Monday, April 7, 2014

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake Fishing is heating up. Stripers, bass and crappie are all starting to bite. The fish are moving to the banks to feed both in the day as well as in the dark. The lake surface water temperature has consistantly been in the low to upper 50s depending the location on the lake and the time of day.

The best bite for striped bass is still back in the creeks. A few fish are starting to move out into the main lake, but the water temp will need to rise more for a consistant main lake bite. Look for stripers on shallow water points and flats at night as well as during the day, especially if you are in the warmest water. The stripers seem to be in deeper water when the water is cooler. Live bait is working very well, shiners, threadfin shad and gizzard shad are all working. The size of your bait does matter at times, but I have no clue why? Only the fish will be able to tell you. I have mainly been fishing after dark. This is the best time for me to be away due to the work load at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. I have been in kind of a slump lately, I have been catching many stripers each time out but the biggest has only been around 7 pounds. I keep checking out new areas after dark, and I catch fish, but the big boys and girls are eluding me. This will change for me soon. Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters had a fantastic day yesterday. His group landed many big fish using gizzard shad. One of my good friends landed a 30 pounder late yesterday afternoon. Hopefully I will get his photo. If you are live bait fishing make sure you have several lines out with no weights, the fish are coming up for them. It will not be long before fluke and spook fishing will start to take off.

Over the last several days bass fishing has become much better. Largemouth, spots and smallmouth bass are moving into the shallows feeding on bait fish. Stick baits, swimming minnows, crankbaits and plastics are all starting to work. What a change since the last couple of tournaments. I am also starting to catch bass after dark which tells me they are getting very close to spawn time.  I'm sure a few are already on their beds.

Crappie have also started to move into shallow water over brush. I am  seeing many big slabs under my dock and this has happened just over the last several days. The water is pretty clear so when you are fishing brush piles you will need to stay away and cast into them. The fish will not be very deep so you don't want to spook them. Live bait with a slip cork or smal paddle tail baits tipped with a minnow will work great.

Walleye, white bass and catfish fishing should start to heat up very soon. Look for these species on shallow flats and main lake points. Currently the walleye and white bass are back in the creeks and will be moving out. Catfish will be starting their spawn soon if not already so look shallow.

The Norfork Lake water level is rising slowly and currently sits at 553.90. The surface water temperature has a wide range 50 - 58 degrees depending where you are at on the lake and the time of day. There has been periodic water generation by the Corps of Engineers. The main lake is clear and the coves and creeks are slightly stained, a very good fishing color.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


 


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake winter was abnormally tough for all winter time fishermen. I think it would have been easier to fish if we had had ice on the lake. Winter, I hope, is gone and spring is coming slowing, but still it will be here very very soon. Another cool front arrived yesterday, but the weather outlook is now back to spring type temperatures which will help to warm the water and get the fish active.

Striper fishing has been picking up every day. Until the main lake warms a bit more the best locations to find stripers are back in the major creeks where the water is warmer. Look back in the Bennetts area, up river around the state line, and more than likely back in Big Creek. I do not have any personal confirmation on Big Creek, but I do on the other two areas. The night bite has started with suspending jerk baits. Both a bone color or firetiger have been working well. A week ago I just slammed the stripers on stick baits. I landed 16 and lost as many more. The bite started at dark and was still going on when I left. I fished the same area two nights ago and caught 3 stripers, but the bite did not start until after 10PM. I think the rise of the moon is affecting the timing of the bite. I ended this trip when my boat started to ice up. I fished an early morning bite Saturday and caught one. I was on the lake at 4:30AM and tried a different area. The fish were there, but I could only get one taker. Live bait fishing has been slow, but it appears that is starting to pick up. The same areas that I fish in the dark are still holding fish during the day.

The cooler water temp is also affecting black bass fishing. Some fish are coming shallow to feed, but the bigger fish are holding out in deeper water and may be starting to stage for their spawn. I would still work deep brush piles and also look for suspended fish under the bait in open water. I have caught a few nice fish down 15 - 25 feet feeding on shad sitting in 80 feet of water.  They are a little more difficult to catch, but vertical jigging has worked for me. Jigging a spoon or small grub in brush is also working. Jerk baits are starting to work and will get better as the water warms. Crank baits are picking up some nice fish. For shallow fish you will need to get back in the warmer stained water.
 
