Monday, December 8, 2014

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake's winter fishing pattern is slowly arriving. What I consider a winter pattern is when the bait starts moving into the deep water channels. Electronics are very helpful this time of year, as you start looking for bait in deep water and are watching for the fish (striped and hybrid bass) inside of the bait. One of my friends was fishing yesterday afternoon and found lots of bait and big schools of stripers. He ended up landing 8 stripers, the big one was 14 pounds. The view on his depth finder is attached on the right and he crossed over many schools of fish. Not to contradict myself, but during winter months the fish will also go very shallow to feed, typically early in the morning and after dark. In the winter you  have plenty of options, but the easiest fish to find are the deep water fish.You will also find fish on the deeper flats in 40 - 60 feet of water early mornings and late in the afternoon, but typically in mid day you should concentrate on the deep channels. Areas to start looking for stripers are from the US62 bridge area down towards the 101Boat Dock area; back in the major creeks such as Float, Fall, Panther and Bennetts; and deep flats to check out are the Robinson flats, Cranfield, Mallard, AR101 Bridge and Big Sandy. I have mainly been vertical jigging with a spoon, but live shiners and shad are a great bait to use especially when you can not find schools of fish, but are just finding loners.
The largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass bite is picking up. I am finding big fish off of bluff lines in 40 - 50 feet of water. This is very typical for this time of year. The fish will be on the bottom and on occasion you will find schooling bass. It is also the time of year you will need to start slowing down your presentation. As the water continues to cool the fish will slow down.

I am starting to find crappie back on the sunken brush piles. A couple of days ago I fished a brush pile outside of our cove and caught 5 crappie in about 30 minutes. They were not the huge slabs, but all keeper size. I am sure the big slabs are also in the brush, so if you are a crappie fisherman it is becoming time for the winter bite. I was fishing brush in 35 - 40 feet of water and the fish were towards the top of the brush.

The Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 549.9. The lake surface water temperature is hanging around 53 degrees. The main lake is relatively clear and the creeks and coves are still stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Norfork Lake Fishing Report



Norfork Lake's fall fishing is on fire. If you like to catch lots of fish, November has historically been a great time to fish the lake and this November is no exception. Yes, November is almost over so think about making that Norfork Lake trip and get in on the November 2015 fun! Striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass have been biting all day long. The size of the fish varies, but I have caught 5 stripers in the 10 - 14 pound range and and 4 hybrids in the 6 - 8 pound range over the last week. The white bass are huge and most being caught are in the 2 - 3 pound range. You will catch a lot of medium to small size stripers and hybrids along with the bigger fish, but this is what it is all about. Catching fish! I have found fish in 2 different types of area, 1- half way back in major creeks typically at a channel swing, and 2- on large flats. In both areas I have found the fish at 30 - 48 feet water depths. Most of my fish are being caught off of the bottom, but I have caught a few of the bigger stripers and hybrids suspended down 30 feet when I was in 45 - 50 feet of water. This morning I was fishing with John & Cameron and we boated many fish, nothing huge, but lots of them. The weather wasn't great for the fishermen since the wind was blowing 20+ mph sustained. It is really hard to stay on fish once you find them but if you stay on the fish they are biting. I, as well as my guests, have been vertical jigging with a 1/2 to 1 ounce spoon. Color hasn't really made a difference and the size doesn't seem to matter. I typically match the weight to the depth I am trying to get down to. Zero to 20 feet I use a 1/4 to 1/2 ounce, 20 - 40 I use a 3/4 ounce and 40 + I use a 1 ounce. Areas to check out are in the Cranfield area, 101 bridge area, 101 boat dock area, Float, Panther and Fall Creeks. I am sure there are many other areas holding fish, but these are the ones relatively close to my resort (Hummingbird Hideaway Resort).

For other species I really don't have any new information as I have been having a blast targeting the stripers, hybrids and whites. I will get after the crappie, walleye and bass in a few weeks.

