Tuesday, June 11, 2019

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

Who wants to striped bass fish! The striped bass bite has been pretty good the last couple of weeks. If you like to fish in the dark, when it is cool, quiet and calm, there are several good areas near our resort. I have had guests fishing all night long, and others fishing from sunset until around midnight. Still other guests enjoy the early morning bite and get on the lake around 4AM and fish until about 9AM. The best bait has been live shad or large shiners, but vertical jigging a spoon has also picked up some nice fish. This morning I had a difficult time finding bait, but I had a few left overs, so I headed to my first area and started fishing around 4:30AM. I dropped one bait down to about 30 feet, while sitting in 100 feet of water. I also started to vertical jig a one ounce white spoon at the same depth. It wasn't more than 10 minutes before the live bait rod went singing and I landed a nice 9+ pound striped bass. I continued to jig and got hammered on the spoon, but lost him half way up. Over the next 45 minutes I landed 2 stripers on my spoon and 2 more on live bait. Not bad for a short time. Once it started getting light out the bait and fish scattered. I headed out to a big main lake flat and found fish, but they would not hit my spoon. I moved locations to part way back into a major creek and found more scattered fish at depths from 10 feet down to 40 feet, and I was mainly in 50 - 80 feet of water. My only taker was hooked by casting my Kastmaster. I was doing a steady fast
retrieval, and was stopped dead in my tracks with a big fish taking off the other direction. To say the least I only got to fight this fish for about a minute before he broke off.

Walleye fishing has been very good whether you are dock fishing or fishing out on the lake. There has been many walleye caught off my dock over the last couple of weeks. Live crappie minnows has been working well, or smaller shiners. The best time has been after dark. The fish under my dock have come off the bottom in about 30 feet of water. The other location that has been producing some nice fish is on the normal pool shore line, which is just outside of the sunken buck brush. The water depth will vary, but ranges from 20 - 30 feet deep. Slow trolling a crawler harness with a bottom bouncing weight has been working great. You can also drop shot a shiner to the same depth.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are showing up in the same areas as the walleye. This morning, as the sun was rising, I stopped to check out a few main lake points. While I was heading back into a creek. I had my Kastmaster tied on so I casted to the shoreline, letting the bait sink about 10 feet and started to retrieve the bait twitching it slightly. It wasn't long before I boated a smallie and a nice largemouth. They were probably in about 20- 25 feet of water.

It has been tough finding crappie. With our higher than normal water level the fish have plenty of cover all over the lake. The best areas to find confined crappie are under docks. Live bait or small jigs are working. You can also troll small crankbaits, such as a Flicker Minnow or Shad, in about 20 - 25 feet of water.

The Norfork Lake surface water temperature this morning was 78 - 79 degrees. The water level has finally stabilized with a very slight daily rise, and currently sits at 573.81. The lake is clear with some areas having a slight stain. The lake is high, but in great condition for all you summer time water sports.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

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

The Memorial Holiday weekend had absolutely gorgeous weather here on Lake Norfork. This holiday brings on the summertime lake lovers. This does not mean that the fishing season is over, it just means the fishing patterns will change. Bring the family and enjoy the quiet early morning fishing experience then during the heat of the day enjoy the lake a different way by swimming, tubing, skiing or whatever type of water sport you enjoy.

I have mainly been fishing for striped bass the last couple of weeks and the bite has been good once I find the fish. The higher water level has altered the timing of the typical fishing patterns, but during the last week, I found that striped and hybrid bass are starting to do what they normally do this time of year. I am starting to find large schools feeding in the dark and they continue feeding until the sun rises above the tree line.
Once the sun gets high in the sky, they head out into deeper water and start to go toward the bottom. This morning I was fishing with a couple of my guests and found a huge school of fish feeding on shad. The fish were suspended from the surface down to 40 feet and we were actually sitting in 100+ feet of water. Live bait was working great. As it started to get light, the bait and fish left this main lake area. I then headed partway back into a couple of different creeks and found some good topwater action for hybrids, and then found stripers lying on the bottom in 50 - 60 feet of water, with a few suspended 30 to 40 feet down. My problem this morning was that I was only geared to live bait fish and did not have any of my topwater rods with me, so pitching live bait worked in a pinch. :-) Trolling with umbrella rigs or large swimbaits will work great as long as you get them down to at least 25 feet if not deeper for the suspended fish. Vertical jigging with a 1 ounce spoon will work for the fish on the bottom.

The largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass bite has also been good. Many of this species are hiding out close to or inside of the sunken buck brush early and late in the day. Worms, spinners and swimbaits are all producing some nice fish coming off the shoreline. Topwater baits are also working well early and late in the day. Once the sun gets high in the sky, fish the outside edge of the brush or at the old normal pool shoreline which would be roughly be at 18 - 20 feet. Creature baits, jig & pigs or other plastics worked slowly on the bottom with pick up some big bass. The bite has been very light so watch your line carefully and if you start to see it swim away set the hook.

