Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort - 870-492-5113

Norfork Lake springtime fishing is at its best. This is one of my favorite times to fish the lake. All species of fish are in shallow water and we get a lot of good topwater action for striped, hybrid, and white bass, as well as, largemouth and smallmouth bass. Artificial baits and live bait work equally well this time of year. Shad are spawning, as is typical for this time of year. The shad spawn really gets the fish excited!

Striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass fishing was on fire the last week. Once our lake temperature reached the mid 60's the fish became active. Today was a great example of spring topwater action. Several of my friends were out on the lake and we were all checking out different areas. One found the fish blowing up back in a cove at about 7AM. He gave me a call and we all had great fun for the next 3 hours. I was throwing a 5 inch pearl swim bait with a 3/8 ounce jig head, and a Zara Spook Jr. It is a blast to watch these fish blow up on topwater baits. Best places to look for topwater action is part way back into the creeks and in the secondary coves in the creeks. Right now I have heard of topwater action in all parts of the lake so get out there and have some fun. The late afternoon bite has been great one day, then very hard to find the fish the next, but when you do find them they very well could be busting the surface.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing is also excellent at this time. Look in the same areas that the stripers are in, but mainly look at the shoreline. You will find the water boiling with shad right up on the rocks. The fish are pushing the shad in tight to the shore then feeding at will. Today they were in the same cove that we found stripers in from 6 inches of water out to 6 feet. Both my Zara spook and my swim bait were picking up some very nice fish. The fish also wanted both of my baits worked very fast as they were in the chasing mood. As the day wears on the largemouth will move out into a little deeper water so a jig and pig or some other plastic bait worked along the bottom will pick up some good sized bass. At sunset look at the very shallow water again as they will start to feed heavily on shad. The after dark bite for large and smallmouth bass should be good. I haven't been out myself but typically they will be hanging around docks and shallow points. Dark colored spinner baits and tube jigs are some of my favorites.

Walleye, I bet you can guess, are in the same areas as the stripers and the largemouth. My swim bait is picking up some nice fish early in the morning and then again at sunset. The walleye are also starting to show up on the big shallow flats in 10 - 25 feet of water. Move slowly with your trolling motor with a bottom bouncer and crawler harness or a large shiner on a drop shot rig.
Crappie are showing back up on brush in 20 - 30 feet of water. Most times you will find them suspended over the brush so you need to keep testing different depths until you find the feeding fish. There will be a few nice fish still on the bank so casting a small Roadrunner will work and will also pick up other species. Hang on with your crappie rod because it is not uncommon the hook into a big striper while crappie fishing this time of year.

Norfork Lake surface water temperature this morning was 67 degrees. The water level has been fairly stable with a slight rise and currently sits at 551.36. The main lake is
clearing and the creeks and coves are a little stained, but are clearing rapidly.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort 870-492-5113

Norfork Lake fishing has entered into the spring phase and is getting exciting. With that being said, I need to clarify that early spring can bring many drastic changes in the weather. As a few weeks ago we went from the 80's to a 3 inch snowfall and cold for several days, followed by a return to summer like temperatures. This type of weather affects the water temperature which in turn affects the bite. These weather changes seem to be the norm for March. Temperatures typically stablize in April. The lake water temperature has warmed back to the low 60's which is a perfect temperature for all species.

Striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass fishing is improving each day I go out. Today was no different. The clear skies made for a slow bite for me early, but by 10AM I found the stripers and landed 3 striped bass, 1 hybrid and 3 whites. I first started out on a large flat up river where the water had turned off color. (slightly greenish brown) My guests and I had been finding large schools of stripers, hybrids and whites at all different times of day, but today I could not locate them early. I also checked out several deep brush piles since I have found that the striped bass were relating to the brush that is holding bait fish, but again no takers. I moved to a deep water point at a mouth of a cove about 1/2 mile away from the flat and I found bait fish and lots of suspended feeding fish. I was in 55 feet of water and the stripers were anywhere from the surface to 25 feet down. I was vertical jigging and had one pole out with live bait and a very small split shot. This rod got buried and I finally landed a nice 14 pound striper. I decided to set out 2 live bait poles and continued to move around the point. I was also jigging a spoon at about 25 feet and hooked up to 2 white bass. After releasing the second white, I looked back and one of rods was doubled over. As I was fighting this fish the second rod took off. Fun and games a double. Ended up landing both of the stripers without any mishaps. :-) I have also been fishing back in a major creek, again where the water turns off color. I have found stripers on the deep water bluff line side just inside of the creek channel as well as on points that have deep water nearby. Some of the creeks have big flat areas where the stripers will be roaming in the shallower water early and late in the day. The stripers that I have marked and caught have been mainly from the surface to 25 feet deep in all my fishing spots. Vertical jigging with a spoon, live bait and trolling with Alabama rigs, swim baits and long stick baits will work.

