Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird HIdeaway Resort

Norfork Lake fishing is in transition to the fall fishing pattern. This basically means that fish can be and are at any depth in the lake. The fish will soon start to school up and  feed heavily for the winter months. Over the last 3 days I have noticed that the largemouth and smallmouth bass are moving to the shoreline. With  the lake still about 6 feet over normal pool we still have buck brush under water. The bass are up in this brush. I have fished several different methods for bass; top water, casting a chatterbait and casting a shallow diving crankbait. All 3 baits have produced some nice keeper size large and smallmouth bass as well as many short fish. I've been fishing the wind blown main lake points as well as secondary creek and cove points. The fish are up tight to the bank. You will catch lots of bass, but most will be on the short side.

Bluegill are along the shoreline near sunken brush piles in 20-30 feet of water. A couple of our guests fished yesterday afternoon and brought back a basket full of nice sized bluegills. Crickets are deadly.

White bass can be found back in the major creeks following the shad. I haven't found any top water action lately, but the trollers are having fun. Last week I had a big group of guys here fishing in their club tournament. They caught many whites, largemouth and smallmouth bass during their stay. A few of the guys were trolling a deep diving crankbait, removing the end hook and replacing it with a leader and a small Rooster Tail. The whites loved it.

Stripers and hybrids are on the move and are starting to school. Sunday morning I was fishing a deep bluff line point and had huge schools of fish show up. I had live thread fin shad down 30 & 50 feet. I was also jigging a spoon. The live bait poles started to get hammered, but the bites were not super aggressive. I managed to land 2 hybrids in the 6 - 7 pound range and missed too many to admit.:-) I had several good bites at 50 feet, but sad to say I missed all of them. I suspect the deeper fish were the stripers. These schools of fish are constantly moving so if you are in the right place at the right time you will see more fish than you know what to do with! I keep checking my normal fall haunts as these fish will eventually get more consistent on these feeding locations as the lake water temperature lowers. These fish will be at all depths from along deep water bluffs to deep flats. Top water action for striped bass and hybrid bass typically starts when the water temp gets into the 60's.

The current Norfork Lake water temperature this morning was 73 - 74 degrees. It should continue to fall each day. The lake level is at 560.46 and continues to fall 3 - 4 inches per day. Normal pool is 553.75. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are stained, but starting to clear with the cooler water temps.

It looks to be another great fall fishing season.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

PS: All my fish over the last couple of weeks have been released on site and I am no good at taking selfies. :-)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Norfork Lake is still in its summer fishing pattern, but I can see that things will start to change very soon. Most species of fish are in 20 - 35 feet of water and you can find the bigger stripers 90 feet down on the bottom, but as usual the deep fish are very lethargic and hard to catch. That doesn't mean you are not going to catch stripers. From what I have seen and caught, stripers up to around 12 pounds have stayed shallow throughout the summer. You can catch good numbers of fish early in the morning and also at sunset. These fish are aggressive and ready to eat. I have had the best luck finding stripers early in the morning, still dark, at depths of 25 - 35 feet. As the sun comes up the stripers disappear to the depths of the lake. Live bait is working the best, but I have jigged up a few of these fish over the last couple of weeks. The best area to find stripers at this time is within a mile of two of the dam. Hybrids are scattered throughout the lake. I haven't found any huge schools lately, but both in the mornings an evenings I have found nice size fish off of main lake points. Last week I was looking for whites in the Cranfield area and ran into some nice hybrids in the 7 pound range and caught 5 as the sun was setting.

White bass fishing has been good over the last couple of weeks. The best bite appears to be from mid afternoon until the sun sets. I have gotten into some nice top water action for the medium size whites late afternoon. This has been the nice top water when an acre of water just starts to boil and it has lasted up to an hour. Kastmasters and spooks have worked great. The hard part has been that there is no consistency on location. One day they are in a certain spot and the next they are gone. I have found top water fish in Pigeon, Briar, Cranfield and in the Robinson area. I have also heard of other areas of the lake. The most favorable time has been as the sun is setting. This gives you about 1/2 hours of fun fishing. A few days ago I caught 8 whites on a blade bait. I was marking fish at all depths, so they could have also been spooned up.

Walleye fishing continues to be pretty good. I have been dragging a crawler harness in 23 - 30 ft of water. Concentrate on large flats as well as main lake points. The biggest issue that the majority of the fish being caught are less than 18 inches. With the numbers of fish being caught I can see Norfork Lake being a premier walleye lake over the next year or so.

Bass fishing is starting to get a little better. I have found nice schooling fish back in the major creeks off of secondary points. Over the last couple of days I have started to mark a lot of bass suspended 10 - 20 feet down off of deep bluff lines. This is telling me that crank bait time will start to heat up soon.

The big blue gills are also in the 25 feet range. I have caught many of the big thumpers while dragging my crawler harness and they are very aggressive. Big gills are also under my dock as one of our guests caught ten 2 days ago on crickets.

