Mid-Winter Eagle Count to be Held in January

The Mid-Winter Eagle Count on Lake Fork will take place on January 9 and 10, 2021. Members of the Lake Fork Sportsman’s Association have been participating in this event for almost 20 years.

About the Event

The Mid-Winter Eagle Count is a program put on by the US Fish & Wildlife Agency and administered by the US Audubon Society. Selected areas around the whole USA have volunteers counting eagles on the second weekend in January each year.

The volunteers count eagles on foot, from autos and busses, and by boats. At Lake Fork we use all three methods and at Lake Tawakoni they use primarily autos.

The main factor in deciding what methods of transportation we use is the weather. Foggy-no boats. Real windy-generally no boats. Temperature in the teens-once again no boats. But over the years for the most part, we have been able to get out in boats and count the eagles from the water. Which incidentally, is where we see the most eagles from.

What to Expect

The volunteers meet at Oak Ridge Marina at or before 7 AM and have breakfast prior to forming up in groups to go and count the birds. While we have to buy our own breakfast and lunch the bird watching is FREE.

So before 8 AM and after having been assigned to a boat, bus or car the volunteers go out to the areas we have divided into seven sections of the lake. Each section has a map. Each group leader must be familiar with his/her section so when an eagle is seen you can mark the map where it was located. Each group should be in their area and ready to start counting by 8 AM.

Groups count eagles for three hours and stop at 11 AM. They make there way back to Oak Ridge Marina where the coordinator for the whole event goes over the map and fills in his forms regarding the number of eagles seen.

BUT it is not over. At lunch many eagle siting stories are told. And then we do it all over again on Sunday. Supposedly confirming what was seen on Saturday.

Up to fifteen years it was not uncommon to see 50 eagles in the count. But in 2005 the law was changed so that the crappie anglers had to keep all the fish they caught in December, January and February. Why, because most of those fish were caught deep and those under 10” had to be thrown back which and would float on the surface with the bends which made for a wonderful winter time meal for the lazy eagles. Now that that forage base is gone and the eagles actually have to work to find food we see far less.

I have been noticing quite a few eagles hanging around Fork over the fall and also quite a large group of Mexican eagles, which we will not be counting.

Right now, we have three boats signed up to participate. We could use about 4 more including anyone that would want to bring their barge. You can sign up here.

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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