The Norfork Lake level rose slightly with the rain we got yesterday to 549. 31. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are stained. The surface water temperature was in the mid 50's this morning.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

The Norfork Lake Fishing Report is written by Lou Gabric, owner operator of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort on Norfork Lake. Open year round, Hummingbird Hideaway Resort has a cabin to fit your needs, whether it be for your vacation or a place for family and friends visiting you in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Call for more info. 870-492-5113

Fall fishing season is here on Norfork Lake with the winter fishing season just around the corner With fall comes cooler air temperatures which in turns lowers the lake water temperature. With the cool off, the fish start feeding heavily for the winter months and move to shallower water. And yes, it has been frigid for the last week, but I still braved the cold the last 3 days and fishing was good. This is a great time to stock up your freezers with some Norfork Lake fish for the winter.

The best bite on the lake is for striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass. If you get out at day break start looking on large flats in 25 feet of water and as the morning progresses keep going deeper. I have been catching a lot of fish from 25 - 45 ft of water. As the water continues cooling the bait will move to deeper water and the fish will follow.The bite this morning was good, but not as good as the last two days. I caught over dozen fish by 8AM, then decided to check out different areas to find the big stripers. Over the last week I have caught good fish on several flat areas. I have fished the 101 bridge and marina areas, Fouts area, Mallard, Cranfield, Steward Point and others. You can also find good fish going up river to the Calamity area and above into MO or head the other direction into the Bennetts area. Friday afternoon I headed into Float Creek and got into some huge schools of stripers in the 10 + pound range in 45 ft of water. My bait of choice has been a white 3/4 ounce spoon vertical jigging off the bottom. If you decide to cast for these species you might want to try a large Kastmaster or a Rooster Tail, but you will need to let if fall to the bottom and retrieve it slowly working it off the bottom. Swim baits will also work, but again work the bait off the bottom. When the evenings get warm enough for me to be out, I will start casting a suspending jerk bait for stripers after dark. I do believe the night bite has started.

Black bass have started their move to the banks to feed early and late in the day. Jerk baits are starting to work as well as crank baits. Jig and pigs are always a good choice especially once the fish go a little deeper during the mid day hours. The bass are feeding on crawdads so choose your colors appropriately.

Crappie are moving back to the brush. I have caught several nice fish on the tops of brush piles that are in 20 - 30 ft of water. Early in the morning they will be deep in the brush and as the water warms they will move up. Minnows are the best bait, but I like small spoons or a paddle tail grub tipped with a minnow. Remember as the lake continues to clear you may need to back off the brush and cast into it so you don't spook the fish.

Walleye have eluded me, but I really have not targeted them. You should be able to find them on the same brush piles as the crappie, but work your bait off the bottom. They will also be off both sides of main lake points.

Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 549.72. The surface water temperature has also fallen to 58 degrees with all the cool weather we have been having. The main lake is clear and the coves and creeks are still stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

The Norfork Lake Fishing Report is written by Lou Gabric, owner operator of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort on Norfork Lake. Open year round, Hummingbird Hideaway Resort has a cabin to fit your needs, whether it be for your vacation or a place for family and friends visiting you in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Call for more info. 870-492-5113

