Sunday, May 1, 2016

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Overall, Norfork Lake fishing is good to excellent. Top water action for stripers, hybrids, whites and largemouth bass is occurring at sunrise and sunset. Now, top water action is not always occurring in the same location every morning, but typically will be somewhere in the general area. If you find a large concentration of bait on the service there is a very good chance a school of fish will erupt on that bait at some time. Some days you will see a large area start to boil with fish going crazy, but other times you might just see some swirls on the service. Cast some sort of top water bait at the swirl or boiling water and hang on. Top water many also occur at any depth of water, close or far away from the shoreline.

Striped and hybrid bass fishing has been great the last week, including this morning. I landed 5 hybrids and 3 stripers on both a Zara Spook and live thread fin shad. There were fish coming up along a bluff line down from a main lake point. You can find the fish up tight on the banks early in the morning and as the sun comes up, they move out from the shore a little and have been 5 to 20 feet down, no matter what water depth. I have been trying to leave my dock at 5AM to get into some night time action with a stick bait or I pitch a thread fin shad to the shore line with no weight. Both baits have been working picking up stripers, hybrids and walleye in the dark. I have been long lining live bait with a 1/16 ounce or a 1/8 ounce split shot and slowly moving about with my trolling motor. This has been effective in both shallow and deep water. Good artificial baits to use are a blade type bait or a swim bait, just get either of them to the proper depth of the fish. Saturday morning Brian, a guest of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort, landed a monster 35 pound striped bass. He was fishing with a small 3-4 inch thread fin shad and had the battle of his life. This fish will be a wall fixture. I have been fishing mid to the upper portions of the lake, but I have many reports that striped bass fishing is also good in the southern portion of the lake.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing is also very good. Many of the fish have completed their spawn and now are on the post spawn feed, Early and late in the day you can get this species with a top water bait or swim bait. They tend to go down deeper as the sun comes up. Switch to a jig & pig or some sort of plastic bait and work it along the bottom from 5 feet to 17 feet of water. Most of the bass I am marking, no matter what time of day, are in less than 20 feet of water.

Pan fishing is also picking up. A couple of our guests caught a boat load of big blue gills in the middle of the day off of bluff line cuts. If you can find a good ledge that is around 30 feet down they will be hanging out. Wax worms were their bait of choice. No need to sit indoors in the middle of day, blue gills are a great eating fish. Crappie are moving into brush in 20 - 30 feet of water. They typically will be on the tops of the brush or between the brush and the shoreline.

Catfish are starting to move into the shore line. Trotlines are picking up a few good fish. I caught a nice 6 pound channel this morning on live shad in 20 feet of water.

The Norfork Lake level is rising slowly with the past couple days of rain. The current level is 553.57. The surface water temperature has also risen to 67 degrees as of this morning. Parts of the main lake is clear, but many areas are stained due to the rains. The creeks and coves are also stained. Great fishing color to the water.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.



Monday, April 25, 2016

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Norfork Lake is in spring fishing mode. Top water action for striped/hybrid bass, largemouth bass and white bass has started in the early morning, as well as late in the day. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass have moved to the banks for their spawn. Some of the bass are starting to move off the beds, but many are still on their beds. Shad have also started their first spawn of the year. You can find shad early in the morning up on the banks and I have also felt the eggs on my dock. I found out this morning that the shad spawn is making the fish very active. I am going out on a limb to say that if you want to catch striped bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and white bass it is time to come to Norfork Lake NOW!! This is no marketing ploy. I will be able to tell you  where to fish and what the best bait for me has been. If you like live bait fishing you will have a blast!