Norfork Lake water level is slowly rising and currently sits at 571.40. The surface water temperature this morning was in the mid to upper 70's. Most of the mainlake, creeks and coves are clear to just slightly stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

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

Norfork Lake fishing continues to be good even with constant weather pattern changes. Yes, our lake has risen roughly 11 feet since my last report, 2 weeks ago, but things are becoming much more stable. All species are biting, but the patterns have changed with all the new space the fish have to play in and all the new brush that has gone under water. High water is a blessing to the fish population, especially when it happens after most of the species have spawned. We will see the effect of this year's higher water in about 3 years with increased fish population, as well as, increases in size.

The striped bass and hybrid bass bite has been steadily improving. They are being caught throughout the lake. The best locations at this time are partway, to most of the way, back into major creeks. But I am starting to see a few of this species finally starting to move out to main lake points which is typically the norm for this time of year. This morning I found a huge school of hybrids near a main lake point feeding on shad. I ended up landing four in the 7 to 8 pound range, on a 6 inch paddle tail swimbait in a sexy shad color. As soon as it started to get light out the bait and fish moved on. Hummingbird Hideaway Resort had almost a full house of guests with us last week and the majority of them were striped bass fishermen and

women. Over the week I think they fished the entire lake and had great success on most days. The best bait for them was live shad or shiners. Free lining the bait with no weight caught fish as did setting down lines at 20 and 30 feet deep. Most of the fish they found were back in major creeks in 30 - 45 feet of water. Some of the fish were close to shore on the deep side, but others were out in the middle. Vertical jigging with a spoon has also been producing some nice fish back in the same areas in 30 - 35 feet of water on the bottom.

The bass bite has also been very good. The best location for this species is inside of the sunken brush. Some of the most productive areas has been long points that have been totally submerged, with some of the brush just slightly above the water line. The fish will be hanging near the brush, to just outside of the brush. Use worms, lizards, centipedes, or just about any plastic bait, worked slowly along the bottom. There are occasions that you will only see your line moving off to one side, if you notice the movement set the hook. Spinner baits is also working ripping it back through the brush. The fun part with fishing inside of the brush is getting the fish out. :-) Topwater action has slowed for now, but will pick up again soon. Even if you don't notice the fish hitting the surface, throw a topwater bait into the brush and you will be able to call up some nice fish. Once the water temperature reaches 70 + degrees we will start seeing the bass exploding.

Blue gills have started to spawn in the backs of creeks and coves in very shallow water. Small jigs are picking up some nice fish. The crappie bite has changed over the last couple of weeks. Most have spawned out and have moved out to their 30 feet deep brush. The water level rose and has somewhat scattered the fish. Some are being caught at the edges of the sunken brush in 18 to 25 feet of water. Trolling small crank baits are still working, but using small jigs once you find the fish is also picking up a few nice ones.

Walleye are showing up with the stripers, hybrids and whites chasing the bait fish. You will pick up some nice fish with live bait or by casting a swimbait, an A-rig or suspending jerk bait to the shoreline. The best time to catch this species is sunrise and sunset.

The Norfork Lake water level is currently 568.9 MSL. The main lake ranges from crystal clear, to slightly stained to very stained depending on location. Most of the coves and creeks I have been in are clear to slightly stained. The lake surface water temperature this morning ranged from 66 to 68 degrees depending on location.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

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

Norfork Lake fishing has been good for most species over the last week. Topwater activity has begun in earnest and will only get better. Crappie fishing continues to be very good and fishing for the 3 bass species has also continued to be strong. The latest species to show up more frequently is walleye. 

Over the past week topwater action for striped, hybrid and white bass has been exciting. The best bite at this time for topwater activity is right before sunrise.  The bite can last until the sun gets above the tree line. On cloudy days, it may last longer. I have been using 3 different baits for this action, a Zara Spook, a 1/2 ounce Kastmater and a 6 inch swimbait with a paddle tail and 3/8 ounce jig head. I have had the best luck with the swimbait. Prior to the feeding frenzy on topwater, I have been casting a jerkbait or a swimbait up to the shoreline. This time of year, stripers tend to feed on shad in very shallow water. As the sun gets higher in the sky striped bass tend to move out to a little deeper water. It appears that 30 feet down is where stripers are suspended during the middle part of the day. You can vertical jig for these fish or troll an umbrella rig. As the day wears on, look for topwater feeding fish about an hour or so before sunset. But your fishing day is not done at sunset, there is still a good after dark bite for striped, hybrid, large & smallmouth bass and walleye. The bite does not necessarily start right at dark, but can occur all though the night. The fish tend to feed heavily on shad after the sun goes down. Your fishing method after dark is to throw a suspending jerkbait, retrieving the bait very, very slowly with an occasional pause. The best place to find striped bass is from the mouth of the larger creeks to part way back. Main points and secondary points are good feeding spots for this species. If you find shad in the area, you can almost bet the stripers will not be too far away.

