Tuesday, December 3, 2019

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

I hope all had a great Thanksgiving. Linda and I hosted Linda’s side of the family at the resort and we had a great time and ate way too much. One of our meals during the week was a Norfork Lake Crappie fish fry and boy was it good.

Norfork Lake fishing has had some ups and downs this fall with all the changing
 weather patterns. This was especially true last week when I fished with family members every day except when the weather was too rainy or too windy. We caught some fish, but it was definitely a difficult fishing week. The last frontal system past through us yesterday morning (12/3), so the lake had a day to stabilize and today was a fantastic fishing and catching day. I began doing a lot of graphing. I started out on the 101 Bridge flat and found a lot of bait out in 70+ feet of water, but very few fish. I headed back to the
 I was in 30 – 40 feet of water and was vertical jigging a spoon. After spooning up my first hybrid I decided to set out 2 down lines with live thread fin shad. I set one at 23 feet and the other was at 30 feet. It did not take long until the live bait was getting hit. To show how good the bite was, at one point I had my spoon on the bottom and saw that I missed a bite on a live bait. I set my spooning rod in a rod holder and started to reel in the live bait rod. I heard a rattling and saw my spooning rod double over. I landed a nice 10 pound hybrid. The stripers and hybrid have been very mobile, so you need to keep looking at the different flats on the lake, once you find the bait start looking around for feeding fish, if none move to the next
flat. The fish will be somewhere feeding. I often go back to the same flat where I had found bait and fish at a later time and many times the fish have gotten energized.

Cranfield Island flat and graphed, but saw little. I then headed back to the Pigeon Creek area and again found lots of bait and also found more fish, but the fish were scattered and did not appear to be feeding. I checked out a few other areas with little success until about 9:30AM. Once again on a large flat, I found streams of bait 20 feet thick with schools of fish on top of the bait. They did not appear to be feeding but within 15 minutes the bait began to scatter and more and more fish appeared in a feeding frenzy which lasted for the next 2 hours.

When you find the feeding frenzy of fish all species may be in the same area. Today I landed walleye and crappie on the spoon. Other days largemouth bass have been plentiful. With all the scattered fish I am marking, it might be a great time to troll. Keep your bait at 20 – 30 feet and stay in 40 to 70 feet of water. If you can stay on the bait, you will catch some nice fish. Umbrella rigs, A-rigs, swim baits or deep diving crank bait are good baits to troll with.

In general, crappie are still hanging in the brush on the tops of the brush. They will be anywhere from 8 – 25 feet down on brush in 40 feet or less. Don’t hesitate to check out some very shallow brush on these sunny days, the crappie may move up.

Bass fishing has basically stayed the same as my last report. Early and late in the day look up in 10 to 20 feet of water. Work a jig or worm slowly along the bottom.  As you know I like to find the deep bass. They will be in 25 – 40 feet of water on underwater drop offs or rock piles and will also be chasing the bait fish along with all the other species of fish.

Norfork Lake level is falling rapidly and currently sits at 558.96 feet MSL, The Corp of Eng. has
opened the flood gates to bring the lake level back to normal pool. The lake will be dropping about 5 to 6 inches per day for the next week or so, based on Corp. of Engineers communications. (Typically, with the lake level falling, the bait and fish tend to move out of the creeks to the main lake or at least to the mouths of the creeks.) The lake is somewhat stained and will stay this way until the water level stabilizes. The surface lake temperature this morning was 53.5 to 54.5 degrees.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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

Norfork Lake fishing has been good to me the last week, but things will be changing with the polar blast we are currently getting. The cold frigid weather will push the bait out of the creeks.  They will head to more comfortable water temperatures in the main lake and yes, the fish will follow. The bite has been good for all species and will continue to get better and better as the fish start to feed heavily for the upcoming winter months. Start looking at the large flats in 30 – 50 feet of water for bait and fish of all species in the coming days, as the water continues to cool rapidly.

