Top Water Action

I’m often asked, when is the best time of the year to flyfish in Texas. Personally, I prefer to fish when the fish are biting anytime, but the top water bite reigns supreme for almost all fly fishers everywhere. Not only are the fish aggressive this time of year, but they are also often larger as well. Add in the fact that this is usually when the weather is warmer and more hospitable, well who doesn’t love that? It’s sort of like the perfect recipe for the perfect pie, or the perfect scotch with the right cigar.

Here's a few tips from my experience.

Windy banks are a great place to start on your search for aggressive bass. As the wind blows the bait fish towards the shoreline, the schools of bass will follow and begin a feeding frenzy. It’s often frustrating to watch the water surface blowing up as feeding fish chase shad and not be able to get them to bite your fly so I have developed a few techniques over the years that help.

  1. Match the hatch. Feeding fish are focused on what’s moving in front of them and not so much seeking a different bait. Try to match the size and action of the bait fish.
  2. Fish ahead of the school. Bass herd and harass schools of bait fish to separate and confuse them. Cast your fly to the periphery of the school and offer a single bait instead of trying to blend in with the school.
  3. My favorite technique is to throw a “One Eyed Slider” (check out and simulate a crippled bait fish on the surface. Bass are always looking for an easy meal. I developed this killer pattern to entice feeding and lethargic bass. Allowing it to simply float above their heads is almost irresistible and they will attack it aggressively.
  4. Fish around aquatic vegetation. A well-placed frog imitation is almost a guaranteed winner around weeds and brush. Try early and late when the frogs are naturally active. In our Lake the frogs have a white belly so I try to use a similar looking fly. Learn what the frogs in your lake look like since they will be colored to their surroundings.
  5. Bass are lazy. Deer hair crippled fish imitations are deadly this time of year, make sure you have some flashy tinsels in the pattern to attract a look from the bass. This will often invoke a reaction bite. Short line strips that give this fly erratic movement with frequent pauses will create an easy target for a hungry fish.
  6. Don’t forget the night. One of my all-time favorite techniques this time of year is fly fishing with top waters at night. If you haven’t tried this, you’re missing out on some super exciting fishing. It’s sort of like fishing blind folded, sounds crazy but it’s super fun and often the bigger fish patrol the shallows at dusk looking for frogs.

Finally, be stealthy. Shallow fish can see you and hear you much easier and although they’re in an aggressive mode they are much easier to spook. Position your water craft as far away from your target zone as possible and try not to scream too loud when big boy blasts your bait.

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


Partly Sunny

Hi: 78

Sunday Night

Mostly Cloudy

Lo: 62


Slight Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 79

Monday Night

Chance Thunderstorms

Lo: 60


Partly Sunny

Hi: 79

Tuesday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 55


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 75

Wednesday Night

Chance Rain Showers

Lo: 58

Lake Fork Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 3/3: 402.71 (-0.29)

Lake Fork

Fishing Report from TPWD (Feb. 28)

GOOD. Water Stained; 61 degrees; 0.24 feet below pool. Bass are all over the place with a good shallow bite and nice catches offshore fish utilizing live scope. Shallow fish are best on moving baits like chatterbaits and spinnerbaits and some minus ones in 1-3 feet. Edge of grass in 1-4 feet of water is still producing with ViperXP Jigs and Texas rigged creature baits. Grass in 1-4 ft best . Wacky rigs are good near edge of grass. Water temp is 56-66 depending on your location. Murky east and west but clear in the mid lake areas. Report by Marc Mitchell, Lake Fork Guide Service. Bass are in the shallows working streamers are working in 1-8 feet. Clousers should produce good results around structure. Crappie will be moving towards the banks, small patterns like wooly buggers are a good bet. Bream will also move to warmer water, a wooly bugger would be a good choice. Report by Guide Alex Guthrie, Fly Fish Fork Guide Service. The crappie on Lake Fork are spread out all over the different depths on the lake right now. You can still catch some fish out deep in 50 plus feet of water, you can catch fish up in 2 feet of water and all the depth in between. Not seeing huge numbers of fish concentrated in any specific depth yet as these fish are moving towards spawning areas. We have been seeing bigger fish this past week being caught like we normally do in the springtime. The bite should get hotter and hotter in less than 20 feet deep areas as water temperature rise over the next few weeks. With tons of rain the last few weeks the water is stained in most areas and muddy way up north close to the runoff and feeder creek areas. Chartreuse hand ties are working well for fish deeper than 25 feet right now and black and chartreuse soft plastics are working well on shallower fish where the water is more stained. Minnows will still work as well. The catfish bite is really good around roosting trees on the north ends of the lake. Timber in 13-18 feet is best and look for the birds

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