Tis the Season: Catching Bass in the Spring-Winter Transition

There is a transition period on every body of water from season to season. Winter to spring, Spring to summer, summer to fall, and fall to winter. Each transitional period creates the need for the fishermen to alter their techniques and re-think what’s been working for them in the previous weeks season. What are causes and effects of the changes?

Winter to spring is hard on the fishermen because, well, we’re ready to get out of the house and catch some fish! The transition from winter to spring can be very frustrating as the weather often doesn’t co-operate and the fish can begin their move to spawning only to be rebuffed by sudden cold. This is the most exciting time of year because it’s truly a time when the bass of a lifetime can be caught. Keep track of the water temp and try to find the warmest water. When the average water temp is  - 60*-65* the bite should begin to pick up. Often the fish are in several different stages of pre-spawn, spawning, and post-spawn, each stage requires a unique approach by the fisherman.  A bonus is that all fish are becoming far more active and catchable.

A few tips that may help you:

  1. Know the stage the fish will be in by understanding the water temperature and their migrating habits. A water temp in to 50*-55* range will bring the females to Pre-Spawn when they suspend around standing timber or other features waiting on the males to form a nest and push her to it. The males are often the first fish we see as they cruise the shallow water.
  2. The fish will begin to tend their nests when the water is in the 65* range.  Look for nesting fish around brush, rocks, and other objects in the water. Bass tend to like something near their nest that can provide cover. If the lake is deep and no sufficient shallow water is available look in the tops of flooded trees and anywhere a nest could be built in 3’ or less of water.
  3. The post spawn is the most exciting time to fish for bass because the fish go on a feeding pattern to rebuild their energy from the spawn. This is prime top water time and a great opportunity to get a huge fish before they go deep for the summer. Use these methods to locate and understand the bass for a better chance of success.

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Lake Fork Current Weather Alerts

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Lake Fork Weather Forecast


Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 67

Friday Night

Rain Showers Likely

Lo: 54


Rain Showers

Hi: 58

Saturday Night

Rain Showers

Lo: 49


Partly Sunny

Hi: 62

Sunday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 46


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 69

Monday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 54

Lake Fork Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 4/20: 403.02 (+0.02)

Lake Fork

Fishing Report from TPWD (Apr. 17)

GOOD. Water Stained; 60 degrees; 0.20 feet above pool. Fork has been good with fish in just about every stage of the spawn. Lots of fish are shallow in 1-4 feet with Texas rigs, yum dingers, chatterbaits, flukes, and swim jigs. Offshore bass are good on humps and points in 5-7 feet of water with Carolina rigs with light weights, mid-running crankbaits, and shaky heads. Report by Marc Mitchell, Lake Fork Guide Service. Changing weather means changing bite. First phase bass spawners are now in a post spawn pattern and aggressive. Frog pattern topwaters are excellent in the grass and brush. Casting into the pockets and letting the frog sit for a few seconds is a good idea. Crappies are shallow, small fish patterns like wooly buggers are a good bet. Bream are beginning to make themselves known in the shallows, wooly buggers and small poppers should bring a strike. Report by Guide Alex Guthrie, Fly Fish Fork Guide Service. Crappie are great with some pre-spawn fish, some fish actively spawning and some post spawn. Fish can be found in a few feet of water to 30 feet of water. All crappie on Lake Fork do not go shallow to spawn and we catch fish in 18-20 feet that are spawning on timber. You can also find some fish on brush, lay downs, bridges and docks. It is a very versatile time to catch crappie with multiple patterns. Minnows will work great right now but any crappie baits will catch fish. Try small hand tied jigs and soft plastics. Catfishing is excellent right now on Lake Fork around timber in 12-20 feet. Still seeing loads of fish around roosting trees. Lots of birds in the shallow areas close to the bank in the early mornings chasing shad spawns. The catfish are also up there feeding on shad as well. Use any prepared catfish baits or cut shad on baited holes in the timber. Use a cork with anything a catfish will bite up shallow. Minnows and cut shad will work great on this shallow fish. Report by Jacky Wiggins, Jacky Wiggins Guide Service.

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