It’s February and the early spring fishing season is in full swing here at Lake Fork! Lots of big bass are starting to show up as they prepare to spawn. If you’re looking to get in on some of this trophy bass action, now is the time, before all the spring crowds start to hit the lake. Here are some tips that may help you in your search of that fish of a lifetime.
First off, despite low water levels through the winter the lake has risen and continues to rise with regular rains recently. The lake is about 1 1⁄2 feet low still but you can expect it to be at or near full pool soon as more spring rains come in. Water temperatures have been ranging from 50-54 degrees but with any warming trends you could see temperatures rise to the upper 50’s this month. Water clarity on the north end of the lakes and the backs of creeks has been stained and clearer water found as you move mid-lake to south.
This month is a transitional month for these bass. They have started to move to the shallows and are preparing to spawn. Most of these prespawn bass are in staging areas adjacent to where they will spawn. Secondary points, creek channel swings, and boat docks are big players. It’s important to be observant about the water temperature as you move around on the lake right now. Having great electronics like the all new Garmin EchoMap Ultra that I use helps. It will give you an accurate reading of surface temperatures and help you eliminate less productive water. The bass are generally going to focus on the warmest water that they can find and the fish in those areas are going to be the most active. I like to look for areas where temperatures are increasing daily. Another good place to look first is in the creeks and pockets that are protected from the north. These areas do not cool as fast during a front and often times warm up more quickly, especially the ones furthest north on the lake. If temperatures are in the mid-fifties degree range, I consider that ideal for pre-spawn bass activity. If it gets any warmer than that you can expect some start spawning. Most of these fish will be in 2-6 feet of water and are up shallow in search of a meal. I like to cover a lot of water fast when I’m searching for these big females. Great baits to use for covering water are a lipless crankbait like a Berkley Warpig. I prefer a 1/2 -3/4 oz size in red/orange crawfish patterns and chrome/blue or white colors. If you can find any grass in these areas, ripping this bait off of it will get you some good bites. Another great new bait from Berkley that’s been putting them in my boat is the “Frittside” crank bait. I think it’s one of the best crankbaits I’ve used, especially for this time of year. I also like to use chatterbaits, jerkbaits, and big swimbaits also for covering water. These fish are usually together in an area if you find them so if you get a bite or two in an area, be sure to double back and hit it again.
Lake Fork Water Levels
Depending on the water levels, I will also pull out to the creek channel edges this time of year and flip timber. If the lake is full this pattern is out so it all depends on how much rain we are getting this month. The depths I target are 8-14 ft. If the lake is low, you can really read the water and tell exactly where the creeks run through the middle of the areas you are fishing. I will take a Santone 3/8 oz or 1/2 oz rattlin flipping jig and pitch it at every tree along the channel edges. Pay attention to the direction the wind is blowing as the fish will position themselves a certain way on the timber according to wind direction and channel drops. I like to focus on areas where the creeks make a bend and especially if it makes a bend near a point or any other bottom structure. My favorite jigs colors in February are black/blue, black /blue/purple, and JC’s Spicy Craw. I will back it up with a Berkley Powerbait Chigger Craw as a trailer. The big bass on Lake Fork can’t resist this jig combination!
Check the deep bite out too as there are lots of fish still hanging around out in the depths. Although most of these fish are harder to catch, I will look at the main lake structure on my Garmin electronics. Garmin Livescope on my new 2020 Ranger boat really makes it easy to see what’s going on! I will look for schools around bait in 18-25 ft. Sometimes the bass are suspended but you can catch them on flutter spoons or a small slab spoon. Tail kickers are also very productive as well as drop shots with a finesse worm. I like to use watermelon red, chart pepper, and June bug colors during the early spring. I am also catching a number of fish on the Hog Farmer umbrella rig tipped with Santone Rig N Heads and Berkley’s Jordan Lee series swimbaits. It’s not easy to cast so having the right equipment is important. Check out the new Abu Garcia Veracity rods and try a 7’6” Heavy action. It’s intimidating at first but once you start catching fish on it, it’s a ton of fun!
Book a Guided Fishing Trip on Lake Fork
If you are headed to Lake Fork this month in pursuit of a trophy bass and are looking to book a guide, I would enjoy the opportunity to take you or your group fishing and show you a great time on the lake. I have a few dates still available for spring and summer. Be sure to schedule with me soon if you would like to fish in 2020. I fill up very fast! 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 by calling or sending me an email.
I would like to thank all my sponsors that support me. I am looking forward to representing them this year on the Bassmaster Opens circuit as well as serving all my great clients on Lake Fork! Sponsors: Toyota, Carhartt, Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, I Am Second, Leer, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Garmin, Santone Lures, Costa Sunglasses, Power Pole, 3:16 Lure Company, Elite Tungsten, and Bass Boat Technologies. While you are at the lake be sure to stop by Diamond Sports Marine located on highway 154 just north of the bridge. They are receiving the new 2020 Ranger Boats daily and the Z Commance Series boats are better than ever. Give Fred a call to set up your personal demo ride in a Ranger Boat.
Psalm 147:11 - the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Tight Lines & God Bless, James Caldemeyer