Lake Fork Fishing Report March 2001 by: Guide – Sherry D. Ruslink The month of March, here in northeast Texas, marks a time of renewal for plants and animals. Trees begin to bud, animals start poking their heads out from trees, birds flock to fields of dried seed, and fish prepare for their yearly mating ritual. Spring is in the air, offering warmer temperatures and longer days, indicating to the animal and plant kingdom that old man winter has passed once again. Plants, animals and humans are more active reacting with a desire to be outdoors and involved with nature. Anglers flock to lakes in anticipation of the spawn, like baseball fans migrate to the stadiums to watch their favorite team play. On Lake Fork, the spawn will start around March 15 and run through May 15, however I have seen the waters warm enough to trigger the instinctual behavior the first week of March, and I have seen it run through the first week of June. Some bass will start real early and some will spawn real late in the season, which typically the eggs will not survive if deposited early or late in the season, falling victim to weather extremes rather quickly. March is the most volatile month for weather changes and northern fronts blowing in, while April is much warmer and more stable in weather patterns. By May, an angler can enjoy the best of both worlds in that the last of the spawners are completing their cycle, and many have transitioned to a post spawn pattern that includes topwater fishing at its best! As you can see, spring is the time to grab a partner, whether it be your best buddy, wife, or kids, and enjoy some of the best fishing time of the year. March water temps will be much warmer ranging in the 50 – 60’s, ideal for male bass to make beds and for some females to join in the propagation process. Many days will have high winds, therefore seek more sheltered waters in north coves on the west bank. This is one time that bass require more stable water that is shallower, warmer, and protected. If you bed fish, be conservative in your fishing so as not to disturb the beds, and do not take males off the bed without putting them right back on the nest carefully. Remember, males are the guardian of the next potential world record! Fry are in extreme danger without the protection of their mothering father. Not all bass spawn at the same time, and not all bass spawn just once. Many larger female bass will multiple spawn with several different male counterparts, which is the main reason the spawn is drawn out longer than most anglers realize. Staging females will be holding in 6 – 15 feet of water while waiting for their biological time clock to signal it is time to go with the male to the nest. Some male bass will start running the banks looking for ideal nesting sites when the water temps reach 55 degrees. The female bass, especially the Florida strain females, want the water much warmer, and a few will start moving up to the shallows at 62 – 63 degrees, however most wait for 65 – 68 degree water temperatures. An excellent bait in searching for staging females will be a medium running crankbait in crawfish or shad patterns; slow rolling a spinnerbait, 3/8 oz, tandem blades in white or chart/white; weightless Shad Assassin in watermelon or shad color; and Carolina rigged lizard in pumpkin/chart tail, watermelon, black or red shad. For shallower bass, use a Texas rigged lizard in pumpkin, watermelon, junebug, black or red, with a 3/0 offset shank hook and a 3/16 oz Top Brass Tackle brass weight. Also, a weightless Whacky/Trick worm in the above colors will be a key technique during the entire spawn. Target grass, vegetation, trees or stumps that line small creeks entering a flat off of a secondary point. Move your lures very slow, giving the bass time to check out the offering and appeal to its sight senses. Cast or pitch to each target several times before moving on. Small pockets and underwater structures, especially with cover on it offers extra protection for the bass while spawning and nursing the fry. Some good areas to check out are Garrett, MaGee, Elm, Secret, White Oak Bay, Sticky Creek, Johnson Camp, Boardtree, Val’s Cove, East Bend Creek, Penson, Running Creek, Coffee Creek, Morgan Branches, 2225 Point, Morgan Branch, Glade, Oakpoint Creek, Gander Creek, Pond Creek, and Horner Branch. Lake Fork offers a lot of shore line within each cove, and acts as it’s own ecosystem, therefore I would look at each area and spend some time attempting to find the bass. The Texas Parks and Wildlife enforces a slot limit on bass in Lake Fork bass which is 16″ – 24″. All bass which measure between 16 and 24 inches must be returned to the waters of Lake Fork immediately. There is a daily bag limit of 5 bass, which 5 under 16 inches, or 4 under 16 inches and one over 24 inches may be retained per day. Please practice “Catch and Release”, “Safe Handling” of all bass, and be courteous on the lake. Texas Parks & Wildlife info, call 1-800-792-1112. Computer generated license, 1-800-895-4248, Visa and MasterCard only. The Sabine River Authority has been releasing water off and on for over a month, with Lake Fork being at pool level of 403 feet. You can view the SRA website which lists 24 hours worth of data about the water storage at: http://tx.water.usgs.gov/cgi-bin/uv/?station=08018800 Sherry Ruslink is a licensed guide on Lake Fork. She runs a full service Bass Fishing Guide Business. Sherry’s guide service offers individual, corporate/ group, instructional, and tournament prefish trips. Day trips, night trips, and Â½ day bass fishing trips, Crappie trips, and gift certificates. Duck hunts, catfish trips, and full package fishing and / or hunting trips to Lake Guerro, Mexico can be arranged. Sherry can be reached at 903-383-7310, 1-877-523-9227, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, URL: http://www.texs.com/ladybass/fork.htm. Sponsor’s include – Triton Boats/Mercury Motors, Kistler Rods, Shimano Reels, Lowrance, Motorguide, Lockhart Lures, Gene Larew Lures, Top Brass Tackle, and Bass Assassin. ******************************************************************************************************************* Martin’s Maps – A great fishing tool that is a must have is the new Martin’s Map or CD Rom which will enable the angler to find many structures that Lake Fork has to offer for bass habitat. With the aid of a computer, you are able to zoom in or out on contour lines, structure, see pictures before the lake was filled, receive fishing info from myself and Kerry Stafford, as well as print off the information that you want. Every angler that fishes Lake Fork ought to have this new CD Rom. Call me for details on retail or wholesale, and mail order purchases. http://www.martinsmap.com I can help you locate guides and/or lodging for many lakes throughout the U.S. and Mexico, for individual or corporate bookings. Hunting expeditions are arranged with outfitters throughout the U.S. Sherry Ruslink’s Enterprises. 903-383-7310 Line Keepers, Kistler Rods, Martin’s Map – call or email me for information. Ladybass@koyote.com or 903-383-7310.
Water Temp: 50