Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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

oFishing Norfork Lake is starting to get real exciting. The fall bite is improving every day and will get better and better as the water cools. The lake is dropping roughly a 1/2 degree a day with this current cool front and I am looking forward to the lake surface temperature reaching the 60's. All species will become very aggressive and start to feed heavily for the upcoming winter months. I am starting to find large schools of feeding fish and they will attack anything that comes in front of them.

Striped bass fishing is finally starting to improve. I am finding schools, as well as, scattered fish feeding on the bottom on large flats. I have been fishing several different flats from the mid lake area up to the Red Bank area. Today was a little slow with the high pressure arriving after the cool frontal system arrived the other day. I did manage to find a really nice 31.5 inch striped bass on the bottom that gave me quite a battle. I don't think he knew he was hooked until he saw the boat, then the excitement started with one run after another. Very healthy and energetic 12 - 13 pound fish. I gave him his freedom at my dock after the photo. During the last full moon there was a very early morning (in the dark bite), but recently my bite has not started until almost sunrise and I am finding feeding fish all the way up to noon or a little after. I use my electronics to find the bait fish then I start jigging a spoon off the bottom. Today was a little slow, but the large schools will become increasingly more common as the water cools. Live bait is working very well, either thread fin shad, gizzard shad or shiners. I am still using a down line for my live bait with a 1 - 2 ounce weight, a 3 - 4 foot leader and a small #4 size hook. A larger hook should be used if you have the bigger gizzard shad. Match the hook size to the bait. I have mainly been vertical jigging with a 1/2 to a 3/4 ounce spoon. All colors seem to be working as long as the predominant color is white, but as you know, my favorite color is white with a chartreuse back. Feeding along side of the striped bass are the hybrids, white bass, largemouth bass, spotted bass, walleye and catfish. You never know what you are going to catch when you are jigging a spoon. I think this is why I like fishing this method so much.

Crappie fishing is still good. Find brush in 25 - 35 feet of water and the fish will be on the top of the brush or buried inside of the brush. In the late afternoons the fish may come up in the water column to the warmer water so start dropping your bait down about 8 feet and keep checking deeper until the fish start to bite. I have been using a small 1/4 spoon in white/chartreuse, but other colors will work. Small grubs tipped with a minnow will work very well or just use a minnow with a slip float. The bigger white crappie are finally starting to move into some of the brush. Several 13 - 15 inch crappie have been caught recently but most of the crappie are in the 10 - 12 inch range which is a great size to clean and eat.

Bass fishing continues to be pretty good. I have done exceptionally well a couple of days. While striped bass fishing on the flats my guests and I have run into large schools of feeding largemouth bass and spotted bass. These have not been the little guys, all have been in the 2.5 - 4+ pound range. I have found these fish in about 30 feet of water at all different times of day, from just after sunrise to 2 in the afternoon. Other areas to check out are along bluff walls using jig & pigs or Texas rigged worms. I had some bass fishing guests in last week and they had a blast catching topwater bass up on the Missouri side of the lake. They caught a lot of short fish, but some keepers were in feeding with the little guys. Crank baits are also producing a lot of bass, but many are short fish.

Norfork Lake level has been stable for the last week and is currently at 553.44 feet above sea level. Sporadic power generation is being used to maintain this level. The current level is a little under normal seasonal pool. The surface water temperature this morning was 73 degrees and the lake temperature is falling slowly due to the current cooler weather. The main lake is clear to partly stained and the creeks and coves are stained. Great fishing conditions for all species and a perfect time to take that much needed lake fishing vacation.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Crappie and bass are biting exceptionally well on Norfork Lake at this time. The last month has been one of the best crappie bites I have seen in quite a while. The crappie have schooled on sunken brush and are at all depths, depending on the depth of the brush.  I have a couple of sunken trees where I have been fishing that has branches that are only 10 feet under the surface, and other brush piles are coming up to about 20 feet. Most of the time I am catching the crappie on the top of the brush no matter of the depth. I have been jigging a 1/4 ounce spoon (white with a green back), but others are jigging with a hair jig or little grubs with a twister or paddle tail. Live crappie minnows with a slip float are also working really well. I am catching very few short crappie, but the majority of the fish are just in the 10 - 12 inch range. One of my guests did land a nice 14 inch crappie last weekend.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are starting on their fall feed. They are feeding on small minnows as well as crawdads. This morning I was vertical jigging with a spoon along a bluff line in 20 - 30 feet of water and ran across a small school of smallmouth bass laying on the bottom. I marked the fish with my depth finder and then they starting attacking my small 1/4 spoon. I ended up landing three very nice smallies,  they sure are a lot of fun to battle on a light weight rod with 6 pound test. I also landed several other small largemouth bass in the same type of area. One of my guests this morning, for a hour, caught largemouth and spotted bass in 30 - 32 feet of water on a large flat area. His fish were feeding on crawdads. He was vertical jigging with a 1/2 ounce spoon. Last week I had a family out bass fishing, their son had lots and lots of fun landing many bass. His best bait was a Texas rigged worm worked along a bluff line. His fish were coming out of 15 - 25 feet of water and most on the bottom.

