LAKE FORK GUIDE ANDREW GRILLS

Trophy bass fishing on world famous Lake Fork

Category – FISHING REPORTS

Lake Fork bass fishing reports and pictures from Lake Fork guide Andrew Grills

Lake Fork Report

Things have sure changed a lot here on Lake Fork over the past few weeks! If you’ve been watching the news, you know east Texas has gotten plenty of rain over the past two weeks. We haven’t had any issues here around the lake though. We received just enough rain to bring the level up nearly to full pool. Right now we are sitting at a few inches below full.

We got a big time cool down with the rain, breaking low temperature records for this time of year in our area as well. So that brought the water temperature down significantly. Mid 60’s around most of the lake.

There are plenty of fish shallow, for those who like that style of fishing. Topwater early, then light Texas rigs, small swimbaits, and jigs are working for the shallow fishermen I know. The drop shot will continue to produce as well.

There are some fish in deeper water as well. Look for fish out at the ends of points, on main lake humps, and pond dams. Road beds always get good in the fall as well. More finesse type presentations will do best this time of year. When the water really cools down near the end of the month, the bigger fish will start to show up with more regularity.

If I can be of any assistance on your upcoming trip, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Good luck out there. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” I John 4:9

July Lake Fork Report with Recent Pictures

July can be a good month here on Lake Fork. I enjoy fishing this time of year because I don’t mind the heat so much, and the lake is not quite as crowded. Keep in mind we have a strong Florida strain influence in our bass population, and Florida bass seem to like hot weather.

The fishing has been pretty good so far this summer. It was excellent leading up to the Skeeter Owners Tournament, a little tougher afterwards, but still not too bad. Size has been better than numbers for me.

The water temperature is in the mid 80’s, and that is where it usually is heading into July. The water level is 1.25’ below full pool, but will likely drop throughout the month. We need a full lake to maintain a healthy fishery, but it sure seems to “fish” better during the summer when it’s a couple feet low. 

I’m fishing a variety of depths from shallow as deep as 25’ deep. I have some areas that tend to hold them shallow in the summer, and a lot of deep offshore spots where they congregate deeper. 

On the deeper spots I normally rely on my electronics to see if they’re home before we stop. However, sometimes I’ll just go ahead and fish the area for a few minutes with my graphs turned off and then check the spot before I leave it. As we get into July there has been so much pressure from anglers on the deep holes, the fish seem to pick up on the boat and sonar noise. I’ll notice this when we graph a school, and the fish move before we can get a cast to them.

There are a lot of lure options that could work on any given day. Football jigs, Carolina rigs, spoons, crankbaits (if they’re the right depth), etc. I usually try a couple presentations on a given spot.

Hopefully this report helps you for your next fishing trip. As always feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Bible verses from a fellow fisherman. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12

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Lake Fork Report with Huge Bass Pictures!

Right now we are in the transition from spring to summer here on Lake Fork. This spring was one of the toughest because of weather mainly, but we had some of the best days I’ve experienced in the Lake Fork guide business. Up until recently, a good day for me was getting a few of those giant bass that Lake Fork is famous for (not numbers). However, numbers were great from late April up until the past week.

 

Every May there is a period where the shallow patterns of spring fade, and the deep patterns of summer are about to begin. That is where we are right now. It wont be long and we will be fishing that deep, offshore structure that many of us enjoy. Currently the Lake Fork level is about 7

 

Here are some recent pictures from incredible days here on Lake Fork in my boat. There are no two images of the same fish, so these pictures account for some awesome days.

 

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Lake Fork Report with Big Bass!

It’s hard to beat April fishing here on Lake Fork. I always look forward to this month because things start to get more consistent. The cold fronts are normally a little more spread out and the crowds aren’t quite as bad as the spring break crowds of March.

At the time of this report the water temperature is around 60 degrees. A couple cold fronts over the past few days have kept it a little lower. The water level is .31’ below full pool. We’ve had a lot of rain, but the powers that be have been keeping it a little below pool. The fish could use every inch of shoreline vegetation the lake has to offer during spawning season. 

The fishing has been great on some days and tough on others. We’ve had a lot of rain so far this year and the water level has fluctuated a good bit. When the water is rising or steady, all is well. When the level is dropping they seem to get stubborn. The muddy water, changing level, and cold fronts have kept us guides guessing. A couple days of stability usually rings the dinner bell.