Fall fishing is in full swing on Norfork Lake. The stripers, hybrids and whites have moved into their fall patterns and will stay in the same general areas though November and into December. Of course this being said, if mother nature throws some really cold weather at us dropping the lake temperature into the mid to low 50's all bets are off. You are probably asking yourself "what the heck is he talking about"? From prior years fishing experience, I am seeing that the fish are moving into the same types of areas that they typically move to in the fall. This has been the same fall pattern year after year. Start looking for stripers, hybrids and whites from the 62 bridge up though the Bennetts Bayou area, and also from the 101 bridge though the Cranfield area up to and a little past the the MO/AR border. In the early mornings and afternoons fish can be found on large flats in all water depths, 20-50 feet of water typically feeding on the bottom. Large schools will be roaming these flats so electronics are very helpful. Once the sun comes up they typically move closer to the old river and creek channels so start looking in 50 - 70 feet of water, but still on the bottom. Over the last 4 days, I along with my fishing guests, have found stripers, hybrids and whites in these types of areas. The morning bite has lasted 2 - 3 hours and the evening bite seems to kick off around 3PM. Today after we lost the fish in the flats I started to look in the the deep channels and found roaming schools on the bottom at 50 ft close to bluffs. I am also very hopeful that we will get some consistent topwater action. This morning a handful of big fish came up on the flats, but it was sporadic. It could happen at any time. Slow rolling a suspending stick bait after dark will also be effective soon. A few more degree drop in water temperature and I believe the night bite will get active.

Crappie are moving back to brush piles in 20 - 40 ft of water. I caught a nice 14 inch slab with 3 other 11 inch crappies two evenings ago. I was jigging 15 - 20 ft down on the tops of the sunken trees. You will also find many of the big bluegills in these same brush piles. Black bass and walleye will also be hanging in the same areas, but you typically will need to get closer to the bottom of the trees for these species.

Most of the walleye that I have caught are still out in open water. I have spooned up several keeper size walleye along with a bunch of short ones in 40 - 50 ft of water. I catch these while striper fishing.

I have noticed big largemouth bass (3 pounders) roaming the shore line at dusk feeding on minnows and bluegills. I always check both sides of my dock walkway when walking onto my dock and I see several each evening. I have not targeted black bass lately, but these shallow fish tell me it is almost jerk bait time.

The Norfork Lake water level is falling very slowly and currently sits at 550.34 which is a little more than 3 feet under the seasonal normal pool. The water surface temperature this morning was 66 degrees. The creeks and coves are still stained and the main lake is somewhat stained, but clearing.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

This report is written by Lou Gabric, owner operator of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort on Norfork Lake. Open year round, Hummingbird Hideaway Resort has a cabin to fit your needs, whether it be vacation or a place for family and friends visiting you in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Call for more info. 870-492-5113.
The Fall fishing pattern on Norfork Lake is in full swing. The water is cooling and the fish are healthy and becoming very active. Not only the fish are active, but the deer are moving and starting the rut. It is early, but the pre-rut usually starts mid to the end of October. I have seen a nice buck chasing a doe across the lake and what a great site that was. Hunters, don't forget about fishing, it is a great time of year to catch a lot of fish.

Striper fishing has continued to be very good.  As stated in my last report (Oct 9th), I have been finding stripers and hybrids in two different type of areas. Look for the stripers and hybrids on large deep flats. You will find them in water from 38 - 55 feet deep and they will be feeding on the bottom. The best bite in this type of area is about an hour before sunrise to about an hour after sunrise. Live bait is a good choice, or you can vertical jig with a spoon which is my preference. I have also located large schools along deep bluff lines and typically at the ends of the bluff where the deep water channel swings close to the point. I have been finding these fish in 50 - 100 feet of water and the fish will be suspended 40 - 60 feet down and sometimes even deeper. Lately I have only been fishing in the mornings but last evening I ventured out onto the lake for the first time in many months. I started about 4 PM and I stayed very close to the resort. I graphed for about an hour in a lot of my usual haunts, but only marked a few fish. I then moved to a confluence where an old creek channel intersects with the main lake channel. I was out in the middle of the lake in 80 feet of water when I started to mark bait about 50 - 60 feet down. Then the fish showed up above the bait. I ended up landing 2 stripers and 3 hybrids in about an hour. I was vertical jigging. Trolling should also work at this time, but you will need to get your baits very deep, I would suggest 40 -50 feet down.