Crappie fishing has also been affected by the cooler water, but I have noticed an increase in the numbers of fish starting to be caught. Look for brush in 20 - 30 ft of warmer water, there will be crappie on them. I was up at the state line about a week ago looking for walleye with no luck, but jigged around a few shallow brush pile, I landed 10 crappie in about an hour with most being in the 9.5 to 10.5" size range. The monster crappie caught by Clay was a 3lb 15oz fish, caught in open water with thread fin shad.  
Walleye should be up the river and back in the major creeks spawning. It will not be long until they start to move out and the night feeding bite will begin for walleye.
 
White bass are being found back in the warm water mainly in the the afternoon after the sun has warmed up the shallow water. Small spinner baits are working.
 
The Norfork Lake water level is falling slowly when generation occurs and rises slowly when the generators are shut down. The current level is 553.68. The main lake water temperature ranges from 44 - 47 degrees, back in the creeks are 2 - 5 degrees warmer. The creeks and coves are stained due to the heavy rains a week ago and the main lake is mainly clear.
 
The Norfork Lake 2014 Fishing Derby is in full swing and continues until June 15th. For a minimal registration fee you could win up to $1,500 for catching the longest striped bass, largemouth bass or crappie. In addition to the large prize money you could also win a free weeks stay at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort by staying with us. Another benefit to your stay with Linda and me is that you will be staying at a very nice & friendly resort that has an owner (me) who fishes most days and can help you find and catch fish. You will get first hand fishing info and not word of mouth!
 
Happy fishing and see you on the lake. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

It is definitely winter fishing time on Norfork Lake. No ice fishing, but plenty of good open water fishing for striped bass, and brush pile fishing for crappie, largemouth, smallmouth and walleye. All species are in their winter patterns and winter locations. I haven't been out fishing much. Going to Sport Shows, the holidays and the super cold weather have interrupted my play.  I will be home bound for a while longer since my new Minn Kota I-Pilot trolling motor fell apart. Yes, the motor came right off of the shaft while fishing yesterday, cutting my fishing time short. This was only the second time I've had it out on the water since Santa brought it.:-(

Striped bass are roaming in the deep water channels about 55 - 70 feet down in 100+ feet of water. Live bait fishing has been slow, but vertical jigging with a spoon has been producing some nice fish for me. I was out on the lake Tuesday and Wednesday with success on both days. Yesterday I landed this nice 13 pound striper on a green backed spoon. I was jigging in 60 feet of water and had a couple nice arcs come under my bait, I dropped the bait farther down and this fish hammered it on the fall. The way the striper ran and the strength of this fish made me think it was much larger. The stripers that I have been catching are very healthy with fat bellies. I guess we all put on a few extra pounds in the winter! All the fish I caught were released to be caught another day. I checked out Float and Panther Creeks yesterday and found a ton of shad. The shad was so thick that every time I tried to jig my spoon I snagged a shad. Lots of bait, but I did not mark much in the way of fish. I left and headed back to the deep water channel in the Henderson area. The best winter locations for stripers this year and in past years has been from the 62 bridge back to the 101 Marina area.

The big slab crappie have moved onto the brush piles, but look for deep brush. I haven't been out bass or crappie fishing, but a few of my lake friends have been doing pretty well. Fish over brush that is 30 - 50 feet deep. Most of the time the crappie will be on the top of the brush, but occasionally the bigger slabs are down in the brush.

Largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass will also be holding out near the brush. Most of the time I catch them vertical jigging on the bottom. With all the bait back in Panther and Float Creeks, I bet these would be great areas to fish for bass. Typically in this cold water you need to slow down your presentation and a lot of time downsize your baits.

When you are planning your spring fishing trip destination, consider Norfork Lake as a great lake to fish for all species. Another great enticement to fish our lake is our second annual Norfork Lake Fishing Derby. You will have the opportunity to win up to $1,500 for a very small investment. Give me a call for details at 870-492-5113. The derby runs from March 1 to June 15.

