Tuesday, November 6, 2018

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

Norfork Lake fall fishing sure can be a lot of fun. I will admit that if you want striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass you will spend some time looking for them, but once you find them it is well worth the time. Large schools of white bass are currently roaming the flats in the morning hours and during the day. They tend to move into deeper water late in the day and start to relate to points in the mouths of coves. I tend to fish many different areas of the lake looking for fish in order to try to help our fishing guests find and catch fish. I tell my wife that this is part of my job as a resort owner, which is why I need to be on the lake so much. :

White bass fishing, largemouth bass fishing and crappie fishing are the better bites on the lake as of today. I do expect the striped bass bite to improve very shortly, if what I saw this morning is any indication. I found schooling and feeding fish in 22 feet of water and at around 7AM the striped bass were all high up in the water column. Casting out a 1/4 ounce silver Kastmaster landed a nice striper for me. Then the whites showed up at all depths. Vertical jigging a spoon or Kastmaster was giving me many hookups. As the sun came up the fish continued to move deeper on the same flat. I finally lost the fish in about 35 feet of water. Top water action for white bass and hybrids is sporadic. I have not been fortunate enough to find this action, but several of my guests have gotten into some nice topwater action over the last week. Topwater action is happening somewhere on the lake, but you need to be in the right place at the right time! This will become more frequent based on past years experience.

The largemouth bite has been very good for me over the week. In the mid to late mornings I have found schooling bass in 30 - 40 feet of water on large flats. Vertical jigging for the bass has worked great. The schools that I have found have stuck around for well over 45 minutes so you can catch your limit very quickly. In the late afternoon I have changed tactics a little and moved into the secondary creeks. I have located large schools of bass as far back in the creeks as you can go, but still being in 27 - 30 feet of water. Secondary points in the small creeks have been productive locations, especially if the creek channel swings in close to the deeper shoreline. Jigging for these fish is working. I have also located some nice bass on the bluff lines where the bluff starts to transition to chunk rock. Crank baits on calm days and spinner baits on windy days are good baits to try. Jig and pigs are also working very well.

Crappie fishing has been good. Look for brush in 30 - 40 feet of water and the fish will be somewhere around the brush. At times they are buried inside of the brush and other times they will be suspended on top of the brush. Live bait is working great, but small spinners, jigs and crank baits are also producing some nice fish.

Norfork Lake's level is slowing rising with very little power generation coupled with rain for several days in a row. The lake level currently sits at 552.37. (Basically normal pool) The main lake is fairly clear and most creeks and coves are somewhat stained. The surface water temperature this morning was 62.5 to 63.5 degrees.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

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

Fall fishing on Norfork Lake is gearing up to be a great bite. Most species are biting really well, with big numbers being caught. You can have some great fishing times on Norfork Lake in October, November and December. Give Hummingbird Hideaway Resort a call to make your fall fishing vacation reservations at 870-492-5113.

I am kind of up in the air on what the best bite is, because crappie, largemouth, catfish and white bass are all biting really well. The slowest bite, at this time, is for striped bass, but today I did land 2 nice hybrids and 2 good striped bass on a nearby flat. Fishing is looking up for all species.

This time of year you are going to hear me talk a lot about vertical jigging with a spoon. I really enjoy this type of fishing because you can catch any of the species on the lake with the same bait and many times in the same area. I tend to use a 1/4 ounce spoon for crappie in and around brush piles with 4 pound test line. When I get into 20 - 30 feet of water I switch to a 1/2 ounce spoon with 6 pound test line. Then when I am fishing in 30+ feet of water I use a 3/4 ounce spoon on 8 pound test. I am a creature of habit and only use monofilament line, but I am hearing great things about P-line. When you find schooling, feeding fish, color of the spoon really does not matter (in my opinion) as long as the predominant color on the spoon is white. I tend to use spoons that are all white, white with a chartreuse back, white with a green back or white with a little red under the head.

White bass have started to school and feed heavily on some of the nearby flats. At daybreak I am finding this species in 17 feet of water and as the sun rises they move into deeper water. Today I was catching whites in 17 feet of water at 7AM, but by 9AM I was catching them in 48 feet of water, but still in the same general area. I was vertical jigging with a spoon. I am not sure if it was luck or by chance, but at 8AM I was fishing in 42 feet of water and the hybrids and stripers started to show up. I ended up landing 4 of them over the next hour along with many whites. I released all but 1 hybrid and a few white bass. As the water continues to cool all the species will move to the 30 - 50 feet depth even at daybreak. You will start to find the stripers in very shallow water in the dark as the water cools. Look for a night bite for stripers and hybrids once the water temperature gets into the low 60's.