Crappie are starting to move back to the brush, but the water temperature needs to cool a little more to make it a good bite. Jay Smith (Crappies Only Guide Service) took a couple of his relatives out a few weeks ago and they had a blast. They found the fish over 25 - 35 feet deep brush with the fish were suspended 20 feet down. Live minnows worked the best.

The lake level is falling 2 - 4 inches per day and currently sits at 564.94. The surface water temperature is also falling and this morning was 78 - 79 degrees. With our cool nights the temp. should continue to fall. The main lake is fairly clear, with a little color and the creeks and coves are stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Norfork Lake fishing has been good for the last couple of weeks. The stripers and hybrids are doing what they should be doing this time of year. Big schools of stripers and hybrids can be found right before daybreak in 30 - 50 feet of water. They will be on the bottom or suspended 25 - 40 feet down. Main lake points and secondary points back in the creeks are good places to look especially where the old river channel swings in close to the shoreline. My guests and I have found stripers in the Robinson area and down towards the dam. Thread fin and gizzard shad for live bait and spoons and swim baits for artificial baits are great choices to use at the moment. Most of the stripers being caught in the shallow water early in the morning are in the 5 - 10 pound range with the bigger hybrids just starting to show up. The bigger stripers are being caught out in deeper water 70 - 80 feet down on the bottom. When the sun gets high in the sky is the best time to find the deep stripers.  Look at main lake points for these deep fish. Live bait and spoons are your best choices for deep fish. I expect to see these fish go a little deeper very soon.

Walleye, smallmouth, largemouth, spots, catfish and white bass will be found in the same general areas as the stripers. 25 - 35 feet of water is the best place to start. The fish will also be suspended at this same depth following the bait fish into deeper water.

Norfork Lake is dropping about 1 - 2 inches per day with power generation lasting about half a day. The water in the creeks and coves is some what stained as the draw-down is pulling silt off of the shore line. The main lake is mainly clear. The surface water temperature is also falling a little and is currently in the 82 - 85 degree range.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Summer fishing on Norfork Lake is in full swing. Our thermocline is well defined and is between 25 - 30 feet deep. Why is this important? The water temperature is hot down to the top of the thermocline then it starts to get cold below it. All fish like the cooler temps and will hang out just under the thermocline, stripers are well below the thermocline. Of course there will still be plenty of fish up close to the shore line, but most of these will be on the small size.

Striper fishing continues to be very good. But as in all types of fishing you will have your good days and bad days. Typical for this time of year stripers start to migrate south, but you can still find stripers and many hybrids in the mid lake area. My success over the last week has come from creek areas. I have been fishing part way back into creeks at a hard channel swing with water depths of 60 - 90 feet. Schools of fish are roaming and feeding on shad. If there is no bait back in the creek move on and check out another. There are large schools of whites and hybrids suspended from 25 - 40 feet down. The larger stripers that we have caught are typically deeper at 50 - 60 feet down, and some even deeper laying on the bottom. I have been using live thread fin shad over the last several weeks. This morning we caught many fish and lost many others by break-offs and slow hook sets. Lately I have found that if you are not on the pole when it starts to go down and get the hook set immediately the fish will spit out the bait. You have to be ready as most bites are light. Vertical jigging with a spoon is also producing many fish. The hard part about spooning is getting to the depth where the fish are. I have spent a lot of time with my spooning rods counting down so I know how many seconds it takes to get to a certain depth. You can also drop it to the bottom, then crank up to the proper depth, typically one revolution is about 2 feet. Casting out rooster tails, grubs and swim baits will also catch you fish. Again you will need to know how long you need to let the bait sink to get it to the proper depth then use a slow retrieval back to the boat.

There is still a good top water bite at day break for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. You will also pick up some nice white bass and hybrids. The top water action dies down around 7AM or when the sun gets above the tree line. It does seem that if you're in an area with good top water action the stripers will be below these fish feeding on the scattered shad. When the top water stops the stripers move out and the bass move deeper.

Norfork Lake is rising very slowly and currently sits at 571.98. The Corps is generating 1 generator for 10 hours or 2 generators for 5 hours, which helps, but is not enough to negate the rise. The surface water temperature this morning was 88 degrees. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are somewhat stained, but clearing. Overall the lake is in great shape for all types of water sports.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Norfork Lake Fishing continues to be good for striped bass, hybrid bass, large and smallmouth bass and crappie since my last reporting period.

I am finding stripers and hybrids in 2 different types of area. The first area is part way back in major creeks with a deep channel swing. I am finding fish in 50 - 80 feet of water suspended from about 40 feet to the bottom. Live bait is working very well, but artificial baits are also working. Vertical jigging and throwing a swim bait with a heavy (up to 1/2 ounce) jig head are my artificial baits of choice. All three of these methods of fishing will work throughout the summer. The second type of area where I am finding stripers is along deep bluff lines where the old river channel swings in close to the bluff line. The above methods of fishing will also work in this type of area. I have found fish suspended along the bluff lines from 40 - 80 down  in 80 to 120 feet of water. If you find fish 60 - 80 feet down jigging a spoon will work the best.

