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 www.hummingbird-hideaway.com .

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.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake's winter fishing pattern is slowly arriving. What I consider a winter pattern is when the bait starts moving into the deep water channels. Electronics are very helpful this time of year, as you start looking for bait in deep water and are watching for the fish (striped and hybrid bass) inside of the bait. One of my friends was fishing yesterday afternoon and found lots of bait and big schools of stripers. He ended up landing 8 stripers, the big one was 14 pounds. The view on his depth finder is attached on the right and he crossed over many schools of fish. Not to contradict myself, but during winter months the fish will also go very shallow to feed, typically early in the morning and after dark. In the winter you  have plenty of options, but the easiest fish to find are the deep water fish.You will also find fish on the deeper flats in 40 - 60 feet of water early mornings and late in the afternoon, but typically in mid day you should concentrate on the deep channels. Areas to start looking for stripers are from the US62 bridge area down towards the 101Boat Dock area; back in the major creeks such as Float, Fall, Panther and Bennetts; and deep flats to check out are the Robinson flats, Cranfield, Mallard, AR101 Bridge and Big Sandy. I have mainly been vertical jigging with a spoon, but live shiners and shad are a great bait to use especially when you can not find schools of fish, but are just finding loners.
The largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass bite is picking up. I am finding big fish off of bluff lines in 40 - 50 feet of water. This is very typical for this time of year. The fish will be on the bottom and on occasion you will find schooling bass. It is also the time of year you will need to start slowing down your presentation. As the water continues to cool the fish will slow down.

I am starting to find crappie back on the sunken brush piles. A couple of days ago I fished a brush pile outside of our cove and caught 5 crappie in about 30 minutes. They were not the huge slabs, but all keeper size. I am sure the big slabs are also in the brush, so if you are a crappie fisherman it is becoming time for the winter bite. I was fishing brush in 35 - 40 feet of water and the fish were towards the top of the brush.

The Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 549.9. The lake surface water temperature is hanging around 53 degrees. The main lake is relatively clear and the creeks and coves are still stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Norfork Lake Fishing Report



Norfork Lake's fall fishing is on fire. If you like to catch lots of fish, November has historically been a great time to fish the lake and this November is no exception. Yes, November is almost over so think about making that Norfork Lake trip and get in on the November 2015 fun! Striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass have been biting all day long. The size of the fish varies, but I have caught 5 stripers in the 10 - 14 pound range and and 4 hybrids in the 6 - 8 pound range over the last week. The white bass are huge and most being caught are in the 2 - 3 pound range. You will catch a lot of medium to small size stripers and hybrids along with the bigger fish, but this is what it is all about. Catching fish! I have found fish in 2 different types of area, 1- half way back in major creeks typically at a channel swing, and 2- on large flats. In both areas I have found the fish at 30 - 48 feet water depths. Most of my fish are being caught off of the bottom, but I have caught a few of the bigger stripers and hybrids suspended down 30 feet when I was in 45 - 50 feet of water. This morning I was fishing with John & Cameron and we boated many fish, nothing huge, but lots of them. The weather wasn't great for the fishermen since the wind was blowing 20+ mph sustained. It is really hard to stay on fish once you find them but if you stay on the fish they are biting. I, as well as my guests, have been vertical jigging with a 1/2 to 1 ounce spoon. Color hasn't really made a difference and the size doesn't seem to matter. I typically match the weight to the depth I am trying to get down to. Zero to 20 feet I use a 1/4 to 1/2 ounce, 20 - 40 I use a 3/4 ounce and 40 + I use a 1 ounce. Areas to check out are in the Cranfield area, 101 bridge area, 101 boat dock area, Float, Panther and Fall Creeks. I am sure there are many other areas holding fish, but these are the ones relatively close to my resort (Hummingbird Hideaway Resort).

For other species I really don't have any new information as I have been having a blast targeting the stripers, hybrids and whites. I will get after the crappie, walleye and bass in a few weeks.

The Norfork Lake level rose slightly with the rain we got yesterday to 549. 31. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are stained. The surface water temperature was in the mid 50's this morning.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.