Lake Fork Fishing Tips
From Lake Fork Guides
Pattern FishingArticle: July, 1999
This article will cover pattern fishing. A pattern is best described as knowing when and where fish should be at a certain time during the day. Many times people ask how do you find your fish. Fish are more easily patterned during the summer. During the different seasons the fish will relate to certain structure or areas. Winter fish will go deep and so will summer fish. Fall and spring fish will move into the shallow water to spawn or feed. Now we spend time in these seasons to find where the fish go during the certain times of day. I use my graph to locate the fish in the deep water. I will note in my log book what time of day and when I found these fish. I check this spot every time I go out and write down any changes the fish have made on the location in this area or any time changes. I've had deep spots where the fish would show up at the same time everyday for a month. You could go by too early and they would not be there. Get there 15 minutes early and you could watch them start showing up. The shallow fish will do the same. But weather patterns will cause these fish to move or become dormant. I have found the shallow fish to be consistent on their time-tables as long as the weather or barometric pressure has not changed. If you start a log and write down on every trip when, where, and what you caught them on this helps you to put a pattern together The pros take the time of year and where the fish should be at that time and work from there to put their tournament strategy together. Once you start putting the information down you will find you can go out on most days and catch fish. The more information you get down and the longer you keep it you can take the months from each year and see what the weather is and where you fished when the weather was the same.
The old timers had a pattern. How many times did you hear your dad or grandfather say get there early then come back in the late evening. That is a lot of fisherman's patterns today and it works. But the reason most people don't know where to look after the shallow bite cuts off is that the fish may have moved out 20 feet to the creek edge or off the end of a point and you could still be catching fish. This is pattern fishing. You catch them on the bank on a tree row and they move out to a ledge or creek channel when the sun gets up. Now if you can't get out early that day you remember the fish left a certain spot and arrived at another at a certain time and you go straight to that spot without fishing the unproductive water. Now you need to have 10 spots like this so you hit or miss on a couple different areas. If you fish with a guide you hear him say we need to leave this spot if the fish aren't biting because he has another spot they may be biting at the same time. On most days, fish will bite somewhere on the lake. You need only to keep a log and refer to it. Once you start keeping this information down you will find you can use it on other lakes to find where to fish. Then you can start a timetable and set up a pattern for that lake. I recently went to Table Rock Lake and I had never fished it. The bottom was rock and the water was deep. I used my electronics on points and ledges to locate fish. I went to points because that is a pattern I use on Lake Fork this time of year.
So keep a good log and refer to it each month. I used to take my Bass Master magazines and put them in monthly order and read the articles that best suited my seasonal time. Then I would try what worked best for that time of year or weather pattern.
Thanks and Good Fishing,
by EX Lake Fork Guide Jim