April is here and one of my favorite months of the year on Lake Fork! Spring fishing is in full swing. This month is a great time to get on the lake and catch the fish of your dreams. Many conditions on the lake have changed since my last report and Lake Fork is doing great with water levels up considerably. The great thing about the month of April is that you can catch fish on such a variety of different techniques and patterns. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you increase your catch rate this month.
Current Water Conditions of Lake Fork
The lake is getting close to being full. Levels currently sit at 401.43 which is about a foot and a half below the full pool. We have more rain in the forecast so that’s got the lake levels looking great for the rest of 2023. The water is fairly clear in most areas except for some of the mid-lake creeks and the north end. Water temperatures have been in the low to mid-60s with the ups and downs of the weather. On the warming trends, the surface temps have pushed to 70 in some areas, and I expect it will continue to trend upward as the month rolls along. There’s plenty of cover with all the newly flooded grass and bushes. I’ve even seen some good, submerged grass beginning to spout up in some of the creeks and coves.
Bass Patterns to Keep in Mind While Fishing
The warmer days have really moved the fish up shallow, and some fish have already spawned. You can find fish in all stages of the spawn right now. The pre-spawn fish are still staging on main lake points, secondary points, pond dams, roadbeds, and creek channel edges. There are also some post-spawn bass starting to show up so a lot of times you can catch fish that are coming and going from the spawning areas on the same spot. The bass are relating heavily to any type of cover available to them in these areas including stumps, lay-downs, boat docks, and flooded bushes. With the lake levels high and all the new grass or flooded overgrowth, the bass have plenty of areas to move into and spawn. We will have one of the best spawns that we’ve had in a long time and that’s great for the long term of the lake!
The Best Bait for Catching Bass
Best baits for targeting these big pre-spawn and post-spawn bass have been big 3:16 Rising Son swimbaits, square bill crank baits, swim jigs or shaky heads, and light Carolina rigs. You must be versatile in the Spring to be able to catch bass consistently because what works one day may not the next and you constantly have fish moving up into new areas to spawn then going back out. Most of these fish are oriented to a feeding bite so fronts can be best for catching numbers of these big fish while they are eating!
Weightless Tools for Shallow Waters on Lake Fork
The spawning fish have really liked all this new water. I have been amazed at how shallow some of these big fish have been lately. I have found a number of fish that are in less than a foot of water spawning. The best approach to catching these fish has been dependent upon fishing conditions. On sunny days I have been targeting them with several soft plastics that work well in very shallow areas. Weightless stick baits like a Berkley General, Berkley Bottom Hopper rigged wacky style, or soft jerk baits like the Berkley Jerk shad have been very good. Other days, sight fishing them off beds seems to be the only way to get bit, or if you are just looking to pick you out a big one. Fishing weightless is most effective for me but if you get a little wind and are still trying to target these bedding bass then I have been switching to a 1/8-3/16 oz Santone Lures “Piglet” shaky head tipped with a Berkley Powerbait Bottom Hopper. Best colors lately have been the plum, south africa special, and green pumpkin. If it gets windy, I’m picking up the new Berkley SlobberKnocker and running it through the same areas to catch these spawners. The topwater bite is turning on as well so keep your frog, popper, or buzzbait rod handy and toss it around some. Nothing better than seeing these big ole Lake Fork bass come up and explode on top!
Technology for Deep Water Fishing
The deep bite is not very good right now as most of the fish are up in the creeks and shallow water areas spawning but you’ll occasionally see a group of fish out deep on my Garmin EchoMap Ultra units. Most of these fish are in 12-18 feet. You will start to see more and more fish move to deep water this month as they complete some of spawn on the lake and start to move into full post-spawn patterns. Typically, most of these fish will be suspended. I use a lot of deep diving crank baits like a Berkley Dredger in various sizes but primarily the 20.5 version this time of year. The deep swim bait like a 5-6 inch Berkley Hollowbelly on a ¾ jig head. I also like to toss around an umbrella rig. I use the Hog Farmer 5 wire 4 or 8 blade model. This is about the only rig that can withstand the terrain on Lake Fork. If you spool up with 65 lb Durabraid you will be able to pull it free from most trees that it can come in contact with while fishing. I am using the Santone “rig heads” on it and tipping them with a various shad colored 3-4” Berkley swimbaits.
Book a Lake Fork Fishing Guide
Well, I hope this helps anyone that’s coming out this month to chase some big bass. If you would like to fish with me this year, I still have just a few dates available for later in the year. My 2023 schedule filled fast though so contact me as soon as possible if you are just now beginning to plan your trip. I also have gift certificates available for those of you that are interested in purchasing a friend or loved one a guided trip on Lake Fork. You can contact me to make your reservation at 903-736-9888 or send me an email at email@example.com
You can find me on Facebook and follow my official Lake Fork Trophy Bass Guide page at https://www.facebook.com/lakeforktrophybassguide
I really enjoyed my Bass Cat boat in 2022 and have jumped in my 2023 boat for the season. I couldn’t be happier to be serving my customers on Lake Fork as part of the Bass Cat Team and am looking forward to providing more great trips this year out of my new boat! If you’re interested in checking out any of the Bass Cat models, be sure to reach out to R & R Marine in Pittsburg, Texas. They have the all-new Puma STS that everyone is raving about so go by and check it out! Steven Stroman and his crew have amazing sales and service as well as a complete tackle shop with just about anything you need. I would like to thank all my sponsors that are continuing to support me in 2023. I am looking forward to representing them again this year and appreciate all their support as I serve all my great guide clients on throughout the year on Lake Fork as well! Sponsors: Toyota, AFTCO, Bass Cat Boats, Mercury, I Am Second, Omnia Fishing, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Garmin, Santone Lures, Costa Sunglasses, Power Pole, 3:16 Lure Company, Elite Tungsten, Johnson Communications, and Bass Boat Technologies.
Acts 3:19 - Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord
Tight Lines & God Bless,