Monday, December 10, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

There has been a lot of change to the fishing patterns on Norfork Lake since my last report. Fish are starting to move to their winter patterns and locations. The lake has cooled to the mid 50's which will make the fish more sluggish so you will need to consider that when you fish Norfork Lake. With cold clear water fishing you will still need to use clear, green or vanishing lines in 8 to 10 pound test for stripers and 4 pound for everything else. You need to slow your retrieval methods and presentations whether you are vertical jigging or casting. I am still using monofiliment line.

Largemouth and spotted bass have moved closer to the shoreline. I have caught a few nice fish on jerk baits and crawdad colored wiggle warts, but most of the bigger fish have come from vertical jigging in 35 - 42 feet of water. A lot of you may still feel this is deep water, but the big fish were in 50 plus feet of water not long
ago. I have noticed a few suspended bass, so when you find them throw a swim bait and get it down to their depth. The bigger bass have come from vertical jigging a spoon on the bottom. I have been using a 1 ounce to a 1/4 ounce spoon depending on water depth and the amount of bait in the area. The 1 ounce spoon seems to be working the best at the 40 feet level, but I have been using the 1/4 ounce more and more lately. The bass have also moved into and around brush piles. I have caught most fish off of bluff lines that have a secondary point (small cuts in the bluff line forming points), or at the end of the bluff line where a cove or creek begins. If there is brush in the area even better. I have found nice fish both on the main lake and also back in the major creeks.

Striped bass have also started to move more to their normal winter patterns. They have started to school and feed on small shad. I have caught stripers on both live shiners as well as a 1 ounce spoon. When I have found the fish schooling the spoon works the best. The schools have been suspended from 20 - 40 feet in 50 - 60 feet of water. I have caught stripers in the Red Bank and Float Creek areas, in or close to the channel. Other normal winter haunts for striped bass will be in the Cranfield area, Henderson area, Bidwell, 101 area and the Bennett area.
.The big Crappie are starting to move into brush in 30 - 40 feet of water. They may be suspended over the brush or inside of the brush. A lot of times it depends on the time of day and whether or not the sun is shining brightly. I have caught most of my fish vertical jigging with a small spoon around brush in 40 feet of water. Small grubs tipped with a small minnow, as well as minnows on a split bobber will work. We will start to see bigger schools of crappie in the brush. You still will need to work several brush piles because as normal, after you catch a few fish on on brush pile they seem to stop biting. When they stop biting move to other brushy areas and then come back to your first brush pile.
Walleye have also moved into shallow water areas, especially early mornings and late evenings. Vertical jigging has worked for me, but slow trolling a crawler harness will also do the trick. You will find walleye in the same brush areas that you are fishing for crappie. It will not be long until the walleye start their spawn. If you like fishing for walleye, up north around the Arkansas - Missouri border is a great place to fish for pre spawn and spawning fish.
When you are planning your spring fishing trip on Norfork Lake don't forget about staying at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. Why stay somewhere else when you can stay at a resort that the owner actually fishes for all Norfork Lake species almost every day. We have very affordable pricing with clean and comfortable cabins that your wife and friends will enjoy. I will show you my favorite spots to fish and tell you the best fishing techniques to use at the time. I even like to get your cell number so I can give you a call on the lake if I get into fish. Where else can you get this service and comfort! Give us a call for reservations at 870-492-5113.
The Norfork Lake level is dropping about an inch a day and currently sits at 541.58. They seem to generate about 1/2 of the day in 2 - 4 hour increments. The lake surface water temperature is in the mid 50's. The main lake is clear with the creeks and coves slightly stained.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake fishing patterns are starting to change a little with the cooling of water. Since my last report most of my fish were caught in deep water 50 - 60 feet down, but over the last couple of days I have seen a movement of the larger fish to shallower water. It appears fish are starting to move to their winter patterns and locations which means you will need to start to down size your baits, as well as, your fishing line and slow down your method of fishing. During the winter months I typically use 4 pound test mono for black bass, crappie and walleye. I continue to use my 8 pound test mono line for striped bass fishing.