If you are a pan fisherman the big bluegills are biting and there are hundreds of them hanging around brush piles. Crickets has been the best baits, but small minnows and worms will also work. Small jigs tipped with a wax worm is also producing some nice fish. I have had several groups of guests at the resort over the last couple weeks and they have taken home many gallon bags full of filets. Bluegills are really good eating.

Bass fishing has also been very good. The top water action that I was finding during my last reporting period has slowed, but expect this to take off again very soon with the cooling of the water. You will find some fish along the banks early and late, but the main areas I have found big bass is in 30 - 40 feet of water feeding on the bottom. The bite after dark is also very good so get your spinners ready or your jig and pigs.

Crappie and walleye fishing has been slow, but should start up soon. The water temperature continues to fall which will bring these fish back to the brush. This will make it easier to find them.

Catfishing has been good on jugs and trotlines set in 10 - 30 feet of water. Live baits is the best, but cut bait is also working. Large schools of cats are also starting to roam the flats.

Norfork Lake's current water depth has risen to 550.41 from the rains last weekend. This level is about 3 feet below the seasonal normal pool. The creeks and coves are very stained and parts of the main lake also are stained due to the run off from the rains. The main lake will start to clear up rapidly. The water temperature is right around 70 degrees, but will continue to fall slowly with the cools nights we are having.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake Striper fishing has been really good this past week, including this morning. I took out a couple of my guests this morning and we slammed the stripers and hybrids and also did pretty well on  black bass. I am finding stripers in two different types of areas. First, along bluff line points that have a deep water channel swing next to the point. What this gives you is typically shallower water on one side of the point and deep water on the other. This is striper heaven, they come up to feed in the shallow water, but they have deep water nearby to escape to. I have attached a screen shot of my depth finder taken last Monday to show you what I have been finding for the last couple of weeks. Huge schools of fish feeding on shad, today was no exception. This is a striper fisherman's dream. When you locate this type of activity drop a jig through the school and I bet 9 out of 10 times your jig will be hammered before you are ready to stop it. When you feel the line go slack reel up quickly until you feel the fish then set the hook and of course, hold on for a great battle. I have also found that the deeper you fish in the school the larger the fish typically are. The second type of location where I have found stripers and hybrids is on large medium deep flats. I have been finding large schools of fish in 45 - 55 feet of water feeding on the bottom. Jigging a spoon is also working great in this type of area. Last Monday I was on a bluff line in 95 feet of water (as shown in the screen shot below) and a friend was fishing a flat area about a mile away and got into a huge school of fish. I have been fishing the mid lake area close to Hummingbird Hideaway Resort, but I have had good reports of fish being caught at all ends of the lake.

The black bass bite has also been really good. I have been jigging a spoon in 30 - 40 feet of water off of the bottom and catching some really nice largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass. One of my bass fishing guests is also doing really well for bass. He has been casting jig & pigs and 10 inch crawlers and is catching his fish in 10 - 30 feet of water. He has also found some really nice bass on shallow flats in 2 feet of water. On windy days try out a spinner bait. There is still top water action early and late in the day so have your favorite top water bait ready for action.

Pan fishermen, if you're looking to fill up your freezer for the winter with good size blue gill the bite is on. Loran, Tony & Sheila have been fishing for blue gill this week and I think the freezer in their cabin is full,(it is a big freezer too). They have been using crickets and catching huge numbers of fish. This is some good eating.

Crappie and walleye fishing is still on the slow side, but I am starting to see more and more of these fish move up into the brush and into shallower water. A little cooler water should really make these species start to bite aggressively. I caught a 17 inch walleye this morning in 40 feet of water on the bottom.

White bass are starting to show up in the schools that I have found. The whites are typically at the top end of the school. You can also look for whites on the shallower flats in 20 - 40 feet of water and be ready when they start to erupt. Blade baits and small spinners will work great when you get into a school of whites.