The Norfork Lake level is falling slowly with some generation and currently sits at 553.56 feet above sea level. This is considered to be slightly less than the new normal pool of 553.75. The lake surface water temperature has fallen to around 43 degrees, but with the upcoming deep freeze we are to have, I expect this temp to drop a little more. The creeks and coves are stained and the main lake is clear with a slight green tint.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

I was going through fishing withdrawals, but finally was able to get back to my favorite past time. I can report that fishing Norfork Lake at this time should yield you great results. All species of fish are being caught in big numbers. Live bait and artificial baits are working.

Several species of fish and bait are not in their normal winter pattern. What has been typical for past winters is large amounts of bait suspended about 40 - 60 feet down in the old river channel in 80 - 150 feet of water. Normally stripers, hybrids and whites are above, under or inside of the bait. Assuming that this winter is normal, which is a big assumption, I think we will start to see this happen when the surface water temp falls below 50 degrees. We are currently in the low 50's. Other species such as crappie and the black bass species will start to migrate to deep 40 - 50 ft brush and hang out throughout the winter months. Crappie and bass at least for me are still in 20 - 30 ft of water with a few being found 40 ft down.

Yesterday was a fantastic fishing day for all. Stripers, hybrids, white bass, spotted bass and largemouth bass were  found in the mouths of coves and creeks. I found a cove not far from our resort that had a lot of seagulls feeding on shad at day break. The bait was all the way back in the cove and I could see fish coming up to feed. Slowly the bait migrated out of the cove toward the main lake. The fish followed the movement of the shad, as did the birds. By staying with the bait I caught several species of fish. I was vertical jigging with a spoon in 45 to 60 ft of water and the fish were feeding at all depths. A group of my guests came over and was fishing the same area and slammed the fish. The two photos on the right is a sample of their catch and the top photo was some of my catch. Good day!! I lost a couple of big fish that just came unhooked.

After a couple of hours of catching fish in this area I decided to do a little crappie fishing. Again I was just vertical jigging with a small 1/4 spoon over brush. I picked up some really nice slabs in 20 - 40 ft of water. All of my fish came within the brush, but I was marking some suspended crappie 10 - 20 down. Live bait would have worked great for these guys. The crappie were hitting the spoon really light. I could hardly feel when they would suck in the bait and if I didn't set the hook quickly I lost the fish. Today my guests went out and had a good day of crappie fishing. Photo of their catch is to the right. They were casting out a small grub/minnow with a 1/16 ounce jig head and letting it sink until it gets to the right depth, then retrieve a little then let it sink again.

The Norfork Lake surface water temperature is in the low 50's. The lake currently is on a quick rise due all the rain we have had since last evening. The lake level currently sits at 554.11. I expect another foot or so rise before things start to stabilize. The main lake is clear with the creeks and coves stained.

Keep in mind the 2014 Norfork Lake Fishing Derby starts March 1, 2014 and ends June 15, 2014. For details give me a call at 870-492-5113 or you can go to our website at www.hummingbird-hideaway.com and click on the Derby link at the top.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Norfork Lake Fishing Report




 
 
11-19-13 Today's Catch

Fishing is still in the fall pattern on Norfork Lake. Striped, hybrid and white bass are all schooling and a lot of times can be found feeding together. I have been mainly fishing two areas for the last month, Cranfield and the 101 area. I have checked many other locations but always tend to return to these two. I have had reports of stripers and whites being caught in the Calamity Beach area and also Float Creek. Recently I have been finding my fish in 45 - 55 ft of water, but have also found them in 30 ft. These areas are big so it does take some looking around with your electronics until you mark fish. Today was a very good day for me. I first checked out the Cranfield area and did not mark much that excited me, so I headed to the 101 area. I arrived around 8AM and stopped and talked to one of my friends that had been fishing. So far he had landed a nice 6 pound hybrid on a live shiner using just a small split shot for weight. This method would be good for fish up on the surface. I started up my motor and moved away from him slowly when I started marking some big arcs under my boat. Then I saw a few fish breaking the surface. I stopped and grabbed my casting rod that was baited with a  1/2 ounce silver Kastmaster with a feather tail, and casted past the blow-ups. It wasn't long into my retrieval when I got a bump, but missed it. I continued reeling and a second fish hammered it and took off on a long run. It was a good fight and I thought the fish was much bigger than it turned out to be. The top water action didn't last long, but I started marking fish on the bottom and started vertical jigging with a spoon. Smaller stripers were on the bottom, which kept me entertained for the next 20 minutes or so. I lost the school and started moving around again. It took at least 15 minutes until I  found a huge school of fish. They were in 47 ft of water and feeding. I dropped my spoon and on the fall  could feel the fish hitting it then the fall stopped so I set the hook. This was  a school of hybrids in the 3 - 5 pound range. I kept on this school for about 20 minutes and then lost it. I started moving around again and found another big school of fish on the bottom. Dropped the spoon and started to pull up huge white bass one after the other. This went on for about 30 minutes and I lost them. It was a little after 10AM so I decided to head home to work on  leaf cleanup at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. The friend that I was talking with when I first arrived, did land a nice 18 pound striper on a live shiner. Live bait as well as artificial baits are working. The changing weather patterns that we have been having play havoc on the fish. Everyday is different and the bite is never the same. As I always say the fish are biting somewhere on the lake and your job is to find them! Stripers, hybrids and white bass are continually moving and chasing the bait fish which sometime makes it very challenging.
 