Crappie fishing has been abnormally good this summer. The fish are on deep 35 - 45 feet deep brush and are typically suspended 20 - 30 feet down. Slip floats with minnows are working the best. Night fishing for crappie has also been producing some really nice slabs. Use the same style of fishing as during the daylight hours. A light in the water helps with after dark crappie fishing.

Large and smallmouth bass fishing has also been good. There has been some nice top water action early in the morning and a spook is working great. As the sun comes up start working the bottom from about 15 - 40 feet deep. Jig a spoon or cast out a Texas rigged worm and work it back to the boat slowly.

Norfork Lake water temperature is rising and currently in the mid to upper 80's. The lake level is also rising slowly and currently sits at 570.4. A short period of power generation is occurring each day, but not enough to start lowering the lake. The higher water has not affected activities on the lake. Plenty of boating, skiing, tubing and fishing going on. The higher levels just makes for more lake to play on. Our guests are having a blast on the lake with the warm sunny days. The current forecast is not predicting any rain for the next couple of weeks. Yay!

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Norfork Lake fishing continues to be good in the early summer. The lake is clear and warm and great for all water sports. Whether you are a sun worshipper, boater, skier, tuber, wakeboarder, diver or fishermen. Norfork lake is the place to be. Early morning and later in the afternoon are great times to fish the lake, not many boats out and you can fish most anywhere you want.

Striped bass fishing has been good. The fish are starting to go deeper as the lake develops its summertime thermocline. I have noticed the thermocline 22 - 30 feet deep depending on where you are located on the lake. I have had my grandkids out fishing most days over the last week and they are having a blast. Thread fin shad has been my go to bait with the kids. They are doing great and all of them have learned how to fight this strong fish. Their biggest so far has been 14 pounds. I have been finding the fish back in major creeks in 50 - 80 feet of water and the stripers are suspended 20 - 50 feet down. Vertical jigging with a spoon as well as casting a swim bait are both working well. Place a 1/2 ounce jig head on the swim bait and let it sink then reel back to the boat slow and hang on. I am also starting to find larger schools of stripers out on main lake points along the deep water bluff lines. Live bait and jigging with a spoon are two great methods to catch these fish once you find the school. Still finding a few hybrids coming up at daybreak chasing shad so have a top water bait handy to have some fun.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing has also been good. I have been finding some good topwater action at daybreak, but it typically only lasts up to an hour at the most. Top water baits, swim baits, swimming minnows are all working well early in the morning. As the sun comes up, start working the bottom with a plastic bait, jig & pigs, Texas rigged worms, craws or just about any type of bait worked along the bottom. The best depths to fish are 10 - 30 feet down. You will also notice some suspended fish in deeper water following shad, drop a spoon to their depth and start jigging. Spinner baits and jig & pigs are working after dark up along the banks.

You can still catch a few nice sized crappie, but they are deep. Find brush in 30 - 40 feet and the crappie will be on the tops and also buried inside of the brush. Live minnows seem to be working the best, but small crappie jigs and small crank baits are also working.

Norfork Lake level is currently holding steady at 564.60. We have been having about 6 hours worth of power generation per day. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are slightly stained. The surface water temperature is in the mid 80's.

Happy Fishing and see you on the lake. We still have a few cabins available for many weeks yet this summer. Our fishing derby is still going strong. Hope to see you at Hummingbird Hideaway!

All photos taken over the last week.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Hummingbird HIdeaway Resort

Striped bass fishing on Norfork Lake continues to be very strong. The fish are moving to different feeding grounds and are starting to go a little deeper. You can still find the stripers all over the lake. Stripers that I have cleaned are full of crawdads, which tells me you can find them laying on the bottom or close to it. Today was a very good day for striper fishing. I had a couple of our guests out with me, one a 7 year old. What fun I had helping and watching him reel in fish. We landed 5 stripers, the biggest one was 14 pounds. Mason did a fantastic job. There was a second boat that I sent to a totally different area. They ended up landing 9 stripers and kept 3. Today we were all using live thread fin shad. Another guest, Tom, has been trolling umbrella rigs. Today he thought he had a monster on but when he finally got it to the boat he had twin 8 pound stripers. That must have been a great battle. There is still some topwater action for striped and hybrid bass, but this is slowly coming to an end until the fall. I have been finding stripers part way back into creeks as well as on the main lake flats and points. Trollers are doing well in deeper water getting their baits down 25 - 35 ft. I have been working 40 - 60 feet of water and find the stripers suspended as well as on the bottom.

The bigger largemouth and smallmouth bass are in 10 - 25 ft of water. Work the bottom with a jig and pig, crawdads, grub or just about any type of plastic bait. There is still some good topwater action for bass early and late in the day. Get your topwater bait into or very close to the sunken buck brush then work it back to the boat. There are alot of bass in the sunken brush on the shoreline, but most are on the short side.
The Norfork Lake water level has risen to 562.28. The surface water temperature has also risen to around 82 degrees. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are somewhat stained, but clearing. The Corps of Engineers is releasing water through the generators about 6 hours per day and the lake level is fairly stable. The lake is in great shape for fishing and all summertime water sports.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.