The current Norfork Lake level is 549.13 and falling slowly. The surface water temperature this morning was 74.5 degrees. The main lake is clear and creeks and coves are stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

I am really looking forward to Norfork Lake's fall fishing season to get into full swing. With cooler weather over the last couple of weeks, the lake has given signs that the fall season is starting. The lake surface temperature has dropped into the upper 70's and the stripers and hybrids have started to make their move away from the dam area. I even think some of the coves had started to turn over last week, but we are still a few weeks off from the entire lake turning over. The current thermocline has dropped to around 40 feet, but the oxygen level is good at all depths.

Over the last week I have concentrated my fishing habit on the mid lake area. I have gotten into huge schools of hybrids and stripers and have found big schools of Kentucky bass and largemouth bass schooled up and feeding on crawdads. Overall it is shaping up to be a great fall season for fishing with gorgeous scenery.

There are several very effective methods of fishing for striped and hybrid bass; vertical jigging with a spoon, live bait and trolling with 6 inch swimming minnow type baits. I have mainly been vertical jigging with a spoon. I have found big schools of hybrids with stripers off of main lake, bluff line points. The best points to check out are the ones which have a channel swing at the point. During this past week the fish seem to appear as it starts getting light (around 7AM).  If it was cloudy or overcast the fish stayed around for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, but today with the bluebird sky they were only in the area for 1/2 hour. This morning I landed a nice 7 pound hybrid and lost 2 others. Another location type to check out are the large flats. It seems that the fish are holding in 35 - 55 feet of water and are close to the bottom. Yesterday I marked a lot of fish, but they would not take a spoon, but a live bait fisherman next to me landed 3 nice stripers in the 10 pound range. There are still plenty of stripers in the dam area, but the fish are starting to scatter and are showing up in the mid lake area. As the water cools they will continue to scatter throughout the lake. Over the last week the striper/hybrid bite has been good and will only improve as the water cools.

The largemouth, smallmouth and kentucky bass bite has also been good. Most of my bigger bass have come from 35 - 45 feet of water vertical jigging on the bottom. I have found a honey hole this week that has been holding schools of feeding Kentuckys and largemouth, a midlake hump that must be holding plenty of crawdads as the fish I have cleaned are full of them. Yesterday I should have boated 10 keeper size bass in less than an hour, but every time I would reach for the net the fish would tail dance and throw the hook. It was a lot of fun.  I have also caught nice bass  off of bluff wall points in 40 feet of water. Similar locations where I have found stripers/hybrids. One of my guests is doing very well on bass. He likes to cast a jig and pig (brown skirt with a blue pork chunk). Most of his fish are coming off of bluff walls in about 30 feet of water. There is still good topwater action in different areas, but most of time they are short fish, with the occasional keeper.

The white bass bite is good when you are able to locate them. They have been found on shallow sandy flats. But I only know of two locations at this time. Last weekend a guest boated 20 whites in about 20 feet of water using a Kastmaster. He got into some good top water action. Today another guest found some of the big whites in 30 - 40 feet of water schooled up. The mid size hybrids are also hanging out with the whites. Use a light action rod and have a blast.

The crappie bite is starting, but is still slow. A friend has been crappie fishing over 30 - 40 feet brush and finding crappie 15 - 25 feet down. He is getting a few off of each brush pile, but they are not coming easy. As the water cools more and more crappie will move back to the brush piles.

The catfish bite is still good. You can find them at all depths, but the ones that I have spooned up have been in 35 feet of water or so. Trot lines and jugs are working well. Today I saw a jug  screaming across the mouth of Float Creek. It had to have been a very good size fish. I hope the owner found his jug, but as fast as the fish was swimming it's hard telling how far that jug had travelled.

The Norfork Lake level has fallen to 549.48 and drops a little each day with sporadic power generation and constant minimum flows into the river. The lake surface water temperature has dropped to the upper 70's. This morning on the main lake the temp. was 76.9, The main lake is clear with the creeks and coves stained. Over all very favorable fishing conditions.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.