Happy New Year from Lake Fork everyone! It’s the start of a great year here at the big bass capital of the world. 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.
Lake Fork Water Conditions
The lake is in great condition to begin the season. We’ve had a continuous amount of steady rains the last month or so that have kept the lake brimming at full pool or just above and the flood gates at the dam open. As we continue to move closer to spring, these lake levels will prove beneficial for the spawn. We also have some new grass continuing to grow in areas of the lake which is great and will provide even more cover for these bass come springtime. 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 off-colored to stained in most areas of the lake from the continual amount of recent rains.
Tips for Bass Fishing in January
The best pattern for me in January is always in the shallow to mid-depth regions. I like to target main lake areas or secondary points at the mouth of any of the major creeks. A lot of fish hold out in these areas until the water temperatures rise in the spring and the backs of the creeks are conducive for spawning. I start off shallow in the 2-8 ft range and fish reaction baits like a red/orange lipless crank bait. The new Berkley Warpig is one of my favorite lipless crankbaits and range in size from ¼ oz to ¾ oz. If you can reel it past, rip it off the grass, bang it off a tree, etc. These fish will react to it and bite it. Other great choices for reaction baits are a ½ oz Santone Lures spinner bait with a single Colorado blade in chart/white or black/chart. I also use a ½ oz chatter bait a lot this time of year in white or chart/white. Covering water and making lots of casts at cover along the bank will pay off. Remember to hit everything at different casting angles to ensure that you are covering the areas thoroughly. If you catch a few fish in a certain stretch of bank be sure and back track and make multiple passes through that area. There is always a key feature holding fish in these areas. Sometimes it’s a depth change like a ditch or drain, bottom change from rock, to sand, or vegetation that is causing the fish to hold there. If the fishing gets tough up shallow I like to back off a little deeper and throw a little heavier lipless bait like a ¾ oz model. I will also break out the suspending jerk bait on an Abu Garcia Villain rod with an MGX reel so that I can cast it long distances. The jerk bait can really save the day especially when it’s cold and the sun is up high under calm wind conditions. I like to throw gold, orange, clown, and Pro blue. I also like to use a smaller line on these like 12 lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon if I can get away with it. Otherwise, if I am in heavy cover I opt for 15 lb. I will also pull out to the creek channel edges this time of year and fish timber. The depths I target are 8-16 ft. With the high water conditions, you can’t see a lot of the standing timber that is in the lake so you don’t have many visible targets to flip to. But if you know these key areas in the old creek channels you can still present a bait to the fish by fan casting the areas and dragging the bait through them. I will take a Santone Lures ½- ¾ oz Rattlin or Football jig and work it along the channel edges. Pay attention to the direction the wind is blowing, as the fish will position themselves a certain way on the timber according to wind direction and channel drops. I like to focus on areas where the creeks make a bend and especially if it makes a bend near a point or any other bottom structure. My favorite jig colors in January are black/blue, black /blue/purple, JC’s Spicy Craw, or Fouzman. I will trail my jig with a Berkley Power bait Chigger Chunk or the Havoc Pit Chunk in matching colors. The big female bass on Lake Fork can’t resist this jig combination!
Look for the deep bite out there too as there are lots of fish still roaming around out in the depths. I will look at the main lake structure on my Garmin 7612 electronics. I also have the new Panoptix Live Scope and it's an absolutely incredible new technology from Garmin that allows you to see the fish around the structure in real time. They can’t hide from these state of the art electronics it helps make catching them a breeze. I will look for schools around bait in 18-25 ft. Sometimes the bass are suspended but you can catch them on big flutter spoons or a small slab spoon. Tail kickers are also very productive as well as drop shots with a finesse worm. I like to use watermelon red, chart pepper, and red shad colors during the winter. I am also catching tons of fish on the Hog Farmer umbrella rig tipped with Santone RigN Heads and Berkley swimbaits. It’s not easy to cast so having the right equipment is important. Once you start catching fish on it, it’s a ton of fun!
Book a Guided Fishing Trip on Lake Fork
I hope this information helps you in pursuit of a trophy bass this year on Lake Fork. If you are thinking of coming out this winter 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 to ensure the best available dates. I am booking up fast for 2019 so get your date reserved now. I would enjoy the opportunity to take you or your group fishing and help you catch the fish of your dreams! You can contact me by email or you can call or text message me at 903-736-9888
In the Market for a New Fishing Boat?
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 boat has arrived and is ready for clients to experience this coming year also! 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. I look forward to the 2018 season and the blessings in store for the year. I pray that each of you are blessed as well!
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,