Tuesday, June 13, 2017

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

Norfork Lake fishing has been good over the last couple of weeks. All species are biting, but the typical pattern for this time of year is different. The higher than normal water level is keeping the bait fish inside the sunken trees and brush and the fish are loving it. Plenty of places to hide and feed. The predators are, as you would guess, up inside of the brush with the bait fish.

Striper fishing has been excellent from the southern portion of the mid-lake area down to the dam and east of the dam part way back into Big Creek. Main lake points, as well as, secondary points back into the creeks and coves have been the best areas to find the striped bass. Early in the morning you can find stripers and hybrids up tight to the sunken trees and brush feeding on shad. If you can find an area with the shad flipping back in the brush, all species of fish will be in the area feeding. As the sun rises over the tree line the stripers tend to move out into deeper, cooler water. They will still be off the points, but will move out to find water temperatures in the low 60's, which at this time is about 40 - 45 feet deep. Surface water temperature is close to 80 degrees. Live bait is working the best for me. I've been using live threadfin shad, gizzard shad or  larger shiners. Artificial baits that have worked for me have been swim baits, crank baits and spinner baits. I attempt to get the bait down to the tops of the sunken buck brush, and try to retrieve along the tops of the brush anywhere from 10 feet to 25 feet of water. Once the stripers go deeper vertical jigging with a spoon will start working. So far though, I can't seem to beg a bite on a spoon, but they will work before long.

Large and smallmouth bass fishing has been good. Early and late in the day they are up tight on the sunken brush. I have had luck over the last week casting a Zara Spook into the brush and slowing walking the dog back to the boat. I have called up many fish by this method. Crank baits and spinner baits are also working very well. Try to get a deep diving crank bait so it will get down to the tops of the brush in 10 to 25 feet of water. The fish are inside of the brush feeding on shad.
Walleye fishing has increasingly gotten better and better. Troll crank baits on the old shoreline just off of the sunken brush in 20 - 25 feet of water. I had a group of guys down last week and they were using this method of fishing. They landed well over 20 walleye,  many keepers. Fire tiger was their most productive crank bait color pattern. The walleye are also moving onto the flats in the 15 - 30 feet water range. Using a Lindy rig with night crawlers has been working. You can also drop shot a large shiner, keeping it just above the bottom in the same water depth of 15 - 25 feet.

Crappie and blue gills are up in the sunken brush. There has been some nice fish caught on crank baits as well as spinner baits. Live bait will be the best, but they are very hard to get to. They have moved very deep into the brush, but working the edges of the sunken brush and especially under sunken Willow trees are holding some nice fish.

Catfishing has been excellent. Limb lines, jugs and trot lines are all producing some really nice fish.

Norfork Lake's current water level is falling slowly and is at 574.95. The current surface water temperature is in the high 70's. Parts of the lake are clear( far north up river and far south east of the dam). The remainder of the lake is slightly stained with a greenish blue color. Parts of the mid lake area around the 2 bridges are still showing a slightly brown tint of stain. Overall the lake is in great condition and is getting back to normal. I am noticing very little floating debris, but caution is still advised as always.

All of our guests are enjoying the great summer weather and beautiful Norfork Lake. Plenty of lake and pool swimming is going on. The kids, as well as the adults are having a blast skiing, tubing, wake boarding, surfing and just plain old relaxing on the lake! Oh yeah, don't forget about getting a line wet and catching a few fish for supper. Norfork Lake is waiting for you and your family!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Norfork Lake Conditions as of 6/1/2017 by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Calamity area at launch ramp
Red Bank Area

I had not been up river since the high water event of April 29th, so yesterday afternoon Linda and I took a little boat trip from our dock to the Calamity area. (I hear you can take a boat ride all the way to Dawt Mill. We planned on this, but the weather did not cooperate) I was pleasantly surprised that the water clarity, from just north of Cranfield all the way to Calamity, is back to Norfork Lake's clear blue water. We noticed very little floating debris along the way so if this is any indication I would have to say Norfork Lake is finally getting back to normal. (Except for the high water which just makes for a very big lake and plenty of room to play.)

