Lake Fork Monthly Fishing Report, March 2017

March Madness on Lake Fork has commenced once again and what a great month it is to catch giant bass! The spring season has already started off well with lots of big fish being caught on the lake due to a mild winter and warmer than average temperatures. The best is yet to come as more bass move to the shallows this month to begin their spawn and anglers head out to the lake in droves to pursue these trophy bass. Spring break is also always a great time to get the kids out to the lake so be sure to make time with them and bring them to Lake Fork this month.

Water Conditions on Lake Fork

The lake is in great shape and holding at just over a 1 foot low. We could use just a little more rain this month to get the lake filled up. Water clarity is good in the creeks with some grass up north and a little bit in areas mid-lake or south. Most of the other areas are stained or slightly off-color. Water temperatures are ranging 58-64 degrees as the month begins but you could see some areas warm up even more as the month progresses.

Bass Fishing Tips & Techniques

Shallow patterns have dominated and I am targeting areas in 2-6 feet for spawning bass. Weightless soft plastic stick baits and jerk baits like the Berkley Havoc Jerk have been very productive “dead sticking” them in areas that the bass are spawning. The best colors are watermelon red, black/blue, and green pumpkin. It’s very important to fish slowly right now and allow the bait to settle for a period of time before you move or twitch it. Fast retrieves with soft plastics will produce few bites from territorial spawning bass. On windy days that I am unable to fish the baits weightless, I am adding a split shot about 14-18 inches above the hook to pull the bait down in the wind. I have also been using a Texas rigged Berkley Havoc Pit Boss, Powerbait 4” Chigger Craw or Power Lizard with a 5/16 oz Elite Tungsten weight and a 4/0 wide gap hook. Most anglers beat the banks this time of year, which is where you want to be, but it is very important during the spawn to understand what kind of bottom you are fishing. All banks are not created equal. Look for a hard bottom, as bass prefer to fan their nest on sandy hard surfaces. You can often tell the type of bottom by observing the bank. The presences of lily pads or vegetation are signs of a firmer bottom. Mud muck and stagnant dead vegetation or decay is usually not areas you will find spawning beds. Sight fishing is also a great way to catch some monster female bass while they are spawning. Having a great pair of polarized glasses like the new Costa Del Mar Sunrise Mirror is a huge advantage. I rely on them more than any other piece of fishing equipment that I have in the spring. When you spot a big bass on a nest it’s also very helpful to be able to establish position and not be moving much or running the trolling motor. That’s when my Power Poles go to work! They will hold you in place with ease and allow you to concentrate on catching those bass instead of maneuvering the boat. I like to use natural color soft plastics or jigs for flipping and pitching at bedding bass. Others prefer bright colored bait that they can see while working it around the fish and are able to see the bait actually be inhaled by the bass. There are also a lot of bass that are still in pre-spawn mode. These fish can be caught on a variety of patterns, which is what makes this month so fun. I like to use a lot of big swim baits for trophy bass in March. The 3:16 Lure Company “Rising Son” and “Weedless Rising Son” have been my top producing swimbaits the past several years now. My favorite colors are white, hitch, chartreuse shad, and of course my signature colors “JC’s Dirty Shad” and “Caldemeyer Special”. Slow rolling this bait on windy banks in spawning areas will get your arms jerked! Be sure to contact me if you’d like to purchase some of these great baits or order online. Another great moving bait for me is the chatter bait in white or chartreuse/white for stained water. As the month rolls along look for some fish to start on top waters. If the water temperatures reach 70 degrees there will be a bite on top. Yellow magic’s rule my arsenal this time of year. Everybody has his or her favorite color but I really do not think it matters. The bass just can’t stand the action of that bait moving through an area that they are starting to guard fry. If I were to choose colors for you my choice would be baby bass, bone, or Japanese shad. You can also get some great top water action on a frog around shallow vegetation and lily pads so throw it around also. Also, don’t be afraid to fish them in the middle of the day even when it’s bright and sunny. They will bite it all day when they get going on it and it’s a blast!

The deep bite will produce some if you are after strictly prespawners. Knowing and reading your electronics is critical if you are targeting this deep-water bite. I depend on my Garmin 7612 touch screens to pinpoint where the fish are and what they are doing. I target points and roadbeds at the mouth of major spawning creeks in 14-20 feet of water. Most of the fish that are deep this month will be suspended. Deep diving crank baits are your best bet. I like to use any shade of color. I will rig up my Abu Garcia 7’6” Ike Series cranking rod and my Revo Winch reel spooled with 15 lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line. This is the perfect cranking combination for deep water. The A-rig will also produce out deep as well as the Carolina rig and a Santone Lures football head jig if the fish are on the bottom.

Want to Book a Guided Fishing Trip?

I look forward to seeing you out on Lake Fork this spring! If you are headed here in pursuit of a trophy bass and are looking to book a fishing 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. You can contact me to make your reservation at 903-736-9888 or send me an email. You can also find me on Facebook and follow my official Lake Fork Guide page.

Visit Diamond Sports Marine

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 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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