Lake Fork

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Fall Crappie Transition

Williams Creek Crappie Club

The WCCC went to our source at the TPWD - Freshwater Biologist, Jake Norman, and asked at what temperature do the Crappie start their Summer to Fall Transition. Here is what Jake had to say about the subject. “There are really three main factors that drive crappie from their summer patterns to the fall: water temps, length of day and forage.  There isn’t necessarily a specific magic temperature like the spring spawn that will trigger crappie movements, but rather the general trend of dropping water temps will start moving fish from summer haunts to their fall patterns.  For example, if a lake has water temps averaging 89-93 in August and some cooler weather drops the average temp down to 82-85, you will typically see some fish start to transition.  But you have to take the other two factors I mentioned into consideration as well.  The shortening length of day is another natural trigger to start telling fish summer is winding down and cooler weather is on the way.  Shortening hours of daylight will obviously happen even if the weather doesn’t start to cool, and some fish will start their fall transition regardless of water temps.  The final factor is truthfully the most important of the three.  The crappie will follow the baitfish (typically Thread-fin Shad) before all other factors.  If the shad start to move shallow, the crappie are going to follow.  With that said, the same two factors I just mentioned (water temp and length of day) are what will drive the shad migration as well.  Dropping water temps and shortening daylight hours will start to move shad into the creeks, where plankton blooms remain stable during the fall transition.  In short (sort of), dropping water temps and decreasing daylight hours will drive the forage/baitfish shallow, and the predators will be right behind them.
 The one thing I haven’t discussed yet that is part of the entire equation is reservoir turnover.  I know this is a common term among anglers, but it isn’t always completely understood.  The fall turnover is usually the factor behind the scenes that is driving all species of fish out of their deeper summer haunts and into the shallows.  Fall turnover occurs when the surface temps begin to cool in late summer.  As the surface water cools, it becomes more dense and begins to slowly sink until it reaches more dense water.  Eventually, the density of the surface temps become greater than the water near the bottom, and the water near the bottom of the reservoir is pushed upwards.  The reason everyone associates fall turnover with tough fishing conditions is due to the poor oxygenated water that had been resting on the bottom of the lake is now mixed throughout, resulting in a much larger area in the water column with poor oxygen levels.  During this process, the most oxygenated water can often be found up very shallow where turnover is typically not occurring.  Again, this is truthfully the driving factor behind all Fall fish migrations.  Hopefully this helps explain why we typically find fish on the move in the fall.”  Our Crappie Club wants to Thank Jake for all his support and information.

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Lake Fork Weather Forecast


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 68

Monday Night


Lo: 44



Hi: 74

Tuesday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 53


Slight Chance Rain Showers

Hi: 74

Wednesday Night

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Lake Fork Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 11/18: 400.94 (-2.06)

Lake Fork Fishing Report from TPWD (Nov. 13)

GOOD. Water stained; 59-64 degrees; 1.91’ low. Largemouth bass are good on plastic worms, caterpillars, and Alabama rigs with the known points and among standing timber. White and yellow bass are good on Alabama Rigs. Crappie are fair on jigs and minnows in the stumps or man-made structures. Catfish are good on prepared bait and cut bait.