WHY TOURNAMENT DIRECTORS STICK A FORK IN THE SCHEDULE
Year after year, most of the national tournament trails- B.A.S.S. Bassmaster, MLF Bass Pro Tour, the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and many more, schedule a stop at Texas' Lake Fork. Created by the Lake Fork Dam in 1980, Fork consists of 315 miles of shoreline by impounding Lake Fork Creek, the Big Caney and Little Caney. It officially serves as a reservoir for Dallas and its suburbs, but it is best known for bass fishing, as it holds 15 of the top 20 Texas State Record largemouth bass ever caught. So why is Lake Fork such a good bass lake?
Since Lake Fork flooded just over 27,000 acres of land, mainly wooded river corridor, the result is a very brushy reservoir. Over the past 40 years, many of Lake Fork's treetops have broken off at the water's surface from wind and wave action. The result is a veritable forest below the water's surface. This combination of great habitat, combines with dense populations of baitfish, and clean water with low fluctuations to create the perfect environment for bass to get huge.
The State has done an excellent job of maintaining Fork as a big bass factory through the stocking of pure Florida-strain largemouth bass. There were ponds stocked before the lake was filled that now make great fishing structures and ambush points, and the habitat of timber,
hydrilla, millfoil, floating grass, cattails, and lily pads is well managed. Throw in bunch of roads, islands, creek channels, boat docks, beaver huts, points, and humps and you have all the ingredients for a big bass factory. Add one final factor= a slot limit that requires all bass between16 and 24 inches to be released- and you have a huge population of adult bass.
Lake Fork is very convenient, only 2 hours from DFW airport and 1 1/2 hours from Dallas. There are a lot of guides, boat ramps, marinas, motels, boat repair facilities, and stores. It also has lots of coves, so there is always somewhere to get out of the wind. It rarely gets below freezing in the winter.
The Elite Series will be on Fork May 19-22 with daily takeoffs at 7 a.m. CT and weigh-ins each day at 3 p.m. After a cold spring, it’s finally warming up, and tournament week will be in the mid-90s, with lows in the 70s. Water levels are down 5 1/2 feet which favors catching them in big numbers offshore. Certainly many will be thinking about the century club. Fish don’t leave when the water’s down, they cluster in fewer spots and become more competitive. This should help anglers dial in the more productive areas faster. The downside is that it makes the lake fish very small.
Typically in this situation many anglers throw big baits. Even though they’re getting pressured, on Fork there are a lot of fish that will eat a big bait. May should find the bass in postspawn patterns — morning shad spawn flurries, shallow bream bed hunting and offshore structure, but the low water, plus relentless spring cold fronts have slowed the spawning cycle enough that anglers may find a few bed fish.