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: 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

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