Crappie fishing is also improving. My guests and I have been finding crappie on deep brush piles in 30 - 40 feet. of water. Several of us have been jigging with a 1/4 ounce spoon and some others have been using 1/16th and 1/8th ounce Roadrunners in white and white/chartreuse. I do believe the crappie are moving up to the shallow water to spawn. Many of the larger crappie are coming off the shoreline hitting roadrunners and small grubs.

Most of the walleye have finished their spawn and are moving onto the shallower flats, as well as, to brush piles. I have caught walleye on flats dragging a large minnow on the bottom and by  vertical jigging with a spoon. Deep diving crank baits will also pick up some nice walleye on these flats. I have also picked up a few along the shoreline before daybreak throwing a white/ chartreuse Zoom Fluke. This bite will continue to improve during the morning and on through the day and after dark.

The largemouth bass bite finally starting to improve after the cold snap. I was starting to get into some nice top water action before our snow, but since that time I have noticed very few bass coming up. The water temperature has finally got back to the low 60's so top water action will take off very soon. There are some fish moving into the shallow water, but still I am marking lots of bass staging off of deep water points in about 20 - 25 feet of water, either on the bottom or suspended.

The Norfork Lake surface water temperature this morning started out at 60 degrees at 6AM and ended up at 62 degrees at 11AM (main lake temps). The creeks and coves are stained and off color, the main lake is somewhat stained. The current level of the lake has risen to 549.0 which is a 5 feet increase over the last couple of weeks. This lake level is still about 5 feet below the current seasonal pool.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

The term "March Madness" definitely fits Norfork Lake this month. 3 inches of snow a week ago, 90 degrees yesterday and some thunderstorms and cooler weather on the way. The changing weather patterns play havoc with the fish, but today the fish gave signs of getting back on track.  I saw sporadic surface activity for largemouth bass and striped/hybrid bass, crappie moving in tighter to the banks for their pre-spawn activity, and the white bass and walleye have started to move out to the flats which indicates the majority of the walleye and whites have completed their spawn.

Today was a very interesting morning of fishing. My game plan was to search a different area of the lake for striped bass. I didn't find striped bass, but I ended up catching fish on 5 different types of baits. In the dark I started casting a suspending stick bait to the shoreline. I landed largemouth and crappie on my Smithwick Rogue. As the sun was coming up I casted out my blade bait, Kastmaster, and landed some whites. As the morning wore on I started casting out a paddle tail swim bait to the shoreline and landed a largemouth, then in deeper water I dropped a spoon and landed a walleye. Live thread fin shad landed a second walleye and I broke off a big fish, maybe what I was looking for.
Striped bass fishing the last couple of days has slowed with the cool system that rolled though our area last week. The snow and cold temperatures dropped the surface lake temperature from 56 degrees to 50 degrees. This morning the lake had warmed back up to 56 degrees. A few days ago the stripers that had moved back into the major creek arms were biting aggressively and could be found anywhere from 20 feet of water to 50 feet of water. Most fish that I was catching and marking were suspended 15 to 35 feet down. Yesterday I did mark a few stripers, but they were not feeding. This will change with the warming water very shortly and the good bite will begin again.

Largemouth bass fishing has been good. This species is moving in close to the shoreline early and late in the day. This morning brought some of the best surface activity that I have seen so far this year. This is still early for topwater, but a very good sign. This morning I caught largemouth before sunrise on a suspending jerk bait, as well as, after sunrise largemouth were being caught on a 5 inch paddle tail swim bait by one of my guests. The topwater started just as the sun got above the horizon. Start carrying your favorite topwater bait as I believe this will become a little more common each day. Alabama rigs are also working very well rigged out with a 3.5 to 4 inch swimbait. The shorter baits are still working a little better than longer baits, but this will change as the water continues to warm.