Lately I have been fishing more in the afternoons than the mornings but the bite seems to have been about the same either time. Over the last 3 or 4 days the bass bite has started to improve for  bigger fish. I have been vertical jigging with a 1/4 ounce spoon in 18 - 30 feet of water. I am trying to stay around brush piles. Sunday afternoon I was fishing a main lake point near our resort and landed 7 bass including this 20.5 inch largemouth. The others were all Kentuckies in the 12 - 15 inch range. Saturday evening was much of the same, but walleye was the fish  in the area biting. I landed this 22 inch walleye and lost two others at the boat. My netting techniques need to improve as I lost one as I was reaching for the net and the second cut the line when I was trying to scoop him up. All of the walleye were in 18 - 25 feet of water on the bottom. I was slowing jigging a small white spoon.

Crappie still appear to be some what scattered, but are starting to show up on brush in 30 - 40 feet of water. I have caught many crappie over the last couple of weeks, and most were caught in places where I did not expect to find them. I was striper fishing about a week ago around a sunken bridge and was spooning with a 1 ounce spoon off of the edge in 60 feet of water. I was dropping my spoon in bait that were 40 feet down and caught two nice white crappie. I caught one along a bluff line in 50 feet of water. Each time I really wasn't targeting crappie, but there they were. I have picked up a few in the normal spots, in and around brush, but still the numbers have been hard to come by. But that being said in order to catch a lot of crappie you need to keep moving from brush to brush after you catch a few. They are a very skittish fish and get spooked easily. I have only been using my 1/4 ounce spoon, but live small minnows on a slip float and also a small grub tipped with a crappie minnow will work great.
Striped bass fishing has been hit and miss for most, but there have been some nice fish caught. Luke was fishing with Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters and landed these two nice stripers up north in the Calamity area. Stripers have also been caught over the last couple of weeks in the Bennett's area, White Rock area, around the 101 bridge, Red bank area and Float Creek. As you can see they are scattered all over the lake and starting to feed. They have been alluding me, but I will find them! Six inch gizzard shad have been the best bait of choice, but shiners are starting to catch a few fish. If you find a school drop a spoon in the school and I am sure you will get hammered. I have also found big schools of white bass and hybrids on the deeper flats around our resort. (Hummingbird Hideaway) I have found them in 35 - 54 feet of water. When you do find the school there will be the big whites and some nice hybrids. I have tried the night bite a few times last week with no luck. I got hit a couple of times, but could not get a good hook set. I will go out a few times this week after dark to see if they are coming in to feed. I have been fishing until about 7PM, but who knows, they may be coming into feed after that. I have become a big sissy because it sure is starting to get cold as the sun sets! Hard to stay out too late.
When you are planning your spring fishing trip on Norfork Lake don't forget about staying at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. Why stay somewhere else when you can stay at a resort that the owner actually fishes most every day. We have very affordable pricing with clean and comfortable cabins that your wife and friends will enjoy. I will give you my best spots to fish and tell you the best fishing techniques to use at the time. I even like to get your cell number so I can give you a call on the lake if I get into fish. Where else can you get this service and comfort! Give us a call for reservations at 870-492-5113.
Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 542.45. Sporadic power generation. The lake temperature yesterday was 58.5 - 60 degrees. The main lake is clear with the coves and creeks a little stained.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake's fall fishing bite is changing for the better with the cooler water temperatures. The surface temperature ranged from 62 degrees to 64.5 degrees depending on the location on the lake and the time of day. The best bite is white bass with crappie and black bass not far behind. I have been fishing almost every day and yesterday I actually fished in the morning then went back out in the afternoon. What a life, but I guess someone has to do it! I strictly fished for stripers in the morning up north, with no success, but a friend landed a 25 pounder not far from where I was fishing. The striper bite has been slow, but fish have been caught in all parts of the lake. There has been some top water action in the mornings for stripers, but you need to be in the right place at the right time. Stripers have been caught over the last couple of weeks back in the Bennett's area, 6A area, Pigeon creek, Cranfield, around the bridges and so on. These are confirmed catches so you can see the fish are scattered with some schooling, but still a lot of fish just cruising the lake. I will keep plugging away at the stripers and will eventually find a consistent bite.

