attention here. Take the lake record caught by Barry St. Clair in 1992 just a mere 12 years after the impoundment was created: 18.18 pounds!

A combination of restrictive harvest regulations, the strict enforcement of a no-kill rule placed on bass 16 to 24 inches in length, and abundant habitat has contributed to Lake Fork's development as a premier bass fishing destination.

As with any great bass lake, seasonal fishing goes hand in hand with techniques and presentation. For pre-spawn bass feeding heavily to get ready for their annual breeding season, big rattling crankbaits such as the Rat-L-Trap, or the Rapala Rippin' Rap gets the attention of big spawning females, especially in colors that mimic their favorite food, the crawfish.

Many veteran guides will tell you that a live water dog salamander drifted just above the hydrilla will have big females jumping out of the water after it, as much to eat it as to keep these bed-raiding amphibians from eating her eggs.

Like any premier bass lake, spinnerbaits, plastic worms, lizards, and jigs are all popular lures during peak fishing in the spring. Fish are especially concentrated around the shorelines at this time of the year since those areas are the first to warm up to prime temperatures.

It is during late summer and early fall, when fish begin to school that crankbaits and topwater offerings can be quite effective.

Generally speaking, in the winter jigging spoons, rattling jigs, and slow-moving crankbaits are the most productive.

Standard Bass Fishing Gear

Posted by Grey Beard Fishing on Saturday, April 17, 2021

Bass fishing in these waters seems to be almost exclusively done with the best baitcasting gear available today, but don't think that a good spinning combo won't do the trick. It's just that a medium-heavy to heavy rod and reel bait caster combination is key for hauling big bass out of the thick weed mats, or submerged timber before they get the chance to defeat an angler.

Many anglers prefer to spool up with the best fluorocarbon that money can buy to fool wary, overfished bass. However, sometimes a spool of solid braid in the lighter sizes can be just as good in the stained waters. Even some braided line with a fluorocarbon leader works quite well.

The lure choices are so endless that we may as may just give you the link to the whole Bass Pro Shops lure page, but honestly, multiple different topwater frogs, swimbaits of every style, Senko worms rigged either weightless or wacky style, a Heddon Super Spook are excellent. As are any good deep diving hard-billed crankbaits like the Strike King Pro Model 8XD. It's perfect for creating havoc on the shallow bottoms, or anything that looks and acts like a crawdad.

Lake Fork Guide

As a shallow water bass fishery, Lake Fork may be second to none. The main lake has deep water, sure, but as stated this lake needs a modicum of knowledge of it before it can be safely traversed to find big fish.

Planning a fishing trip to this coveted Texas hotspot just east of Dallas means taking the time to look into a responsible guide service to get you acquainted with the reservoir. Before you set out to break the state record, just remember that a good fishing guide can make all the difference when it comes to bagging a lunker.

Maybe the best part is the friends you will make and the experiences that you will have will be all the better. Anybody can find the boat ramp, but a professional guide service will have you coming back year after year, and you can't put a price tag on those kinds of memories. 

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NEXT: THE 8 BEST SMALLMOUTH BASS FISHING STATES

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Lake Fork Fishing: What You Need, and How to Catch The Big Ones