Crappie fishing is becoming very good. This species is in their pre-spawn mode and can be found in very shallow water as well as on 20 - 30 feet brush piles. Cast out a small paddle tail grub or small swimbait to the shoreline. Let it sink to the bottom and reel back to the boat. Small spinners will also work. Today one of my guests had a great morning of crappie fishing. He found fish stacked in and over 25 - 35 feet brush piles. He was vertical jigging with a spoon. Only 4 of the 11 crappie he kept had eggs in them. I am not sure if some of the crappie have already spawned or not. If you find some sunken brush along the shoreline that is exposed, fish this brush as it will be holding crappie.

I caught walleye this morning, one on a shallow flat in 18 feet of water and the other was out in 65 feet of water suspended down 55 feet. I marked bait from 40 feet to the bottom and saw 5 big arcs in the bait. I assumed the arcs were stripers so I dropped a 1/2 ounce spoon and landed a nice 23 inch walleye. You tell me what the current pattern of our walleye are? :-) The majority of the walleye have spawned and should be moving to the flats to feed. Deep diving crank baits, crawler harnesses and dragging live minnows will start to pick up some nice fish.

White bass have also completed the majority of their spawning activities. I am starting to find scattered fish on large flats suspended down 20 to 30 feet in 30 - 50 feet of water. I caught several nice whites on my Kastmaster bade bait. It will not be long until large schools of whites will be roaming shallow flats feeding heavily on shad. Topwater frenzies will erupt and make the water boil. Topwater baits, blade baits, spoons and swim baits will all pick up some nice fish.

Norfork Lake surface water temperature this morning was 55 - 56 degrees. The lake level is falling very slowly and currently sits at 545.25 which is approximately 1 ft drop over the last 2 weeks. The lake is somewhat stained but clearly is occurring.

Happy fishing a see you on the lake.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort 870-492-5113

Norfork Lake has entered the early spring bite pattern. Some species are spawning and others are moving out of the deep, cold water to shallower water following the shad. The shad are moving shallower due to the warmer water. Walleye and white bass have started their early spring spawn while other species are feeding very heavily on threadfin shad. The flowering trees have been blossomed out and the Redbuds are just starting to bloom. Remember the old saying that when the dogwoods are in bloom the crappie are not far behind on their spawn. Well I bet the crappie are not far away from moving into the shoreline. Our lake water warmed quickly this year and is still 2 - 5 degrees warmer than prior years. Last year the surface temperature in the morning was around 50 and 2 years ago it was in the upper 40's. Yesterday our morning surface temperature was 54.5 degrees. As always, the surface temp warms several degrees more during the afternoon with the warm sun.

The striped bass bite has been good. They have moved to the shallower water of the major creeks. I am finding big schools of fish roaming large flats as well as close to the creek channels. Sunday I was fishing with a friend with live shad. We were in 40 feet of water and a school came under us with fish from 15 feet to 40 feet. All of sudden one pole got buried, then the second, and so forth. We had 4 big stripers and hybrids hooked at the same time and it was total chaos on my boat. We ended up landing 3 of the 4 with one getting too close to the motor and cutting the line. That must have been Kyle's 40 pounder. :-) Locations vary, but I like to fish secondary points that have the creek channel swinging in close to the shore. I have found fish both on the deeper bluff line side, as well as, points on the shallower side. The best bite at this time, for me, has started around 9AM and goes until the early afternoon. Live bait is working great, but spooning has also picked up a few fish. Tolling with swimbaits or Alabama rigs are also working very well. You need to get your baits down to around 20 - 40 feet deep as the fish are at all levels. I have also started to fish after dark when the wind allows me. My first time out for the evening was after I wrote my last fishing report and I landed a couple stripers. I have fished several other times after dark and caught either stripers or hybrids each time. The fish have started to feed after dark so check the hooks on your suspending stick baits and find a good shallow point with deep water close and give it a try. It is a blast hooking into a large striper when you can not see anything and everything is by feel. A couple of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort Facebook followers read my last report and headed out after dark and landed a couple really nice fish.