 As I mentioned above the white bass bass bite is getting very good. I fished two afternoons this week and have found schooling and feeding fish in 30 - 40 feet of water. I have been vertical jigging with a 3/4 ounce to 1 ounce spoon. When I find them schooled and in a feeding frenzy the color of spoon doesn't seem to matter. Last evening they were hitting the spoon on the fall. You have to be ready to set the hook as soon as you feel the fish attack the bait. I have been using my standard green or chartreuse and white spoon and also a blue and silver spoon. I have found the fish on flats in the mouths of coves. You will also find them on main lake flats from 30 - 50 feet. Electronics are sure nice in the search for the fish. The bite has seemed to stop as soon as the sun gets below the trees. I ended up landed 8 whites between 5 and 6PM. It was pretty windy so each time I caught a fish I would be blown off of my spot and then have to locate the fish again. It sure would be nice to have the wireless trolling motor with the anchor button on it. Some day! In with the whites are hybrids and striped bass. I caught a 20 inch striper last evening and released it to grow bigger.

The crappie bite has also improved. I have had the best luck on the bigger fish in the mornings. I find the fish in brush that is 30 - 45 feet deep. I have been using a 1/4 ounce white spoon. The crappie have been inside of the brush so you do get snagged up a lot, but if you just quickly twitch the spoon it typically frees up.

Smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass are getting aggressive. They are starting to move back to the banks to feed with this cooler water, but I have found the bigger largemouth out in deeper water, 35 - 50 feet down. I have vertical jigged up bass and have also gotten them on live bait when I am striper fishing. The bigger boys have been hitting my large gizzard shad with a vengeance. Rogue fishing slowed for me last week with the rise in the water temps, but this week it started to pick up again with the cold front that rolled though our area. As the water continues to cool the bass will be on the banks more and more. I have thrown my jig & pig a little and usually pick up a few smallies. I find the smallmouth on rocky bluff line points.

Catfishing is also picking up. I landed this nice 13.5 flat head on a 1/4 ounce spoon with 4 pound test. It was a good fight, but I finally won the battle. I was checking out some new areas off of bluff line points spooning in 45 feet of water when this guy engulfed the bait then the up and down battle began. The rod was doubled over and I thought it was going to break. Jug fishing is also picking up some very nice fish.
This time of year I vertical jig quite a bit. It is fun because you never know what type of fish you are going to catch. All species will hit the bait.
Again as the water cools the night bite will start. Striped bass, hybrid bass and walleye will be in very shallow water off of points that have flats off of them with deep water nearby. I use a Smithwick Rogue for this type of fishing. Cast your bait as close to the rocks as possible then reel back to the boat very very slowly and hang on. I will start to test those waters this week after dark.
Norfork Lake's level is falling slowing a currently sits at 543.77. The surface water temperature is around 63 degrees. The main lake is clear and the creeks and covers are somewhat stained. Partial generation is sporadic, but generation has increased with the cooler nights.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake is shaping up to be a great place for fall fishing. The lake temperature has dropped into the upper 60's. The lake appears to have turned-over or at least the thermocline has dropped to 50 - 60 feet. The lake is clearing up. Top water action is starting. Fish are starting to feed in very shallow water. Fish are moving back onto brush piles. These are all typical signs of the beginning of the fall bite and the top water action really excites me! Over the last couple of weeks the stripers have been very hard to find and today I have found out why. They have started their fall move to the mid and upper portions of the lake. I was in the mid lake area this morning vertical jigging off of a main lake point in 35 feet of water. I had landed a nice walleye and several nice bass off of this point when I started to hear a lot of splashing going on. I looked out over the lake and saw one of my favorite fishing sights, striped bass were jumping out of the water all over the place. They kept coming closer to me and I picked up my spook rod and started to cast and walk-the-dog back to the boat. The spook got slammed several times and each fish missed then all of sudden another strike, I set the hook and off to the races we went. Ten minutes later I landed the above 14 pound striper. I quickly got my spook out of the fishes mouth and casted again. A second fish hammered it and off it ran. This fish was giving a good fight and I finally was making headway. I bent down to get the first striper out of the net and I must have given the fish a little slack and it came off:( I know better.) By this time the top water action had stopped and the fish were gone.There were hundreds of fish in this school making this a great sign of future fishing fun. I sure hope it keeps up and gets better. I could have been spooning as well as casting a spook. When I looked at the graph it showed all kinds of fish feeding under the boat.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing is also improving daily. Fish can be caught in a variety of methods. I have been vertical jigging a spoon in 25 - 40 feet of water, throwing a jig & pig, and have started to cast a suspending rogue. I have been catching most of the fish off of the jig & pig. These fish are anywhere from on the shore to 25 feet deep. Jerk bait fishing (I use a rouge) is starting to heat up. I landed three nice spotted bass on a rogue yesterday morning. I have been working the bait as a jerk bait, by this I mean: I cast the bait to the shore, let it sit for a few seconds and give it a couple quick jerks, stop and let it sit, then give it a couple more jerks. I continue this method back to the boat. Live bait will also work, worms, shiners, shad and crawdad are all good live bait choices. I have mainly been concentrating on bluffs lines and points of the bluff lines. I have not really checked back in the major creeks, but secondary points in the creeks should be holding fish.