Striped bass fishing is still off, at least for me, but with the upcoming cooler weather, I believe we will see some activity in this species over the next couple of weeks. I did get into some feeding hybrids last Friday in 18 feet of water several hours before sunrise. The striped bass are still scattered though out the lake waiting for a water temperature that makes them feel good.

The surface water temperature is holding around 76 degrees in the early morning and rises a few degrees with the heat of the day. Cooler weather is on its way so we should start seeing a steady fall in water temperature over the next week. The lake level has reached normal pool and generators are being run sporadically to maintain this level. The stabilization of the lake should help improve the bite for all species. The creeks and coves are stained and the main lake appears to be clearing to clear.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

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

Norfork Lake is trying to cool down a little. For the second time in the last month the lake surface temperature has dropped to around 76 degrees in the early morning. If this cool down continues it will help energize the fish and help make the fall bite take off.

The striped bass bite for me is good one time out and non existent the next. Today was one of those good days, but the fisherman (me) was having difficulty getting a good hook set and when I did have a good fish on I was breaking off. I guess I still need more practice. :-) I was fishing with live thread fin shad. I managed to land 5 striper/hybrids, but should / could have had many more. All but one hybrid were released. The bite started around 5:15 AM and lasted until about 7AM. I was fishing in 25 - 35 feet of water and the fish were at all depths. One of my trolling guests is starting to pick up a few nice stripers later in the mornings in 100 feet of water. The fish are still 25 - 30 feet down. When you find shad in the deep water there more than likely will be some stripers hanging close by.

The crappie bite is still decent, but not great. There are crappie on brush in 23 - 30 feet of water and the fish are anywhere from 8 feet down to the bottom. You just need to keep fishing different depths until you find the level where the fish are feeding. I have found some big white crappie scattered on the big sandy flats. Live minnows on a slip bobber is a great method, but jigging a small hair jig or a spoon has also been working.

Walleye are scattered though out the lake and are shallow before dark then in about 25 - 30 feet of water the rest of the time. Crawler harnesses with a bottom bouncer or a drop shot rig are working very well. Today I landed a nice 22 inch walleye on a live minnow in 27 feet of water.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are also scattered though out the lake. There are a lot of smaller fish on brush piles (great spawn the last 2 years). I have been finding the larger fish in about 28 feet of water lying on or close to the bottom along bluff lines and also close to bluff line points. I have been vertical jigging a spoon looking for walleye when I run across big bass. Drop shot rigs with a jig or plastic crawler should also work. I have also noticed many suspended fish 10 - 20 feet down along the bluff lines. I have caught some of these fish with my spoon, but most are small, with a few bigger fish mixed in. There has been some top water feeding going on early in the morning and then again at sunset. All sizes of fish are feeding at this time when you run across this action.

Catfish are also at this same 25 - 35 feet depth. Today I landed 2 really nice channel cats while striper fishing. They really do not want to come off the bottom once you get them hooked. Lots of fun.

I guess in a nutshell the bite is basically the same or very similar to my last report and I don't expect much change until the water cools down into the 60's. There are many fish that can be caught at this time, but you do have to work for them. Work (hahaha) that is what I tell my wife when I head out to go
fishing. :-) I am going to work!!!

