Lake Fork Monthly Fishing Report, March 2018

March Mayhem is here again everyone! What an exciting time of year to be at Lake Fork. Spring has arrived and Lake Fork is primed up for another great spawning season. Many anglers have waited all winter for this month to come and the great fishing that goes along with it. If you are after a big bass, now is a great time. For those looking for a place to have some fun this month, come on out to Lake Fork with your friends or family to enjoy some time away this spring break! Here are some tips and techniques that will hopefully help you land the fish of your dreams!

The lake is currently completely full  and then some after huge late February rains. The lake came up nearly a foot and they were letting water out of all five gates at the dam for several days. This is a real good thing for an another amazing spring spawn as the bass will have plenty of flooded areas for their young offspring to hide and grow up after they spawn. Water temperatures have been in the high 50’s and even some 60 degree water on the warming days. I expect with the full moon upon us that a number of fish will begin spawning soon. The water clarity is very stained in the northern creek arms but clears as you get towards  the south end.

I am targeting both pre-spawn as well as spawning fish right now. One of my best baits lately has been a lipless crank bait. This is an awesome bait for working through the shallows. I like to target flats, points, shallow drains, or ditches in spawning creeks from 2-6 feet deep with a ½ oz to ¾ oz size in any red, orange or chartreuse, crawfish pattern. The key to catching fish on this bait is allowing it to come into contact with grass if you can. A square billed crank bait is also a fish catching machine. Bouncing it into any trees on the retrieve will draw more strikes. On real windy spring days I am also breaking out the Santone M-Series spinnerbait. A chartreuse/white double willow in 3/8 or 1/2 oz sizes are good as well in the same areas. If the fish are hesitant to bite these I know I can always do well on a chatter bait in the same size and color. It has a lot more vibration and will agitate a strike out of even the most stubborn fish. When I am able to find the right water and especially on windy days I opt for a swim bait to target the big females. A 3:16 Lure Company glide bait or Rising Søn soft swim bait is hard to beat! I like the 5” and 6” models best this time of year and my favorite colors are white, Dirty Shad, Caldemeyer Custom, Hitch, and Chartreuse Shad. Slow roll this bait on the shallowest windy banks you can find this spring and you will be surprised at the fish you catch! Get this technique polished up and ready this month as 3:16 Lure Company will be hosting the FIRST EVER “SWIMBAIT ONLY” tournament next month April 7-8 out of Lake Fork Marina!! Wow this will be an exciting event so mark your calendars and come on out that weekend. The new 3:16 swimbait store on Hwy 515, between the lake and Emory, will also be open for everyone to come by and check out the coolest and most effective big bass swimbaits made! I look forward to seeing everyone there!!

When the fish are not active on moving baits in the spring it’s time to slow down. And when I say “slow” I mean fish very slow. As the fish move out of pre-spawn and into their spawning activity they will become more territorial than anything. Putting a bait in their nests or close to where they are and leaving it lay there will entice them to pick it up and move it out of the bedding area. On the contrary if you move it around a lot they will just watch it go by. So fishing slow is very important. Look for the fish to be spawning in 2-8 feet of water on standing timber, lay downs, docks and any re-emerging grass. My favorite baits for targeting these bass as they spawn is a weightless jerk bait like the fluke or Berkley Havoc Jerk. Dead sticking this bait in the flats and spawning areas is very effective. Another big favorite of mine for spawning bass is the Santone Lures “Piglet” shaky head with a Berkley Powerbait Rib Snake. Best colors are black/blue, blue fleck and green pumpkin. This is a great combination for using the same presentation of “dead sticking” when the wind gets up and will not allow you to fish these areas effectively with the weightless technique. Some of my favorite baits to flip and pitch are the new Berkley Havoc and Powerbait. A Texas rigged Berkley Havoc Pit Boss is very effective right now. Best colors are black/blue, green pumpkin, Okeechobee craw, and Big Texan. I will rig mine with a 4/0 wide gap hook and 5/16 oz Elite Tungsten weight on 17 lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line. My favorite new set up to throw this on is the all new Abu Garcia Revo 4 Premier paired with a 7’3” Abu Garcia Villian rod.. Another new product that I am excited about is the new Powerbait “MaxScent”. This is another awesome new soft plastic formula from Berkley that will catch a lot of fish by providing a ton more scent in your soft plastics than the original Powerbait formula. If the fish are finicky and will not bite the bigger soft plastics I will often downsize to a 3/16-1/4 oz shaky head or drop shot rig. A great bait for these is the 4” or 6” Havoc Bottom Hopper. For anyone that is coming out to fish the tournaments, this is a very effective worm for catching under the slot fish. Also, If you are sight fishing for bass and find one that will not bite try one of these and you may be surprised how aggressively the bite it.

The deep bite can still be a player at times although not the most productive. I like to target them during a cold front sometimes in March.. You can still find many fish out on the main lake in holding patterns that are just waiting for the water to warm up and begin their migration to the shallows. Most of these fish are holding in 16-24  feet of water and are often times suspended over structure. I like to target these suspended bass with a Hog Farmer Bait Company umbrella rig. I prefer the 5 wire/8 blade or 5 wire/4 blade  models for most applications. You can rig it with any of your favorite swimbaits. A 3”-5” size is most effective and white or just about any shad color will get the job done. I also use a 5 pack of Santone Riggin Heads which are a great jighead that has a very sturdy hook in it to hold a big fish. Casting this out over deep areas this time of year and counting it down to where you see the fish holding on your electronics doesn’t often bring many bites but the ones it does will be some of the biggest fish in the lake! Carolina rigs are also very productive if the bass are on the bottom.

I hope this information helps you in pursuit of a trophy bass this year on Lake Fork. If you are thinking of coming out 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 want to contact me fast to ensure the best available dates. 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 at lakeforktrophybass@yahoo.com 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 www.officiallakeforktrophybass.com If you are in the market for a new boat this year, it’s a great time to look into the all new Ranger 521 L as its Ranger Boat’s 50th anniversary and they are celebrating with the introduction of this new boat model. If you haven’t seen it yet you can stop by Diamond Sports Marine and Fred will be glad to show you around. Test rides are also available so feel free to contact me or call the dealership at 903-383-7829 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, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Garmin, Santone Lures, Costa, Power Pole, 3:16 Lure Company, Rigid Industries, Bass Forecast, 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,
James Caldemeyer

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