This month is always a great shallow water month. We all love topwater fishing and there’s probably not a better time to do it. Shallow crankbaits and small to midsize swimbaits are big players as well. The key is covering water until you find them. Once you locate some fish, they’ll probably hang out there a few days. Timing is important as well.

Hopefully this helps point you in the right direction on your next trip to Lake Fork. If I can be of any assistance on your upcoming trip please don’t hesitate to contact me.

These are from our most recent trip with return customers Brett and Tyler! I have a lot of pictures to post, but not enough time for now. These will have to do. I don’t usually post duplicates of the same fish but that first one sure was fat. So, the first two picture are both of one fish.

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Brian and Kayla put it on them too!

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Lake Fork Report

Lake Fork produced it’s first truly giant bass in years this past week! Weighing in at 15.49lbs, this fish is the biggest reported from Lake Fork since early 2013. It was entered into the Share-A-Lunker program, Lake Fork’s first entry since November 2014. It’s good to see the lake is still capable of producing a fish of that caliber. It would be a dream come true to see a customer of mine catch a bass like that!

The fish was caught on a jig in 4′ of water on the day of the full moon in March.

The lake has been through a lot the past couple of weeks. We had somewhere around 12 inches of rain over an 8 day period. That left the lake high and muddy. We are recovering from that now, however, and the fishing gets much better over periods of stability! Our florida strain bass here in Lake Fork are set in their ways, they don’t care much for abrupt changes in their environment!

Water temperatures are getting close to the magic 60 degree mark in some areas. The average temperature is in the upper 50’s in most areas. At the time of this report our lake level is 403.24. That is a couple inches above full pool. Having those gates closed at the dam is the most critical factor in the quality of fishing, in my opinion. Don’t ask me why, but the fishing is tough here when the Sabine River Authority is releasing water.

I’m focusing on finding the big prespawn fish as they move into their spawning areas. Things are changing daily so it is definitely helpful being on the water every day right now. A customer boated a 9lb 14oz. beauty last week, and we had a very good day later in the week when they had to close the gates. It was tougher after they opened again, but they’ve got the lake level under control now, hopefully.

It’s going to be a busy spring! If you’re looking for a Lake Fork guide, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will help all I can!

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Above is the 15.49 caught last Friday. I was not involved in this catch, but felt it was well worth including in this Lake Fork report. Below is the 9lb 14oz boated my customer last week.

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Flooded cover is abundant!

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December Lake Fork Report and Big Bass Pictures!

As you can see from the pictures below, we’ve had some big fish recently! November wasn’t quite the numbers month it had been in years past, but it turned out to be a great month for big bass. Each big fish we boated came from deep, offshore structure.

The water temperature right now is in the mid 50’s. Hopefully it continues to go down. The fishing is better for me when we have a normal winter. The water level is about 1.5′ below full pool. As of right now, the deeper fish are holding around 20′. However, we are at the time of year where I start to go a little more shallow.

It’s no secret that I love the winter months. Winter is all about quality over quantity. Being cold blooded, they do slow down in the winter. Although, big bass, especially the females, have to eat in order to maintain their body weight and support the developing eggs they’ll be laying in spring.

Big bass always like deep water access close by, but this seems to be more important in the colder months. Big fish will position in areas where the can move vertically to change depth and still relate to the bottom. A ledge is a perfect form of structure for a bass in the winter. If the sun is out and warms the surface a bass can easily rise in the water column to “soak up some rays”. However, if a cold front comes along, all the fish will need to do is drop down a few feet to a more stable temperature.

Creek channels, ditches, and drains are prime areas for the bigger fish in winter. I like the 8-12′ depth best, but will often target areas in shallow water if conditions call for it. The presence of aquatic vegetation is a big bonus. The grass will hold some warmth from the sun, produce oxygen, and provide as cover for protection.

I’m looking forward to the next couple months. Winter is nice and quiet around here. I enjoy having the lake to myself and the anticipation of that big bite! Remember, the Texas State Record Largemouth was caught on Lake Fork in January!

Check out these giant Lake Fork bass! There are no two pictures of the same fish.