A couple different types of areas have been holding striped and hybrid bass.  The best areas for striped and hybrid bass at this time, have been back in the major creeks or up river. Bennett’s, Big Creek and up river from Calamity to the Udall areas have been great places to find striped and hybrid bass. The bait has been very thick in all these areas and the fish have been feeding. Fishing with live bait, such as shiners, thread fin and gizzard shad has been producing the largest number of fish, but artificial baits have also been catching fish. You will find stripers in these creek type areas in 20 – 40 feet of water and they will be at all
depths. The second type of area where I have been finding stripers and hybrids, as well as, white bass is on large flats. You will need to do some searching with your electronics until you find bait. The fish will be nearby. I have found large schools of fish and you can have a blast vertical jigging with a spoon, as long as you can stay on the feeding fish. Most of the fish I’ve found on the flats have been in 30 – 45 feet of water. The fish may be suspended, but the best bite is when you find
them feeding on the bottom. The flats fishing should get much better as the bait starts to move out of the shallow water of the creeks.

The crappie bite continues to be good. On Sunday (11/10) I decided to check out a brush pile that was near the flat where I had been fishing. It was a mainlake point that has brush in very shallow water and out to about 30 feet of water. I started to jig with a ¼ ounce green with florescent green back spoon. I moved across the point and when I got to 10 feet of water the bite just exploded. The fish were 5 to 10 feet down, in the very shallow water out to about 20 feet of water. I landed 14 fish in less than 20 minutes. This really is not the norm, but when you find fish this active it is a blast. Typically, the crappie have been on 25 – 35 feet deep brush and have been suspended 10 – 20 feet down over the top of the brush. Live bait, small grubs tipped with a crappie minnow or a small spoon have all been working.

The bass bite has also been good. Bass seem to be
everywhere, in shallow water, as well as deep water. During the late fall I look for feeding bass in 30 – 45 feet of water on large flats. Once you find the school of fish, drop a ¾ ounce spoon on them and you will catch one after another. I typically do not find feeding bass until midmorning, after the sun gets high in the sky. The best locations on the flats are under water ledges or underwater points on the flats. Drop shot rigs will also work very well on these deep fish. The bas
s are in shallow water as well. Plastic worms, crawdads, lizards, etc. are working well for the shallow fish. Cast your bait up to the shoreline and work it back slowly. Bass are hanging in the sunken buck brush along the shallow shoreline or along the deep bluff lines on the drops and ledges. Crank baits, buzz baits and spinner baits are also working well depending on the wind. As the water continues to cool the jerk bait bite will start to work. This should happen soon.

Walleye and catfish are also feeding on the flats in the 30 – 45 feet of water. Jigging a spoon will catch you some nice fish of all species.

Norfork Lake surface water temperature is falling. The surface water temperature is in the upper fifties and should drop a few more degrees over the next several days with the cold air temperature that we are currently having. The lake level is on a slow rise and currently sits at 558.03 feet MSL. The water on most of the lake is stained, but will begin to clear again as the water level stabilizes. A few more very cold days are forecast for our area, but warmer fall type weather is on its way back the latter part of this week.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

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

Norfork Lake water continues to cool and the lake has nearly completed its annual turnover process. The water temperature is 68 degrees from the surface down to roughly 75 - 85 feet. The oxygen level is high down to the same level, then reduces along with the water temperature down to the bottom of the lake. This is a normal process for Norfork Lake and is in-line with prior years with the exception that the lake temperature is a few degrees warmer than normal.  The cold weather this week should make the lake finalize its turnover, which makes the temperature and oxygen level the same from the top to the bottom of the lake. The oxygen and lake temperature information was provided by Norfork Lake Striper Club on October 28, 2019.

The bite continues to be good for bass, crappie and bluegills. White bass fishing has been getting really good over the last few days for the medium sized whites. Vertical jig with a ½ to ¾ ounce spoon to catch the whites. They will be on the bottom or suspended 15 – 25 feet down. The biggest change since my last report is that the bait has moved out to the flats in 20 – 50 feet of water. This is the main reason the white bass bite is taking off. As the surface water temperature continues to drop into the low 60’s, I would expect to start seeing more frequent topwater action for some of our species in the lake.

