Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The summer time heat had been forecast to cool down, then we get a beautiful summer type day in the upper 80’s. Fishing has been going on steadily during the summer but I haven’t had much time allotted to fishing. Over the last couple of weeks. I have been able to get back to somewhat of my normal routine, but I’m still not totally there yet. At least I have been out on the lake 4 or 5 times a week and actually have even been out in the afternoons, which is rare for me. I am mostly an early morning fisherman.

At this time, it appears that bass fishing is the best bite, with walleye running a close second. Crappie fishing is improving and I think it will take off shortly. If you are a bluegill fisherman the bite is very good.

I have been mainly trolling Berkley Flicker Minnows, size 7, in 25 to 32 feet of water. I am trolling at 1.4 mph with my trolling motor. I am still using 8-pound test monofilament line. I let our about 50 feet of line then add on a snap weight with a 1-ounce sinker. I then let out another 50 feet of line. My bait is getting down to around 25 feet of water. With this method of fishing I have caught almost all species in the lake, except for striped and hybrid bass. The type of area that has been best for me is the long shallow main lake points that jet way out into the lake. I try to follow the ridge of the point or stay slightly off to one side or the other keeping in the strike zone depth. My main goal lately has been looking for walleye. The best part

of fishing this method is that if the walleye are not biting at the time, there will be largemouth bass and spotted bass to take up the slack. On two different occasions over the last week the channel catfish were hammering the baits. I bounce around different areas of the lake, from the midlake area, then up northeast to the Cranfield area, and then farther up river. I have been able to catch a lot of walleye, but a lot of them have been short. I believe I have landed more keeper size  bass over the last couple of weeks than I have in a long time. If you are not into trolling, you can cast out a jig or worm and work it back to the boat along the bottom. Vertical jigging a spoon will also work for all these species. I would use a ½ to ¾ ounce spoon and move around slowly jigging along the bottom.

Crappie fishing is also getting good. Today one of my guests was checking out a couple of his go to brush piles and landed 6 nice keepers in the 12 – 13 inch size range. He missed many others. The bottom of the brush needs to be in 25 – 30 feet of water and the best brush piles come up to about 15 - 20 feet of water. The crappie were on the tops as well as buried inside of the brush. Small ¼ ounce spoons were working for him, but small grubs or just crappie minnows should work as well.

 I have not been striper fishing since the beginning of August, but will get back to it shortly. There are several areas in the midlake area where this species will show up shortly. There are currently scattered stripers roaming the deep waters in the midlake area, as I have marked them and one of my guests got to land one trolling a deep diving crank bait.

 Norfork Lake level is falling about 2 – 3 inches per day and currently sits at 562.73 feet MSL. The surface water temperature is starting to drop slightly and currently is in the very low 80’s. The water is stained throughout the lake, but this will clear up as the water cools.

 Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Fishing Norfork Lake has entered its summer pattern with striped bass going deep and most other species hoovering around the old shoreline of roughly 23 feet. It appears there may be a thermocline formed in the 20-foot range, plus or minus a foot or two. Hard to tell with a depth finder when it’s this shallow.

Striped bass fishing has been pretty good once you find the fish. They seem to be moving in and out of the major creeks. I am currently finding them on main lake bluff line points, especially when the point transitions from solid rock to chunk rock or gravel. The stripers seem to be close to the point, but still out in deep water 80 to 100 feet and most of the ones I have been catching are suspended 60 to 70 feet down. Some smaller stripers and hybrids are suspended about 20 to 30 feet down feeding on the shad which is staying close to the surface down to 20+ feet of water. The best fishing time for me at this time has been around 6:30am to 9am. There have been many reports of striped bass being caught lake wide, especially from the mid-lake area down to the dam and from the dam back towards Big Creek. I have mainly been fishing with threadfin and gizzard shad, but vertical jigging a spoon is working as well.

Largemouth bass fishing has also been good. The areas that have been best for me have been the same places where I have been finding striped bass. If there is bait on the points the bass will be from the surface down to about 25 feet. They have been close to the shore all the way to the bottom, especially later in the day, but the times I am fishing they are out in the deep water suspended and feeding heavily on shad. There still has been some topwater action, but this activity is slowing down. Swimbaits, spinner baits and minnow shaped crank baits are all working.

