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


Partly Sunny

Hi: 55

Thursday Night

Mostly Cloudy

Lo: 47



Hi: 67

Friday Night

Mostly Cloudy

Lo: 51


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 60

Saturday Night

Slight Chance Rain Showers

Lo: 48


Chance Rain Showers

Hi: 61

Sunday Night

Chance Rain Showers

Lo: 55

Lake Fork Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 12/1: 397.19 (-5.81)

Lake Fork

Fishing Report from TPWD (Nov. 30)

FAIR. Water Stained; 65 degrees; 5.81 feet low. The bass bite should change after the rise in water. Suspending jerkbaits are still best worked over 7-10 feet around ditches and creeks. Spinnerbaits have been good in the same areas, slowly rolled near big wood. Viper XP jigs in sourgrape, PBJ, Purple Passion, are still good on big wood near the edges of the creeks 8-10 feet. Report by Lake Fork fishing guide Marc Mitchell, Lake Fork Pro. Bass are slow on Carolina rigs, dropshots, and jigging spoons in 15-18 feet of water, and squarebill crankbaits in 3-6 feet of water. Report by Jason Hoffman, Lake Fork Guide Service. Rising water level will bring feeding bass shallow. Fish newly flooded grass and timber with streamers for bass chasing shad. Some bream will be mixed in on warmer sunny days. Crappie will be moving towards wintertime schools in the open water and deep pockets, beaded woolies fished with a 5 wt rod and sinking lines. Report by Guide Alex Guthrie, Fly Fish Fork Guide Service. The bite is getting better and better going into the winter months. Big crappie are beginning to show up in numbers as the water temps continue to drop into the 50s. Catches over two pounds are landed each day with some fish closer to the three pound range. Timber on flats and along the main lake creek channels in 28-50 feet all seem to be holding good fish. We are seeing a good balance of white crappie and black crappie both being caught each day. Minnows still seem to be the dominant bait, but the jig bite is coming around finally on Lake Fork. Report by Jacky Wiggins, Jacky Wiggins Guide Service.

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