Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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

Fish on Norfork Lake are in transition from their winter pattern to an early spring pattern. Yes, this is very early, due to an abnormally warm winter which has kept the water temperature warmer than normal. The surface water temperature is 5 - 8 degrees warmer than the last 3 years at this time. The bait fish have started to move into shallow water which in turn makes the predators follow suit.

Striped bass can be found at all different depths. This morning I located a couple large schools of striped bass still out in 65 feet of water, following shad that was 50 feet down. Last weekend a couple of my Facebook followers (father and son) took my advice and headed back into a major creek and found some nice fish on the bottom in 35 - 40 feet of water, again chasing the bait fish. As the water continues to warm, the majority of  the bait will move out of the deep water into shallow water which will make for a great spring bite. Assuming the weather pattern holds as is, we are due for a very early spring bite, but this is a very big assumption. Only mother nature will control what happens with our weather. I have started to see small signs of top water feeding fish, not much but it's still encouraging. Don't get your hopes up too much because this is really early for top water action. The best place to look for striped bass is halfway back in the major creeks. Live bait and vertical jigging a spoon have been my best way of catching stripers, but throwing stick baits and flukes at sunrise are starting to work. I have only fished after dark for striped bass once since my last report with little success. The water temperature is just right for the night bite to start, so I will be out more and more after dark here real soon.

White bass are moving back into the major creeks on their annual spawning run. Start looking for big females staging in 30 - 45 feet of water. The males are the first to move into the creeks and then the females will follow. Once they start their spawn you will find them close to the banks. Small spinners, blade baits and spoons are some of my favorites baits for the white bass.

Largemouth bass are also starting to move into shallower water. This morning I was live bait fishing for striped bass and moving slowly along a deep bluff line. I found a small cut in the rocks and started casting my Kastmaster to the shore and letting it sink about 10 feet. I ended up landing 5 largemouth out of this little pocket. They are getting very aggressive. Crank baits will be working, as well as spinner baits on those wind blown banks.

The Norfork Lake water level is currently at 546.92 with minimal power generation at this time. The lake surface water temperature was 53 degrees this morning and is rising slowly. The main lake as well as parts of the creeks and coves are clearing. Once you get half way back into the major creeks the water is stained making it great for fishing.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

The weather this winter has been amazing with only a few cool days. At 7 AM today, when I left our Norfork Lake dock, the air temperature was already in the upper fifties. Early spring like weather. I started checking my normal winter spots and found some stripers in 90 feet of water suspended 40 - 50 feet down close to the 62 bridge. I was vertical jigging with a spoon and hooked into 2 fish but both came off after a short run. My second spot was in Float Creek. I marked a few fish lying on the bottom at 70 feet. but they would not take my spoon. I decided to try an area that I normally fish in March heading up towards the Fouts area. I was finding fish in 55 feet of water, but again I could not get them to hit my spoon. I headed into shallower water and found some schooling whites, hybrids and scattered largemouth bass in 25 - 40 feet of water. Bait was scattered and the fish were feeding. I guess the warmer than normal water temperature is moving the bait fish into shallower water and the fish are following. Unless the weather turns cold for an extended period of time we should have an early spring bite. I will try out the night bite sometime this week to see if we can get a good February bite like we had several years ago. The water temperature is almost perfect for the after dark bite throwing a suspending jerk bait.

Over the last few days, I have found largemouth bass in 20 - 40 feet of water, as well as, large schools in 65 feet of water suspended 30 - 50 feet down. Look for the largemouth bass part way back in creeks on secondary points where the channel swings in close to shore. It looks like the bass are starting to transition to an early spring type bite a little earlier this year. I have landed bass on a spoon vertical jigging and by casting out a Kastmaster and letting it sink down to  the depth of the suspended fish. Spinner baits are also working on the wind blown banks as well as jig and pigs worked though 30 feet of water. If the weather holds, jerk bait time will start earlier than normal.

