Monday, April 20, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake spring fishing is going strong and should continue and even get better over the next month or so. Knock on wood, but every day my guests are bringing fish into the dock. Striped bass, hybrid bass, largemouth bass, spotted bass, white bass, crappie and blue gill. Lots of big fish and lots of smiles!

The calm weather yesterday morning brought the best top water action that I have seen this season. The stripers, hybrids and black bass were erupting all around us and I could see them feeding on every point in the area. The fish did seem to relate to points, but there was some action out in the middle of lake. I have been sending my guests to two different parts of the lake and the top water action was happening in both areas. Spooks were working great, but flukes, rattle traps and kastmasters were also catching fish. Today was a little different as a frontal system moved into the area last evening cooling us down a little, but the bigger change is the wind. Today the wind is blowing really strong and all but stopped the top water action, or if it is happening you can not really see it. I ended up trolling today with the heavy wind and landed a nice 10 pound fish and a couple of largemouth bass. I used a 6 inch swim bait with a paddle tail and a 1/4 ounce jig head. I marked most of the bait on the wind blown banks and that is where I caught the fish. I did land a 28 pound monster 3 days ago trolling my swim bait. No photo since I accidentally dropped the fish back in the lake as I was getting out of the boat. I was planning on releasing the fish, but I guess it had other ideas and wanted back in the water before the photo! "Lou's believe it or not! Once this weather system calms down I expect the top water action to continue and get really fun.
Largemouth and spotted bass fishing has been really good. Spooks are working great early in the morning and in the late afternoon. During the day time throw plastics up to the bank and bring them back to the boat slowly on the bottom. Largemouth are up on the banks then move off during the day. Smallmouth are in 15 - 20 ft of water on the bottom and spots are all over. A good percentage of the largemouth have spawned, but you can still find a few on their beds. Lots of bass are being caught. Most of them are being released, except for the bigger ones. My guests want their big fish measured for Hummingbird Hideaway Resort's fishing derby as that long fish may be worth $300 dollars. The longest striper, bass and crappie will all win big bucks and you also get entered into a drawing for a free week stay. Our derby lasts until December 15, 2015.
Walleye fishing is starting to pick up . I had a guest catch several on a small crank bait as well as with suspending jerk baits. Use the suspending jerk baits slow rolled after dark on long shallow points and flats. Slowly trolling suspending jerk baits is also working in the late afternoons, again on long shallow points and close to the buck brush.
Crappie fishing has been up and down. You can still find crappie up on the banks and on shallow sunken brush. Small jigs and crappie minnows using a slip float are working.
White bass are back in the creeks spawning, but are starting to move back out. Top water action for whites will start very soon.
The Norfork Lake level is rising slowly and currently is at 558.39. This is about 4.5 feet above the current pool. The lake was starting to get very clear, but with the rain yesterday the creeks and coves have stained up a little. The lake surface water temperature ranges form the low 60's to the high 60's depending on what part of the lake you are on. The lake is in great shape and the water level is perfect for the fish and fishermen.
Happy fishing and see you on the water.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake spring fishing action is under way. The striped bass are still biting after dark and the bite during the day is heating up.  The biggest problem that we have during the spring is the weather. When we get a string of nice warm days and nights all species get real active. Then a cool front rolls though and slows the bite for a short period. I guess you can say that is fishing. You can still catch fish during a frontal system, but you will need to search until you find active fish.

I fished last evening. After it got dark the bite started. I landed 2 striped bass and lost another to shoreline buck brush. Once the moon rose the bite stopped for me. I checked several different areas with no further luck, but I'm sure somewhere on the lake the fish were active. I called it a night at around 10:30PM. I hope to try again this evening. The day bite is starting to heat up. Trollers are catching fish on swim type baits and live bait fishermen are catching on live thread fin and gizzard shad. The best areas to look for stripers at this time is back into the major and secondary creeks in all parts of the lake. Go part way back and start fishing. As the water continues to warm the fish will start to migrate farther back. Look for bait and once you find it the stripers will not be far behind. I have had guests over the last several days, land striped bass on 1/4 ounce Kastmasters and Zara Spooks.  I have been using suspending stick baits after dark, but they are also a great bait to use in the mornings and evenings.There really has not been a top water bite yet, but if the fish are in the area they will come up for a spook. This year I have seen more stripers caught in the upper 20 and low 30 pound range. There are definitely big fish in Norfork Lake.