 The largemouth and spotted bass bite has been good and you can find them in a couple of areas. The bass continue to be shallow, very close to the shoreline. Shallow, sloping banks has still been the best, but they are showing up more and more on the rock bluff lines. Crankbaits are working very well, as are soft plastics.  Cast your bait right next to the shore and retrieve back to the boat. Work your plastics slowly along the bottom. The fish are still using the sunken buck brush to help them hide, so don’t hesitate casting right up into the brush. If you like to throw topwater baits, the fish are coming up for them. The topwater baits are working early in the morning. Cast your bait, such as a Zara Spook up to the shoreline then use a walk-the-dog retrieval method back to the boat. There is still some topwater action for bass in the mornings and evenings but it has slowed a little at this time. A second area that has just started to be good is on large deeper water flats. I have found some nice schooling, feeding bass in 20 to 40 feet of water. It does take some time watching your electronics to find the schools. My best method for these deeper fish is to vertical jig a spoon. You will catch one after another once you find the school. Staying on the school of feeding fish is difficult to do, but if you get lucky enough to stay on top of them you will have a blast for a long time.
The crappie bite continues to be good as well, but has slowed a little. I am still catching some nice slabs, but It seems like I need to jump around a lot. I catch a couple fish off of brush then they seem to stop biting. I move to another brush and catch a few then need to move again. You can still catch your limit, but it will take some work. If it was easy it would not be any fun. 😊 I am still using a ¼ ounce spoon. Firetiger, white and chartreuse, white and green and white and pink have been my best colors. The fish have been from 10 – 20 feet down over brush and you need to be on the brush as I am not finding any on the outsides of the brush. The crappie will start to move around a little more as the water cools and will come shallower in the evenings. The bite has not started for me until around 8:30 – 9:00AM, but I have not tried in the dark with lights out.

The bluegill bite has been good. I typically catch a few nice ones on my ¼ ounce spoon while crappie fishing, but fishing with crickets is the best. Best areas have been in small cuts in the bluff walls especially if there is some brush in the cut. You will find them anywhere form 15 – 30
feet deep.

Striped bass fishing is still the slowest bite. Not unusual for this time of year, but that bite should take off shortly. Once the lake finalizes its turnover and cools a few more degrees the bigger fish will move to the flats. This is not to say I have not been catching stripers and hybrids. There are large schools of this species out on the flats in 20 – 50 feet of water feeding on shad along with the whites. The issue is that most of the fish are on the short side at this time. There are a few nice size fish in side of the schools of smaller fish and you will hook up on occasion. It is still a blast to catch a 17 – 20 inch striper on light tackle, if you are looking for some fun action.  Look for bigger stripers back in the major creeks, such as Big Creek, Bennett’s Bayou and up river around the state line.

Norfork Lake level continues to drop slowly and currently sits at 555.58 feet MSL. The lake surface temperature this morning was 66 – 68 degrees depending where I was located. The main lake is fairly clear and the creeks and coves are somewhat stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

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

Norfork Lake water temperature is finally starting to cool and the fishing is heating up. (Kind of corny, ha-ha) In all seriousness, fishing for several species on the lake has been very good and is improving daily.

The crappie bite continues to be excellent and the larger slabs are starting to move into the brush. Same places as my last report and same methods of fishing. Brush in 30 to 40 feet of water has been the best, as long as the top of the brush comes up to at least 20 – 25 feet of water. Vertical jigging a small ¼ spoon has still been working great. If you like to live bait fish, set up your rod with a slip float and cast to the brush with your live minnow. Small curly or paddle tail grubs tipped with a live minnow are also working very well. Best colors have been pink and white, green and white or a fire tiger type color.  Brush in coves, as well as, main lake brush are both holding some nice fish.

The bass bite has also been excellent. There has been very good topwater action at sunrise and sunset. You will find large and smallmouth bass, spotted bass and white bass all chasing shad. Cast your favorite topwater bait, such as, a Zara Spook or a Whopper Plopper and you will have a blast. Once the fish go
down, work the shoreline, pitching a 10 inch, dark colored worm right up into the sunken buck brush.
(2 to 5 feet of water) If you like to vertical jig with a spoon for bass, they are starting to school up on deep water flats in 35 – 45 feet of water. Some of my guests fishing out of our new Lowe fishing tri-toon found a large school of feeding fish in 40 feet of water off a small ledge. They landed 8 nice largemouth bass with the biggest one 18 to 19 inches long. It will not be long until the jerkbait bite starts working. We just need the water to cool down a little more for the jerkbait bite to really get going.