Norfork Lake level is falling slowly, close to 2 inches per day with slight power generation. The current level is 554.68. The main lake is somewhat clear, but the creeks and coves are stained. The current surface water temperature this morning was 76.5 degrees.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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

Norfork Lake fishing is transitioning from the summer fishing pattern to the fall fishing pattern. The crappie bite has been outstanding, bass bite is good, catfishing has been good, walleye bite is fair and the striper bite for most anglers has been slow.

My guests and I have been finding crappie on main lake brush piles. The most productive brush piles should be in 35 feet or less of water and the crappie will be inside of the brush and up to the top of the brush pile. As the water warms during the day the crappie are moving up higher in the water column and have been caught as shallow as 8 feet down, but still suspended over the brush or very close to the brush. Small live crappie minnows called tuffies are a great bait for catching crappie. Rig up a light action rod with 4 pound test line (clear or green) add a slip float and a small split shot. Set the slip shot about 2 feet above the bait hook. I typically use a #6 to a #10 hook with a little longer shank. If you can net your own bait small thread fin shad will also be outstanding. For artificial baits, I have been having good success with a 1/4 ounce spoon vertical jigging it at the depth where I see the fish or at the top of the brush. Small grubs with a twister tail or a paddle tail are also a great bait to use. I typically use my artificial baits without a float, but for some, adding a slip float may make it easier to find your depth and keep it consistent once you find the depth where the fish are feeding. When using a grub you can always add a small crappie minnow to the hook, which may get you more strikes.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing has been good and appears to be getting better every day. I am finding this specie in many different types of areas. Last evening I was crappie fishing over a brush pile close to a bluff line. As the sun was setting the bass starting feeding on the surface. Top water action lasted for about 20 minutes until the sun set below the tree line. Many of the fish coming up were small, but I did get to land a couple of 2.5 pound spotted bass. This morning as I was checking out some new brush on a bluff line point, I noticed many fish suspended 8 - 15 feet down. I tied on a wiggle wart and started to catch largemouth bass, but most were on the short side. Most of my bigger fish have come out of 28 - 30 feet of water on the bottom. I have been vertical jigging a 3/4 ounce spoon on the bottom either along a bluff line or a big rounded main lake point looking for walleye, and have run into small schools of large and smallmouth bass. Once I find these fish I can usually land 2 before the school moves on and I continue jigging. In general, very early and very late in the day, the bigger fish are moving up to the surface and some up along the shore line. Mid day they move down into 30 feet of water.

Walleye fishing has been fair. I have not been able to identify a good pattern except that all my walleye have come out of 28 feet of water either close to brush or close to a main lake bluff line point. I have only used a spoon and have been vertical jigging. A bottom bouncer weight with a crawler harness or a drop shot rig with a worm or minnow will also work. Deep diving crank baits that will get you down to the 30 feet level should also pick up a few nice fish.
Catfish are hanging around the brush piles in 28 - 35 feet of water. I have landed nice sized flatheads and channel cats vertical jigging a 3/4 ounce spoon. Crawler harnesses or drop shot rigs will also pick up some nice fish.

Striped bass fishing has been slow, at least for me. I have been able to land a few, but I have only actually targeted stripers a few times over the last couple of weeks. I found stripers on a large flat in the midlake area and landed several fish using live thread fin shad. I found stripers before sunrise in 20 - 30 feet of water on the bottom feeding. In addition, I have found small schools of stripers about 10 feet down in 20 - 40 feet of water. I have been setting 2 down poles with live bait at 20 - 25 feet and 2 free lines with only a very small split shot. I have landed stripers on both down and free swimmers. Once the sun comes up they disappear. I have also picked up several nice sized stripers while jigging my 3/4 ounce spoon. These stripers were close to brush piles or along bluff lines. This tells me we have a lot of scattered fish which will school up again once the water cools. A third area which I have not tried yet, but typically is productive this time of year, is up river in the Missouri waters. Look from Calamity area up to point 10 and beyond. I wouldn't be surprised if the stripers have even migrated farther up river since the dam in the Dawt Mill area has been removed.