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Fishing the Santone M-Series Jig on Lake Fork

The leaves are falling and so is the water temperature! That gets me excited, because the cool months are my favorite for big bass. The Santone M-Series jig is a top producer for me in cold water.

 

I’d like to share when, where, and how I fish the M-Series. These factors are extraordinarily important when jig fishing, especially on Lake Fork. The vast amount of standing timber can make it seem like searching for a needle in a haystack. There are also times to put the jig down and opt for a different approach. My goal is to help you narrow it down and simplify what many find to be a difficult technique to learn.

 

In my opinion, fish seem to bite jigs best during the colder months leading up to the prespawn period. A football jig is a major player here throughout the summer and fall. however we are focusing on a traditional pitching jig for now. I usually check the jig bite in late October, but it doesn’t seem to become a viable pattern until mid-November. The early jig season is usually very productive because the fish aren’t seeing jigs go by on a daily basis and don’t seem as conditioned to the technique.

 

I continue to fish a jig regularly throughout most of March, but when the water warms and fish are comfortable venturing from ledges towards spawning areas the effectiveness of the technique seems to wane. An increase in fishing pressure may have something to do with it or it could be a transition in their primary forage base. I have had customers catch some really big fish later in the spring on jigs, however the numbers of bites are much lower and there seems to be better ways to catch them.

 

As for determining where to fish a jig, I try to imagine the lake has zero standing timber and look for structure bass should be relating to in the winter and early spring. The stumps are just a bonus as cover. Fish use areas such as points, secondary points, and creek channels as they stage on their way to bedding areas. They then use the stumps as cover for safety and ambush of prey, but keep in mind they are there because of bottom contour, not cover.

 

I find that sharp breaks are most productive throughout the cold periods. Bass seem to want to be close to deeper water as cold fronts are passing through on a regular basis during the winter. You will find this on the edges of points and secondary points, but most importantly along the creek channels. Creek channels are highways for the bass and baitfish as they travel to their springtime haunts, and they provide deep water access as well. Ditches and drains are just as important to pay attention to. Any area with a low spot where water would run to the original channel prior to impoundment is likely to hold some fish.

 

Often, the hardest channels to read are the best. We can usually look at the standing timber and get a good idea where the creek channel is. The gap in heavily timbered areas, leaning stumps (as leaning stumps often lean over the creek), and the presence of live oak stumps can help you identify the original creek channel. Live oaks are often the biggest stumps in a given area and grow near a water source. Built in maps or map chips on your depth finder can sometimes point you in the right direction, however they are rarely accurate as to the exact location of the channel. I also pay attention to where the trot lines and jug lines are set if I am in an unfamiliar area, as they can sometimes help lead you to the channel. Learning how a particular channel runs takes time and patience, but it is worth the effort.

 

Being near the creek channel, drain, or ditch isn’t enough. I have found that boat positioning is a critical factor in success. I like to keep my boat in the deeper channel and cast to the top of the ledge and bring the jig back as it rolls over the tree roots descending down into the channel. If the low spot or channel is too narrow I will position the boat outside of the channel and cast across it, making sure to work down the outside bends. The outside bends often have the steepest ledge due to the original current flow prior to impoundment. I always get excited when fishing the outside of hard channel bends, as these seem to be prime big fish hangouts.

 

Creek channel fish can be in a wide range of depths. In any given creek, I believe there will be small wolf-packs of prespawn females staging in various areas along the way. Some may feel comfortable where the channel is 8′ deep and the top side of the ledge is 4-6′, and others may be in areas where the channel is as deep as 25′ closer to the mouth of the creek. The key is the ledge.

 

I feel that the presentation is a matter of confidence. Most anglers I have guided or fished with tend to fish a jig much faster and with more of a hopping motion than I do. I find that an extremely slow crawl works best for me. Even though I’m creeping the jig along, I still feel the bite is a reaction bite, in that most of my strikes come as the jig rolls over a root or branch. With the slow approach, it gives you the opportunity to sneak the jig up to the bass without it feeling or hearing it coming. Often, if I work through an area slowly garnering a few bites, I will go back through it with a more aggressive “stroking” type retrieve to see if I can pick up a few more reaction bites.