The bass bite is still strong and will even get better after the spawn has completed. During the recent Bass Masters Elite tournament, over a 4 day period, 108 anglers brought to the scales 1,006 fish the first 2 days then 50 anglers brought in 229 fish and yesterday's final with 12 anglers brought in 59 fish at an average weight of 2.5 pounds per fish. That is a total of 1,294 fish ranging in weights up to a little over 6 pounds. Of course this doesn't include the hundreds of short fish and keeper sized fish that were culled out. That is a lot of fish! The anglers fished Norfork Lake the 1st and 4th day and Bull Shoals day 2 and 3. It was great meeting some of the professional fishermen as well as talking with some of the associated fishing businesses such as Berkley. Jigs and swim baits are both working very well. Darker colors in the crawdad browns and greens are a great color. Worms in the
peanut butter and jelly color are working as well.  Bass are being caught in both the stained water as well as the clear water.
Saturday  I headed out on the lake around 6PM looking for active fish. As I was almost to my 3rd spot to graph I saw a little flurry of activity from shad on the surface. I stopped and all of a sudden the white bass start busting the surface around me. From 6:30 until the sun dropped below the tree line I caught big white bass. With almost every cast there was a fish on the end. I had my silver Kastmaster with bucktail tied on and I started casting and getting hammered as soon as it hit the water. It was a blast and had me smiling ear to ear! I was sitting in 45 - 50 feet of water on a large deep flat area in front on a small cove/creek. At times the fish erupted in the main channel which was almost 90 feet deep in this area. Keep your eyes peeled at all times especially early in the morning and late in the day, but any species could erupt at any time of day.

Striped/hybrid bass fishing is also picking up. I myself have mainly been fishing after dark with a shallow diving suspending stick bait until this morning. This morning was one of the best days for striped bass I have had this year, so far. :-) I landed over 10 stripers in the 9 - 14 pound range and 3 big hybrids. I caught stripers on top water with a  Zara Spook as well as live thread fin shad. The stripers and hybrids were just crushing both the live bait and the spook. The shad was working the best. I only had 2 free swimmers out with a very small split shot and could not keep up with all the doubles I was getting. I broke off and bent many kahle hooks. The fish were hungry and aggressive this morning.
Back to the night bite info - With the full moon, a lighter and brighter color of stick bait has been working. The color that seems to be working the best for me has bright yellow on the sides and bright purple on the top. Before the full moon I was using a dark green color on top and orange on the bottom. I have been getting numerous bites over the last couple of days after dark, but have only been able to boat a couple per night. I can hear the big fish feeding on the surface but they are not necessarily on the banks with this big bright full moon. For morning striper fishing, start looking at points especially if you can find some buck brush still in the water. The shad will be spawning in the brush and the stripers will not be far behind. As the sun gets high in the sky look out in the deeper water and you will start marking cruising fish at 20 to 50 feet deep.

Crappie fishing is starting to pick up but has not really taken off at this time.  Look for crappie back in the creeks on shallow brush. They will be on the brush or suspended between the bank and the brush. Small jigs and crappie minnows will work the best.

Norfork Lake level is stable with sporadic power generation for level maintenance and currently sits at 552.90. The main lake is clear on the surface. The creeks were also clearing up but over the last couple of days more color in the water appeared. The lake surface water temperature has risen to the mid 60's and this rise was very quick. The fast rise in water temp. may be the cause of the water color change.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird HIdeaway Resort

Norfork Lake's fishing scene is getting exciting. The lake surface water temperature has reached 60 degrees and should increase a little this week with the forecasted warm nights and daytime temperatures. As the water temperature increases the fish will increasingly become more active. For me the best bite on the lake at this time is for largemouth and smallmouth bass. Many of the bigger fish have moved to the banks and are starting their spawn. If you are a bass fisherman it is definitely a great time to come and fish the lake. A couple of our guests over the weekend landed over 20 smallies on a centipede with approximately half of them being of keeper size.  I landed some nice fish this morning using a swim bait, and jerk bait as well as live bait. Another of our guests was fishing from our dock casting a spinner bait to the shore line and landed 5 largemouth bass, one a 4 pounder. Watch for top water action early and late in the day. They are also coming up for a Zara spook even if you don't see the fish break surface.