The bass bite continues to be good. All types of bait are working in different types of areas. You can still catch some very nice fish on crawlers in very shallow water. If you like to fish bluff lines, jig and pigs, as well as, worms are working by letting the bait fall down the rocks from 10 - 20 feet of water. Spinner baits are working along the bluff lines up very close to the rock. Bass are also coming up for top water baits along the shallow sloping backs. I have caught a few nice bass 42 feet deep suspended in 70 feet of water close to a bluff. Most bass fisherman are telling me the ratio from short fish to keepers is about 60% shorts to 40% keepers, not bad!

The crappie bite is also continuing to be very good. They are in brush from 25 feet to 40 feet of water. One day they might be buried in the brush, then the next day they are 10 -20 feet down on top of the brush. Jigs are working with a spoon or a grub. I do like to tip a grub with a small minnow to increase the bite frequency.

Catfish are also biting very well. Over the last week, I had guests setting 5 jugs a night and on several occasions they had a nice fish on each. They were using cut bluegills for their bait and catching nice blues. While dock fishing for their bait a 10 pound blue hammered their small hook with a piece of nightcrawler.
I am getting a lot of inquiries about the turnover of the lake. Based on the Norfork Lake's Striper Club temperature and dissolved oxygen readings done on October 20th, the thermocline had dropped to somewhere between 55 - 60 feet. It will not be much longer until the total lake has turned over at all depths. This means the oxygen level is basically the same from surface to bottom, as is the water temperature. Norfork Lake's surface water temperature this morning was 68.5 degrees. The lake level is fairly stable and currently sits at 551.34 feet. The main lake is clear and some of the creeks and coves are somewhat stained.

Happy Fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

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

October sure is an exciting month to fish Norfork Lake. The bite for most species is good to very good. The lake has remained fairly stable over the last week which, helped the bite improve. Of course, don't forget about November and December as great fish periods for all species. Plan your Norfork Lake fishing vacation by calling Hummingbird Hideaway Resort.

The crappie have moved back into the brush. Find brush in 25 - 35 feet of water and it will be holding fish. You may need to bounce from one brush pile to another, as the bite will slow after you catch several fish. The crappie are suspended to or buried inside  the brush 20 - 25 feet down. Small jigs will work, as well as, small 1/8 to 1/4 ounce spoons. Live bait on a small grub or live bait on a hook with a slip float is always a great choice.

The walleye bite continues to be good in the dam area. The walleye that I have found are in 80 - 90 feet of water on the bottom. A few of them are starting to move up and are being caught in 65 feet of water in the same general area. Live nightcrawlers are catching fish, as well as, 1 ounce spoons vertically jigged. You can also bait a jig head with a plastic worm or crawdad and bounce it along the bottom in the 80 foot range. The second location for walleye is in 30 - 40 feet of water along a gradually sloping shoreline. Trolling a crawler harness or bouncing a spoon along the bottom will also work. A third place to find walleye is inside of or close to brush piles.

The bass bite has been very good over the last week. The larger fish have continued to move out of their deep water summer home into very shallow water to feed. Shallow shorelines that are holding bait will be holding feeding bass. If you find some sunken timber sticking up, there will be some bass hanging out. Your favorite plastics, such as worms, crawdads, or junebugs will work great. Work your bait along the bottom back to your boat and hang on. Good locations to fish for bass are back into the major creeks and larger coves where the bait has moved back to the area. They are biting great in 2 feet of water.

The majority of the striped bass and many of the hybrids have moved out of the dam area and have dispersed lake wide. I have found some smaller stripers back in major creeks along with the bigger hybrids, but no large schools at this time. With our upcoming cold front moving in, the lake will start to cool down fairly rapidly. The cooler water will get the stripers energized and they will start to school and feed heavily. This time of year there is typically a good striper bite up river in the cooler oxygenated water on the Missouri side of the lake. I have been finding some large hybrids back in major creeks feeding on shad. They have been mixed in with big schools of white bass.

The white bass bite has been really good back in the major creeks and on the large flats. Large schools of fish are feeding and vertically jigging a spoon will catch you plenty of fish. Keep your eyes open for top water action for whites and largemouth bass early in the morning. Have your top water bait or a Kastmaster handy to have loads of fun.