Walleye are being caught just outside of the sunken buck brush or on the old shoreline roughly 20 to 25 feet down. Dragging a crawler harness with a small spinner is picking up some nice fish. Crappie are in the same area, but may move up into shallow water during the day. With our high water there is brush all over the shoreline so the challenge is locating the fish.

The current water depth has been dropping roughly 3 inches a day with constant power generation and is at 576.76’ MSL. The surface water temperature this morning was 83 degrees. The water is clear with a slight stain, which is typical this time of year with the warmer water.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Hope everyone has a happy and safe Independence Day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

It has been awhile since I posted a fishing report on this forum, but that doesn’t mean I have not been out on the lake. I just have not been able to get out as much as I normally do. But if you want to see what our guests or I have been catching, go to Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s facebook page and you will see more frequent reports and photos.

It took longer than normal, but Norfork Lake is warming up and the fish are just starting to enter into their summer pattern. This typically means that most species, especially striped bass start to go deep to reach cooler water. With the warmer water a thermocline will form, but I have not noticed one at this time, but it will start soon in roughly 20 feet of water and as the warm summer days progress, it will go deeper and deeper. Once a thermocline forms a lot of fish species will stay close to that level either a little above or a little below. The cold water starts just below the thermocline.

Striped bass fishing has been good. This has been one of the best years I have seen for top water action for stiped bass in many years. It is still occurring, but is slowly coming to an end. Zara Spooks, Flukes, Kastmasters and live bait with no weight have all been working. The best time for top water action is right as the sky starts getting a little bright, around 5:30 AM and it has been lasting for maybe an hour or until the sun comes up. I am finding stripers in the early morning on main lake points from 20 feet of water out to 100 feet of water. The fish at this time are on the surface to 10 feet deep. Once the sun gets above the tree line the stripers are going deeper. I have caught them anywhere from 40 feet down to 70 feet. It can be any depth, but typically I have been in 100+ feet of water. The stripers are tending to come shallow again right as it is getting dark. Main lake points have been the best areas for me.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass have been in the same areas as striped bass early in the morning. They are chasing shad on the surface and this bite typically has lasted longer than the top water striped bass bite. When the bass go down, work the shoreline out to 30 feet of water. Fish on points that have a lot of sunken brush on them. The bass seem to be hanging at the top of the sunken brush. Swimbaits, spinner baits, deeper diving crank baits are all working well. Most other plastics are also working, but try and make the baits weedless as you will need to fish on top of or inside of the brush.

Walleye are up in the sunken brush or near the old shoreline of 20 – 25 feet of water. Deep diving minnow style crank baits, such as a Berkley Flicker Minnow or Flicker Shad are working. They are scattered out so keep working the shoreline.  Crappie are also scattered out from the old shoreline up to near the new shoreline. Small grubs tipped with a crappie minnow have been picking up a few fish. There is a lot of brush under the water, so the crappie have lots of places to feed.

The current water depth has been fairly stable the last couple of days and is at 578.93’ MSL. The surface water temperature is in the upper 70’s to low 80’s.  The water is clear with a slight stain, which is typical this time of year with the warmer water.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Norfork Lake fishing has been pretty good. The best bites on the lake are for crappie, large & smallmouth bass, walleye and then striped bass. Hey wait, that is most species in the lake!! Yes, most species are biting and the best bite is early in the morning and late in the afternoon. This is very typical for this time of year, sunrise and sunset are the best time to find active fish.

Two methods of fish are working the best for crappie. (1) Trolling Berkley Flicker Minnows size 7 and size 9. The size 7 get down to about 15 feet and the size 9 goes to about 20 feet. I troll with my trolling motor and travel about 1.2 mph. I fish in coves that have a lot of sunken brush piles. Somedays the fish are scattered out anywhere from 20 feet of

water out to 40 feet. (2) Vertical jigging a small spoon or a small grub with a jig head. Find brush in 25 to 35 feet of water and then locate the part of the brush pile the comes up in the water column the highest. I am finding crappie suspended 10 to 25 feet deep. Vertical jig for them or mark your spot with a float, then cast to this spot with a slip float and then slightly twitch the line to keep the grub moving slightly. You can also tip the grub with a live minnow to get more action.

Largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass are hanging around close to shore. With the high water there is a lot of sunken buckbrush 10 to 18 feed deep. The fish are hanging inside the brush. On windy days cast out a spinner bait and work it on top of the brush. You can also use grubs, worms or flukes and cast them to just outside the brush and let them sink to the bottom. I would think that a Ned Rig would work great at this time, just outside of the brush. Many times, when you lift the bait off the bottom there is a fish on. Right at sunrise and again at sunset there is topwater action for this species. Any topwater bait or a swimbait will work great.
Long shallow points, part way back into coves and also on the shallow side of the main lake are great places to try.

The walleye bite has been getting better for me. I have picked up some walleye when trolling my Flicker Minnows in 20 – 30 feet of water and also when I’m fishing close to the sunken buck brush on long shallow points. On these points I have been casting out a 6-inch swimbait and have been doing well for most species including Walleye. Once the bait starts to move onto the flats, bottom bouncers with nightcrawlers will start to work great. I have also done very well for walleye before sunrise, in the dark, using my swimbait in similar types of areas as long as there is bait in the area.

The bite for striped and hybrid bass has also been fairly good, but this bite has been inconsistent for me. One day I find the bait and the fish are nearby feeding, then the next day they are gone and I am out looking again. The cool weather frontal systems that we have been having weekly, affect this species the most. I also think the changing surface temperatures due to these frontal systems have a big role on striped bass feeding habits.  I have found stripers in 2 different parts of the lake, but very   There have been days when the fish move out to deep water, 50 to 70 feet of water, and suspend from the surface down to 20 or 30 feet. Live bait is working very well, but casting out swimbaits is working the best for me. Other days I find them close to the shore line, especially long shallow points that have lots of flooded buck brush. The bait moves into the buck brush to hide
and the fish follow. Pitching live bait with no weight into 10 to 20 feet of water then waiting for the pole to bend to the water before setting the hook is working, as well as, casting out swimbaits or shallow diving hard baits such as a suspending jerkbaits.  I have gotten into some good topwater action for stripers, but not on a daily basis. This action is typically when I find the fish and bait out in deeper water. That is not to say throwing out a Zara spook into shallow water will not call a fish up.

If you enjoy looking at Facebook, go to Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page and you will get frequent and most times daily fishing reports and daily catches. My Facebook page is a great place to check out the most current fishing information on Norfork Lake.

We had a big rain last evening and the lake is again on a slow rise. It came up 3.5 inches over night and the Corps. of Engineers has just reduced the out flow of water so expect the lake to come up a little more. The lake surface temperature has been hoovering around 60 to 62 degrees. The lake has cleared up nicely, but with last nights rains I would expect the backs of the creeks and coves will become slightly stained. Overall fishing has been good and with stable weather and water levels the bite will become outstanding.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Norfork Lake fishing has been good over the last couple of weeks and will continue to get better and better as the weather and the lake stabilizes. Crappie and bass fishing have been the best bite with the striped bass bite not far behind.

There have been two different methods that I and others have been using to catch crappie. Trolling small crank baits, such as the Berkley Flicker Minnow size 7, which dive 10 to 15 feet have been working very well. I have been slow trolling these baits at 1.2 mph. Colors have varied, purple has been working the best as of late, but the firetiger and shad color patterns have also been doing well.  Best areas have been part way back in creeks and coves, especially if there is a lot of sunken brush in 10 to 30 feet of water. The crappie are schooling and moving between brush piles. I have mainly been staying in 18 to 30 feet of water and am working the whole area. The other method of fishing for crappie is to vertical jig a small jig over brush that is in 20 to 30 feet of water. The crappie have been suspended above the brush about 15 feet down. There is actually a third method. Crappie are still spawning and will be for some time. They will be
up in shallow water, so casting a jig into shallow water or live bait on a slip float will catch you some fish. This last method is the toughest as there is a lot of sunken brush along the shore line so they could be spawning anywhere.