As you have noticed I have not talked about other species as I have mainly been fishing for this white bass group of fish. I will get back on crappie, walleye and black bass soon. As the water temperature continues to cool, jerk bait time will be here, as well as, hopefully the night bite with suspending jerk baits.
 
The Norfork Lake water level is holding fairly stable and currently sits at 552.58. The surface water temperature this morning ranged from 60 degrees to 61.5 degrees. The main lake is fairly clear, but the creeks and coves are stained with a nice green tint. Periodic power generation occurs during the day which is maintaining the lake level.
 
The Norfork Lake Chamber of Commerce has been busy working out the details for the upcoming 2014 spring fishing derby. Look for details on www.NorforkFishingDerby.com and start making your spring fishing plans now.
 
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Happy Halloween all! Today was a Zara Spooktacular fishing day!

In my last Norfork Lake Fishing Report I mentioned that the big stripers and hybrids will move in shortly, well today I have confirmation! This morning was a day to remember. I caught 8 stripers and 4 hybrids all on a Zara Spook. Top water action galore and it lasted the whole time I was fishing. I found the fish heading back into a major creek on a shallow flat. The stripers were skyrocketing out of the water chasing shad. They were feeding on very small 1 inch shad, but had no problem hammering my Zara Spook Jr. (white with a chartreuse head). The schools of fish were roaming and feeding in 20 - 60 feet of water. When I got in deeper water I could see huge schools of fish under the boat so dropping a spoon and vertical jigging would have worked great. Get out on the lake at sunrise and if you find the fish, the top water action should last until the sun gets above the trees, but today was very overcast and lightly raining so the action lasted much longer. The same action should also occur in the afternoons around sunset time. Remember the clocks fall back 1 hour this coming Sunday. Other baits to try would be a blade bait such as a Kastsmaster or a spinner bait like a Rooster Tail. I like the blade baits a lot because you can cast them a mile. When the stripers go down start looking in the 30 - 50 feet of water, both on the bottom and also suspended in deep 100 foot channels.

Crappie have been biting pretty good lately. I have been using a 1/4 ounce jigging spoon in and around brush piles. The crappie are on the top and within the brush. What I have found is that after I catch a couple of crappie the bite stops, so all I do is move to the next brush pile and catch a couple more fish. You can limit out on nice 12 - 14 inch fish, but you do need to keep moving. Small swimming minnows and twister tail or paddle tail grubs will also work, tip them with a live minnow for better action. Live bait with a slip float will also work well. You will find the fish in 20 - 30 feet of water suspended from 6 to 25 feet down.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are starting to move in to shallower water. I have caught some nice spots in the brush piles while crappie fishing. Today I found the largemouth bass along a deep water bluff line chasing shad on the surface. My Zara Spook did the trick. Once they go down try using crawdad colored crank baits or one of my favorites, a jig and pig. The after dark bite has been the better bite for bass lately.

The bigger white bass are starting to show up in similar areas as the stripers and hybrids. I got into some top water action a few evenings ago in a deep water channel close to the shoreline. I found several schools of fish that would erupt for a few minutes then go back down to erupt again in a different location in the same general area. I have also found them on a big flat in 30 - 40 feet of water. Early morning or late afternoons have been the best fishing times for me.