The Norfork Lake water level is 547.76  holding fairly stable. The surface water temperature this morning was 48 - 49 degrees which is 4 - 5 degrees warmer than normal. The main lake is clearing and the creeks and coves are still stained, but I can see the water starting to clear.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

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

Norfork Lake's winter fishing pattern is in full swing. The bait fish are in the deep water channels of 80 - 100+ feet and the bait are suspended 50 - 70 feet down. Striped and hybrid bass can be found following the bait fish whether it is on the main lake or back in the major creeks. For most of last week I was fishing in the 62 bridge area, mainly to the south of the bridge. Later in the week the fish moved in between the 2 bridges. Today I was only marking a few stripers, so after a couple hours of looking and fishing with minimal success I decided to move into Float Creek. Immediately I was marking large balls of shad with small schools of stripers following. For the next hour it was total havoc on my boat. I was by myself with 4 live bait poles out. I had doubles on several times and ended up boating 5 stripers, but missed as many. I had bait set at 40, 50 and 60 feet deep, but all my strikes came from the 40 and 50 feet deep baits even though I was marking many fish 60 + feet deep. Today was the first day in over a week that vertical jigging with a spoon would have worked great since I saw multiple fish at one time at same depth. Large shiners, big river chubs and thread fin shad are the best choices for live bait. I had to clean one striper this morning since it could not swim away and found that its belly was full of 1 - 3 inch thread fin shad. If this winter is typical, the fish should stay at this depth and in these areas for the next 3 - 4 weeks. Towards the end of February and beginning of March the major creeks will be great places to look. The fish will start to go toward shallower water following the bait.

Small and largemouth bass, as well as, Kentucky bass fishing has also been good. The bass can be found along the deep water bluff lines. I have found many bass suspended 30 - 50 feet down in 60 feet of water. Early and late in the day they are moving in a little tighter to the shore line 15 - 25 feet deep, but still on the bluffs. You can vertical jig with a spoon, but this method can be difficult with suspended fish. Try casting out a grub, small spinners or blade baits to catch these suspended fish. On the windy days throw a spinner bait. Jig & pigs, other types of plastics and deep diving crank baits are also a good choice for the fish that move in tighter to the shore early and late in the day. Another good place for the Kentucky and Largemouth bass is near deep brush piles. Work the bottom with a spoon around the brush and you will pick up some nice fish.

Crappie are on and near the deep water brush piles. Look at sunken brush in 30 - 50 feet of water. The crappie will be inside of the brush (these are typically the bigger ones) as well as suspended over the brush. At times you will find them only 10 feet deep, but I have more success at 20 + feet deep this time of year.

The Norfork Lake level is currently stable, but has been falling slowly and sits at 547.88. The water temperature is fluctuating between 48 - 50 degrees. The warm days and nights are rising the water temperature slowly. The main lake is clear in most areas and the creeks and coves are stained. Currently Norfork Lake is in excellent fishing condition and the fish that I have been catching are fat and energetic. Make your plans now to come catch a few!

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

I hope everyone had great holidays and I wish all a fabulous New Year.

I have finally been able to get out on Norfork Lake. A holiday vacation and then cold weather kept me off the lake for a couple weeks, but I'm glad to be back!  Fishing on Norfork Lake has entered the winter phase of the fishing cycle, meaning the shad are going into deep water and the fish are following. In mid December I was catching fish on large flats in 40 - 60 feet of water. Over the last week I have found large schools of striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass out closer to the main river channel or main creek channels. I have been catching stripers in 60 to 100 feet of water and the fish are suspended 30 - 60 feet deep. My favorite winter time bait is a spoon. I find the fish and drop a spoon down to their depth and start jigging the spoon up and down. With cold water the jigging method should be slowed down. The fish are still active, but are starting to slow down and don't necessarily want to chase it. You can also troll with swim baits or Alabama rigs. The hardest part about trolling is getting your bait down to the correct depth. Down riggers, lead core line or in-line weights are different ways to get your bait down while trolling. Live bait is also working very well. During the cold months I use big shiners. The stripers seem to like them just fine. Over the last week I have found stripers in the major creeks such as Float and Panther. You will also find stripers from the 62 bridge area down to the Howard Cove area. The best part of winter fishing you do not necessarily need to be fishing at the crack of dawn. Monday afternoon I found large schools of feeding fish a 1 pm and it lasted all afternoon.