Largemouth Bass are also starting to move a little closer to the shoreline. I have caught a few in the early morning up tight throwing a jerk bait, but most have been on the short side. I would look at about 15 - 30 deep off of bluff line points. Some will be suspended, but the bigger ones will be on the bottom. It will not be long until they start moving in with a vengeance and start their pre-spawn feed. Another great spot to fish will be brush piles in 20 to 30 feet of water. The bass will be hanging around the outsides of the brush watching for those shad that decide to venture away from the brush. Plastics worked along the bottom are working and crank baits are starting to pick up some nice fish.

White bass are still back in the creeks and coves finishing up their spawn. Try casting out Rooster tails or Roadrunners up close to the shore-line and retrieve slowly. You will also start to pick up some nice crappie fishing this way. After the majority of white bass finish up spawning they will start moving out to the flats and then topwater action for whites will start. I look forward to this time as it is a blast. I am seeing a few whites come up early in the morning, but  nothing to get real excited about yet.

Norfork Lake level rises slowly when power generation stops and drops when the generators are turned back on. Currently minimal generation is occurring and the lake level is 546.16. The surface water temperature in the morning has been 53 - 55 degrees depending on how far back in the creeks you go. The water is stained back in the creeks and the main lake is clear to partly stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort 870-492-5113

Fish on Norfork Lake are in transition from their winter pattern to an early spring pattern. Yes, this is very early, due to an abnormally warm winter which has kept the water temperature warmer than normal. The surface water temperature is 5 - 8 degrees warmer than the last 3 years at this time. The bait fish have started to move into shallow water which in turn makes the predators follow suit.

Striped bass can be found at all different depths. This morning I located a couple large schools of striped bass still out in 65 feet of water, following shad that was 50 feet down. Last weekend a couple of my Facebook followers (father and son) took my advice and headed back into a major creek and found some nice fish on the bottom in 35 - 40 feet of water, again chasing the bait fish. As the water continues to warm, the majority of  the bait will move out of the deep water into shallow water which will make for a great spring bite. Assuming the weather pattern holds as is, we are due for a very early spring bite, but this is a very big assumption. Only mother nature will control what happens with our weather. I have started to see small signs of top water feeding fish, not much but it's still encouraging. Don't get your hopes up too much because this is really early for top water action. The best place to look for striped bass is halfway back in the major creeks. Live bait and vertical jigging a spoon have been my best way of catching stripers, but throwing stick baits and flukes at sunrise are starting to work. I have only fished after dark for striped bass once since my last report with little success. The water temperature is just right for the night bite to start, so I will be out more and more after dark here real soon.

White bass are moving back into the major creeks on their annual spawning run. Start looking for big females staging in 30 - 45 feet of water. The males are the first to move into the creeks and then the females will follow. Once they start their spawn you will find them close to the banks. Small spinners, blade baits and spoons are some of my favorites baits for the white bass.

Largemouth bass are also starting to move into shallower water. This morning I was live bait fishing for striped bass and moving slowly along a deep bluff line. I found a small cut in the rocks and started casting my Kastmaster to the shore and letting it sink about 10 feet. I ended up landing 5 largemouth out of this little pocket. They are getting very aggressive. Crank baits will be working, as well as spinner baits on those wind blown banks.

The Norfork Lake water level is currently at 546.92 with minimal power generation at this time. The lake surface water temperature was 53 degrees this morning and is rising slowly. The main lake as well as parts of the creeks and coves are clearing. Once you get half way back into the major creeks the water is stained making it great for fishing.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

The weather this winter has been amazing with only a few cool days. At 7 AM today, when I left our Norfork Lake dock, the air temperature was already in the upper fifties. Early spring like weather. I started checking my normal winter spots and found some stripers in 90 feet of water suspended 40 - 50 feet down close to the 62 bridge. I was vertical jigging with a spoon and hooked into 2 fish but both came off after a short run. My second spot was in Float Creek. I marked a few fish lying on the bottom at 70 feet. but they would not take my spoon. I decided to try an area that I normally fish in March heading up towards the Fouts area. I was finding fish in 55 feet of water, but again I could not get them to hit my spoon. I headed into shallower water and found some schooling whites, hybrids and scattered largemouth bass in 25 - 40 feet of water. Bait was scattered and the fish were feeding. I guess the warmer than normal water temperature is moving the bait fish into shallower water and the fish are following. Unless the weather turns cold for an extended period of time we should have an early spring bite. I will try out the night bite sometime this week to see if we can get a good February bite like we had several years ago. The water temperature is almost perfect for the after dark bite throwing a suspending jerk bait.