Norfork Lake water level has fallen slightly (5.4 inches from last report) and currently sits at 551.15 feet. The lake surface water temperature has remained fairly stable over last week and was at 78.5 degrees this morning but will increase slightly during the day. The main lake clarity is getting deeper and the visibility appears to be around 7 - 10 feet down. The coves are also starting to clear. The current thermocline appears to still be roughly 40 feet down.

Fishing is getting exciting and will continue to get better and better as the cooler weather cools off the lake water temperature

If you are looking for a daily update of what is happening fishing wise on Norfork Lake, follow Hummingbird Hideaway Resort's facebook page for daily activity updates.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

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

Norfork Lake is entering into the early stages of its fall fishing pattern. What I have seen over the last week is the following: (1) The majority of striped bass that had migrated close to the dam during the heat of the summer months have scattered and have started to show up all over the lake. (2) Threadfin shad have started their move back into the creeks and onto the large flats. (3) Top water action is increasing for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, as well as, white bass, hybrid bass and striped bass. As the surface water temperature continues to drop, fish activity will only increase. This is a fun time to fish because you can catch so many different species of fish all in the same area once you find the baitfish.

At this time, I would have to say the bass bite is one of the better bites on the lake. This species has become very active and can be found in different types of areas. The last two days I believe I have landed over 2 dozen bass between spotted bass, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. I have found feeding bass right along the shoreline back in a major creek feeding on shad. When I see them feeding on the shore I cast my Kastmaster (blade bait) right up on the shoreline and bring it back to the boat in a jerking motion. I landed a nice 3 pound smallie this morning fishing this method along with many others. The reason I like the Kastmaster is that I can use it for all species. I can jig it off the bottom, work it for topwater action and let it sink for the suspended fish. I do replace the hook with a little larger hook that has a white feather trailer on it. The second type of area I am finding bass in is out in about 40 feet of water if the shad are in the area. I have been catching these fish vertical jigging with a 1/2 ounce green and white spoon. When you find shad in the 40 feet range you will have the opportunity to catch almost any species in the lake. One of our bass fishing guests has been doing quite well on bass and he has mainly been using plastics, worms and June bugs. His biggest fish has come out of 2 feet of water, which weighed roughly 4 pounds.

White bass fishing is also outstanding at this time. Early and late in the day you can get into some nice topwater action out on the flats. In the early morning I am finding white bass in 20 feet of water breaking the surface. As the morning wears on I have been moving back into a creek and am finding large schools of whites out in 40 - 55 feet of water. These fish will be at all depths. My favorite way to fish for these deeper fish is by vertical jigging a 1/2 ounce spoon. The best thing about fishing for whites is that the hybrids, stripers, spotted bass, largemouth bass, catfish and walleye will all be in the same area. The same 1/2 spoon is catching all these species for me. Yesterday (10/1) was a great day of fishing and catching. I was checking out some new areas looking for fish. I went back in a major creek and started to see bait fish about 40 feet down, then the fish showed up. In about an hour and half of fishing I landed well over 30 fish. Big hybrids were in the mix and I had the opportunity to land 5 along with some nice spotted bass and largemouth bass. Granted the majority of the fish were whites, but it sure was a lot of fun. Today was another good day of catching, but the hybrids were smaller. I only landed one striped bass since they were scattered, but I will start to find them schooling very shortly.

Pan fishing is also picking up. Crappie have moved back onto the brush in 30 - 40 feet of water. This morning when I was checking out a new area for stripers I decided to fish a brush pile for a while. I quickly landed 4 crappie in the 10 - 11 inch range using a 1/4 ounce spoon. All were released on site. The brush was sitting in 35 feet of water and the fish were on the bottom next to the brush. In the afternoon crappie have a tendency to move up on top of the brush and can be 10 to 20 feet down, so you do need to check out all different depths until you start seeing your pattern. Bluegills are up in the brush in the same depth. Some are on the bottom and others are suspended. Crickets are one of the most productive baits for bluegills.

Fall fishing is loads of fun and will continue to get more and more exciting. As the lake temperature drops more and more fish will be feeding on the banks and you will have the opportunity to find large schools of striped bass feeding on the surface. There will typically be a decent after dark bite for striped bass soon. Use a suspending jerk bait. So much to look forward too over the next couple of months. The fall bite has started and it's gearing up to be a great fishing season.

Norfork Lake level has fallen slightly over the last report, but basically is stable and currently sits at 551.60 feet. Norfork Lake surface water temperature has also fallen slightly during the last week and ranges from 77 in the morning and increases to around 80 in the warm afternoons. The main lake appears to be clear with about a 7 - 8 foot visibility from the surface, but some the creeks and coves are stained. 