I will have a report on bass and crappie fishing on my next report as I have been concentrating on striped bass over the last week. I did pick up a nice crappie 70 feet deep while striper fishing. They can be anywhere in the cold water.

Norfork Lake surface water temperature Monday afternoon was 48.5 degrees. I do expect a slight rise in water temperature over the next several days due to the warmer than normal days and nights. Norfork Lake level is falling slowing and currently sits at 548.53. Periodic power generation is occurring during a large portion of the day. The main lake is clear, but the creeks and coves are stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

It has been a fun week fishing Norfork Lake. We have had several fishing guests at the resort this week and we all were catching fish. The bite for striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass is good. Vertical jigging with a spoon is a good method to catch these species this time of year. Big schools of fish are roaming large flats in 44 - 55 feet of water. Once you find the fish all you need to do is drop your spoon and jig it up and down bouncing it off of the bottom. If it is a school of feeding fish it won't take long until your spoon has been taken, then you need to make sure you give your rod a good jerk to set the hook. Electronic fish finders are very helpful this time of year as you are looking out in the middle of the lake for these fish. Sometimes mother nature helps you out and you find a flock of seagulls diving into the water feeding on shad. More than likely there is a school of feeding fish under the feeding birds. This only happens during the late fall and winter months as the seagulls are a migratory bird. Live bait is also working using either gizzard or thread fin shad. If you don't want to go out and net your own shad you can purchase brooder shiners. They will work very well in the cold water months. If you are live bait fishing you need to set your baits from 30 - 40 feet deep. Trolling is another method of striper fishing, but you need to get your baits down to the same depths as the live bait. Best places to look for stripers/hybrids and white bass are the big flats near the 101 bridge area, Big Sandy back in the 101 Marina area and back past Fouts Boat Dock. My bite really hasn't started until around 8AM and it can last till noon or later, as it did today. Later in the day the fish start to move to mouths of creeks and coves as well as out to the river channel in 60 plus feet of water.

Largemouth and spotted bass are also schooling. I have found large schools of fish in similar areas as the stripers, as well as, part way back into creeks out in the middle.  Look in 40 - 50 feet of water for these fish. When I can find a slight drop off on a flat that is near or on an old creek channel I have typically found a lot of fish and they don't move off this area as fast. One morning I caught over a dozen largemouth in the 2.5 - 3.5 pound range. Some bigger largemouth are starting to move in shallow to feed early and late in the day. This is a good time to break out your jerk baits and give it a try. On windy days a spinner bait is working great, but the old standby, a jig and pig, will always pick up some nice fish.

Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 552.44. The lake surface water temperature is also falling and currently is in the 54 - 55 degree range. The lake is still stained, but is a great fishing color.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Photo's taken over the last week.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I hope all had a great Thanksgiving holiday. My wife and I hosted a family reunion for her side of the family and we had a great time with 29 family members. I had the opportunity to fish with many different family members during the week. We had a lot of fun but did get a little cold at times. We caught fish most days. It was a real joy watching the ones that don't get to fish often land a fish on their own. No better feeling than seeing those big smiles and shaking arms.

