One Bite... One Bass

Fly Fishing in the wintertime for Black Bass

It’s wintertime, the weather is freaky and so are the bass. Deep, lethargic, and not very interested in eating. Black bass cop a bad attitude when the surface water reaches the low 50’s. So, after all the reels are cleaned, the fly line is treated, new flies tied and boat washed, the urge to get on the water begins to set in in a bad way. Yes, its trophy bass time, when one bite in considered a good day and one fish in the boat is a victory. Believe it or not, this starts in mid-January for most bass fishers.

Winter bass fishing in Texas can be extraordinary and often extraordinarily frustrating, so it’s a good idea to be realistic with a good plan and lots of patience. This is the time of year where a fisherman’s commitment is truly tested, especially fly fishermen.

Where to fish in winter is always important and understanding how to make the best guess includes what stage the fish are in.

Bass spend their lives in various stages of activity; pre-spawn (late winter), spawn(spring), post spawn (late spring-early summer), summer feeding patterns, and finally the fall/winter feed for pre-hibernation.

The one constant with wintertime is depth and speed, fish deep (at least 15’) and slow and when you think you’re fishing slow enough go slower, if you don’t see or feel structure it’s time to move.

Often, multiple fish species will suspend in deep pockets, creek bends, channels, and under old bridges.

Breaking down a reservoir into areas can be very helpful when you’re locating suspended fish. Treat each cove as a separate body of water. Have you ever caught the same fish over and over in the same area? Those fish live most of their lives in the same cove from birth to death. Check the most likely spots in each cove, if you have success, you can establish a pattern.

I will start by looking for 2 things, weather, and temperature. A warming trend (5 days) that includes sunny days will often bring deep fish shallower in search of food, prefrontal days can bring intense feeding regardless of depth, driven mostly by barometric pressure. The shallower fish will require you cover more area and keep moving.

My rig set-up will include an 8wt rod loaded with Type III Sink fly line with a 2.5-4 ips sink rate, and a 3’-5’ 20lb leader.  We’ll start by targeting treetops 12’-15’ below the surface, we’ll throw a weedless shad pattern stripped slowly through the trees. If you think you’re snagged, set the hook.

If we get lucky and have a few warm days, I’ll go to the northern reaches of the reservoir where the water is warmer and shallower, and search for bass feeding in the creek channels and cruising the shoreline. Again, I’ll focus on creek turns, pools, and ledges since the fish will most likely be using these as staging and traveling routes. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to switch over to a floating line and a longer leader. A lighter leader will be fine but remember that silence is golden during this time of year.

So don’t give up fishing in winter but remember 1 bite is a good day and 1 fish in the boat is a bonus and never ever forget what a blessing it is to be there in the 1st place. 

Tell us what you think!

Best Western - Emory TX Lake Fork

Lake Fork Email Updates


Visit our Lake Fork Sponsors!

Lake Fork on Social Media


Lake Fork Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.


Lake Fork Weather Forecast


Partly Sunny

Hi: 89

Wednesday Night


Lo: 68



Hi: 90

Thursday Night


Lo: 68



Hi: 92

Friday Night


Lo: 69


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 94

Saturday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 73

Lake Fork Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 6/12: 403.36 (+0.36)

Lake Fork

Fishing Report from TPWD (Jun. 5)

GOOD. Water Stained; 76 degrees; 0.86 feet above pool. Lake Fork is high with all the recent rains and gates are open. Bass are good on top waters frogs early in the morning over grass, and Yellow Magics along the edge of the grass Texas rigs and Carolina rigs good around bream beds 3-7 feet. Squarebill crankbaits are good around bream beds 2.5 model bream patterns. Flukes are good on the edge of grass in watermelon candy . Report by Marc Mitchell, Lake Fork Guide Service. Black bass are challenging with constant weather extremes, look for the clearest water you can find. Fish points and main lake cuts. Top waters are working in the shallow grass, streamers are working in the shallow banks 0fished slow. Bream are excellent in the shallows, wooly buggers and small poppers should bring a strike. Report by Guide Alex Guthrie, Fly Fish Fork Guide Service. The crappie fishing on Lake Fork was definitely moving into the steady summer pattern this week. We are still seeing great numbers of black crappie on lay downs and certain trees in 14-28 feet. You can also find black crappie on certain docks and bridges over the next few months. We have been seeing lots of small white crappie on brush piles but some bigger keepers showed up the last few days. These will continue to get better and better over the next few weeks. Focus on brush piles in 14-22 feet for the best fish. Some summer time trees are also holding white crappie and that will also get better over the next few weeks. Minnows are working well and small hand tied jigs in neutral colors are working just as well when you pitch and swim them over fish. Soft plastics will also get you a bite. The channel catfishing is excellent as it always is on Lake Fork. Bait you a hole near timber in 18-25 feet close to a creek channel. Use cattle cubes or sour grain to attract and hold those fish. Trees that have overnight roosting birds are a great place to make your hole. Use any prepared catfish bait of choice to load the boat o

More Fishing Reports