Lake Fork Fishing Report September 2020

September on Lake Fork has arrived! With it brings the potential for some cooler weather and the early signs of fall. The only thing “consistent” about September fishing on Lake Fork is that it’s “inconsistent”. The biggest tournament of the year will be in play as Bob Sealy always puts on a great event in the Big Bass Splash. You can expect that lots of big bass will be caught and big prizes awarded as well as lots of cash given away. This event is being held September 18th-20th out of the legendary Lake Fork Marina.


September is always a transitional time on Lake Fork. With a mix of warm days and cooler nights the water conditions beginto change. We have had a number of showers this summer that have helped keep the lake up, but we are in need of some fall precipitation to bring up lake levels. Current levels are near 2 feet low. The water temperatures have been ranging from 82-88 degrees on most areas of the lake. The water clarity is fairly clear in many areas but expect the water conditions to change and the water to dirty up as the lake begins to turn over. There are some areas that are clearer than others and most of the best water visibility is on the south end. If we have some cooler evenings roll in as the month progresses, we could see the lake turning over by the end of the month.


With Lake Fork in transition you can also expect to find the fish in the same state of transition. Some of the bass have already started to migrate into the shallows to escape the instability of the deeper water. Main lake points, pockets, and coves at the mouth to halfway back in the creeks are good places to start. I like to target several different shallow patterns during this time of year. A square billed crank bait like a Berkley Square Bull, lipless crank bait like the Berkley Warpig, Santone “Got 5” spinner bait, or a chatter bait are all great choices when trying to target these shallow fish that are feeding on the shad. Lots of shad will be on the bank as the water temperatures cool. Covering water is always good and these baits will get it done. I like to use any shad pattern or white and white/chartreuse combinations when selecting a color. Swimbaits are great also! Most everyone puts their big swimbaits up after spring but you might want to get one back out and toss one around in the fall… just sayin! Hard to beat a 3:16 line thru version or a top hook style of the Rising Son for a big bite. Best colors are Green Shad, Light Hitch, and my JC Custom color. If all else fails, my “go to” in the fall is a plain ole Texas rigged worm. I like to use an Elite Tungsten 1/4 to 5/16 oz weight on 4/0 hook. I will rig up with a Berkley Powerbait powerworm on the business end. The best colors are blue fleck, plum, motor oil, or june bug in the 7” size. Fishing these through the shallow grass or shallow stumps catches lots of shallow bass on Lake Fork in the fall. Another great technique for catching them is a shaky head worm. I will use a Santone 3/16 oz Piglet head with a Berkley Bottom Hopper or Shakey Snake. Working these baits with light line like 12-pound Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon will catch a lot of fish especially as the crowds roll in and the fish feel the pressure from tournament anglers. My favorite colors are shady watermelon candy, plum, and red bug.

The deep bite starts to become unstable in September but if the conditions present themselves it can be a lot of fun! It’s during this time of year especially that I rely heavily on my Garmin Echo Map Ultra units to pinpoint the fish. It makes quick work of finding schools of deep bass! I will look for fish to be holding on main lake points, roadbeds, humps, and ridges. The presence or lack of thermocline changes this month as the fall transition begins. When the bass have a lack of thermocline in the water column, they tend to be more scattered and suspended. When the thermocline is still intact from summer, the bass are more condensed in the relative depths. So, again with the lake in transition, and you have to be aware of what the water conditions are before you can decide what the best techniques and presentations are to use. When I see the bass suspended around bait in the water column, I am using a deep diving crank bait a lot. The Berkley Dredger in any shad color is great choice. I also like one with some chartreuse in it as well like the. I will throw mine on the new Abu Garcia Revo Winch rod and reel. The rod is 7’6” and the reel has a great 5:1 cranking ratio for working it out deep. I can make really long casts with this combination too. The Alabama Rig and flutter spoon are also a great choice for these schools of suspended bass. Working these baits in the 18-26 foot range is best right now but some fish have started moving shallower. When the bass are on the bottom and grouped up well, I am using a Carolina rig mostly of the time. I like my Carolina rig on a 7’6” medium heavy Abu Garcia Veracity with a Revo Zata reel spooled up with some 20 lbTrilene 100% fluorocarbon line and a 15-17 lb leader. I use a 1 oz weight and a 3/0 hook. I have been catching a number of fish with the new Berkley Powerbait Backslide as well as the Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper. The best colors have been shady watermelon candy, green pumpkin, red bug, and chartreuse pepper. If you want to catch a real big one out deep, then you will want to break out the football jig. A Santone Lures 5/8-3/4 oz football head jig with a Berkley Havoc Pit Chunk 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 on the jig are JC’s Spicy Craw, Mexican Heather, and Bass Candy. The drop shot can be your lifeline in September out deep so keep it handy! It will also catch a ton of fish in the tourneys. My favorite is a spinning rod rigged with 10 lb Berkley Nanofil and a 1/0 hook with a ¼ ounce weight and a Berkley Bottom Hopper 4” in plum, red bug, and watermelon colors.


I hope this helps anyone that’s coming out this month to fish whether its recreationally or for the big tournaments. If you would like to fish with me, I still have a few limited dates available for fall. I’m also taking lots of bookings already for spring 2021 so start making your plans now and contact me to get on my schedule as soon as possible. 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 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 Guide page at 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 guide clients on Lake Fork! Sponsors: Toyota, Carhartt, Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, I Am Second, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Garmin, SantoneLures, Costa Sunglasses, Power Pole, 3:16 Lure Company, Royal Tire, Elite Tungsten, and Bass Boat Technologies.

Acts 17:26 –

And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth.

Tight Lines & God Bless,

James Caldemeyer

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