Bass fishing has also been good. The best bite has been for spotted bass, then  largemouth. Smallmouth bass are starting to show up. Very soon smallmouth fishing will be fantastic. I have been bass fishing about an hour or so before I head to my night bite spots. I have been having a lot a fun catching bass on a spook. There really is no top water action at this time, but they are coming up for the bait. I have also found that I get more attacks when I walk-the-dog several times then stop the action. The fish seem to attack the bait when it is motionless. Again Kastmasters, spooks, flukes and swim baits are producing some nice fish in the morning and afternoon. Mid day go with baits worked along the bottom starting at the shore line though about 20 feet of water. Best areas are part way back in creeks and coves.

White bass are showing up in similar locations as the black bass and stripers. The same baits talked about for stripers and bass will also catch you big numbers of whites. The whites will also be in very shallow water on flat type areas.

Crappie fishing started out with a bang about a week ago, but has slowed somewhat. With the warm days ahead of us start looking back to shallow water. The morning before this latest cool front came in I had a friend throwing a cast net for bait and he was catching some really nice crappie in 1 - 2 feet of water. It is time for them to be spawning so look for them to be in shallow this week. Best areas are back in creeks and coves or really anywhere you can find dead wood in shallow water.

Walleye are starting to show up in greater numbers. Walleye are being caught on suspending jerk baits after dark fishing for stripers as well blade type baits during the day. I even had a guest catch one on a spoon in 25 feet of water, suspended down 20 feet. Look for the walleye bite to continue to improve.

Norfork Lake level is rising slowly with our recent rains and currently sits at 559.18. The surface water temperature is in the mid to upper 50's. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are stained.

April should be a fantastic month to fish Norfork Lake. Conditions are prime for a great bite. If you want a great fishing and lake experience give us a call at 870-492-5113 for cabin reservations. I will try my best to put you on fish. It is so much fun fishing Norfork Lake.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Spring has officially arrived and the weather is finally cooperating. Norfork Lake fishing is really starting to heat up. My daughter and I have been fishing the night bite over the last week and having a blast. We are throwing suspending stick baits after dark and slow rolling them back to the boat. We have been catching 7 to 8 stripers an evening from around 8 - 10pm. The bite is continuing after that but my daughter seems to get cold and tired around 10PM. :-) Remember to reel as slow as you can and reel all the way back to the boat. I get hits a lot of times next to the boat. One evening I landed a monster 28 pound striped bass and Keri landed a nice 12 pounder. A few days later one of our guests landed a 26 pound striped bass in the early afternoon throwing a soft plastic jerk bait. The best bite for striped bass is after dark, but the morning bite will start very soon as the water continues to warm. Top water action is on its way, but warmer water is needed. Check out my last report for details on how to fish for stripers after dark.

Largemouth and spotted bass fishing is also getting good. Start looking part way back in creeks and coves and watch for bait working on
the surface. The bass will not be far behind. Hard and soft jerk baits are working well. My guests slammed the bass this morning throwing pearl colored flukes with a weighted hook. In the early afternoon work some of the docks as the bass are coming under them for cover and bait fish. You will also find some nice bass around the shallower brush piles especially if the brush is on a point.

