Lake Fork Fishing Report January 2024

Happy New Year from Lake Fork everyone! It’s the start of a great year here at the big bass capital. I’m excited about all the great fishing ahead and the numerous great events scheduled for this year. It is going to be an excellent year so start getting your fishing gear ready 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. 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 best patterns this month are mostly shallow to mid depths as the numbers of bites decrease and quality increases. You can catch some real big ones right now thru the pre-spawn period. These big female bass are feeding up in preparation for spawning and they are very vulnerable with fewer anglers on the water. I have a couple of “go to” baits for this time of year while fishing shallow. One is a lipless crankbait. I like to throw a 1/2-3/4 oz sizes in like a Berkley Warpig in crawfish colors, red, orange, and chrome or shad patterns. Targeting grass beds and stumps on secondary points and staging areas in 2-6 feet of water for these big pre-spawn bass is key. Another great bait is a square billed crankbait. These baits do best bumped and banged off of stumps that these bass are holding tight to. It’s a reaction bite so look for either of these two baits to get bit as they deflect off of grass or stumps. The rod will just load up. Crankbaits catch giants this time of year on Lake Fork so keep them tied on! Another great shallow bait is a suspending jerk bait. It’s very effective after a cold front hits or on bright sunny days with calm wind. You can work them in the same areas as the crank baits with slow long pauses between jerks and the big bass will tackle them. I also like to target these bass that are staging is in mid-depths this time of year too. If you find a warming trend of days where the water temperature is rising, be sure to try some big baits too. The 3:16 Lure Company Rising Son swimbait is deadly. Long casts with a slow retrieve over these staging areas can get your line stretched! I prefer the white color or the dirty shad color early in the season. There is both a line-thru and a weedless version available for fishing it in heavy cover.

I often like back out off the bank some this time of year to target fish in mid-depths. Backing out into 10-14 ft and targeting stumps on points or creek channel bends with a Santone Rattlin jig can be very productive. I use the ½ oz size mostly in black/blue or JC’s Spicy Craw with a Berkley Chigger Craw as a trailer. Making accurate presentations to your targets is key so if this is something that’s a weakness in your technique arsenal, now is the time to practice it and be able to gain some confidence in it! Pitching and flipping around heavy cover can pay off big this time of year.

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.

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 2024 schedule is filling 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 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 have really enjoyed my Bass Cat boats the past few years and am about to rig my new 2024 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 and Caracal 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 2024. I am looking forward to representing them again this year on the major tournament trails. I appreciate all their support as I serve all my great guide clients 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, Elite Tungsten, Johnson Communications, EVOLV and Bass Boat Technologies.

Matthew 1:21 - She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

Tight Lines & God Bless,
James Caldemeyer

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