Lake Fork Fishing Report May 2020

May is here thank goodness! Did last month not seem like the longest month ever!? Now that a lot of the travel restrictions have been loosened it’s a great time to head out to the lake. My clients and I have been fishing everyday despite the other restrictions as the Governor deemed fishing “essential”. In fact, I would agree that there’s no better place on earth right now to “social distance” than out on the water in a fishing boat. So if you’re thinking the same then head out to Lake Fork this month for some of the best fishing of the year!

The water conditions are good right now with the lake at full pool. Spring has brought plenty of rain and the bass have lots of freshly flooded cover to spawn in. Water temperatures have been ranging from 68-72 lately and will continue to warm as we get later into the month. With warm temperatures already forecasted there will be a lot of fish that move into a heavy post spawn routine and it’s a lot of fun.

There are a number of different productive fishing patterns on Lake Fork right now. The bass are in mostly post-spawn patterns with a few spawners and a few late pre-spawn fish left. There are a lot of different techniques that you can employ from shallow to deep water. I have been starting out most of my days with some top water action. The shad spawn is also going strong and you can find a number of fish gorging on these shad as they spawn. Early mornings on clay or shell banks you can catch them with top waters, square bill crank baits like Berkley Square Bull, and a swim bait. My clients and I have been landing some big stringers of bass when the conditions are right for the big swim bait. As always, I am throwing the 3:16 swimbaits. My favorite colors are hitch, bluegill, carp, and my signature color “James C. Special”. If the bass are not up for the big swim baits on a particular day you can also downsize to a 5” swim bait and it will get the job done too.

If you like to site fish, there are fish still on beds. Flipping these fish with texas rigged plastics and jigs are very productive if you spot a big mama nesting. Most anglers opt for a brighter color so they can visually see when the fish bites. I prefer more natural colors if the conditions will allow. A lot of fish will shy away from the bright ones and jump on a natural color with all the fishing pressure they are seeing this time of year.

As the bass have begun to finish their spawning, the deep bite has started to pick up. The big bass have started showing up in 16-24 feet of water. With the water warming and temperatures rising, you can expect to see more and more fish moving out to deep water to begin feeding up from the spawn. This is absolutely my favorite time of the year! These big bass are very hungry and will school up heavy in specific areas. I am targeting roadbeds, humps, points, ridges and pond dams on the main lake or at the mouth of creeks and major spawning areas. Using my new Garmin EchoMap Ultra electronics has been essential in locating these schools. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out the new Garmins you’ll want to check them out and see why everyone is making the switch in electronics. From their incredible 2D sonar, Side/Clear Vu, and mapping to the state of the art Live Scope technology with Perspective view, you’ll quickly see why Garmin is becoming the most popular choice for serious anglers! I am looking for bait in these areas and once you locate the schools of bait and sandbass, the bass are right with them. When I find a school of bass, I am using my electronics to determine if the bass are suspended or on the bottom. This helps me in bait selection. Most of the fish will be suspended early in the post-spawn stage and become more related to the bottom as the water temperatures warm and the thermocline starts to set up. For the suspended fish I am deep cranking with a Berkley Dredger in shad colors or throwing a deep swimbait on a jig head or a Berkley Swim shad. These baits are effective at working the middle of the water column where suspended post-spawn bass like to hang out. 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. These fish are really hungry, so I like big plastics on my Texas rig. 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 a big bait is 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 (4-5ft.) 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 Power Worms, Powerbait Bottom Hopper, and Berkley Lugworm in blue fleck, watermelon red, green pumpkin, and chartreuse pepper. You can also catch a lot of these hungry post spawn bass on a football head jig. Santone Lures makes a great football head jig and I catch a lot of bass on it this time of year. I opt for the 5/8 or 3/4 oz model and best colors are JC’s Spicy Craw, Mexican Heather, and PBJ. I will tip my jig with a matching Berkley Havoc Pit Boss or Chigger Craw for the best size and action to catch big bass!

I hope this helps if you are headed out here soon in pursuit of a trophy bass. Everyone be safe out there right now! If you’re looking to book a guide to get away and get out to the lake, I would enjoy the opportunity to take you or your group fishing and show you a great time on the lake. I have a few dates still available so contact me to check availability. If you would like to fish anytime in 2020 be sure 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, Leer, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Garmin, Santone Lures, Costa Sunglasses, Power Pole, 3:16 Lure Company, Elite Tungsten, and Bass Boat Technologies. 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 2020 Ranger Boats daily and the Z Commanche Series boats are better than ever. Give Fred a call at 903-383-7829 to set up your personal demo ride in a Ranger Boat.

Matthew 6:33-34 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Tight Lines & God Bless,

James Caldemeyer

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