Crappie fishing is getting better and better every day. All the crappie fisherman that I talk with are doing very well in shallow water. The crappie are moving up to the shore line to start looking for their spawning areas and are on their typical pre-spawn feed. There will be a lot of the males in tight to the shore as they are the ones doing the search, but the big females will not be far behind. Crappie typically like 60 - 65 degree water to spawn and we are not too far away from that water temp. Now is a great time to catch crappie and have a lot of fun. Start looking back in creeks and coves where you can find dead timber and brush in shallow water. Cast out small grubs or swimming minnows with a light weighted jig head and reel back to the boat slowly. During your retrieval stop occasionally and let the bait fall, the crappie will hammer it during the fall. I also like to tip the plastic baits with a live small minnow for added action and scent. The fish are in 2 - 20 feet of water near brush anywhere from the surface and down 10 feet depending on the time of day . You still may find some of the big females down a little deeper in the brush. Yesterday around 2PM I was at my dock and my granddaughter yelled at me to look at all the fish. When I came over there were dozens of big slab crappies 2 - 10 ft down, stacked like cord wood. This is a great sign of the fish getting ready for the spawn.

I have caught a few walleye after dark slow rolling a jerk bait. One of my guests landed a nice 23 inch walleye last evening. Some of the walleye have spawned already and a few are still back in the creeks spawning. The night fishing for walleye will pick up everyday. Look for walleye in the same areas as the striped bass as they will be feeding up tight on the shoreline after dark. Jerk baits are working after dark, slow rolled. In daylight hours look for them along the bluff lines and also large flats. Crawler harnesses with bottom bounces will work. Drop shot rigs with large minnows will also work well.

Norfork Lake is still rising very slowly and currently sits at 554. 09. This is basically normal pool. The surface water temperature is in the low to mid 50's depending on time of day and location. The creeks and coves are stained, but clearing and the main lake is fairly clear.

It is time to fish Norfork Lake. The weather is great and the fishing is good. Give Hummingbird Hideaway Resort a call at 870-492-5113 to make your reservations and find out from me where and how to catch the fish. I am always excited to help my guests catch fish. If you haven't heard we are also running a fishing derby this year with a $300 prize for 3 different species as well as a chance to win a free one week stay. Give us a call for details or go to our website at .

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Norfork Lake Night Fishing Report

Night fishing for striped bass is one of my favorite methods of fishing in the spring. Every year around mid March the striped bass, hybrid bass and walleye move up to the shore lines after dark to feed. I have fished the last two nights with success each night. Two nights ago the big fish were up tight on the banks. I landed 3 nice fish, one walleye, two stripers and had quite a few other missed opportunities. I guess I am a little rusty and did not get good hook sets. My last fish of the night, around 9:30PM, just exploded on my bait in about 2 feet of water. I could actually see the fish come out of the water (amazing with these old eyes) roll over on the line and then, you guessed it, the line broke. Last evening was a good bite but the fish were on the smaller size, keeper size, but not big enough for me to keep. I had a blast both nights and hope to get out again this evening if the rain holds off.

The method I use to fish for these Norfork Lake monsters is to cast a 5 to 6 inch suspending jerk bait. There are many brands and many different prices, but all will work. I have used Smithwick Rogues as well as Spro's. I seem to get a little better action on the Spro's in colder water and the hooks are stronger. If you go with the Rogues you do need to change out the hooks and split ring to stronger ones or you will get very disappointed when both bend out and you lose that big fish. There are two different views on where to position your boat. The first is to get your boat close to the shore line and cast parallel along the shoreline. The thinking here is that you will keep your bait in the strike zone longer for those feeding fish. The second is to keep your boat as far away from the shore as possible and still be able to cast to the shore. I typically keep my boat away from the shore and cast into it. My belief is that I won't spook the fish with my boat and I have also found that the fish will follow the bait and hit it in deeper water and not always on the banks. Cast your bait as close to the rocks of the shoreline as you can. The retrieval method is simple, reel as slow as possible. If you think you are reeling slow, reel slower. Color choice of your bait is a personal preference, but I typically go with dark backs and light bottoms on overcast and new moon nights and lighter tops and darker bottoms on full moon nights. I have caught many fish on various colors, greens, blues, purples, orange, you name it. If your not getting hits on one color change out until you find the color they are looking for. We have a good selection of both baits for sale at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort.