Across from the walleye rearing pond cove before Cranfield
The Cranfield area water clarity is slightly stained. As you head from Cranfield towards the Robinson Campground area the water is stained with a slight brown tint. There is a little more floating debris starting at Mallard Point, between the two bridges and in front of Robinson campground. The debris appears to disappear south of the Robinson area. The water clarity after Robinson campground becomes slightly stained and as you head south the water is clear. The major creeks in the mid lake area are clear to slightly stained.

Cranfield Island
As for the floating debris which has been changing daily, I would have to say the majority of the debris will be sticking to the shoreline. The lake is being drawn down about 2 inches per day and if this continues the debris will get trapped on the shore and not be able to work its way back out onto the lake. The current lake level is 576.67.

With what I have been seeing over the last couple of days, I think Norfork Lake is truly getting back to its normal self.

We took a few photos along the way so you can see for yourself what I am talking about.

Mallard Point
The final note for you lake lovers and players, the surface water temperature was 81 degrees yesterday afternoon. Just perfect for all the summertime skiers, tubers and swimmers. Norfork Lake is calling your name so come play!


Hummingbird Hideaway's cove and dock

Hummingbird Hideaway's dock

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

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

Norfork Lake fishing has been good over the last couple of weeks, but this years high water event has made it a challenge. Last week I concentrated my fishing from the Diamond Bay area down to Hudson Point. I found all the bass species in all my normal late spring/early summer haunts. Main lake points, such as, Tick Point., Point 2, Thumb Point, Point 1, and Hudson Point. are examples of areas that I have found  holding fish. All species of fish are inside of or very near the sunken brush and trees. The fish will remain near the sunken brush as long as the shad stay inside the brush. This will more than likely change once the lake warms enough to create a thermocline. The early morning bite has been the best.  I really haven't been out fishing in the afternoon for quite some time.

I am getting back out on the lake after the holiday weekend and this week I am concentrating my fishing areas to the mid lake area. Yesterday morning I fished the major creeks in the mid lake area and caught stripers and largemouth bass, but all were on the short side. Today I stayed out on the main lake and fished points that have a lot of sunken trees out in the lake. At around 6:30AM I found a point  where the shad was flipping all over the place. I was fishing with live shad (large shiners will also work) and started flipping the shad between the trees. For the next 2 hours it was pretty much none stop action. All the bass species were feeding in 2 - 20 feet of water. I ended up landing 6 stripers, 3 hybrids, numerous whites, a couple nice largemouth bass and a 5 pound channel cat. The biggest challenge I have in fishing inside of the brush is that the brush tends to keep a lot of my fish after I get them hooked up. I went through 20+ hooks this morning, but it sure was fun. The stripers up in my area are starting to feed again and fatten up. I caught no skinny fish this morning all fat and healthy looking.

There is still good top water action down off the points in the dam area. I saw very few fish coming up yesterday or today in the mid lake area. Live bait appears to be the best method for catching all species of fish at this time, but some artificial baits are working. Swim baits of all sizes are working, spinner baits and shallow diving crank baits for largemouth, and spooks for top water action. Vertical jigging with a spoon is starting to work out in 40 feet of water once the shad moves away from the brush. The fish have been below the shad. I had a guest last week that likes to troll umbrellas rigs as well as swim baits. He had success in all parts of the lake keeping his baits around 20 - 25 feet deep.

The current Norfork Lake level is 577.08 and is dropping about 2 - 3 inches per day with both generators running full time. The main lake, creeks and coves north of the Robinson area are stained to a light brown color, but the brown is falling out steadily. The lake is stained down to the dam and is clear east of the dam. This morning the lake surface water temperature was in the low to mid 70's. Last week there was very little floating debris, but as of yesterday there was lots of floating timber west of the 101 bridge to Robinson area. I have had no problem out on the lake, but as always you need to be extremely vigilante when on the water and slow down when you notice floating debris. Remember to be safe and always wear your life vest.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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

It has been a real roller coaster ride on Norfork Lake for the past 2 weeks. On April 29 the lake started to rise until it reached the top of the flood pool. Missouri had devastating floods which eventually ended up in Norfork Lake. The lake became muddy from north to south, but the muddy water is finally starting to fall out and the lake is stable. The high water will be with us for quite a while, but high water is not a bad thing. Most species had completed their spawn prior to the high water so the newly born fry will have plenty of places to hide making future fishing even better. Fishing will continue to improve daily over the whole lake as the mud settles out and the water turns to a great stained color for fishing.

