Lake Fork Fishing Tips
From Lake Fork Guides
Spring FishingArticle: February, 2003
This month's article will cover Spring fishing
As the month of February approaches the spawn will soon follow. Every year someone will call and say, when will the spawn start? The spawn will start as soon as the water temp gets into the low to upper sixties. During this time of the year a good temp gauge can be very important. A couple of degrees can make a big difference. Look for the warmest water you can find and spend time on it. The males will invade the shallows first and fan out a bed or nest. Then as the water warms they will go out to where the females are waiting, and herd the females into the areas they have fanned out, and if the female likes the area she will set up house keeping.
When the water starts to warm in Feb the males will start roaming the shallows, making this is a good lipless crank bait time of year. Cover plenty of water and cast parallel to the bank. Work from three feet out to ten foot of water with a fan cast. Work the bait slowly and just tick the grass or bottom. Red lipless crank baits are a good choice. Sometimes the half ounce is the ticket and at other times it will take the quarter ounce. Usually this is right after a cold front. When cold fronts come in the early stage of the spawn the fish will get lock jaw. This is a good time to break out a wacky worm or weightless Wave Worm, Ring fry, Texas, or Carolina rigs.
Everyone thinks the spawn is the best fishing time. Well this is only half true. Think of the time your family member, wife, sister, in-laws, etc was pregnant and how they reacted as the time neared to delivery day. Somedays they smile and some days they cry all day. The fish are no different. Cold fronts will cause the fish to react the same way, except they get lock jaw.
When the fish becomes dedicated to the nest, they will be a little lethargic after a cold front if it drops the water temp over night. Normally after lunch the water starts warming and the fish will get active. The longer a bait remains in a nest the better chance you will have to catch a fish. Texas rig or Carolina rig lizards will be a good choice after you start seeing fish holding on the beds. When you start catching males towards the bank in regularity, just move the boat out and fish where you are sitting. Usually the boat will be sitting over the fish. Fishing parallel to the bank will keep you in the strike zone more often. As the day progresses you will note the fish will get skittish. This is from the constant boat traffic down the bank. Just move out and fish in the deeper water and you should come in contact with some fish. Switching to smaller baits is another good tactic. Because Lake Fork gets so much pressure, any little change can be a productive bait. As the spawn gets into full swing the fish will be more plentiful. Remember as April approaches there should have been a spawn and some fish will have started their migration back to the deeper water. This is my time. This is where if the shallow bite stops you can get out deep water and start catching fish that have spawned.
Remember one thing. All fish don’t spawn at the same time and water temp will govern the spawn. Don’t forget the fish will be caught many times during the spawn and great care should be taken in handling them.
Thanks and Good Fishing,
by EX Lake Fork Guide Jim