I have found walleye on the same rocky points as the bass. I caught all my walleye with a spoon vertical jigging in 30 - 40 feet of water.

Crappie are starting to move back onto brush piles that are in 20 - 40 feet of water. Vertical jigging a small spoon, casting a grub tipped with a minnow or just a minnow with a slip bobber will do the trick. Main lake brush has been the better areas, but keep checking the major creek brush, they will be on them soon. The fish will vary their depths depending on the time of day and how much sun light there is. Keep changing your depths until you find the fish.

Catfish are still hitting trotlines and jugs baited with live minnows. Guests are catching some nice fish while floating with crawlers on the bottom.

The Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 544.29. The surface water temperature is also falling and was at 68 - 69 degrees this morning. The lake is becoming clearer with a slight stain back in the creeks and coves.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report



Whether you are fishing in the spring, summer, fall or winter, Norfork Lake offers plenty of different fish species to entice any angler. Fishing methods may change depending on the time of year and fishing depths are also be a key factor. When you are new to Norfork Lake it is always advisable to take a guide out to help learn the lake. If that is not possible talk to your resort owner or one of the local tackle shop owners for helpful tips on the current methods of fishing. We are almost at the end of the summer fishing season and are going into the fall cooler water fishing. Techniques for successful fishing have already started to change and will continue to change over the next couple of weeks as the lake continues to cool.
With the cooler water temperature it appears the fish are starting to head to underwater brush. This is a typical fall occurrence. Over the last couple of days I have worked several of my brush piles and have found some nice bass. A couple days ago one of my guests who was fishing with me used a wiggle wart to catch a nice 15 inch crappie by going across the tops of the brush. I have also spooned up a couple of walleye, but both were undersized. Brush pile fishing will continue to improve as the water cools. Catching the crappie was a really good sign.
Since my last report on 9/15/12 the black bass bite has been improving. I have had and still have guests that only fish for black bass. All have found fish in 20 - 30 feet of water and they have been working the bottom. Baits of choose have been Texas rigged lizards and crawlers in green pumpkin and strawberry red colors and pig and jigs using pork chunks instead of plastics. They have been working bluff lines and the points off of bluff lines. I have been favoring vertical jigging with a spoon and so far color has not made a big difference. I tend to use white and green or just white as my primary go to colors. Yesterday I was using a blue and silver that worked really well. Top water bass fishing has been starting to get better and better. Last week I found good top water action back in the Bennett's area and yesterday in the Cranfield area. Most of the top water bass are on the small size, but you can have a lot of fun catching many fish on a Zara Spook Jr. I also caught a couple of nice largemouth bass on a green crawdad colored Wiggle Wart. Yesterday was a fantastic day of fishing. The fish were biting on just about anything I threw at them. I have mainly been fishing off of bluff line points and I have started to go half way back into major creeks and fish points.
I got into a huge school of white bass. I was sitting in 50 - 60 feet of water off of a main lake bluff line point and the fish were in a feeding frenzy from 20 - 50 feet down. I was dropping a spoon through the school and they were hitting it on the fall. The bite lasted about 30 - 45 minutes then I lost the school. I actually found the fish by accident. I was throwing my spook at some top water fish and I glanced down at my fish finder and saw the school. It sure helps having electronics. I am spoiled! The schooling whites is another exciting sign of fall fishing.
The striped bass bite has been really erratic all summer long. One day the bite is great and the next the bite would be non existent. Currently stripers are being caught in the Dam area roaming in the deep water channel. I fished a couple of days last week and caught a 12 and 13 pounder, one each day. I found the fish in 165 feet of water and they were suspended 35 - 40 feet down. It will not be long until the stripers start to move up to the mid lake area. I think we will need the water temperature to drop a few degrees, but it should happen in the next week or so.