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

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

There have been a few changes in fishing on Norfork Lake since my last report. First of all, the surface water temperature has dropped to 79 degrees at sunrise but increases slightly during the daylight hours. Secondly, the thermocline is dropping very slowly and currently sits in the 35 - 40 foot range. The drop in the thermocline at the end of summer is very common. Thirdly, the bigger bass are finally starting to come out of their deep water summer pattern and are feeding in shallower water early in the morning.
Norfork Lake's walleye bite continues to be outstanding. There have been several methods of fishing for this species at amazingly different depths. Near the dam you can catch walleye in 80 feet of water plus or minus 10 feet. The fish are lying on the bottom or very close to it. Live bait and vertical jigging with a spoon are both working well. If you are vertical jigging with a spoon you don't need to work the bait fast. Drop it to the bottom, then lift the bait 3 to 4 feet off the bottom by raising your rod, then let it fall back to the bottom. Repeat until your bait gets real heavy then reel in your fish. A third method that is also catching a few walleye is trolling swim baits with down riggers. This deep water bite for walleye will not last much longer so you better get on the lake and catch a few. The second location is in shallower water 30 - 35 feet, again on the bottom or close to it. This morning (9/25) I found several nice walleye off of a shallow sloping bank out in the main lake area. The walleye are starting to move onto the flats at approximately 32 feet of water level. I caught my walleye by moving slowly with my trolling motor and stayed in  30 - 35 foot range. I kept bouncing my 1/2 ounce spoon off of the bottom. You can also troll slowly with a crawler harness with a bottom bouncing weight. It is amazing how many walleye there are in Norfork Lake.

Striped bass are still in the dam area in deep water. Live bait is working the best, but spoons and trolling swimbaits are also catching a few good fish. This species is also in the 80 foot range on the bottom or suspended in the deep water channel, but they are staying at the 80 foot level plus or minus 10 feet. I don't expect these fish to stick around in the dam area much longer.

The largemouth and spotted bass bite is improving quickly with the cooling off of the water. I am starting to find and catch larger sized fish in shallower water. This morning I found some good topwater action for bass close to the start of a large flat. The fish were at all depths. Some were chasing shad next to a chunk rock shoreline all the way out to the start of a flat. I was sitting in 30 feet of water and could see fish coming up in 10 feet of water, as well as, out in 60 feet of water. Most of the deep water fish were whites chasing shad, but there were some nice spots mixed in. I was casting a 1/4 ounce Kastmaster with a feather trailer. There was a lot of bait in the area and the bass stuck around for well over an hour. I ended up leaving with the fish still exploding. What fun!

Norfork Lake level is holding fairly stable with minimal power generation and currently sits at 551.74. The lake surface water temperature has dropped to 79.4 this morning based on my depth finder. The main lake is clear and some of the creeks and coves are somewhat stained. Norfork Lake is in great shape.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

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

Norfork Lake's summer fishing pattern is winding down, but still trying to hang on with the hot weather we're having this week. If the future weather forecast has any validity, I predict that the fish will start to move more into a normal early fall pattern sometime next week. Hopefully my prediction is more accurate than the weather forecast usually is. hahaha! What I am trying to say is that the striped bass will soon migrate from the dam area and head northward toward cooler water, the larger slab crappie will start to move back into the brush, and the bass will start to feed more heavily in shallower water.

Currently the best bite for striped and hybrid bass is still located close to the dam and the fish are deep, from 60 - 80 feet down, either on the bottom or suspended out in the deep river channel. I fished by the dam area on Monday the 17th and had a great day of fishing. Live bait is working the best, but vertical jigging with a spoon is also catching a few fish. Trolling an umbrella rig or a large swim bait is also picking up some nice fish, but you need to get your bait down below the 50 foot mark.

The walleye bite is also very good. You can locate this species in several different areas and depths. If you like to troll with a bottom bouncing weight and a crawler harness, start checking out the sides of long points, as well as, along the deeper bluff lines and bluff line points. The walleye are moving out a little deeper and can be found in 30 - 40 feet of water. The thermocline is dropping down so the fish are following suit. The second location is in very deep water on the bottom. Monday I found a huge school of hungry fish 80 foot deep. I was fishing close to the dam out in front of a main lake point. I was on a drop off with the front of my boat in 80 feet of water and the back of my boat  in 100 feet of water.  I was getting short bites on live bait and losing them half way up. I even tried a stinger hook with no luck. I decided to start vertical jigging a white with a chartreuse back spoon and they loved it. I would drop it to the bottom then lift it up about 4 feet then let it fall again. They were eating the spoon on the fall and when I would start to lift the spoon up again I would feel the weight of the fish. I limited out in less than a half hour once I started this process.

