Lake Fork Monthly Fishing Report, April 2017

April is big bass month on Lake Fork! Last month was awesome but I look for this month to be even better. With the weather continuing to warm as spring blooms come into full swing the big bass are on the move to the shallows to continue their next round of annual spawning activity. If you are in pursuit of the big bass of your dreams, now is the time to head to to Lake Fork!

The lake is in great shape and currently just over 2 feet low. With less than average spring rainfall totals so far this year the lake is down quite just a bit. There is a lot of great vegetation starting to emerge in parts of the lake and it will only get better if we get some more water in the lake with some spring rains. Water clarity in areas is stained to 3 ft visibility on the south end of the lake. Water temperatures are ranging from 65-70 degrees in most areas of the lake. You can find the cooler temps down south and after the fronts come through and also find warmer temps on the north end of the lake and in the afternoons when the sun is warmest. These are perfect conditions for spring fishing as long as the weather is consistent. The more that it stays constant instead of up and down the better the bass will bite.

You can look for a mixture of bass this month to be shallow spawning but you will also find that some of them are still pre-spawn and even starting to move to post-spawn patterns already. My shallow fishing consists of a fairly simple arsenal of baits and is dictated by the ever-changing weather patterns. You have to be versatile in the spring to be able to catch bass consistently because what works one day may not the next and you constantly have fish moving up into new areas to spawn then going back out. Big swimbaits and especially the 3:16 Lure Company Rising Son are an excellent choice for a big bass right now. I throw a swimbait almost exclusively with my clients right now and this bait flat out catches giants. Don’t settle for imitations either. This bait produces big fish when others don’t!

I am also fishing some other shallow spawning patterns as well for fish that are in transition. On sunny days I have been targeting them with a number of soft plastics that work well in very shallow areas. Weightless stick baits, wacky worms, soft jerk baits, and finesse worms have been very good. One of my favorites is the Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper rigged wacky style or drop shotting it. It comes in both 4” and 6” inch sizes and my best colors have been june bug, cherryseed, and watermelon candy. I am also throwing the Berkley Havoc “Jerk” weightless on a 4/0 hook into the new flooded shallows where the bass are spawning. Fishing any of these baits in the areas that the bass are spawning is very productive right now. Most everything that I am fishing shallow is 2-6 feet of water. If you get a little wind and are still trying to target these bedding bass then I have been switching to a Santone Lures “Piglet” shaky head tipped with a Berkley Powerbait Rib Snake. This bait has very good action just lying motionless on the bottom and the spawning bass will eat it. The best colors lately have been the plum, blue fleck, and green pumpkin. I am also using a light Texas rig with a 1/4 ounce weight and a 4/0 hook and the new Berkley Havoc Boss Dog. This bait resembles a lizard, which is very invasive to a bass’ nest, but it has a sleek and compact profile that allows it to move through cover smoothly. The best colors are black & blue and watermelon magic. It’s also a great bait for enticing bass to bite if you are sight fishing for bass on beds. There is always a lot of great sight fishing on Lake Fork in April. The topwater bite is also starting to pick up too as the shad spawn starts and more fish are guarding young fry!

As more and more fish complete their spawning you will start to see large schools of fish start to show up out in deep water. They will be holding in 16-24 feet of water usually holding around points, roadbeds, humps, and ridges. These fish can be hard to locate and are oftentimes moving around a lot but if you stick with it, it can really pay off. I rely on my new Garmin electronics that are equipped with the revolutionary Panoptix imaging to show me where the bass are. Once I determine where they are and what they are relating to I will select a presentation that best suits the situation. A lot of these post spawn bass will be suspended so deep diving crank baits are a great choice. I also like to throw a deep swim bait at them like the Berkley Swim Shad. This bait can be worked at any depth in the water column so you can reach the bass wherever they are. When the fish get on the bottom I will target them with a big Texas rig and a 1/2 oz weight with a 5/0 hook. I like to put a Berkley 10” or 12” Powerworm on and give them a big meal offering. Most of these bass are very hungry so big baits are appealing to them. I also like to employ the Carolina rig into the arsenal of post spawn techniques. I like to use a long leader (5ft.) and a big heavy 1 oz weight to drag the bottom. Trilene 20 lb test Fluorocarbon is a must with a 2/0 or 3/0 wide gap hook. Best baits on the c-rig are Berkley Powerbait 7” or 10” Power Worms, Power Lizards, or soft jerk baits in blue fleck, watermelon red, green pumpkin, and watermelon candy. The Santone Lures football jigs also start to get the nod, as these bass can’t resist the post-spawn offering out deep.

Visit Lake Fork this Spring

I look forward to seeing all of you out on Lake Fork this spring! If you are headed here in pursuit of a trophy bass and are looking to book a guide, I would enjoy the opportunity to take you or your group fishing and show you a great time on Lake Fork. I still have a few dates available for 2017. Most people don’t realize how quick my spring and early summer calendar fills up on Lake Fork so please be sure to start thinking about scheduling your dates soon if you would like to get on my schedule. My open dates are limited. 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. Give me a call or send me an email to contact me or book a guided fishing trip on Lake Fork.

Check Out Some Amazing Fishing Boats

Also, while you are at the lake, be sure to stop by Diamond Sports Marine located on highway 154 just north of the bridge. They are receiving the new 2017 Ranger Boats daily and you do not want to miss the opportunity to check out the new Z series bass boats as well as the economical new Ranger aluminum series. These boats have some amazing features that are definitely eye catchers! Give Fred a call to set up your personal demo ride in a Ranger Boat.

My Sponsors

I would like to thank all of my current 2017 sponsors for supporting my FLW Series tournament fishing and my guide service on Lake Fork: Toyota, Carhartt, Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, I Am Second, Leer, Garmin, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Santone Lures, Costa Sunglasses, Power Pole, Rigid Industries, Road Armor, Fabtech Motorsports, Royal Racks, and Elite Tungsten.

Romans 8:31 - What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Tight Lines & God Bless,
James Caldemeyer

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