The striped bass are finally starting to show up, but very slowly. The heavy rains last weekend pushed the stripers back into the major creeks that had some cooler flowing water. As the water continues to cool the stripers will move out into the main lake and onto the big deep flats.

Norfork Lake level is dropping slowly, with some power generation and gate releases. The current depth is 557.16 feet MSL. The lake is currently dropping about 1 – 2 inches per day. The surface water temperature is slowly falling and is currently around 73 degrees. The main lake is clear to slightly stained with some of the creeks and coves stained. Overall Norfork Lake is in great fishing condition.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

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

Summer like weather is hanging on longer this year than normal. I’m really getting anxious waiting for the fall fishing season to begin. Even with the warm water temperature, my fishing guests and I have been doing pretty well fishing for a variety of species in Norfork Lake. Crappie, largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill, catfish and walleye are all being caught.

The crappie bite is still one of the better bites at this time, with several of the big slabs starting to show up. Crappie are being caught from 15 feet down to 35 feet, suspended and on the bottom in and around large brush piles. The best areas have brush from 22 feet of water out to 35 feet of water. You will be able to stay in one area longer with the brush covering such a large depth range. What I try to do is start in the shallow part of the brush and fish close to the bottom. As the sun gets to the tree tops, I move a little deeper and will start to find fish suspended toward the top of the brush. But once the sun gets high in the sky the fish seem to move   I currently have several guests fishing for pan fish with live minnows and crickets. They are doing quite well catching big blue gills, along with some nice crappie and bass. The best depth so far for my guests have been 25 – 30 feet towards the bottom close to or inside of brush piles. If you are not getting bites you need to move to another brush pile. The bite may stop after you catch several fish and if it does, make the move then come back to this brush after you give it some time to rest. I have been using a ¼ ounce white with chartreuse back spoon, as well as, ones with a pink and green back. These colors seem to be my go-to colors, but if the bite seems to be slow, I do switch out to other colors until I find one that the fish are wanting.

I currently have another fishing guest that is strictly fishing for bass. The bite has been good for him, but he does have to work for them. He has been fishing a dark colored 10 inch worm and working it in shallow water. His best areas have buck brush that is still under water or large under water rocks close to the shore. Yesterday he did land a nice 5.5 pound largemouth bass, but most fish he has caught are in the 2 – 3.5 pound range. A few days ago, another guest was crappie fishing and saw topwater action occurring along a deep bluff line across the lake from him. He headed that way and started to throw a Zara Spook and landed several nice 16 to 17 inch largemouth bass. These fish were out in 80 feet of water chasing shad at about 9AM on a sunny day.

I have also been spending quite a bit of time looking for striped bass and walleye. The striped bass have totally eluded me at this time, but I am finding walleye, but all have been short. My best areas for walleye have been on points off the rock bluff walls in 20 to 30 feet of water. I have caught these fish vertical jigging a ¾ ounce spoon off the bottom.

Norfork Lake continues to drop about 2 inches a day. The lake is currently at 558.36 feet MSL. The lake is currently 4.6 feet above normal seasonal pool. The lake surface water temperature this morning ranged from 79.6 degrees to 81.5 degrees. The main lake in our area is slightly stained to clear and most of the creeks and coves are also slightly stained. Great fishing color.

From what I can see on my depth finder the thermocline has dropped to somewhere between 35 and 40 feet. Over the last several days I have found many fish on the bottom at this depth. This is one of the main reasons I have started checking out deeper brush and have actually caught crappie 35 + feet deep on the bottom. The better bite for crappie is still on 25 to 30 feet deep brush. As the lake continues to cool, what we call a lake turn over will happen and fish will then have the freedom to move around at any depth. Basically, this means the oxygen level will be high at all levels and the water temperature will become more consistent from top to bottom.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

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

Norfork Lake is on the tail end of its summer pattern with many species still in very deep water. As the weather starts to cool, the fish will become much more active and start to feed heavily. According to the long range forecast we are expected to start getting cooler weather here very shortly.

