Everything You Need to Know Before Going Fishing on Lake Fork

Largemouth Bass

In Texas, about 90 miles east of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, there is a 27,690-acre reservoir known as Lake Fork. Originally, it was constructed to help municipal water supply by the Sabine River Authority (SRA) and opened to the public in September of 1980. With beautiful scenery and mild year round temperatures, it has quickly grown into a premiere bass fishing location and has produced numerous world record largemouth bass.

In 1979, Texas Parks and Wildlife started stocking the lake, and over the course of 8 years it would release over 732,000 Florida Black Bass. When the Lake was dammed, 80% of the standing timber was left intact, creating a more than excellent habitat for fish and plant life. This unique combination of plant life and well regulated fishing limits has set the foundation for Lake Fork to grow into what it has become today.

Everything You Need to Know Before Going Fishing on Lake Fork

The Texas Parks and Wildlife have worked hard to maintain numbers and grow large trophy Bass. Bass between 16 and 24 inches must be returned immediately. A 5 bass per day limit can be kept, consisting of 5 under 16 inches, or 1 over 24 inches and 4 under 16 inches.

More than 65% of the Texas Top 50 largest bass (including the current state record) and more than half of those entered in the Budweiser ShareLunker Program, were caught from Lake Fork. Lake Fork fishing guides and professional anglers love this lake for its ability to produce monster bass, get them into the record books, and giving great fishing experiences to their customers.

Where to Fish on Lake Fork:

Getting out on the water of a lake you have never fished before can seem like a daunting task. Here are some tips on what to look for when you’re out on Lake Fork. Also, hiring a professional fishing guide to take you out for the first time can be very beneficial and give you a leg up on the average angler. Using a service like migrateoutfitters.com makes it easy to find and locate the right guide for your trip on Lake Fork.

Find the Right Depth:

Big Bass in deep water (20 feet down or deeper) are often lethargic and slow to strike. Smaller Bass often move into the shallows (1 to 7 feet) to feed on vegetation and small minnows. Although these are fun to catch, you’re not going to find a 10lb+ at this depth very easily. It’s best to use a slow-moving Carolina rig in a mid-range depth ( 8-12 feet). Big females love to lay their eggs at this depth.

Go Big:

To simplify this idea: big fish eat big prey. One major benefit of tossing large swimbaits is that they expand the strike zone. Fish can see and hear them from longer distances than small baits, plus it makes it less important when pinpointing a place to cast. If your lure has multiple treble hooks, don’t hesitate to throw them in grassy or wooded areas. Try concentrating on docks and laydowns during spring.

Crank It:

As previously mentioned, large bass will often move into deep waters during cooler months. Although these beasts can be slow and harder to find, a good crankbait will get in their strike zone. Try working long points or bars off the main section of the lake. Start in the shallows and work your way out towards deeper water.

The Right Approach:

Move in quietly and use protection. Don’t target fish that have a 360 degree view of approaching predators. Use cover to your advantage by moving in close enough to make the right cast. For example, if fishing around a dock, park your boat parallel with the dock and cast around the edge of it. This will help conceal you and not disrupt the habitat around you.


The right color jig goes a long way. In muddy waters, a brightly colored jig works great; in clear waters, a green pumpkin works best. If you want to pull a big girl out of hiding, keep your lure in her face. With a jig, you can stay in the zone as long as you want.

Person holding largmouth bass

What Kind of Fish are in Lake Fork:

Although Lake Fork is known for its bass fishing, it is abundant in other fish species as well. White and Black Crappie have been making the record books as well. Anglers can find them in deep water during the winter months and most fish for crappie under bridges and docks during spring and early fall.

Lake Fork crappie fishing guides are very popular and are often booked all season. Sunfish are great for kids and provide great action around piers, boathouses, and submerged humps. Use small spinners, earthworms, and crickets and you will stay busy reeling in these small feisty and colorful fish.

The Catfish population is no joke and is primarily channel cats. Recommended bait is stink bait, and/or cut bait. The best reels are provided in this article.

White Bass thrive in Lake Fork due to abundant prey species. These can be caught year around and when schooling, topwater baits and small crankbaits can be a blast.

5 Things You Should Know About Fishing in Lake Fork:

Hire a Guide:

Lake Fork is a huge Lake with a lot to explore. Hiring a Lake Fork fishing guide service will help you with the basics on Lake Fork. Ask him or her questions and use them as your mentor. Lake Fork TX fishing guides are always happy to share their knowledge and may even reveal a few of their favorite spots along the way. If you’re having trouble finding the right guide, using a service like migrateoutfitters.com will be beneficial.


Lake Fork has a lot of cover for fish to hang out in. Bass spawn against shallow stumps on the edges of deeper water. In 2-4 feet of water, cast to each side of a stump or tree, watch the line and the bite will most likely happen when moving away from the stump. In colder weather, move out a little further into deeper water.

Light Breeze:

Wind is your friend. Fishing on Lake Fork is slow when the wind isn’t blowing because the fish have better visibility. Fishing is better with a breeze because the ripples on the water will help mask your boat and any imperfections in your setup.


During spring, the shallows will be teaming with all types of species of fish. Fish start spawning during this time of year, and are way more active. For crappie, look for creek openings, while bass find grass beds with a depth of about 8-12 feet.

Explore the Creeks:

Lake Fork has many creeks referred to as branches. These smaller creeks are fishable and consistently produce trophy bass. Birch Creek is considered one of the best areas for Lake Fork bass fishing. Little Caney Creek produces some of the largest bass, and Caney Creek is known for its great crappie spots.

Here is a great video that shows explore the creeks and how you can get a great fish by getting off the beaten path:

Lake Fork Reservoir is arguably the most popular bass fishing spot in Texas, and it is strongly encouraged to make reservations for Lodging, guides services, etc. well out in advance. This is especially true during spring months. The seasons and weather conditions are always changing, and there are no hard rules to which bait works best, or where they are biting. Serious anglers should contact their local marina for tips or to hire a guide. When out fishing, it is best to make yourself aware of all harvest regulations before starting your trip. Regulation booklets are available through local marinas, sporting goods stores, or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

For more information on contacting a Lake Fork Guide Visit Migrateoutfitters.

For more information on Lake Fork Reservoir contact:

  • Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
  • 2122 Old Henderson Hwy.
  • Tyler, TX 75702
  • 903-593-5077


  • Sabine River Authority
  • P.O. Box 487
  • Quitman, TX 75783
  • 903-878-2262

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