Striped bass fishing has had its ups and downs over the last several weeks. They are still scattered though out the lake. When you locate big schools of baitfish the stripers will be close by. The stripers, hybrids and white bass are all in similar type areas. Look back in creeks and coves and on shallow flats. In the early mornings I have found them in shallow water, but as the sun comes up they are moving out to deeper water along with the shad. Trolling a swim bait has been picking up a few nice fish as has fishing with live bait. The night bite is continuing, but like the day bite, one day you can find them then the next day they have moved on and you're looking again. I have been using Kastmaster type baits as well as small spinners to catch these species. With the warming of the water, I anticipate top water action for these species to start very shortly, so keep a watchful eye out. It could happen anywhere- could be in 100 feet of water or along the shoreline.

Crappie fishing is starting to heat up. The best locations for the biggest numbers of fish are back in the shallow waters of the major creeks. Find some brush close to shore and cast out a 1/16 jig and let it fall slowly. When your line tightens set the hook. I landed an almost 16 inch fish the other night while striper fishing. I was throwing a Smithwick Rogue and this fish just hammered my bait. All you could see was the head and the bill of my bait. Talk about being aggressive!

Lake Norfork's current level is falling slowly and sits at 552.88 ft above sea level. The Corps is running one generator sporadically to maintain the lake close to the normal pool of 553.8. The main lake is clearing, but still a bit stained. The creeks and coves are partially clearing with the backs still stained. The surface water temperature is approximately 60 degrees.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


Monday, April 4, 2016

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Norfork Lake is providing some exciting fishing for all the anglers with all species. During the month of  March we had warm fronts followed by cold fronts on a continual basis. Very typical of March, but I prefer warm fronts. The lake temperature is in the mid to upper 50's and should cross the 60 degree mark very soon. The fish will get even more active and top water action should become more consistent. We did have some good top water action days in March, however, which is not typical. I will take it!

Striped and hybrid bass action has been improving daily. Live bait is working really well. A couple of my guests took Jim Nichols of Nichols Guide Service out Saturday morning and the big fish was 15+ pounds. Look for stripers on shallow flats and points early and late in the day as well as after dark. The best depth at these times are in 5 to 20 feet of water. They will be chasing shad so have a good top water bait handy or do what I have been doing and use a Kastmaster or blade type bait. The Kastmaster can be used as a top water bait or as a bait to sink to get to those deeper fish. I cast it, as well as, vertical jig it when I find fish on the bottom. The after dark bite is still going strong. Look for an elongated shallow point with deep water nearby and if you mark bait the stripers will be in the area. Throw out a suspending stick bait and work it slowly back to the boat. You can also try other methods of retrieval such as jerking and stopping, on occasion this will work, but the slow retrieval is typically the best. Last night a few twitches then stop method was working the best. We landed a hybrid and striper and missed several others. The fish were really tight on the bank last night. We had to get the bait within a foot of the shoreline, so to say the least we caught a lot of buck brush last evening. :-) During the middle of the day look out in deep water near the channel, and again, if you can find the bait the stripers will be close. They are being found 20 - 35 feet down and trolling is a great method of catching these fish. Fish are being caught all over the lake from Big Creek to the Fouts area and back towards the Red Bank area and a lot of places in between.

Largemouth bass fishing is still very active. The fish are feeding along the deep bluff lines during the day and are on the flats feeding on shad early and late in the day. I landed a nice 4 pound fish last evening vertical jigging with a spoon in 23 feet of water on a big sandy flat. Too bad that John didn't catch this bass as it would have been in the running for a Hummingbird Hideaway Resort Derby winning fish. The white bass and largemouth were schooled up in small pods and feeding heavily on shad. Wiggle warts are still working as well as spinners, jerk baits and soft plastics. Watch for top water action early and late in the day.

Walleye, white bass and crappie fishing are also heating up. From the fish that I have cleaned the majority of them have not spawned yet. This is getting late for the Walleye and whites, but they are ready. I have found the whites and walleye in the same type of areas as the stripers. Crappie are showing up back in creeks in shallow water around brush. I also ran into a huge school of crappie in the back of a small creek in 35 feet of water. The school was 15 - 30 feet thick. I did not have my crappie rod with me so I used my casting rod with a Kastmaster and vertical jigged up 5 fish before I lost the school. They were not on brush, but roaming and feeding on shad.

Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 554.11. The water temperature is slowly rising and was 58 degrees last evening. The creeks, coves and main lake are all stained, with a great fishing color. You can tell that the main lake trying to clear up.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.




Sunday, March 20, 2016

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Spring has officially arrived at Norfork Lake and the spring fishing patterns have started. With the coming of early spring starts the pre-spawn feed for large and smallmouth bass as well as stripers, hybrids and whites. The fish are moving to shallow flats and feeding heavily on shad. The biggest drawback with early spring is the constant change in the weather. When we have the warm south winds the bite gets real good, then a cold front rolls though which tends to move the fish off the shore and slow the bite somewhat. I guess that is why they call it fishing.

The best bite on the lake in my opinion is for large and small mouth bass. I have been fishing with a 1/4 ounce silver Kastmaster with a feather covering the treble hook, some call it a spoon others call it a blade bait. You will find nice size bass all the way back in creeks in shallow water, main lake shallow flats and on main lake points. I have been fishing in the afternoon until dark for bass and have found nice size fish feeding on shad on the surface, then when the top water action stops, I am finding them suspended 10 - 20 feet down in deep water, but still related to the main lake point. Wiggle warts and suspending jerk baits are also producing some really nice fish.

Striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass can also be found in very shallow water. During the daylight hours I have been finding some nice stripers on main lake flats in very shallow water, anywhere in 2 - 20 feet of water. As the sun comes up they tend to move out into 40 + feet of water. Some are on the bottom and others are suspended. Good electronics is a definite plus for finding these deeper fish. My small Kastermaster as well as a 3 - 4 inch grub has been working the best for me. The biggest issue with the Kastmaster is that it has a really small treble hook and is hard to get a good hook set in a stripers hard mouth. I have been losing more fish after a 5 minute battle than fish that I get to boat. The striper bite after dark is also continuing and should only get better. I am still throwing a 5 - 6 inch suspending stick bait and reeling it slowly back to the boat. I have been finding stripers on shallow main lake points as well as shallow points back in the major creeks.

Walleye are starting to bite after dark, as well as early and late in the day. They are being located in the same type of areas where I am finding stripers. Stickbaits, grubs and even the Kastmaster spoons are catching some nice fish.

Norfork Lake level is falling slowly with one generator running and currently sits at 554.02. (Close to normal pool.) The surface water temperature is in the mid to upper 50's. The lake is starting to clear, but is still stained all over. Ideal fishing colored water.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

NIGHT BITE ON NORFORK LAKE: Norfork Lake's spring fishing season is starting to heat up. After many weeks of not being out on the lake I am finally back at it. I fished the last two nights with John, a friend/guest of ours. We were slow-rolling a suspending stick bait for striped bass. The bite after dark has started. The first day we had seven fish hooked and landed five and the second night we also had seven fish on and landed four. The largest fish was 10 to 11 pounds. We fished from about 7PM until 9PM each night. For me it is the battle that is exciting, no matter what the size of the fish. All of our fish were released on site. If you have interest in fishing for striped bass after dark, here are good methods to use over the next couple of months.  I use a shallow running suspending stick bait, 4 - 6 inches in length, such as a Smithwick Rogue or a Spro Mc Stick. (There are many other brands) There are two different ways to position your boat. Both are professed to be the best depending who you talk with. You can get your boat next to the shore line and cast parallel to the shoreline. This method keeps your bait in part of the strike zone at all times. The placement that I prefer to use is to get as far away from the shore as I can and still be able to cast within a foot or two of the shoreline. There is also a couple different methods of retrieval. Some like to jerk the bait 2 or 3 times to get the bait down 2 - 4 feet under the surface then retrieve to the boat very slowly. I prefer to cast to the shoreline, let the bait sit for 15 to 20 seconds, then start a steady retrieval back to the boat as slow as I can. If you think you are reeling slow, reel slower. The second method keeps the bait on the surface making a tiny wake. The first method has the bait submerged several feet down. Remember to always reel slowly all the way back to the boat, as I have had many strikes right at the boat when I am taking the bait out of the water. I have several favorite spots to fish after dark for stripers.  In general the stripers typically relate to long shallow water points. Cranfield area is a favorite spot, as well as in the major creeks in the area such as Panther, Fall and Float. I have been known to head back towards the 6A marker area and sometimes go even farther back. As you can see, you can try almost anywhere on the lake, if you don't see bait and fish on your point head to the next one.

