Lake Fork Monthly Fishing Report, January 2018

Happy New Year from Lake Fork everyone! It’s hard to believe that another year is beginning already. I’m excited to see what it has in store and am definitely looking forward to another year of some great fishing. With the lake in great shape as we start the year it should be a fun one. I hope that many of you are able to make it out to the lake this year for some fun, fishing, and relaxation!

The lake levels are very good right now after having some recent rains last month. Lake Fork is currently 401.94 which is a foot below full pool. The water clarity has been off colored up north in some of the creeks and fairly clear in other creeks. The water on the south end of the lake remains good with visibility to about 3 feet. Grass is abundant in some of the creeks with scattered amounts on the main lake. Water temperatures have been ranging in the upper 40s to lower 50s on warming days.

My best patterns this month are mostly shallow to mid depths as the numbers of bites decrease and quality increases. You can catch some real big ones right now thru the pre-spawn period. These big female bass are feeding up in preparation for spawning and they are very vulnerable with fewer anglers on the water. I have a couple of “go to” baits for this time of year while fishing shallow. One is a lipless crankbait. I like to throw a 1/2-3/4 oz sizes in like a Berkley Warpig in crawfish colors, red, orange, and chrome or shad patterns. Targeting grass beds and stumps on secondary points and staging areas in 2-6 feet of water for these big pre-spawn bass is key. Another great bait is a square billed crankbait. These baits do best bumped and banged off of stumps that these bass are holding tight to. It’s a reaction bite so look for either of these two baits to get bit as they deflect off of grass or stumps. The rod will just load up. Crankbaits catch giants this time of year on Lake Fork so keep them tied on! Another great shallow bait is a suspending jerk bait. It’s very effective after a cold front hits or on bright sunny days with calm wind. You can work them in the same areas as the crank baits with slow long pauses between jerks and the big bass will tackle them. I also like to target these bass that are staging is in mid-depths this time of year too. If you find a warming trend of days where the water temperature is rising, be sure to try some big baits too. The 3:16 Lure Company Rising Son swimbait is deadly. Long casts with a slow retrieve over these staging areas can get your line stretched! I prefer the white color or the dirty shad color early in the season. There is both a line-thru and a weedless version available for fishing it in heavy cover. Be on the look out for the new 3:16 Swimbait Store opening up soon on highway 515 near FM 2946 on your way from Emory headed to the lake on the left side of the road. The Grand Opening will be fun and some real cool baits will be readily available to the public directly for the first time. You won’t want to miss it!

I often like back out off the bank some this time of year to target fish in mid-depths. Backing out into 10-14 ft and targeting stumps on points or creek channel bends with a Santone Rattlin jig can be very productive. I use the ½ oz size mostly in black/blue or JC’s Spicy Craw with a Berkley Chigger Craw as a trailer. Making accurate presentations to your targets is key so if this is something that’s a weakness in your technique arsenal, now is the time to practice it and be able to gain some confidence in it! Pitching and flipping around heavy cover can pay off big this time of year.

The deep bite is hit and miss but you can really catch a giant if you are committed to it. I am using my Garmin electronics to scan depths of 22-32 feet of water for schools of bait and bass hanging around them. We have had a recent resurgence of barfish or yellow bass in the lake and their abundance is very good for the big bass population that thrive on them in their diet. A Carolina rig is a great one to have tied on for these deep schools as well as a Santone football jig. If the bass are suspended you can target them with umbrella rigs, spoons, or tail kickers too.

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.comor 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

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 50thanniversary 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 my fishing of the FLW Series and my 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, 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!

Isaiah 25:1 – O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.

Tight Lines and God Bless,
James Caldemeyer

Comments are closed.