Where to find these Norfork Lake monsters is the next question. I have recently been fishing part way back in major creeks. I start on secondary points and work both sides of the point along the shore line. Typically you will find the fish on long shallow points close to flats, but over the last two days I have also found the fish on deep bluff line points. Once the water warms up a little more they will move out to the main lake points and typically be feeding on the long shallow points. I find stripers and walleye all over at different times, but usually have to look a little. I have also found stripers in the backs of small creeks in very shallow water. I will usually mark fish and bait in the area that is active.

Norfork Lake water level is rising slowly with the rain and snow we have had over the last week or so and currently sits at 550.04. The surface water temperature is also on the rise and was at 46 - 47 degrees last evening. The water is turning very clear with stained water in the backs of creeks and coves.

We have cabins available for these prime spring weeks and week ends. I'll be happy to show you where I'm fishing and what I'm using. I really enjoy helping folks catch fish.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Hummingbird Hideaway Resort will be represented at the St. Louis Boat and Sportshow. Stop by and make your spring fishing trip or summer vacation reservations. We will be happy to plan a memorable trip for you. If you are not aware of Hummingbird Hideway Resort's 2015 Norfork Lake Fishing Derby give us a call at 870-492-5113 or go to our website at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort for details.
Winter fishing on Norfork Lake for striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass had been fantastic this year, up until a few weeks ago. Around the first of February the baitfish started to move out of their winter pattern and so did the predators. I fished several days last week and found fish on large flats in 30 – 50 ft of water on the bottom and nothing in the deep water channels. I found big schools of roaming hybrids and whites. If I was lucky enough to get over a school of fish I had fun. There were a few striped bass mixed in with the hybrids. This movement of the fish is typical for this time of year, but may have occurred a little earlier than normal. Unless this current cold front changes things, what you can expect to happen over the next 4 weeks or so is that stripers will start to migrate back into the creeks. As the water warms they will continue to move farther back in the creeks. Typically at the end of February and beginning of March, I will find stripers in the Cranfield and Fouts areas at my end of the lake. They will also be up in the Red Bank and Calamity areas this time of year. They will be feeding on bait along the bluff lines. The night bite for the stripers will start around mid March as the water temp warms to 50 degrees or so. You need to start getting your stick baits ready for the slow roll night bite, it is a blast.

Black bass have also changed their patterns a little. You will still find some nice fish on the bottom in 50 feet of water, but I have caught a few big ones suspended at 20 feet over 30 – 40 feet of water along bluff lines. Throwing an Alabama rig for these suspended fish is working well. For the bottom feeders, pig & jigs or worms are a good choice. As the water starts to warm these fish will start to move up into shallower water.

Walleye are staging for their spawn. They can be found along the side of channels off of rocky points in 30 – 50 feet of water. They will move back into creeks and coves as the water warms a little more. The Calamity area and into Missouri waters is one of the favorite spawning ground for walleye in February. Dragging crawler harnesses or live shad are great baits. Sinking stick baits are a good choice for artificial bait. The night bite will also bring out the walleye fishermen. After their spawn, they will be on shallow points at dusk and after dark.

Crappie are both scattered and on deep brush piles. The scattered fish will be following bait so if you can find a good concentrations of bait, especially around docks, the crappie won’t be far behind. I have been asked numerous times when will the crappie spawn? The rule of thumb for the crappie spawn, is when the Dogwoods just start to bloom the crappie will be up on the banks spawning. In our area this typically happens toward the end of March to the beginning April all depending on Mother Nature.