Catfish are hitting crawlers in 20 - 30 feet of water. Trotlines and jugs are working really well using live shiners, shad or bluegill.
The current Norfork Lake water level is 544.65 and is rising very slowly. Power generation has been minimal over the last couple of days. The lake surface water temperature yesterday morning was 74.3 degrees. The thermocline has dropped to 40 - 42 feet. The lake is still stained, but is starting to clear.
I am starting to get really excited about cooler water fishing.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

I am finally able to get out on Norfork Lake and fish a little more than I have the last couple of months. This means that I will be reporting a little more frequently than what you have seen lately. The resort business has been good this year so it has been keeping me  busy. Fall business continues to be steady. This is a good thing, but I have missed being out on the lake. This past week I have been on the lake 3 times, which is still off from my 5 - 6 times a week. Today is a non-fishing day since well needed rain has come again.

I have found that the best bite on the lake is largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass. Last Wednesday I headed back into the Fouts area and found alot of top water action. The bite didn't start until around 7:30AM, but when it did the fish were erupting everywhere. I used two different baits, my favorite top water bait, the Zara Spook Jr.(white body with chartreuse head) and I also started to use a Kastmaster blade bait (silver with white hair on the treble hook). I fished for a couple of hours and landed a dozen fish. The biggest one 19 inches long. I let the Kastmaster sink a little, but still kept it close to the surface. The fish would hit this bait no matter how I retrieved it. There were alot of small fish but it was really fun. I think I would have hooked up more if I had down sized my spook to a puppy. Thursday I headed up river a little and fished Stewart Point looking for walleye. I was dragging a crawler harness, but only caught 2 short fish. I switched to vertical jigging a spoon and found some nice sized bass. I found fish in 30 - 35 feet of water on the bottom, off of bluff side rocky points. I should have landed five  4 - 5 pound largemouth bass, but I guess I have forgotten how to land a fish with a spoon. Every time I hooked a fish I managed to get it up to the boat, then when I tried to lip the fish it would give a nice tail dance and spit the hook out, or when it got to the surface it would give a big head shake and there goes the hook. When the fifth fish did the same and swam off I just started to laugh and shake my head. I guess I need to practice much more. Yesterday was more of the same, I started on points up river and also headed back into the Cranfield area and worked rocky points with a spoon. Same results, I hooked up some very nice fish but they would get their freedom quicker than I really wanted them too! I was always planning to catch and release, but I did want a few photos! I have a guest who is strictly bass fishing and he has been landing many fish using soft plastics. Tony has been casting worms and lizards. Most of his success has been to stay in around 20 feet of water with his boat, cast parallel to the shore then bring the bait slowly back to the boat along the bottom. He has been catching smallmouth bass on the lizard and largemouth bass on the worm.

I haven't fshed for striped bass for a couple of weeks, but from what I hear, things have not changed much over this time. The biggest change is that they have gone just a little deeper, Look in the 30 - 40 feet water depths, both on the main lake points on the bottom as well as suspended in the deep water. When you are looking for the fish in deep water concentrate on the old river channel. Trollers are still catching fish, but you must get your baits down. Live bait fisherman are also catching fish by using the larger gizzard shad (5 - 7 inch) as bait.

Catfish are being caught by pole fishing using nightcrawlers and also on jugs and trotlines. I am seeing many nice 4 - 7 pound fish coming into our dock.

As the water cools crappie will start to migrate back to the brush piles in the 30 feet deep range. Keep checking the brush it will not be long.

