We celebrated National TEXAS Day on February 1st and today we highlight one of the Texas gems, and a great place for catching the big ones, and if you are looking for a guide to "put you on the donks" - check out our Guidelights post about a Lake Fork native, Jack York.
Lake Fork Reservoir is located 65 miles east of Dallas the on Lake Fork Creek, a major tributary of the Sabine River between Quitman, Alba, Emory, and Yantis, Texas. At 27,690 acres and 315 miles of shoreline, Lake Fork was designed a premier bass fishing lake and currently holds records for 34 out of the Top 50 largemouth bass caught in Texas.
(If you enjoy this post and find yourself yearning to "get on some donks" on Lake Fork, pay attention to our Guidelights Blog post about a guy you'll want guiding you to the promised land, Jack York.)
It was built as an industrial and municipal water supply by theSabine River Authority (SRA). Impoundment of water began in February 1980 and the reservoir was opened to the public in September of the same year. Boat access is provided by four public boat ramps and numerous private marinas. Bank access is limited the reservoir; however, a public day-use area and fishing pier built by the SRA provides limited bank access. Mild year-round temperatures and beautiful scenery provide for a memorable angling experience for a variety of species.
Largemouth bass is the most popular sportfish in this reservoir. A combination of restrictive harvest regulations, stocking of Florida strain largemouth, and abundant habitat has contributed to Lake Fork's development as one of the country's premier trophy bass lakes.
More than 65% of the Texas Top 50 largest bass (including the current state record) and more than half of those entered in the Toyota ShareLunker Program, were caught from Lake Fork. Crappie fishing is generally good, especially in standing timber and under the lake's numerous bridges. Channel catfish provide an excellent sport fishery, which has increased in popularity and notoriety in recent years. White bass have been slowly increasing in abundance and provide an additional sportfish species in the reservoir. Yellow bass or “barfish” are often caught during the winter months, often associated with largemouth bass. These fish tend to be relatively small but they are great table fare and they are as tasty as crappie. Sunfish, primarily bluegill, offer additional opportunities for anglers during spring and summer.
Crappie anglers concentrate their efforts in deep water near the dam during the winter months. In late spring and early fall, most anglers fish for crappie under the bridges (Highway 154, Highway 515, CR 2946 and CR 514). Live minnows and crappie jigs are among the most popular baits used. The catfish population is dominated by channel catfish, but also includes flathead and a few large blue cats. Stinkbait and cutbait work well for channel cats, while live bait is preferred for flatheads. Anglers occasionally catch large blue catfish. Sunfish such as bluegill and redear can be caught in early summer, in shallow water, using crickets, earthworms and small spinners. During the remainder of the year they can be caught using the same baits around piers, boathouses and submerged humps.
White bass can grow exceptionally large in Lake Fork due to abundant prey species. Jigging spoons and live baitfish work well for yellow and white bass. When white bass are schooling, topwater baits and small crankbaits can be especially effective.
While the deepest part of the lake is about 70 feet, the average depth is only 12 -15 feet and flooded timber is found throughout Lake Fork which provides excellent fish habitat. Although access through the reservoir is provided by numerous buoyed boat lanes, submerged timber represents a substantial hazard, so care should be exercised while boating in all areas.
Like many Texas reservoirs, the lake is primarily a V-
shaped lake formed by the 12,410-feet earthen dam at
the junction of Lake Fork Creek and Big Caney Creek but
includes an additional smaller branch,Little Caneyat
Creek, between the arms of the other two tributaries.
Birch Creek also feeds into the upper end of the western
arm. The dam tops out at an elevation of 419.5 feet
above mean sea level.
Traffic around the lake is serviced by three primary routes: 515, 17 and 154. 17 runs up the west side of the lake through Alba, 515 runs east-west from Emory across the lake to Winnsboro and 154 crosses the east side of the lake between Quitman and Sulphur Springs