Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Striped bass can be found at all different depths. This morning I located a couple large schools of striped bass still out in 65 feet of water, following shad that was 50 feet down. Last weekend a couple of my Facebook followers (father and son) took my advice and headed back into a major creek and found some nice fish on the bottom in 35 - 40 feet of water, again chasing the bait fish. As the water continues to warm, the majority of the bait will move out of the deep water into shallow water which will make for a great spring bite. Assuming the weather pattern holds as is, we are due for a very early spring bite, but this is a very big assumption. Only mother nature will control what happens with our weather. I have started to see small signs of top water feeding fish, not much but it's still encouraging. Don't get your hopes up too much because this is really early for top water action. The best place to look for striped bass is halfway back in the major creeks. Live bait and vertical jigging a spoon have been my best way of catching stripers, but throwing stick baits and flukes at sunrise are starting to work. I have only fished after dark for striped bass once since my last report with little success. The water temperature is just right for the night bite to start, so I will be out more and more after dark here real soon.
White bass are moving back into the major creeks on their annual spawning run. Start looking for big females staging in 30 - 45 feet of water. The males are the first to move into the creeks and then the females will follow. Once they start their spawn you will find them close to the banks. Small spinners, blade baits and spoons are some of my favorites baits for the white bass.
Largemouth bass are also starting to move into shallower water. This morning I was live bait fishing for striped bass and moving slowly along a deep bluff line. I found a small cut in the rocks and started casting my Kastmaster to the shore and letting it sink about 10 feet. I ended up landing 5 largemouth out of this little pocket. They are getting very aggressive. Crank baits will be working, as well as spinner baits on those wind blown banks.
The Norfork Lake water level is currently at 546.92 with minimal power generation at this time. The lake surface water temperature was 53 degrees this morning and is rising slowly. The main lake as well as parts of the creeks and coves are clearing. Once you get half way back into the major creeks the water is stained making it great for fishing.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
The weather this winter has been amazing with only a few cool days. At 7 AM today, when I left our Norfork Lake dock, the air temperature was already in the upper fifties. Early spring like weather. I started checking my normal winter spots and found some stripers in 90 feet of water suspended 40 - 50 feet down close to the 62 bridge. I was vertical jigging with a spoon and hooked into 2 fish but both came off after a short run. My second spot was in Float Creek. I marked a few fish lying on the bottom at 70 feet. but they would not take my spoon. I decided to try an area that I normally fish in March heading up towards the Fouts area. I was finding fish in 55 feet of water, but again I could not get them to hit my spoon. I headed into shallower water and found some schooling whites, hybrids and scattered largemouth bass in 25 - 40 feet of water. Bait was scattered and the fish were feeding. I guess the warmer than normal water temperature is moving the bait fish into shallower water and the fish are following. Unless the weather turns cold for an extended period of time we should have an early spring bite. I will try out the night bite sometime this week to see if we can get a good February bite like we had several years ago. The water temperature is almost perfect for the after dark bite throwing a suspending jerk bait.
Over the last few days, I have found largemouth bass in 20 - 40 feet of water, as well as, large schools in 65 feet of water suspended 30 - 50 feet down. Look for the largemouth bass part way back in creeks on secondary points where the channel swings in close to shore. It looks like the bass are starting to transition to an early spring type bite a little earlier this year. I have landed bass on a spoon vertical jigging and by casting out a Kastmaster and letting it sink down to the depth of the suspended fish. Spinner baits are also working on the wind blown banks as well as jig and pigs worked though 30 feet of water. If the weather holds, jerk bait time will start earlier than normal.
The Norfork Lake water level is 547.76 holding fairly stable. The surface water temperature this morning was 48 - 49 degrees which is 4 - 5 degrees warmer than normal. The main lake is clearing and the creeks and coves are still stained, but I can see the water starting to clear.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Norfork Lake's winter fishing pattern is in full swing. The bait fish are in the deep water channels of 80 - 100+ feet and the bait are suspended 50 - 70 feet down. Striped and hybrid bass can be found following the bait fish whether it is on the main lake or back in the major creeks. For most of last week I was fishing in the 62 bridge area, mainly to the south of the bridge. Later in the week the fish moved in between the 2 bridges. Today I was only marking a few stripers, so after a couple hours of looking and fishing with minimal success I decided to move into Float Creek. Immediately I was marking large balls of shad with small schools of stripers following. For the next hour it was total havoc on my boat. I was by myself with 4 live bait poles out. I had doubles on several times and ended up boating 5 stripers, but missed as many. I had bait set at 40, 50 and 60 feet deep, but all my strikes came from the 40 and 50 feet deep baits even though I was marking many fish 60 + feet deep. Today was the first day in over a week that vertical jigging with a spoon would have worked great since I saw multiple fish at one time at same depth. Large shiners, big river chubs and thread fin shad are the best choices for live bait. I had to clean one striper this morning since it could not swim away and found that its belly was full of 1 - 3 inch thread fin shad. If this winter is typical, the fish should stay at this depth and in these areas for the next 3 - 4 weeks. Towards the end of February and beginning of March the major creeks will be great places to look. The fish will start to go toward shallower water following the bait.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Largemouth and spotted bass are also schooling. I have found large schools of fish in similar areas as the stripers, as well as, part way back into creeks out in the middle. Look in 40 - 50 feet of water for these fish. When I can find a slight drop off on a flat that is near or on an old creek channel I have typically found a lot of fish and they don't move off this area as fast. One morning I caught over a dozen largemouth in the 2.5 - 3.5 pound range. Some bigger largemouth are starting to move in shallow to feed early and late in the day. This is a good time to break out your jerk baits and give it a try. On windy days a spinner bait is working great, but the old standby, a jig and pig, will always pick up some nice fish.
Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 552.44. The lake surface water temperature is also falling and currently is in the 54 - 55 degree range. The lake is still stained, but is a great fishing color.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.
Photo's taken over the last week.