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If your travels take you to Dallas, try to schedule an extra day to fish for largemouth bass on Lake Fork Reservoir just two hours east of the city by car. This 27,680-acre reservoir at the headwaters of the Sabine River is one of the most productive big bass lakes in the world, producing the Texas state-record bass of 18.18 pounds. Seven other bass in the state’s top-10 list also came from Lake Fork Reservoir, all with spin and bait tackle.
There are plenty of qualified spin and baitcast guides working the lake, but more and more fly fishermen have been coming here in recent years to go out with Dan Lynch (*), who has converted his guide business from 100 percent traditional tackle in 1985 to 90 percent fly fishing for the past two years. He has fly fished his whole life, and is actively working to promote fly fishing in this part of Texas through his guide service and local fly fishing seminars.
Lynch ties his own specially designed flies to mimic some of the top lures that produce on Lake Fork. His success has been phenomenal. Last year, Lynch and his clients caught 45 bass over nine pounds on flies, the heaviest of which weighed 12.5 pounds. Lynch’s clients hooked several other fish heavier than that. One of those clients, an experienced tarpon and bonefisherman, reportedly "turned to jelly" when he hooked a 15-pounder in heavy stickups and saw it wallowing on the surface. Lynch hopes this year one of his clients will get the first largemouth taken on a fly to make the state’s Top-100 Bass list. It will have to weigh more than 15 pounds, but odds are good it will happen. A recent survey showed that during one recent spring season, 3,136 bass over seven pounds were weighed in, with 525 of those topping 10 pounds. And that doesn’t include the ones that were caught and immediately released. Line-class world records are also a distinct possibility on this trip, although Lynch does not recommend using rods lighter than an eight-weight because of the heavy cover and structure on the lake.
Lynch says Lake Fork’s shallow and moderate depths are best fly fished from mid-February into May. However, bass can be caught here through summer and into fall if you fish deeper. The fishing can be particularly exciting in the spring when you can often sight-fish for bass as they hover around beds or cruise in the shallows. Catching 30 or more bass on flies is possible on good days during this time of year. Lynch was only skunked two days out of the entire season last year.
At this point, Lynch is the only guide on the lake taking fly fishermen full time, although a part-time fly fishing guide is reportedly going to start taking out clients this month. Lynch’s boat, however, is rigged specially for fly anglers and is ready to take you out on the lake now. He uses high quality eight to 11-weight rods and has all the equipment you’ll need. A 10-hour, full-day trip on Lake Fork for one or two people costs $275, which includes use of flies and gear but not lunch, which is usually burgers at a local marina. A five-hour, half-day trip costs $175. As of this writing, Lynch has a few openings left for this spring.
If all of Lynch’s openings on Lake Fork this year are filled by the time you call, ask him about fly fishing for largemouths, white bass and striper/white bass hybrids on Lake Richland Chambers, located 60 miles south of Dallas near the town of Corsicana. This lake is best fished deep during the month of June. A full-day trip for one or two people costs $250; a half-day trip costs $150. Lynch also takes clients who have already fished with him on one of these lakes down to Galveston to fly fish at night under lights for trout and redfish.
Any trip with Lynch is sure to be an interesting one, as he has a degree in marketing from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, and was a combat crew survival instructor for the United States Air Force. If you crack that Top-100 Texas Bass list on this trip, by all means let fellow Angling Report subscribers know! – Gerald Almy.