I have traveled most of the lake over the last week and have found good fishing water starting in the midlake area down to the dam. It appears that the brown water is falling out from the backs of the creeks and working its way out to the main lake. The farther south you travel on the main lake the clearer the water gets.

Overall the fish are on the shoreline inside of the newly sunken brush and trees. Live bait has been working exceptionally well. Threadfin shad and large shiners are both working. I have been using a number 6 kahle hook with no weight and pitching the bait into openings between the trees. I have also been moving slowly right outside the trees in about 15 - 20 feet of water and dragging the baits behind the boat, again with no weight. Today I was fishing on a point down in the dam area and hooked into a big fish. The fish started to run for deep water and I knew I had a big striper. This fish came very close to spooling me. After about a 20 minute battle, I landed a 40 inch 30 pound striped bass. I was only using a 7 foot medium light action rod with a spinning reel filled with 8 pound monofilament line. Light tackle makes the battle a lot of fun. Friday I fished the midlake major creeks. I was about half way back in a creek where the water became clear to stained. I fished channel swing points pitching live bait up in the brush. I was fishing with several of my guests and we landed almost every species in the lake. I have also been using some artificial baits. Today I landed a nice striper on a 5 inch swim bait with a 3/8 ounce jig head. I cast the bait into opening and try to get it as close to the new shore as possible and then reel back to the boat. Jerk baits, either soft plastics or hard baits will also be working well up in the brush. The best bite for me is early morning. I've been told that the afternoon bite seems to be slow. As our lake water warms look for the stripers to move away from the shoreline and go to a little deeper water. Monday morning a couple of our guests found some really good topwater action for striped bass. They got to their fishing spot and could see the fish exploding as they approached. Once the topwater stopped they put away their Zara spooks and proceeded to pitch live bait into the shore and continued to catch fish.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing is also improving. These species are located in  the same areas as the striped bass, you will find them inside of  the sunken brush and trees. I have had the best luck catching fish by finding sunken buck brush in about 10 to 15 feet depths, letting my bait sink down to the tops of the brush and then working it back to the boat. I have caught many fish on the fall of the bait. Creature baits worked along the brush will pick up some nice fish. Again find the stained to clear water and start fishing.

I have not heard anything about crappie, but I am sure they are inside of the brush feeding on shad. You may need to pull out your 12 foot long cane pole to be able to get to the crappie inside of the brush along the banks .

The Norfork Lake level is holding steady at 577.03. The Corps of Engineers is running all generators for the major part of the day to keep up with the inflow and hold the lake stable. The water surface temperature is in the low 70's. The lake is muddy (but clearing slowly) from the Robinson area to the Cranfield area and up river, as well as from from the bridges up to the Bennetts area. The lake is stained, a little south of the Robinson area and continues to become clearer the farther south you go.

There is still floating debris in the lake, mainly concentrated around the Mallard Point area though Cranfield and up river as well as back in the Fouts area. We are to have a strong South wind so a lot  of this debris will be pushed to the shore until a north wind or no wind happens. As always, be careful when on the lake.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