Walleye fishing ?? at this time. They should start to show up in shallow water once the water cools a little more.

It is looking to be a very good fall fishing season, so make your plans to get out on the lake and if you need a place to stay give Hummingbird Hideaway Resort a call 870-492-5113 and book a room. I will give you all the fishing information you need to help make it a successful fishing trip. The fall leaf color this year is also one of the best I have seen in years. Pretty scenery and good fishing, what more can you ask for!

The Norfork Lake water temperature was 67 degrees this morning and holding steady until the next cold front rolls through. The lake level is currently at 552.53 and is dropping very very slowly with slight power generation and small minimum flow releases. There has been a slight increase in the lake level today due the rain. The main lake is clear with the creeks and cove somewhat stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.




Monday, October 14, 2013

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake fishing has finally started to go into its fall fishing pattern. The Striper Bass and Hybrid Bass are moving to the mid (near Hummingbird Hideaway Resort) and upper portions of the lake and they have finally come up from their 80 foot depth dormancy. The lake is cooling and it appears the lake has, or is in the process of turning over.

Over the last couple of weeks striper fishing has been slow to say the least, but that is starting to change. In the past several days I have found stripers and hybrids in the mid lake area 35 - 50 feet down, either on the bottom or suspended in deeper water. I am not marking schools of fish, but see several fish at a time and they are starting to become aggressive. The last striper I caught that was lying on the bottom in 90 feet of water, came up to the boat without any fight, but the fish I have caught over the last couple of days have hammered the baits and have given great fights pulling out drag continuously. They have become rejuvenated:-) I have been fishing with live shad set at 35 - 40 feet down and moving around slowly. Trolling for stripers will become very productive as it is much easier to get your bait down to the 40 feet level. Trollers can use down-riggers or snap on weights to get to the proper depth. Vertical jigging may still be a little more difficult as the fish are still scattered and not schooled up. This is not to say you can not catch a striper jigging a spoon or some other similar bait.

Most other fish species that my guests and I have found are in shallower water and typically close to sunken brush piles. Concentrate on brush in 25 - 35 ft of water and the fish can be at any depth close by the brush. Crappie fishing has been fair to good over brush with a small 1/16 ounce jig , 1/4 ounce spoon or a small minnow with a slip bobber worked around and in the brush. Crappie, bluegills, walleye and catfish are all in this similar area. I landed this 25 pound flathead catfish on 4 pound test monofilament line with a 1/4 ounce spoon. It was a blast landing, it took me 45 minutes of being drug around the lake. I saw the fish 4 different times and each time it saw me and took a dive back to the bottom. Once in the net I gave out a loud hoot and if anyone else was in the area I bet they thought I was a crazy man. If your after crappie, typically the bite will slow after you catch a few fish, when this happens move to the next brush pile and catch a few more. This is my tip to you.

White bass have started to school on main lake flats. A couple of my guests had a blast several different times, landing many whites on a Kastmaster. Top water action galore. The biggest problem is that they are still the smaller whites not the big 2 - 3 pound fish. The bigger whites will start to show up as the lake cools in the same and similar areas. Top water actions for the bigger whites and stripers could happen at any time.

I have fished for black bass several times over the last couple of weeks and have caught quite a few fish. Most on the short size. So I guess what I am trying to say I have not been able to figure them out, yet. There has been some top water at sunrise and sunset. My spook worked great. Some of my bass fishing guests have caught nice fish throwing a jig and pig and plastic worms. Most of their fish came anywhere from 10 to 25 ft down and typically on rocky points and the deep bluff lines. The bass fishing will pick up with the cooling of the water and they will continue to move closer to the banks. In a few more weeks depending on the water temperatures, jerk bait time will begin.

The Norfork Lake surface water temperature has fallen to 74 degrees and warms slightly during the day. A cold front is coming into the area this week so I predict the water temp to be in the upper 60's by the beginning of next week. The main lake water is clear and creeks and coves are stained. As the water cools the water will continue to clear up. Not much water outflow from power generation, but small flows are occurring due to minimum flow. The lake is falling very slowing and currently sits at 553.15.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.