10 Things I Do When The Lake Is Low

It’s a common occurrence for our lakes in Texas to experience low water levels during the summer months, but we can almost always count on late summer rains to refill them at least, partially. Occasionally the rains don’t come in time, and we must deal with lower than usual water levels. This year has been exceptionally challenging on Lake Fork. The SRA (Sabine River Authority) lowered the lake level in December 2021 to repair the dam with the intention of having the work completed in time for the spring rains, but things don’t always work out as planned and almost 1 year later the lake is still -6.85’ and the rain is nowhere to be seen. 

So, what do I do when the water is this low and the fish aren’t biting? I go exploring!

  1. I check out the areas I’ve been catching fish and see where they’ve been hiding Under the water, brush piles, rock piles, lay downs, old tires, and gravel beds. 
  2. How far from the normal shoreline is the timber still standing Under the water? Sometimes instead of just fishing toward the shoreline, turn around and throw your bait towards the open water. You’ll be fishing in prime fish habitat that you don’t normally see. 
  3. How does the bank step down, is it sloped or dropping? I have found embankments that are 6’ under water at normal level. These were once bends in the creek channels and fish use them for cover.
  4. Where are the underwater points and ridges and what’s on top of them that I can’t see when the water is normal. I’ve seen piles of rocks and old brush piles I didn’t know were there, old fence lines, and lots of pond dams. 
  5. Property owners have been building fish attractors under exposed docks all summer, I’m marking them with my electronics.
  6. Many property owners have been making erosion enhancements such as retaining walls and putting loose stone along shorelines, this introduces new cover for the fish, and they will gravitate right to it. 
  7. All different types of native vegetation and underbrush is growing along the newly exposed shoreline, great habitat when water rises. Also, a bonus is that all kinds of fish food live in this shore cover.
  8. Some dock owners are dredging or removing dirt in silted up areas around their docks, creating nice ditches and cleaning away debris. Fish love uneven lake bottoms.
  9. Many new fishing piers and docks are being built around the lake. Each structure has wood posts and provide shade for the summer, I love fishing these in the heat of the day.
  10. I can clearly see what the original lake looked like when all the timber was standing 35 years ago, boat lanes, roadbeds, pipelines, and old creek channels, these were my boat lanes when I started fishing this lake since we didn’t have gps or even lane buoys to guide us. 

The original designers of Lake Fork were forward thinking and took a great many chances to develop the best bass fishing lake in the United States and for many years it worked as planned. As lakes age they change and become more challenging to fish and Lake Fork is no exception, but a drought or extended low water event can be a positive outcome for an older lake as well. 

Explore the lake at low levels and surprise yourself with what you learn. 

Tell us what you think!

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Lake Fork Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.


Lake Fork Weather Forecast


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 62

Saturday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 39


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 66

Sunday Night


Lo: 39



Hi: 59

Monday Night


Lo: 38



Hi: 65

Tuesday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 39

Lake Fork Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 12/2: 400.84 (-2.16)

Lake Fork

Fishing Report from TPWD (Nov. 29)

GOOD. Water Stained; 50 degrees; 2.26 feet below pool. Bass fishing has slowed after the recent cold fronts and you need to be very slow in your approach. Squarebill crankbaits and rattletraps are fair in 3-5 feet of water along the edge of grass. Texas rigs and Carolina rigs are best along the edge of grass as well in 3-7 feet of water. Suspending jerkbaits is starting to work as the water temperatures decline. Report by Marc Mitchell, Lake Fork Guide Service. Fall weather has arrived so fish will start to prepare for cold weather. Black bass are moving deep for the winter. Cast clousers, ned rigs, and large worm patterns in flooded tree tops near creeks and deep water ledges. Crappie are moving out to the open water in 30 plus feet of water biting small jig patterns. Report by Guide Alex Guthrie, Fly Fish Fork Guide Service. The crappie fishing on Lake Fork continues to be as good as ever. Look for fish in big numbers moving as they head toward the deep water winter pattern. Look for timber along main lake creek channels in 28-40 feet right now for numbers of fish and some big fish mixed in. Minnows will work well but they are biting small hand tied jigs and larger plastic baits as well now that the surface water temps have dropped. We are still seeing some fish on brush and lay downs from time to time. Bridged have been up and down the last few weeks but they can be worth checking out for numbers of black crappie. Report by Jacky Wiggins, Jacky Wiggins Guide Service.

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