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

Facing north just west of the 101 bridge at 6AM
Facing west looking into Five Fingers Cove at around 7AM
Facing South looking into Diamond Bay at around 8AM
Facing northwest on south side of Robinson campground 9 AM
Hi All, I guess you have heard and seen photos of the high water on Norfork Lake. Due to the questions and concerns about Norfork Lake I have decided to give you all a little detail about the lake's current condition. To start off Norfork Lake and Hummingbird Hideaway Resort are open for operations and running as smoothly as possible. Yes, the flood that started on Saturday April 29, 2017 increased the lake level up to the top of the flood pool of 580 feet above sea level. It has since been lowered 3 feet. It was amazing that prior to 5PM on the 29th we virtually had no rain, but north of us had been getting dumped on starting early on Friday, April 28th. The lake was rising maybe an inch an hour, but at 5PM Saturday, April 29 I noticed a 12 inch rise in the lake level. I thought this had to be incorrect information on the Corps. of Engineers lake level report, but it was correct. All though the night the lake continued to rise a foot an hour and I had a lot of fun keeping up with the dock. But I did, with help from several of my guests, and was able to keep the dock accessible for our guests. This sudden and tremendous inflow of water into the lake brought along lots and lots of debris. Each day you see less and less floating debris, but there are tremendous amounts of dead wood laying along the shoreline and back in some of the small coves. As long as the lake continues to drop, this debris on the shore will stay put and not create a problem. I was really getting depressed with the brown looking water, but several things have changed my outlook. I finally got my boat back from the shop and was able to see that the lake is starting to clear. I headed out this morning at 6AM to start breaking in the second new power head on my 2 year old motor (??) I spent 4 hours on the lake. Three of those hours looking
around and only one hour of fishing. By the way, I did catch 4 nice largemouth up in the flooded trees. Here is what I saw this morning. The lake is still brown from Mallard point to just past Robinson campground. As you head south you can definitely tell the brown water is starting to fall out. By the time I reached Duck Blind Point (past Robinson) the water was stained to slightly off color, by Diamond Bay it was just stained. The back of Diamond Bay was much browner than the main lake. I did catch some nice bass back in Diamond. The floating debris that I found today was mostly small, but there are still some big trees floating. Most of the debris that I found was close to the 101 bridge on the west side, some in between the 2 bridges and also in front of and slightly south of Robinson Campground. After that it was mostly smooth sailing. The debris keeps moving as the wind changes so always be very vigilant when  out on the lake. After Diamond Bay I headed back into Fall Creek. The farther back I went the clearer it got. Back by Buzzard Roost Marina the water clarity was its normal clear with just a slight green stain. (I also caught a nice largemouth in Fall.) I then headed back into Panther Creek and it was slightly brown, but could tell it was trying to drop out and clear. I headed back home and the debris on the west side of the 101 bridge had moved from the south side of the lake to the north side.  I came up the south shoreline without difficulty. Of course when out on the lake, I would suggest you not go full speed at this time until all of the debris disappears off of the lake. I have heard the Cranfield area is still brown with floating debris as is the Fouts area. I am sure these two areas will be clearing of both the mud and the debris shortly. The other major area of the lake east of the dam has very clear water.  Point 1 back though Big and Brushy Creeks did not have the tremendous inflow of water so the mud did not affect this area. How long it will take the lake to get back to normal will depend on the weather. The water will remain high until the rivers start to recede back into their banks as Norfork Lake is a flood control lake. The launch ramps are open, but some of the floating debris is making them difficult to use. I launched my boat yesterday at the Henderson deep water ramp. I had to clear out some of the debris by hand then just used my trolling motor and a long pole to move the debris out of the way. Once though I trimmed my motor back down and headed to our dock. The below photos are of our dock and resort area. Both easily accessible and ready for your use. I will try and keep you updated of any significant changes to Norfork Lake.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to call us at 870-492-5113. Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

I will be doing an updated fishing report in a few days, but the fish are biting and our guests are catching fish.

Hummingbird Hideaway's Dock, 5/3/17, after the increased lake level

Hummingbird Hideaway's Resort pool (which is open)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

The last 2 weeks on Norfork Lake has been very interesting to say the least. We have gone from great spring weather, to cold fronts, to a major rain event which increased the lake level to the top of the flood pool. Fishing was fantastic up through last Saturday morning then the severe weather started to impact the lake. Norfork Lake started rising a foot an hour at around 5 PM Saturday and continued to rise until the flood gates on the dam were opened to increase water evacuation. As of today, the lake is stable and is slowly falling and is currently at 578.65. There is still some floating debris, but a lot of it is starting to blow into the shoreline and as the lake drops it will get hung up in the flooded trees. The lake is navigable, but when out on the lake be very cautious and observant of floating debris. The water north of the 101 and 62 bridges is still dirty and the clearer and stained water starts just south of the 101 and 62 bridge. Hummingbird Hideaway Resort is in great shape and open for business. Our dock is easily accessible with electric and the fish cleaning station still in operation.