I have many second hand fishing reports on bass and crappie fishing, but at this time no first hand knowledge. I will be updating on these species in my next report.

Norfork Lake has been stable and has been basically at normal pool of 553.68 for the last week or so with sporadic power generation. The surface water temperature is around 49 - 52 degrees. The main lake is cooler than the creeks. The water is stained, both the main lake as well as the creeks. The lake is starting to clear, but still will take some time.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

 Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukhah to all my family, friends, followers and fishing enthusiasts.

Fall fishing is slowly coming to a close on Norfork Lake and the winter pattern is starting to emerge. Stripers, hybrids and whites have moved from the shallow flats and are moving to the deeper flats in 60 - 70 ft of water. A lot of the same flats but start looking out farther in the lake. If you have a GPS on your boat you can look at the contour lines to see the areas to fish. This migration of the fish is typical for this time of year. The amount of daylight hours as well as the water temperature causes the bait and fish to move into their comfort zone. The bait has started to move out of the backs of creeks and into the deep water of the creeks as well as the main lake. You will still find stripers, hybrids and whites in the major creeks, but start looking in the deep water channels especially if the old  river channel swings in close to a bluff line. Large schools of stripers and hybrids are roaming and chasing small 2 - 3 inch bait fish. You might consider using smaller baits at this time. The schools that I have found are suspended down 30 feet and on down to the bottom. A good graph on your boat is definitely a big plus this time of year. I have been mainly vertical jigging with a spoon as shown in one of my photos. I typically have my bait on the bottom jigging and when I see suspended fish above my bait I reel up to them and start jigging though the school of feeding fish. Be ready when you are reeling up to the fish because you never know when a striper will attack your bait and try to yank the rod out of your hands. I am speaking from experience. :-) I have been fishing several different locations, Float and Panther Creeks, Howard Cove Area and Cranfield Area. I have been working the flats as well as the deep water in all these locations.

Largemouth bass have moved up into the shallow waters to feed. Some nice fish are being caught in 10 - 20 feet of water. I have also noticed a little top water action early in the morning close to the shoreline, both back in creeks, as well as on points of the main lake. Crank baits, spinner baits and of course plastics worked along the bottom have been producing fish. This all being said I have also caught some nice size largemouth vertical jigging in 50 - 70 feet of water. This tells me these fish are also starting to move to their winter pattern. In the past once the water gets in the 40 to low 50 degree range the bass tend to go deep and hang close to brush and deep rocky bluffs and points.

Crappie are moving into the the brush and under and around docks. There are some nice fish being caught off of my dock as well as brush in 30 - 40 feet of water. As the water cools a little more, start looking for this species in 50 foot brush piles. I have caught some really big slabs during the cold winter months on deep brush piles.

Norfork Lake water level is falling slowly and currently sits at 554.72. The Corps is currently running 1 generator and dropping the lake approximately an inch a day. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are still stained but are starting to clear. As the water level stabilizes the water will become very clear. The surface water temperature this morning was 55 - 57 degrees depending what part of the lake I was on.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

A big Congratulations go out to Hummingbird Hideaway Resort's 2015 fishing derby winners. John Fink of St Louis, Mo caught the largest Striper of 39.5 inches on March 20th, Rob Bruce of Troy, MO co-shared the largest Crappie of 15.5 inches on May 17th, and Ron Adams of West Plaines, MO co-shared the largest Crappie of 15.5 inches and also caught the largest Largemouth of 20 inches both on July 6th. Steve Holderman of Augusta, KS won the free week stay at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. Great job to these winners and all that entered our Derby. We are planning for next years Derby to start March 1, 2016. Watch our website and facebook page for details. Photos of winners below.