Happy New Year from Lake Fork everyone! I’m excited to begin the year 2022 and all the great things it’s going to bring. This could be a very special year here at Lake Fork for several reasons. We have a lot going on from being rated the #1 lake in the country per Bassmaster magazine to a multitude of big tournaments coming to Lake Fork as well as potentially unprecedented water levels going into this new year. It will be exciting for sure!
Water Conditions on Lake Fork in January
As I mentioned, the lake is currently 6 feet low to start the year off. This is not due to normal seasons but rather the draw-down of the lake by the Sabine River Authority who governs the lake and manages it. They decided last year to draw the lake down in order to make needed repairs to areas of the dam that needed attention due to natural erosion over the years.
I know there is lots of concern from anglers and property owners, but this is a good thing and will benefit the lake in the long term! Spring rains should bring levels back up some as this place can fill up quickly with a couple of big rains. The water levels right now will definitely pose some serious navigation issues for those that aren’t familiar with running the lake when it's low.
Back in 2014 the lake was over 8 feet low, due to the drought, which was the lowest it had ever been since its impoundment. Run the lake with serious caution and wear your PFDs! The best part about the low water though is folks can make repairs to docks, boat ramps, retaining walls, etc., and the fishing is OUTSTANDING!
Bass Fishing Tips on Lake Fork in January
With the lake being low I have been approaching the January fishing a bit different than in years past. Shallow patterns have been centered around targeting any available cover that the fish still have to relate to. Docks, stumps, and any grass that is still emerging despite the low water are key areas. I have been throwing a few baits for these fish but my most consistent bait lately has been a lipless crankbait like the Berkley Warpig.
The best size is 1/2 ounce and the best colors have been special red craw, black gold, and spring craw. I’m fishing these baits in 2-4 feet of water. I have also done well on the new Berkley Stunna jerk bait. If you haven’t thrown any of these new jerk baits, you’ll want to give them a try. They will flat out catch them!
I’m throwing them in a lot of the similar areas as the lipless baits. I’m just working them slower and letting them pause between twitches more. The action of these baits will draw some big bass bites.
Speaking of big bass baits, I always keep a big swimbait tied on and ready this time of year. One of the best baits made is a 3:16 Lure Company glide bait. I’ve caught a ton of big bass on this bait. If you haven’t got one yet, be sure to stop by the 3:16 Swimbait Store on highway 515 west and see them.
These baits are usually fairly hard to get your hands on, but they are kept stocked up regularly in the store now, so they are available to the public for purchase.
A jig is another great option for this time of year while the water levels are low and the timber is visible. I will target staging areas in the timber with a 1/2 ounce Santone Lures Rattlin jig. Best colors for me are Black/blue, PBJ, Fouzman, and my signature JC’s Spicy Craw color. Flipping and pitching stumps is a great way to catch a big one on Lake Fork so be sure to spend some time at it now if you are looking to gain some confidence in jig fishing.
Deep Water Bass Fishing Tips for January
The deep bite is still there but I’m not catching the quality of fish that I am in shallow to mid depths right now. The smaller males are deeper and even though you can catch more fish targeting them, it’s hard to catch a big one. My Garmin EchoMap Ultra units are essential in locating these schools.
I’ve been finding them lately in 18-24 feet on humps, points, and roadbeds. My main choice of baits has been a drop shot rig with a Berkley Bottom Hopper. I’m rigging it on an Abu Garcia spinning rod and reel with 10 lb Trilene fluorocarbon and 1/0 hook with a 1/4 ounce weight.
I have also been catching some of these fish schooled up out of the deep on a small 1/2 jigging spoon. Using the Garmin Livescope is a huge advantage over these schools of deep bass, and you can literally watch your bait drop down on their heads and see them eat it.
Start Your Year with Some Great Bass Fishing on Lake Fork
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 spring dates available. My 2022 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 guided trip on Lake Fork for a friend or loved one. You can contact me to make your reservation. Visit my website for more information about Lake Fork and my guide service or follow my official Lake Fork Trophy Bass Guide page on Facebook.
Lake Fork Bass Fishing Updates
I really enjoyed my Bass Cat boat in 2021 and am about to rig my new 2022 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 even just got in 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 2022. I am looking forward to representing them again this year on the Bassmaster Opens Schedule as well as the Major League Fishing Big 5 circuit.
I appreciate all their support as I serve all my great guide clients throughout the year on Lake Fork as well!
Sponsors: Toyota, Carhartt, Bass Cat Boats, Mercury, 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.
Tight Lines and God Bless,
James 1:17 - “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”