The crappie bite slowed for me this week with the water warming about 3 - 4 degrees. The bigger slabs that were on the brush last week seemed to have moved off of the brush. They should start moving back in next week with the upcoming cool weather forecast.

I had a good day of fishing this morning for spotted bass and white bass.  The medium size whites have schooled up on large flats. Early and late in the day you can find schools of fish from 12 - 25 feet of water. I was vertical jigging a 1/2 ounce spoon and catching one after another. The big jumbo whites will move onto these same flats as the water cools. At sunset you can find schools feeding on the surface. I found quite a few nice size spotted bass this morning while trying to find big crappie. I was jigging a 1/4 ounce spoon in and around brush piles. The spots were towards the bottom of the brush with a lot of small crappie and white bass on the tops of the brush. I also had a big battle with a 12 pound blue cat. This cat hammered my little spoon and I thought I was snagged at first, then he started to swim. 15 minutes later he gave up and came to the surface. I only have 4 pound test monofilament line on my reel with an ultra light rod. It was really fun. I was grinning the whole time during the fight!

Norfork Lake level is falling very slowly and currently sits at 551.83. The lake surface water temperature has increased slightly to 83 - 84 degrees. The main lake appears to be clear from the surface with some of the coves and creeks slightly stained. The thermocline has dropped to roughly 35 feet based on the temperature readings taken by the Norfork Lake Striper Club last week - (Thanks for the great information)

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

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

Norfork Lake is in great shape and fishing has been very good. The lake is in the final stage of  summer fishing pattern. Some species will start to migrate to the cooler waters up in the northern parts of the lake. Other species tend to move into cover, as well as, start to feed heavily on large flats. As the water continues to cool, fish will become more and more active and start to move into shallower water. The lake is shaping up for a great fall fishing season.

The crappie bite is improving daily. I am starting to find some nice size crappie in brush located 30 - 35 feet deep. Most of the crappie I have caught lately have been 25 - 30 feet down in or near brush. In the afternoon the fish are coming up in the water column so you might check out anywhere from 15 - 30 feet deep over or near brush. You will still find some nice slabs roaming the flats following bait fish. My fishing method of choice has been to vertical jig a spoon. I have been using a 1/4 ounce to a 1/2 ounce spoon. I have also downsized my fishing line to 4 and 6 pound test, low visibility monofilament line. My favorite color choices for spoons has been all white, white with a chartreuse back, or white with a red throat. Small grubs with a twister tail would also be a good bait choice in similar color schemes as mentioned above. Live bait, as usual will work great with a small slip float.

White bass fishing has been very good. Lately I have started my mornings fishing a large flat in the Cranfield area right before sunrise. Large schools of white bass are roaming the flats chasing shad. I have found this species in 18 feet of water out to 40 feet of water. The fish are suspended from the surface down to about 30 feet. I have mainly been vertical jigging a 1/2 ounce spoon. There has been some topwater action in the mornings right at day break, but the afternoon topwater bite, right before sunset, has been better. When you get into topwater action throw your favorite topwater bait or a blade type bait. I mainly been use a Kastmaster (blade bait) when I know the fish are close to the surface. I can cast this bait a long way and I can also let it sink if the fish go down.

Walleye fishing has also been good. Trolling a crawler harness with an inline spinner and bottom bouncing weight has been picking up some nice fish. One day they are in 25 feet of water then the next they move to 35 feet of water. Keep checking different depths until you start picking up some fish. I have caught walleye as deep as 65 feet on the bottom while striped bass fishing over the last week. You will also find some walleye in or near brush in the 30 - 35 feet range. Live threadfin shad was the bait that I had down. The walleye are located lake wide so you do have plenty of choices.

Striped bass fishing is still good in the dam area. Live bait is working the best, but vertical jigging a one ounce spoon is also picking up some nice fish. The striped bass are 60 - 70 feet down on the bottom, but you will find some schools of fish suspended in the deep channels, but still 60 - 70 feet down. Before long the striped bass will start their northward migration to the cooler water.

The surface water temperature of Norfork Lake has dropped a little from my last report. In the morning the temperature has been 81 with a slight rise during the daylight hours. The lake level is remaining fairly stable and currently sits at 552.14 feet. The main lake is clear on the surface and some creeks and coves are slightly stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.