Crappie fishing has continued to be excellent. Most of the crappie have spawned out, but there are still a few continuing their spawn process. The best method that I have found is to slow troll a Berkley Flicker Minnow Pro about 1.2 to 1.5 mph in 20 to 30 feet of water. For best result make sure there are brush pile in your trolling path. The best colors have varied for me depending on the weather conditions. On a cloudy or dark day, I've been using a darker color such as the purple back and white body or the fire tiger pattern. The white, as well as, the purple and white tend to work the best on sunny days. You can also fish the traditional way of dropping a small jig or spoon in the brush or use a live minnow in the brush. I have found that crappie have been suspended 12 to 20 feet down on or very near brush with a few fish buried inside of the brush. Down imaging on your depth finder is absolutely amazing for seeing crappie inside of brush, as well as, for finding schools of crappie when they are roaming between brush piles.

Bass fishing has also been very good. My fish have been coming out of or very near the sunken buck brush along the shoreline. I use a fluke or a bass assassin with a weighted shank hook. I cast it into the brush and twitch it out. The hard part is getting the fish out of the brush without breaking off. There has been some good topwater action for bass and it can occur any time of day and also in any depth of water. This morning the bass started to chase shad in 80 feet of water and I got to land several quality fish on my big swim bait. After the early morning bite, start throwing some of your favorite plastics up near the sunken buck brush and then work it back slowly along the bottom. The fish will be from 8 to 20 feet down on the bottom. There are still a few bass continuing to spawn, but the spawn season for bass is almost to a close.

Most people's favorite fresh water fish to eat is walleye and they are starting to show up in all the same areas as the other species. Very early this morning (5AM) I found a large school of walleye feeding heavily. I was casting my swimbait and was getting a hit on every cast. Walleye tend to be very active in the dark. Swimbaits and jerkbaits are 2 great methods of fishing for walleye this time of year, not to say that live bait will not work great. Areas that I have found walleye, have been near brush in about 20 feet of water while trolling the Flicker Minnow for crappie. I have also caught a few throwing a jerkbait up next to brush very early or very late in the day when it is dark or almost dark. The other time to look for walleye is when you find a feeding frenzy on the surface, walleye will typically be hanging out below the feeding fish picking up the scraps and this can occur in any depth of water.

Norfork Lake's water level is rising very slowly due to the current rains and minimal power generation. The lake currently sits at 558.20 MSL. The surface water temperature this morning was 64 to 66 degrees and it typically rises some during the day, and then falls back during the evening. The main lake is clear and some of the smaller creeks and coves are stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

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

Springtime is here on Norfork Lake with fish spawning and topwater action starting. 

The bite for crappie is very good at this time. Some of the fish were spawning, then we had a cold front roll through last weekend which dropped the lake temperature 4 degrees. With the rainfall the lake has risen about 2.5 feet since my last report. Needless to say, this pushed the crappie off of the banks to their staging areas. Even with all the change, it did not hamper the bite for crappie. At this time one of the best methods of fishing for this species is by trolling small #7 crankbaits. The Flicker Minnow or the Flicker Shad has been working great for me and all of my guests.  A darker color, such as, slick firetiger works the best early in the morning before the sun hits the water or on cloudy days. Once the sun gets over the tree line a lighter color, such as, slick pearl silver has been working. Large schools are roaming in 20 to 30 feet of water off of drop-offs or near sunken brush. The crappie are suspended 10 - 30 feet down. Live bait or small jigs should work great once you locate the fish. Some of the best areas are still back in the smaller creeks and coves, but with the weather changes some nice fish have moved out to the mouths of these creeks and coves, especially if there is brush in the area.

The largemouth bass bite continues to be strong. This species has proceeded with their spawn, even with the weather and water level changes. You will still find bedding fish close to the banks and others cruising the shoreline. At sunrise you will find some nice fish up in the sunken buck brush or just to the outside edged of the brush. Plastic jerk baits, such as Flukes and Bass Assassins, as well as, hard jerkbaits are working well inside the sunken brush. Topwater lures are also calling up fish that are in the shallow water. Plastics such as, centipedes, crawdads and worms are also starting to work and are picking up some nice fish. Work your baits slowly on the bottom from the shoreline brush out to about 20 feet of water. Cranbaits are still working at this time. There has been the start of good bass topwater action at sunrise then again at sunset. The topwater bite will only improve with a slow rise in water temperature.