Now for what I know about current fishing conditions on Norfork Lake. The flooding of normally dry land, has forced nightcrawlers to come to the surface and the fish are starting to have a feast. If you are a catfisherman the combination of dirty water and a large supply of worms is ideal to catch many cats. I have had guests fishing from the shoreline off of a flooded roadway below our resort and landing some  nice catfish. Limb lines and trot lines will also be a great method to catch big numbers of cats.

Today a couple of our guests ventured out on the lake after sunrise and found some clearer water. They were fishing with shiners and caught a nice smallmouth and largemouth bass. If you can find a flooded field or cow pasture that had been grassy you will clean up on bass feeding on nightcrawlers and crawdads. Each stable day will help increase the bite and get the fish very active.

I have not heard a lot about striper fishing since last weekend's rain, but from prior high water experience you will need to find the clearer water. Shad will be in the trees and the stripers will be on the edges of the flooded trees feeding on the shad. It may take several days for the fish to get used to their new surroundings, but if it is similar to past high water years the fishing will become really good.

I myself have not been able to get out on the lake with all the new resort work this rain created, but I hope to get back at it towards the end or the week. I will keep you posted and give you updates as soon as I can.

The Norfork Lake level currently sits at 578.65. The water temperature this morning was in the mid 60's. A lot of the lake is dirty, but you will find some nice stained and clear water back in some of the major creeks and in the southern part of the main lake.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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

Norfork Lake springtime fishing is at its best. This is one of my favorite times to fish the lake. All species of fish are in shallow water and we get a lot of good topwater action for striped, hybrid, and white bass, as well as, largemouth and smallmouth bass. Artificial baits and live bait work equally well this time of year. Shad are spawning, as is typical for this time of year. The shad spawn really gets the fish excited!

Striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass fishing was on fire the last week. Once our lake temperature reached the mid 60's the fish became active. Today was a great example of spring topwater action. Several of my friends were out on the lake and we were all checking out different areas. One found the fish blowing up back in a cove at about 7AM. He gave me a call and we all had great fun for the next 3 hours. I was throwing a 5 inch pearl swim bait with a 3/8 ounce jig head, and a Zara Spook Jr. It is a blast to watch these fish blow up on topwater baits. Best places to look for topwater action is part way back into the creeks and in the secondary coves in the creeks. Right now I have heard of topwater action in all parts of the lake so get out there and have some fun. The late afternoon bite has been great one day, then very hard to find the fish the next, but when you do find them they very well could be busting the surface.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing is also excellent at this time. Look in the same areas that the stripers are in, but mainly look at the shoreline. You will find the water boiling with shad right up on the rocks. The fish are pushing the shad in tight to the shore then feeding at will. Today they were in the same cove that we found stripers in from 6 inches of water out to 6 feet. Both my Zara spook and my swim bait were picking up some very nice fish. The fish also wanted both of my baits worked very fast as they were in the chasing mood. As the day wears on the largemouth will move out into a little deeper water so a jig and pig or some other plastic bait worked along the bottom will pick up some good sized bass. At sunset look at the very shallow water again as they will start to feed heavily on shad. The after dark bite for large and smallmouth bass should be good. I haven't been out myself but typically they will be hanging around docks and shallow points. Dark colored spinner baits and tube jigs are some of my favorites.

Walleye, I bet you can guess, are in the same areas as the stripers and the largemouth. My swim bait is picking up some nice fish early in the morning and then again at sunset. The walleye are also starting to show up on the big shallow flats in 10 - 25 feet of water. Move slowly with your trolling motor with a bottom bouncer and crawler harness or a large shiner on a drop shot rig.
Crappie are showing back up on brush in 20 - 30 feet of water. Most times you will find them suspended over the brush so you need to keep testing different depths until you find the feeding fish. There will be a few nice fish still on the bank so casting a small Roadrunner will work and will also pick up other species. Hang on with your crappie rod because it is not uncommon the hook into a big striper while crappie fishing this time of year.

Norfork Lake surface water temperature this morning was 67 degrees. The water level has been fairly stable with a slight rise and currently sits at 551.36. The main lake is
clearing and the creeks and coves are a little stained, but are clearing rapidly.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.