The Norfork Lake level has fallen to 548.92, but currently is stable as power generation is just keeping up with the rise. The lake should continue to drop as the Corps prepares the lake for the spring rains. The water temperature was at 45 degrees, but I would suspect it to lower a few degrees due to the snow and cold rains we received last evening. The main lake was clear and the creeks are clearing.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Winter fishing on Norfork Lake near Hummingbird Hideaway Resort is in full swing. Fishing is good for most species. My favorite, striper fishing, has been good.  To find the stripers find the bait. Bait and stripers are both suspended 40 – 70 feet down in 80 – 120 feet of water. The stripers will be on top of the bait, buried in the middle of it and sometimes on the bottom of the bait stream. Electronics are very helpful this time of year in finding the bait and marking the fish. My favorite winter spot for striped bass is anywhere from the 62 bridge columns down to the Howard Cove area. The fish and bait are moving to different spots throughout this area. Four days ago, I was marking bait and catching stripers in front of Howard Cove and for the last several days they were located between the two bridges. On January 15th I landed a monster 25 pound striper in front of Howard Cove. Yesterday a friend landed another 25 pound fish by the 62 Bridge. I don’t know why, but the bait moves and the fish follow. Vertical jigging with a spoon is working very well as is live bait.

The big 3 pound white bass bite is also very good. You will find them in the same location as the stripers. The whites will typically be buried in the bait down 60 feet. Vertical jigging with a spoon or live bait is working. When jigging with a spoon only light twitches are needed and you need to be ready to set the hook, the bite is very light. The same slow presentation for striped bass is working.

The bite for largemouth and spotted bass is good. Look for these fish at points on the deep water bluff lines. I have found the bigger fish in 40 – 50 feet of water and the smaller ones up in 20 feet of water. I like to vertical jig with a spoon, but jig & pigs as well as grubs are working well. ¼ ounce or a little larger jig heads should be used. Cast your bait out and let it fall to the bottom then work it back slowly. Watch your line as the bait falls since the fish may pick it up at any time.

Crappie fishing has also been OK. I have not been crappie fishing myself, but crappie are being caught on the deeper brush piles in 40 + feet of water. Crappie are suspended on the tops of the brush. Small spoons, grubs or live minnows are all good baits this time of year. Same as the other species work the bait slowly.

The Norfork Lake level is currently at 550.65. The surface water temperature is in the mid 40’s. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are still stained.


Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

  • Happy New Year To All! May 2015 bring many heavy limits!
Winter fishing on Norfork Lake continues to be good. As you can tell by my photos I enjoy striper fishing. The bite for striped bass has been strong. I fished today and ended up landing 2 limits of stripers and hybrids. The fish are in or close to deep water channels and they are suspended anywhere form 30 - 60 feet down. I did not see any huge schools of fish, but instead found small clusters of 2 - 10 fish swimming together. They are feeding on small 2 - 4 inch thread fin shad, so large baits are not needed at this time. Later in the day they seemed to move out of the channels to nearby deep flats. At around 2:30PM I started finding fish on the bottom in 60 feet of water. Yes, these fish are roaming so the main thing you need to look for is bait. Find bait and you will typically find the fish. It is a large area, but start looking from the 62 bridge down toward the 101 boat dock and over toward Walker Hollow. I have been using live shiners as well as vertical jigging with a spoon. When jigging with a spoon,
you do not need to move the bait very fast, small light twitches have been working for me.
Largemouth bass fishing is also good. I have been finding these fish in 2 different areas. 1) along deep water bluff lines in 45 - 52 feet of water. The fish are on the bottom and if you can find a point along the bluff line it will be the best spot. 2) suspended in deep water down 30 - 50 feet feeding on shad. I have been catching nice  largemouth out in 70- 80 feet of water in the same areas where I am fishing for stripers. I caught 4 keeper largemouth today. Slow down your presentation, with the cold water the fish are moving slower.

White bass are roaming and chasing shad. Three days ago I found large schools of big whites and smaller hybrids in 45 - 50 feet of water on the bottom in a large flat area. I have also been catching some really big whites while striper fishing. They are usually buried within streams of bait 60 feet down.

I haven't been crappie fishing lately, but I have been given good reports that they are on deep brush piles. You will find the fish 20 - 40 feet down over sunken brush. Look for the fish up higher on the brush at sunrise and sunset, down deeper during the middle of the day.

Norfork Lake surface water temperature today was 47 degrees. The water level is still rising slowly with minimal power generation and currently sits at 550.76. The backs of creeks are still a little brown from the resent rain, but the main lake is clear. Lake condition is overall excellent.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.