The best bite on the lake for me has been for crappie. The crappie bite has been fantastic. I have been vertical jigging a ¼ ounce spoon and a 1 ounce spoon. The best color has been a white spoon with a chartreuse back. The fish have been aggressive and are hammering the spoon as it is falling. Find brush piles that are in 30 to 35 feet of water that come up to around 15 feet. The crappie have been suspended on the top of the brush around 15 feet as well as being buried in the brush all the way to the bottom. I have been catching the larger fish toward the bottom. Most of the crappie that I have been catching are in the 9 to 11 inch range. The bigger slabs are still out roaming away from the brush, but will be heading into the brush as the water cools. Norfork Lake has a 10 inch size limit, but I have been catching many keeper size fish.

The bass bite has also been very good. Again, many smaller fish
are feeding up toward the surface early in the morning, with the larger ones hanging around in deeper cooler water. I have been catching spotted bass that have been in the 13 – 15 inch range. The best areas I have found are on main lake points with lots of buck brush still partially submerged. I have been casting a swimbait up next to or even inside of the brush and letting it sink and the spots are hammering it on the fall. The fun part is trying to get them out of the brush. I have also marked many bigger fish along deep bluff lines suspended down 10 to 15 feet deep.

The striped bass bite has slowed, which is very typical for this time of year especially with higher than normal water levels. The stripers that head down toward the dam area should be moving away from the dam area and are scattering throughout the lake. As the water cools, they will again start to school and become very aggressive.

Norfork Lake’s surface water temperature is holding in the mid 80’s, but should start to drop with the upcoming cooler weather. The lake continues to drop 1 to 3 inches per day depending on how much power generation is going on. The current water
depth is 560.94, which is only about 5 feet above normal seasonal pool. The main lake is clear with a slight stain, with some of the creeks and coves a little more stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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

Fishing on Norfork Lake continues the summertime pattern with no dramatic change over the last week. The water temperature is on the rise with the unseasonably warm air temperatures. The thermocline may have dropped a foot or two, but is still in the 25 foot range +/- a foot or two.

Striped bass fishing is still the best in the dam area. You can find many of the stripers 70 to 90 feet deep on the bottom or very close to it. I have noticed that they seem to have moved a little deeper since last week. I fished for striped bass last Sunday (8/18) and Monday (8/19) and caught a few and missed a few, but most were 80 to 90 feet down on the bottom. Live bait is working, but you will need to change out your baits often as they are not surviving long in this deep and cold water. Vertical jigging with a spoon is picking up a few fish and trolling with down riggers or a lot of in-line weight is also picking up some fish. I am hearing that the fishermen trolling swim baits or umbrella rigs are catching a few stripers suspended 40 feet down, but the fish that I am finding are mainly very deep.

Today (8/20) I headed toward the Cranfield area and upriver a short way and fished in 20 – 35 feet of water. I was vertical jigging a spoon, casting deeper diving crankbaits and slow trolling deep diving crankbaits. I caught crappie, bluegills and bass. Crappie have moved into brush that is in 25 – 30 feet of water. I started out vertical jigging a ¼ ounce spoon with light weight line. I was marking fish at the tops of the brush, about 15 feet down. I received no bites. I switch to my 1 ounce spoon and on my first drop it was hammered by a 10.5 inch crappie. I fished this brush with the 1 ounce spoon for about 30 minutes and landed 5 more in the 10 inch range. Why they liked the bigger bait over my normal go to size, I have no idea, but they were aggressive. I switched methods of fishing and started casting a deep diving crankbait over the tops of some brush where I was marking fish and landed a nice 12 crappie and a few bass. You can also troll with deep diving crankbaits in 18 – 30 feet of water and catch many different species of fish. You will need to have your bait reach around 15 to 20 feet deep. I have in the past added some big split shots about 6 feet or so from the bait to help it get deeper.

Norfork Lake surface water temperature is on the rise and was 87 degrees this morning. The lake is somewhat stained, but clearer in the main lake. The water depth continues to drop 2 – 3 inches per day due to the Corps of Engineers keeping the power generators on for part of the day. The current depth of Norfork Lake is 565.5 feet MSL.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.