Lake Fork Fishing Report July 2019

July is HOT at Lake Fork! The heat is on and so is the bass fishing. This month offers some of the best offshore deep structure fishing for trophy bass in the country. If you’re looking to gain some confidence fishing away from the bank, now is the time to come and spend some time learning the depths for big bass. It’s also time to just get out with the kiddos and enjoy some time on the water together so be sure to get them out for some fishing if you can.

The water conditions are still stabilizing on the lake as we’ve had lots of rain this year and it’s kept the flood gates open regularly. Water levels have been consistently hovering at or just above full pool. The water temperatures are ranging in the upper 70’s to low 80’s mark. Despite all the rain this year, the water clarity in a lot of areas is beginning to improve. Also, there are many new areas in the major creeks that have shown an increase in vegetation. Lots of fish have been clinging to this new shallow cover as well.

The shallow water bite has remained reliable due to the slower rising water temperatures this year as well as all the freshly flooded cover on the banks for the bass to get in. June fished more like May normally does and I expect July to fish more like June which is very good! The fish are feeding early and late up shallow in 2-6 feet on topwater baits. The frog has been best for me around the shallow grass. Hollow body frogs like the spro types are good. You will also find some areas back in the creeks where the bass are schooling on bait. My best bait for them has been a walking bait like a zara spook. Any shad pattern will do. When the fish are reluctant to bust a topwater lure, I am opting for a Santone Lures Swim Jig in the 5/16 oz size tipped with a Berkley Havoc Grass Pig. My favorite colors on the swim jig are Pake’s Perch, JC’s Spicy Craw, or River Bream.

I have also been finding a large number of big fish in mid-depths this year. The bass have been feeding early and late on shad around 12-16 feet of water. My go-to bait for these bass has been a Texas rigged 10” Berkley Powerworm in blue fleck, tequila sunrise, and plum or a shaky head with a Berkley Magnum Bottom Hopper. There’s nothing like the scent of a Powerworm to attract the bite of monster bass. I am using a 3/8 to 1/2 oz Elite Tungsten weight and a 5/0 hook for these worms and fishing it slowly around the trees on points, humps, roadbeds, and creek bends. You can also catch some fish in the same areas on deep diving crankbait like a Berkley Dredger. Any shad pattern will work fine. I prefer a little bit of chartreuse color on the bait right now due to the off-colored water.

The deep bite has been the ticket for the past month or so and I expect it to remain good through the next couple of months. I am targeting the big ones from 18-28 feet deep right now. Pond dams, ridges, roadbeds, and points are all great places to get started. I use my electronics religiously to locate bass out deep. Once I have located them with my graph, I will choose the best presentation to fish for them depending on how they are positioned in the water column. One of my best setups for numbers of fish right now is a Carolina rig on a 7’6” medium-heavy Abu Garcia Villain rod with a Revo reel spooled up with some 20 lb. Trilene 100% fluorocarbon line and a 15-17 lb. leader. I like to use a 1 oz Elite Tungsten weight and a 3/0 hook. I have been catching a number of fish with the new Berkley Lug Worm as well as the Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper. The best colors have been red bug, chartreuse pepper, and green pumpkin. If you want to catch a big one out deep then you will want to break out the football jig too! A Santone Lures 5/8- 3/4 oz football head jig with a Berkley Havoc Pit Chunk or Chigger Craw trailer is a hard combination to beat. I am throwing this in the same areas as the Carolina rig and dragging it or hopping it through these deep schools of bass. Best colors right now are Mexican Heather, Pake’s Perch, and of course my custom JC’s Spicy Craw. A lot of the fish are suspended and even schooling on shad in some areas. These fish are a little trickier to catch. You need something that you can work in the middle to the upper part of the water column. The deep-diving crankbait, swimbait, or a big flutter spoon are all great choices. Let the bass out deep tell you what they want right now because they are all over the place and they move around in the water column. Mixing it up and trying a variety of things on a school of fish will pay off. Having good electronics is a big advantage too! I love my new Garmin 8612 Touch screens. Knowing how to read them and apply it to your fishing is the most important thing right now. If you are weak in this area, now is the time to get out on the water and log some time in getting dialed in.

If you are thinking of coming out this summer and would like to book a fishing trip with me this year, feel free to contact me anytime. I still have a few dates available, but you’ll need to contact me soon. I book up fast! If I’m not available, I will recommend another great guide that can help you. You can always count on talking to me personally when you call to book your Lake Fork trip because I care about my clients. I would enjoy the opportunity to take you or your group fishing and help you catch the fish of your dreams! You can reach me by email or you can call or text message me at 903-736-9888 Also, please visit my website to find out more information about Lake Fork bass fishing and my guide service at If you are in the market for a new boat this year, it’s a great time to look into the new 2019 Ranger 520L and 521L as its Ranger’s flagship model and is very impressively laid out with features. If you haven’t seen it yet you can stop by Diamond Sports Marine and Fred will be glad to show you around. He even has a few rigged out with the all-new Mercury Pro XS four stroke. My new 2019 521L has been great this year with the new Mercury motor! Test rides are also available so feel free to contact me or call the dealership and we will get you out on the water for a ride in one. I would like to thank all my sponsors that support me fishing the FLW Series and guide service on Lake Fork: Toyota, Carhartt, Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, I Am Second, Leer, Berkey, Abu Garcia, Garmin, Santone Lures, Costa, Power Pole, 3:16 Lure Company, Rigid Industries, Bass Forecast, Elite Tungsten, Bass Boat Technologies, and Fabtech Motorsports.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Tight Lines and God Bless,
James Caldemeyer

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