Bass fishing has also been very good. Largemouth and spotted bass are up in the sunken brush from the shoreline out to 20 feet of water. Top water baits, swimbaits, spinners and crank baits are all working at times. Keep your bait at the top of the brush and the bass will come out and ambush it. Main lake points on both the shallow and deep side are holding fish. If you want to get into some topwater action head back into creeks and coves and find some bait. The bass are coming up and feeding at sunrise and then again at sunset. They move a little deeper after the sun comes up.

The striped bass bite has had its ups and downs with the ever-changing weather patterns and lake level changes. At this time this species is feeding early in the morning on some of the main lake points in the sunken buck brush. Live bait is working the best, but casting out swimbaits or suspending jerkbaits are catching a few.  They will be up in very shallow water feeding out to 30 feet of water. I used live bait with no weights the other day. I was letting the baits swim free just outside of the brush. The fish
were cruising and attacking the bait right on the surface. Don’t hesitate to check out coves and creeks where the wind is blowing directly in. Many times in this situation the wind will blow in the bait and the stripers will follow. I found fish in the back of one cove in 20 to 30 feet of water. This species is continually , looking for their next meal. Find lots of bait and the stripers will be nearby.

Over the last week the lake had dropped slowly about a foot, but with the rains the other day it is slowly rising again. The lake currently sits at 570.45 feet MSL. The lake surface temperature is hovering around 60 degrees plus or minus a degree or two. The weather is going to change for the better and is warming up again. The lake is slightly stained to clear.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

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. The weather has been fairly stable with cool mornings and warmer afternoons, but the lake level changes has affected the fish most, in my opinion. The Corps of Engineers has opened up a flood gate to evacuate some excess water from Norfork Lake. Our lake is dropping roughly 6 inches a day. What I have noticed is that a lot of the bait fish are moving out of the backs of the creeks and into the main lake or other coves that are close to the deep river channel. This has mainly affected the striped bass in the lake, but will also affect where the largemouth will start to feed.

The last several days I have been fishing back in a major creek in 15 to 40 feet of water. Each day I have noticed fewer bait fish in the area. When I moved out towards the mouth of the creek, I found more bait, but they have moved into coves and sometimes all the way to the back of the cove. When I find a large concentration of bait, I have found many largemouth and a few spotted bass
feeding heavily. Yesterday in 2 different coves, in roughly 15 to 20 feet of water there were many largemouth feeding close to the surface, as well as right on the bank. Small swimbaits and crank baits are both working, as are jigs worked along the bottom, from 5 feet of water out to 20 feet. I have also gotten into some good topwater action for largemouth. This action has only occurred when there is a lot of bait in the area. Topwater action can occur anytime of day so keep your eyes open.

Hybrid and striped bass are continually moving around in search of their food source. The common saying, when you find the bait the stripers will be nearby held true most of the time in recent days. The striped bass are feeding in very shallow water in the early morning and also in the latter part of the afternoon. Start looking at the shallow side of the lake for this species. They are on points with brush and cover. This is normal for spring time fishing, but it is happening a little earlier than usual. The other type of areas where stripers are showing up is in the backs of coves, but only if the bait has moved in. I have been trolling   Try both and see what the fish want.
Berkley Flicker Minnows, size #7 and #9. The 7 dives about 15 feet and the 9 dives about 20 feet. I am hugging the shoreline staying in 18 to 30 feet of water. I have found that the stripers are also relating to brush piles, so don’t hesitate to troll over the brush, but be prepared to lose a few lures. The other method of fishing for stripers is to cast out suspending jerk baits or 6-inch swim baits. Yesterday afternoon a few of our guests found stripers right on the bank, on a long shallow point. They were casting a swimbait up in 5 feet of water and retrieving slowing and getting hammered, almost as soon as the bait hit the water. With these shallow feeding fish, I would have to say that the stripers are continuing to feed after sunset so If you have interest in some
exciting fishing, start slow rolling a suspending jerk bait on shallow points after dark. Cast your bait as close to the shoreline as possible, then retrieve to the boat very, very slowly. I like to keep the bait on the surface or close to it. Some other fishermen like to jerk it once to get the bait down a couple of feet, then start the retrieval.