Walleye are finally starting to show up back in the creeks and coves.  Various fishing methods have caught this species. A-rigs, trolling a Flicker Shad, vertical jigging a spoon and casting a stickbait up to  the shoreline are a few of the methods that are catching fish.  The walleye are scattered out, but if you find an area holding bait, you can be assured that there will be walleye in the area.

Catfish are also doing their springtime spawn duties. Jug lines and trot lines are catching some nice fish in shallow water up to around 30 feet down. I have jigged up a few flatheads in 20 feet of water. Live bait, shiners, bluegill and nightcrawlers are all working well.

Striped bass fishing has been the species that has given me the hardest time. I have found the fish, but typically they have been very scattered. I have not found an artificial bait that they want but I'll keep trying until I figure it out! There has been two good methods to catching striped bass at this time. Trolling umbrella rigs has produced some really nice fish for some of my guests over the last week. They troll around 2.5 mph with a 2 oz. umbrella which are baited with 1 ounce hyper striper jig heads. All big baits. The other method has been free swimming live bait using bigger gizzard shad. This species still appears to be back in the creeks with the warmer water. As the lake continues to warm the bait will move out to the main lake points and the striped bass will follow. This will happen soon.  I have seen sporadic topwater feeding for striped bass, but this will also increase very shortly. Typically this starts to occur around the same time the shad spawn, which again should be happening shortly.

Norfork Lake water level is slowly rising with minimal power generation and currently sits at 557.25 MSL, which is 3.5 feet about normal seasonal pool. The lake surface water temperature has risen to around 62 degrees in the mornings and is higher during the afternoon hours. The main lake is clear and some of the creeks and coves are stained up a little with the rise in water level.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

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

Spring is here on Norfork Lake. Trees and flowers are blooming and the fish are active. Crappie are very close to their spawn and I believe a few have already started. The bass are staging for their spawn. Surface water temperature is in the low 60's in the early mornings and rises during the warm days. Water level has been fairly stable. Everything is perfect for a great spring fishing season. Oh yeah, topwater action is starting and will only get better.
The crappie bite has been very good over the last week. Guests are catching nice slabs on the banks by casting out 1/16 to 1/8 ounce Roadrunners. Some other guests and I have been slow trolling Flicker Minnows in 15 - 25 feet of water. Large schools of crappie are either on brush or roaming in between brush piles. This morning I fished in a couple of small creeks. The crappie were very active until around 9:30AM. I was trolling a #7 firetiger and pearl silver colored Flicker Minnow. When one of the 15 inch slabs hammered the bait I thought I had hooked up to a hybrid, it was fighting so hard. It was great fun. I released all fish. The best location to look for crappie is back in coves and creeks. When I trolled over brush piles I could see the crappie just sacked in the brush. If a tree was lying down the crappie seemed to be on the trunk side and other fish were roaming away from the brush.

Largemouth and spotted bass fishing has also been good. The best bite appears to be at sunrise and sunset with topwater action occurring during both of these times. I have been finding most of my fish back in creeks and coves along the shallow shoreline. I have also found them way in the back of these creeks in 6 feet or less of water and several times this was the area for the best topwater action. Alabama rigs, crank baits and jerk baits have been the better choices of bait so far for me and some of my guests. Plastics are starting to work, especially the jerk baits such as Flukes and Bass Assassins with a weighted hook. The largemouth are staging for their spawn, which will start to happen at any time.

The striped and hybrid bass bite is slowly improving. They have not moved into my normal early spring time areas, but have been hanging out back in the creeks and some of the larger coves. Once you find the bait this species will be near by. The afternoon bite still seems to be a better time to find and catch fish. Topwater action has occurred with hybrids and stripers blowing up on shad in the mornings and evenings, but the locations have not been consistent. It takes some time searching with your electronics, but when you find them the excitement begins. Trolling for striped bass with an umbrella rig still seems to be a very good way to catch this species. You get to cover a lot of ground when you are trolling and will end up hooking up with some nice fish. Early in the morning throw a fluke or a jerk bait to the bank once you know bait is in the area and you will find some feeding fish. In the late evening and after dark. Slow rolling a stick bait, such as, a Smithwick Rogue has produced some nice fish for me over the last couple of weeks. This we call the night bite. The striped bass are coming into very shallow water on points to feed. This species will continue to feed after dark along the shoreline for the next month or until the bait starts to move to cooler water.

Norfork Lake level is holding fairly stable with a slight increase due to a rain yesterday morning. The current level is 554.77 MSL. The lake surface water temperature early this morning was 62 degrees but will rise during the heat of the day. The lake is getting really clear. I cannot say crystal clear, but if all stays stable it will continue in that direction. I can actually see bass on the shoreline starting to look around for a good nesting area.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.