Norfork Lake level is falling about 3 inches per day with the equivalent of one generator being run and currently is 557.72. This level is only 2 feet above normal seasonal pool. The lake surface temperature is ranging from 77 degrees in the morning to the very low 80's in the afternoon. The mid to upper portion of the main lake is clear to some what stained with the coves and creeks stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

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

The thermocline on Norfork Lake has been slowly dropping and currently is about 30 to maybe 35 feet down, and is holding most fish and bait species to this depth or shallower. If you plan to fish Norfork Lake take note of the thermocline level as lots of fish will hang at this level. Striped bass is the only species that I am aware of that will go way below the thermocline to reach cold water.

There has been some really nice spotted (Kentucky) bass caught over the last week. The bass are being found in two main areas; up in the flooded buck brush and suspended over deep water close to structure. I went out bass fishing this morning and found some nice bass suspended down 10 - 20 feet in 60 - 100 feet of water. Bluff line points and the mid lake bridge columns are great places to check out. I also went out  this evening for a few hours. There are plenty of bass feeding on shad up in the flooded buck brush. Top water baits, plastics and crank baits are all catching nice fish. Live bait has also been doing very well in catching bass.

This evening I found the white bass nursery. Norfork Lake had a great white bass spawn this year, if what I saw this evening is any indication. At first the whites were in about 16 feet of water on the bottom, but as the sun was lowering in the sky the whites started busting all over the lake chasing and feeding on tiny shad. Most of the whites that I found were small, but it was a blast catching one fish after another. I started out jigging a spoon on the bottom, but as the fish starting hitting the surface I switched to a Kastmaster. If this year is like prior years the big whites will start to show up very soon.

Striped bass fishing has slowed, at least for me. I have been striper fishing only about 1 day a week. I was limiting out each time, until my last trip out on Labor Day. I found alot of fish down 80 - 90 feet on the bottom and some suspended in deeper water but I only got one light bite on my thread fin shad in a 2 hour period. The boat traffic over the holiday weekend may have affected the bite. There has been a few stripers caught suspended down 30 feet over deep water in the dam area, as well as, in the mid lake area. Typically around mid September, the stripers in the dam area start to migrate north for cooler water. More and more stripers will show up in the mid lake area, as well as, up around the Missouri border. The upcoming cooler nights and days will help lower the water temperature which will benefit all species of fish.

Norfork Lake level is falling about 3 - 4 inches per day with 1 generator being run continuously during the day and currently sits at 561.71. The surface water temperature this evening was 81.5 degrees. The main lake is clear with the creeks and coves stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

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

Norfork Lake fishing is in its summer pattern and fishing methods should be very similar for the next month.

The striped bass bite continues to be good for most out on the lake. The easiest and most productive method of catching stripers at this time is with live bait. Live threadfin shad, shiners and small bluegills are all working well, with shad being the best type of live bait. I am currently finding large schools of stripers lying on the bottom in 70 feet of water. The best areas to find the stripers at this time are on points and large deep flats in the dam area and at the start of the Big Creek area (Long Point, Koso, Thumb, Point 1, Hudson) and also on the flats out in front of Sand Island in the Jordan area. Artificial baits are also producing striped bass. Try vertical jigging with a spoon or a 3 inch (or so) grub with a 1/4 or 3/8 ounce jig head. If you're jigging keep the action of your bait moving slow, use small twitches of the bait and work them slowly on the bottom. It is hard to feel the bite so be ready to set the hook with the slightest heaviness of your line while moving the bait. Trolling swimbaits and 4 - 5 inch crank baits are also producing some fish.

A second area to catch hybrid bass and on occasion striped bass is in 25 feet (+ or - 5 feet) of water. The lake thermocline is roughly at 25 feet with good oxygenated water from the shore line out to 25 feet with about 80 - 84 degree water temperature though out this water column. Most of the bait fish that I have found is in this 0 - 25 feet range so as you would guess it is holding lots of fish. I have found some schooling hybrids in the mid lake area in the 25 feet range feeding on shad. With this shallower water all types of artificial baits will work. I had a friend trolling deep diving crank baits and ran into schools of nice striped bass on points in the mid lake area.