 

The M-Series is my favorite pitching style jig. The “arkie” style head design will hook fish right every time. Certain head designs naturally turn during the hookset. This results in poorly hooked fish. You don’t get too many bites jig fishing, so you don’t want to lose any. The M-Series solves that problem. Jigs are cheap, and I would make my own before I would use or promote a product I didn’t believe in.

 

Hopefully this information helps give you some confidence in jig fishing. Right now is a great time to catch a giant bass on a jig. As always, feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance on your upcoming trip to Lake Fork.

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Lake Fork Report for October, with pictures

October is one of the best months of the year here on Lake Fork, and not too many folks realize that. Fishing is getting better and better, and it will continue to improve as the weather cools down. While we do catch an occasional big fish, October is more of a “numbers” month. I encourage customers with young children, or novice anglers, to come enjoy getting their line stretched this month!

The water temperature is still in the upper 70’s as I write this report, but hopefully that will drop sooner than later. The water level is holding steady near full pool, at just 0.54′ low. That’s hard to believe considering how dry the past few weeks have been here.

I wasn’t surprised that we had very little sign of a “fall turnover” on the lake. We had a lot of current with some heavy rains at the very beginning of September that probably really helped.

There are plenty of fish shallow, for those who like that style of fishing. Topwater early, then light Texas rigs, small swimbaits, and jigs are working for the shallow fishermen I know.

I’m finding a good number of fish deep, and lately they’ve been extremely deep. That is likely to change by the time this report is published. Every day has been different, but I’ve been catching some fish deeper than 30′. That’s a little deeper than usual here on Lake Fork. Look for fish out at the ends of points, on main lake humps, and pond dams. Road beds always get good in the fall as well.

If I can be of any assistance on your upcoming trip, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Good luck out there!

 

The following pictures are from my trips this past week!

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Back to Work on Lake Fork

It’s nice to be back home on Lake Fork. After spending a couple weeks on Falcon Lake guiding in August, and then taking some time to visit family in Tennessee, now it’s time to get back to guiding on Lake Fork. My new Skeeter FX21 should be ready any day now, so that’s going to be a treat for my customers and I.

Lake Fork is looking good right now. The lake is right a full pool, and the fishing is ok for September. The fishing generally gets better and better as the weather cools down.

October is a good month for fishing and I still have some open days available, so be sure to check with me if you’re thinking about a trip to Lake Fork.

Falcon Lake was not quite as good this year as it was last year. We still caught some giants, and had some pretty good numbers days too. It is possible to catch as many little bass as you want down there, but that’s of no concern to me. We were looking for bigger fish, and most days that worked out pretty well. We will keep and eye on the lake level over the next year to determine if we need to make another trip next August.

Here are some highlights from the short time we were down there…

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Lake Fork Report, July 14

The big ones just keep coming! There have been a few more tough days in the mix the past two weeks, but I’m still impressed with the quality of fish we are catching here on Lake Fork. This has been an above average summer as far as fishing goes, and the lake is in great shape.

Lake Fork is still holding steady at full-pool. That is highly unusual this time of year. This tends to make the fishing in the summer a little more difficult, but it is excellent for the overall health of the lake. My customers often comment on how healthy the lake looks. Water color is nice, the shorelines are green, and the bass are chunky. The water temperature is in the mid 80’s.

This must be the year of the Santone jig. I don’t recall a summer that I’ve caught more bass on football jigs. The fact that I love throwing a jig might be the reason we’re doing so good with it, but other guides have been having good success as well. This may also be a factor in the quality of fish we have been catching. The jig gets big bites. That’s why I love it.

Color doesn’t matter one bit. If it did, I wouldn’t be posting pictures of fish mouths with my favorite color Santone jigs lodged in their throats! If one color was important, I’d keep that fact to myself. Green, black, brown… they’re working.

Other techniques are producing well too. I’m also doing a good deal of cranking, and others are getting bit on carolina rigs, spoons, and (yuck) drop shots. 15-25 feet deep is the range. I know that is vague. While one specific depth is going to be best, you’ll find some a little deeper and some a little more shallow.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’re planning a trip to Lake Fork. I’ll help any way I can. July is flying by. Next thing you know it’ll be hoodie time. Be sure to get your fall and winter dates reserved ahead of time.

Here are some recent good days on the water!

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And incase you missed it, we had a 42lb bag a couple weeks ago!

 

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