America's 5 Hottest Fishing Spots

Lake Fork

In Texas they say it ain't bragging if you can do it. That's why Lake Fork anglers aren't bragging when they say their lake offers some of the best big-bass fishing in the country. This 27,000-acre reservoir east of Dallas initially gained fame 15 years ago as a lake that could produce bass heavier than 15 pounds-and it still lives up to the legend. Lake Fork was designed from the start to be a trophy bass spot by Texas Parks and Wildlife. Plenty of timber and brush were left on the bottom to create perfect bass structure after flooding, and tire reefs were planted in areas that were too smooth. Fast-growing Florida-strain largemouths were stocked beginning in 1978. Since then regulations have become trophy-friendly: a three-fish daily creel with a 14- to 21-inch slot. It's all worked to perfection. Lake Fork began producing bass topping 15 pounds in the mid-1980s. Trophies became scarce for a few years in the late '90s, but the Fork has been red hot again in the last few years. Sweet Spots: For prespawn bass, over the flats off the mouths of Birch Creek, Wolf Creek, and Big and Little Mustang Creeks What's Hot: Red Rat-L-Trap Local Advice: "The best way to get a leg up is to study everything about this lake before you get here," says David Vance of Lake Fork Professional Guide service. Prime Time: January through April Record Fish: 18.18-pound state-record largemouth More Info: Texas Parks and Wildlife, Tyler office, 903-593-5077