The walleye bite is getting good. Most walleye are being caught in 18 - 25 feet of water on the bottom. Trolling a crawler harness with bottom bouncing weights are catching some nice fish as are deep diving crank baits such as a Flicker Shad. If you're using crank baits use about a 4 inch minnow imitating crank. If you just have shallow diving cranks you can always add some inline weight to get your bait down to the 20 feet level. I have always had the best luck when the bill of the crank digs into the bottom of the lake a little. Walleye are showing up all over the main lake including points and large flats. I have used thread fin shad set on the bottom and have picked up a few walleye. I have also caught walleye while I am striper fishing in 70 feet of water. Yesterday I did not land any walleye, but on 4 different occasions I set my hook on a light bite to bring up only my weight and leader with no hook. I would guess that I was getting numerous walleye bites.

Pan fish are also in the 0 - 25 feet of water range. If you can find some brush pile in 20 - 25 of water you will find some crappie, but most are roaming the flooded shoreline trees feeding on shad. Crickets are working well for blue gills in the shallow water.

Catfish are showing up at all depths. I have caught cats in 70 feet of water when striper fishing, as well as in 20 feet of water while walleye fishing. They are roaming all over the lake.

A week ago I had a family that love to bow fish. I sent them over to a point in the Cranfield area and they had a blast. The best part of this group is that they clean and eat what they shoot. I have never eaten gar before, but they tell me they are excellent eating as long as they are cleaned properly. I took a cleaning lesson one afternoon when they were cleaning their catch and saw that you end up getting a nice white fillet with no bones after you are done. I guess I will have to try cleaning one next time I land a gar. I typically cut the line and release them when I do catch one.

The Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 566.3, which is about 11 feet above normal pool. The surface water temperature is ranging from 82 - 85 degrees depending the time of day. The main lake looks fairly clear with the creeks and coves stained.

Our regular road down to our dock is finally clear of water and totally usable and our boat ramp is usable for launching of boats and PWC. We have a good portion of our parking lot available again so it is really easy to walk onto our dock. This is a great time of year to visit Norfork Lake as it is not very crowded and the lake is in great shape for all you lake lovers. The water is warm and all your favorite water sports are ready and waiting for you  - swimming, skiing, tubing, fishing, ect. Come down and fish a little and play in the water a little. You will have a fantastic time. Hummingbird Hideaway Resort has cabins available for your Norfork Lake vacation. When you check in I'll be happy to point out my current favorite fishing spots. I can also help you find a guide if you would like a guided trip.

Happy Fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

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

Norfork Lake fishing has not changed much over the last couple of weeks, which means the striped bass bite continues to be strong in deep water and all other species are biting in 0 - 20 feet of water.

I haven't had a chance to fish my normal 5 days a week, but when I have had the chance to get out the bite has been strong. Striped bass are being caught from south of point 2 to the dam and east of the dam to the Jordan Island area. The larger stripers are being caught in 50 - 70 feet of water. They're lying on the bottom early in the morning as well as during the day. Live bait is working very well but several artificial baits are also working. Vertical jigging with a spoon, as well as, jigging with a small 3 inch grub (green or off white) on the bottom. The main tactic at this time is to move your bait very slowly along the bottom. Keep your bait small and move it slowly and you will catch fish. Trollers are picking up some nice stripers, but again you will need to get your bait down below 45 feet.

I have been watching many nice sized largemouth bass swimming around in about 3 feet of water early in the morning in front of our dock. Our gravel parking lot is still partially under water and the bait fish and small blue gills are loving the warm water. Bass are having a field day feeding at will. I guess what I am trying to tell you is look for those flooded roadways early in the morning and cast out your favorite plastic bait (Crawdad) or swim bait and you should pick up some nice fish. I am also noting some bass hitting the surface early in the morning as well as at sunset.

Walleye fishing has also starting picking up. The best water depth is around 18 feet on large rounded points. Use a crawler harness with a bottom bouncer or drop shot a live minnow to pick up some nice fish.

Blue gill are also in the 18 feet of water depth. Crickets have been one of the best baits at this time.

Hybrid bass and white bass have been sporadically erupting in the mornings. I have gotten reports from all different areas of the lake with top water action. There has been some nice sized hybrids and mid sized whites coming up and feeding on small shad.

Norfork Lake level is falling around 2 - 3 inches per day and currently sits at 568.86. The lake is clear to its normal green summer time tint. The surface water temperature has reached 90 degrees, plus or minus a few degrees.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.