Over the last few days, I have found largemouth bass in 20 - 40 feet of water, as well as, large schools in 65 feet of water suspended 30 - 50 feet down. Look for the largemouth bass part way back in creeks on secondary points where the channel swings in close to shore. It looks like the bass are starting to transition to an early spring type bite a little earlier this year. I have landed bass on a spoon vertical jigging and by casting out a Kastmaster and letting it sink down to  the depth of the suspended fish. Spinner baits are also working on the wind blown banks as well as jig and pigs worked though 30 feet of water. If the weather holds, jerk bait time will start earlier than normal.

The Norfork Lake water level is 547.76  holding fairly stable. The surface water temperature this morning was 48 - 49 degrees which is 4 - 5 degrees warmer than normal. The main lake is clearing and the creeks and coves are still stained, but I can see the water starting to clear.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird HIdeaway Resort - 870-492-5113

Norfork Lake's winter fishing pattern is in full swing. The bait fish are in the deep water channels of 80 - 100+ feet and the bait are suspended 50 - 70 feet down. Striped and hybrid bass can be found following the bait fish whether it is on the main lake or back in the major creeks. For most of last week I was fishing in the 62 bridge area, mainly to the south of the bridge. Later in the week the fish moved in between the 2 bridges. Today I was only marking a few stripers, so after a couple hours of looking and fishing with minimal success I decided to move into Float Creek. Immediately I was marking large balls of shad with small schools of stripers following. For the next hour it was total havoc on my boat. I was by myself with 4 live bait poles out. I had doubles on several times and ended up boating 5 stripers, but missed as many. I had bait set at 40, 50 and 60 feet deep, but all my strikes came from the 40 and 50 feet deep baits even though I was marking many fish 60 + feet deep. Today was the first day in over a week that vertical jigging with a spoon would have worked great since I saw multiple fish at one time at same depth. Large shiners, big river chubs and thread fin shad are the best choices for live bait. I had to clean one striper this morning since it could not swim away and found that its belly was full of 1 - 3 inch thread fin shad. If this winter is typical, the fish should stay at this depth and in these areas for the next 3 - 4 weeks. Towards the end of February and beginning of March the major creeks will be great places to look. The fish will start to go toward shallower water following the bait.

Small and largemouth bass, as well as, Kentucky bass fishing has also been good. The bass can be found along the deep water bluff lines. I have found many bass suspended 30 - 50 feet down in 60 feet of water. Early and late in the day they are moving in a little tighter to the shore line 15 - 25 feet deep, but still on the bluffs. You can vertical jig with a spoon, but this method can be difficult with suspended fish. Try casting out a grub, small spinners or blade baits to catch these suspended fish. On the windy days throw a spinner bait. Jig & pigs, other types of plastics and deep diving crank baits are also a good choice for the fish that move in tighter to the shore early and late in the day. Another good place for the Kentucky and Largemouth bass is near deep brush piles. Work the bottom with a spoon around the brush and you will pick up some nice fish.

Crappie are on and near the deep water brush piles. Look at sunken brush in 30 - 50 feet of water. The crappie will be inside of the brush (these are typically the bigger ones) as well as suspended over the brush. At times you will find them only 10 feet deep, but I have more success at 20 + feet deep this time of year.

The Norfork Lake level is currently stable, but has been falling slowly and sits at 547.88. The water temperature is fluctuating between 48 - 50 degrees. The warm days and nights are rising the water temperature slowly. The main lake is clear in most areas and the creeks and coves are stained. Currently Norfork Lake is in excellent fishing condition and the fish that I have been catching are fat and energetic. Make your plans now to come catch a few!

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.