Lake Fork Fishing Report January 2021

Happy New Year from Lake Fork! It’s the start of another great year here at the big bass capital. I’m excited about all the great fishing and great events scheduled for this year. It’s going to be a fun year so start getting your fishing gear together, start making your plans, and ready for spring now!

The lake is great condition to start the year off. We had a real nice rain a week ago after a long fall season without much rain. We are still currently sitting at about 2 feet low tho. As we continue to get more rain this spring it shouldn’t take much to bring the lake up to pool level or close to. The rising lake levels will prove beneficial for the spawn. It will also be nice to start seeing some new vegetation growth and should as these water levels rise. Water temperatures have been typical for wintertime conditions at 50-54 degrees with sometimes dipping into the high 40’s during the colder days. The lake is fairly clear to in most areas on the main lake with stained water in the back of some of the main feeder creeks from recent rains and wind.

My fishing arsenal consists of shallow to mid-depth baits and presentations when targeting these early prespawn female bass. A lot of these bass will be staging in the creek channels or on main lake points and secondary points leading into the major spawning areas. With the lake a bit low, the flipping bite is in play as many of the trees are exposed. I like to use a Santone 3/8 or 1/2 oz flipping jig in black/blue or black/blue/purple with a matching color Berkley Chigger Craw trailer to work the timber in these areas. Most of the fish will be staging in 8-14 feet but you may find they are a little deeper on cold or cloudy days and shallower on warm sunny days. This is one of my top bait combinations for catching the big bass in January. I will also use an assortment of moving baits to work the shallows for a reaction bite. When I head to the shallows I usually focus on any grass I can find in 2-6 feet. The big girls like the scattered grass patches since a lot of it dies in the winter, if you find any green stuff they will usually be stacked in it. My go to is definitely the lipless crank bait in ¼ - ¾ oz sizes depending on how deep the grass is. Best colors are red/orange, chrome/blue, and gold. I use a rip and burn retrieve over the submerged grass to create a reaction bite. It’s a lot of casting and winding. You will want to have the right rod and reel combo for this kind of fishing. I am using the new Abu Garcia Revo Premier with a 7:1 gear ratio and a 7’3” medium heavy Abu Garcia Veracity rod. I also use 17-20 lb Trilene fluorocarbon line. This is the perfect combination! If you are after that one big bite then swing big with a big swimbait. I will pick up a 3:16 Lure Company swim bait and throw it all day for those true Lake Fork mondos! I also like to use suspending jerk bait. Especially on blue bird, sunny and calm days. Twitching these over the grass slowly can draw so huge bites under the right conditions. My favorite colors are clown, orange/gold, and sexy shad. The fish have also been active on spinner baits, especially on windy days. I use a Santone 3/8 or 1/2 oz white and chartreuse color as well as a single grub trailer. The shallow bite is best in the afternoon and can really turn on between 2pm and 5pm so don’t let a slow morning deter you from fishing all day. Things can happen fast on a warming day so hang in there!

The deep bite is not too productive for me in January as most of the active fish that are catchable are usually roaming the shallows but that doesn’t deter me from looking around out there with my Garmin Echo Map Ultras. Occasionally you can find a group of fish roaming around on the deeper humps and points at the mouth of the major creeks. These fish, although sparse, are generally in 18-25 feet of water and I’ve even seen a few out to 30 ft. Generally the best baits for targeting these fish are a Santone football jig 3/4- 1 oz sizes. Best colors are Black/blue, JC’s Spicy Craw, and PB&J. I will also throw a flutter spoon or tail kicker at them and jig it through the school. If those aren’t getting them to respond I will keep a drop shot rig handy. I rig it on 10 lb test fluorocarbon and 1/0 hook with 1/4 – 5/16 oz weight. The best bait on it is just a small 4” finesse worm like a Berkley Bottom Hopper Jr. Anything red or purple like tomato, red bug, or June bug are great color choices.

I hope this helps anyone that’s coming out this month to start the year off chasing big bass. If you would like to fish with me this year, I still have a few dates available. My 2021 schedule is filling fast so start making your plans now and contact me to get on my schedule as soon as possible. Wishing everyone a Happy and blessed New Year! I 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 You can also visit my website for more information about Lake Fork and my guide service at You can find me on Facebook and follow my official Lake Fork Trophy Bass Guide page at I would like to thank all my sponsors that support me. I am looking forward to representing them again this year on the Bassmaster Opens circuit as well as serving all my great guide clients on Lake Fork! Sponsors: Toyota, Carhartt, Mercury Outboards, I Am Second, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Garmin, Santone Lures, Costa Sunglasses, Power Pole, 3:16 Lure Company, Elite Tungsten, Johnson Communications, and Bass Boat Technologies.

Romans 15:13- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Tight Lines & God Bless,

James Caldemeyer


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