Like Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page for frequent fishing report updates. Our fishing derby for Hummingbird Hideaway Resort guests has also started, so if you like a little friendly fishing competition and a chance to win some cash or free stays for your big catch, give us a call at 870-492-5113. Our derby runs throughout the year.

Norfork Lake is dropping about 6 inches per day with both generators and a flood gate partially open. The current level is 556.04 feet MSL. The surface water temperature yesterday morning was 49 to 52 degrees. The lake is clearing, but still stained. If you head up river and up in the Bennett's area the water is still brown from the heavy northern rain a week ago.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort 870-492-5113 as of 3/3/20

The weather for Norfork Lake has finally changed for the better and has been stable for the last several days. The long-range forecast is for continued spring like temperatures and if it holds true the fish should get energized. The warmer weather has dramatically increased the surface water temperature to almost 50 degrees at daybreak and warmer during the daylight hours. I can definitely see a change occurring in some of our fish species.

I have mainly been striped bass hunting and fishing for the last several days. The last 2 days has been outstanding. The bait is still   I’ve noticed a few birds feeding heavily. When I reached them my graph lit up with fish. It was a huge school of hybrids. My first fish came on the shad colored Flicker Minnow, then I switched to casting a Kastmaster (blade type bait) and landed several others. By around 9AM the bait and fish both disappeared. This was the first large school of hybrid/striped bass I have found in some time, telling me that the start of the spring bite is not far off. This morning (3/3) I headed back to the same area and the bait and fish were gone. I moved to another creek looking for bait and decided to go all the way to the back. Once I got into about 15 feet of water, bait was all over the
place. I started to slow troll (roughly 1.3 mph) the Flicker Minnows. In 30 minutes, I had landed 5 largemouth and spotted bass and all were keeper size fish. I decided to head back to my original creek, but this time kept on travelling to the back of the creek. Once I reached 17 feet of water, my graph lit up with bait and big arcs. I threw out my two Flicker Minnows and started to slow troll again. It was not long until I hooked up, but lost the fish. The bite had started and each fish kept getting bigger. I ended up landing 5 striped bass and a couple of largemouth bass with the largest striper 14 pounds. Similar to the previous day, around 9AM the bait and the fish left the area.
predominately back in the creeks or some of the larger coves. Yesterday (3/2) I found large balls of shad in 30 to 40 feet of water halfway back in a major creek and on every bait ball there were at least 2, if not more big fish following. The bait that I have been finding has been anywhere from the surface down to 20 feet and sometimes to the bottom. Since the fish have been scattered I have started trolling a couple Berkley’s Flicker Minnow crank baits size # 7. My best colors have been the slick pearl silver (shad color) and the other is the
racy shad pattern. These baits dive to about 15 feet. I’ve had several fish hammer the bait and peel out drag then come off.

The best areas where I have found striped bass are back in the major creeks close to the creek channel. The large bait balls that I am finding, tend to be close to the creek channel. If you find a smaller creek that has some flowing water, check it out you will more than likely find bait and a good chance some nice fish.

One of the great things about the stripers hitting the Flicker Minnows is that I will be using the same baits trolling for crappie in similar types of areas in the next couple of weeks. For crappie fishing I try to troll close to the brush moving form brush to brush. Crappie will start to school very soon and will be roaming and staging for the spawn.

The lake was falling about 3 to 4 inches a day, but last evening our northern part of the watershed received a lot of rain and the lake actually came up about 3 inches with both generators running. Current lake level is 558.26 feet MSL. The lake surface water temperature is warming up and ranges from 49 to 52 degrees depending on time of day and
depth of water. The water in the mid-lake is stained, but you can see a constant clearing occurring.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.