Norfork Lake has entered its fall fishing pattern. The only big change over the last couple of weeks is that the fish have started to move into shallower water. Stripers, hybrids and whites are being found on 20 - 45 foot flats. The flats are holding bait fish at all different depths depending on the time of day and big schools of stripers, hybrids and whites are roaming at all different depths feeding on the shad early in the morning as well as in the evening. It is a big challenge finding the schools of fish and it will take some time watching your electronics, but when you find the fish it is a blast. We had 4 on at the same time a few times. My group has been vertical jigging with a spoon bouncing it off the bottom, but if you mark fish suspended, reel up to their depth and hang on. Areas where I have been fishing has not changed from my last report. Start looking on the flats around the 101 bridge up to the Red Bank area, as well as, from the 62 bridge up to the Fouts area. Check out the Robinson flat as fish are starting to move in. There has been some isolated top water action for striped bass and if you are in the right spot and ready you will pick up a few fish.                                                                                       Largemouth
bass are starting to school part way back in creeks and coves. I found some nice schools of bass on the bottom in 30 - 35 feet of water. We were vertical jigging and hooking up one after another. Nice 2.5 - 4 pound fish were being boated. Spotted bass will also be schooling up this time of year. Spinner baits have worked well on the windy days and crank baits are also working on main lake points, as well as, secondary points.
Crappie are becoming more aggressive. Look at brush in 20 - 40 feet of water. You will find the bigger slabs in the deeper water inside of the brush and other nice fish will be suspended above the brush. Small spoons, grubs and live bait are all working at times. Live bait is still your best bet.

Walleye are in similar areas as the stripers, hybrids and whites. We have been catching quite a few walleye in 30 feet of water vertical jigging, but the majority of the fish are short.

The lake level has risen slightly and currently sits at 552.86 The surface water temperature is falling slowly and is currently 59 - 60 degrees. Most of the lake is stained with the main lake the clearest. I believe the lake has finally finalized its turnover so the lake clearing will begin.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Norfork Lake striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass fishing is finally acting like it should for the fall fishing period. (About one month late due to abnormally warm water temperature) Over the last several days these species have moved out of the 30 - 40 foot water depth into 40 - 50 feet of water. The reason for this is that the bait has moved out to this depth range. I am finding large schools of fish on large flats from the 62 bridge area and heading up north. Look at the flat areas around the 101 bridge, Mallard Point, Cranfield area, Steward Point, and Briar Creek area. I haven't had time to check yet but the Robinson flat and the Fout area flats should also be holding some nice fish. The striped bass bite is still good up river on the Arkansas/Missouri border. These fish up river will stick around there until the water cools off. The fish will then take off to find water more in their comfort zone. I have mainly been vertical jigging a spoon, but trolling swim baits and umbrella rigs should work as long as you get the bait down in the 30 - 40 foot range. Live bait should also work set at 35 and 40 feet deep, but stay in the 45 - 55 foot water depth area. I haven't been out fishing after dark, but a few others have tried it and the stripers and the bait are not moving up to the shoreline at this time. Once the water cools off a little more and gets closer to 60 degrees I believe there will be a good night bite using suspending stick baits. I have not noticed any top water action for stripers yet, but it will happen any time now.

Largemouth bass are at all depths at this time. You can find fish up close to the banks, suspended along the bluffs and also out feeding in the same water depth as the stripers. Yesterday I jigged up 2 nice 3.5 pound largemouth bass in 50 feet of water on the bottom. I guess if you are a bass fisherman you have a lot of choices. The top water bite for largemouth has been sporadic but I have found some nice fish surfacing in the morning around the bridge columns as well as on bluff line points.

I am finding a few nice walleye in the same 45 - 50 foot water depth while fishing for stripers. You should also be able to find them near 40 feet deep brush as well as in shallower water on the flats early and late in the day.

Crappie are on 30 - 40 feet. deep brush piles. But the best advice I can give is that after you catch a few on a brush pile the bite seems to stop. This is time to move to another brush pile and catch a few and them move on. They seem to spook easily in the cooler clearer water. You can return to a brush after you give it some time to rest.

For daily fishing information and tips on Norfork Lake follow Hummingbird Hideaway Resort's Facebook page.

Norfork Lake level is holding fairly stable and currently sits at 552.68. The water is cooling slowly and was 67 degrees this morning. The creeks, coves and part of the main lake are still stained and will stay this way until the lake finishes its turnover and cools off more.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.