The Norfork Lake level is holding fairly steady and sits at 544.74. There has been very little power generation over the last couple of days. The lake surface water temperature is falling slowly and is in the upper 70's to very low 80's. The water clarity is still very stained, but I am starting to see a little clearing.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

25 pound striped bass caught 7/6/12
14 pound striped bass caught 8/1/12

18 pound striped bass caught 8/29/12

Summer fishing on Norfork Lake has been challenging at times, but some big fish were caught. The warm weather with little rain kept the thermocline at about 30 feet of water and most fish are at 0 - 30 feet. This should make fishing easier, you would think, but finding where the fish are feeding has been the challenge. I have found them on the bottom, but most recently I have found them in 130 - 165 ft of water. That is a lot of water to cover! When I have been able to get out fishing, I have fished the early mornings. At times I have caught fish right before light, but most recently I haven't caught a striper until around 9AM or later. Is the bite becoming later in the day? This is another challenge. This is what makes fishing so much fun, yet sometimes frustrating with the ever changing feeding habits of stripers. I have been using 4 - 6 inch gizzard shad that were netted in very shallow water way back in the backs of creeks where the water gets muddy. I use a 2 ounce trolling weight with swivels on both sides and then attach a 4 - 6 foot leader with a #1 or #2 size kahle hook. I set the bait around 28 feet when I find bait fish and start marking a few big arcs. Troller fishermen have been doing well, and on occasion are doing much better than live bait fishermen. The trick to trolling for striper is to get the bait to the correct depth. There are several methods of doing this; using lead core line, using in-line weights with a lot of line let out, and the easiest method if you have them is to use down riggers. Hair jigs and larger crank baits have been working. Chartreuse and white colored hair jigs have been the color of choice.

Norfork Lake White bass
Kentucky bass and largemouth bass
Walleye, Kentucky and largemouth.
I have also been bass and walleye fishing several times since my last report. I have done very well part of the time and OK the other times. I have been finding bass on main lake points and also midway back in creeks on points where the channel swings in close to shore. Again these fish are in 0 - 30 ft of water. Right at sun rise I have been finding some top water action and using a Zara Spook Jr has caught some nice fish. Most often though, I find the fish on the bottom in 25 - 30 ft of water and vertical jigging with a spoon has produced some nice fish. Throwing a jig and pig or plastics worked slowly along the bottom will also catch some good fish.
Over the past month I have also been learning how to fish with nightcrawler harnesses with a bottom bouncing weight. The challenge for me is to find the right speed to drag the bait and the the amount of weight to use. The first time out I drifted very slowly along a shoreline using a 1/2 ounce weight staying in 25 to 30 ft of water. I picked up 3 undersized walleye, two catfish, a Kentucky bass and a small striper. Yesterday I worked the bait the same way for a while and was catching bass and bluegill. I decided to move a little faster, increased the weight to 1 ounce and found that the strikes I got were much more aggressive. I ended up landing several nice size bass and one 21 inch walleye. I was fishing half way back in a major creek following the shore line in 25 - 30 ft of water.
You will also find white bass in the same locations as the bass and walleye. Spooning has been working the best for me for whites. I have found more whites when I move out into a little deeper water and they are suspended 20 - 30 down.
Norfork Lake level is currently at 545.03 and rising slowly due to rain from Isaac. The Corps is generating sporadically during the day which has dropped the lake slowly. The surface water temperature has dropped to around 82 degrees in the mornings and rises slightly in the afternoons. The water is stained, but a great fishing color.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

It has been a long time since I have written a fishing report for Norfork Lake, so I must apologize. I will try and do better. Our busiest time of year at the resort is the summer months so my free time to fish has been limited. I still try and get out on Norfork Lake a couple times a week, but that's a far cry from what I am used to. Even with all the heat most fish are biting very well. The best times to fish the lake are early in the mornings and in the evenings. After dark fishing has its benefits too. In my opinion the best bites on the lake are for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and spotted bass. The white bass  and hybrid bass bites are improving. Catfishing is picking up, the striped bass bite is hit and miss and the crappie are becoming very hard to find.

There still is quite a bit of top water action for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass early in the morning and some right at dusk. A spook is still working so have your favorite top water bait ready for action. Areas where I am finding black bass are on main lake points closest to the mouth of major creeks and along the bluff lines. Find the shad early in the morning and you will find feeding fish. As the sun comes up the bass start to go deeper. You will find them in 20 - 30 feet of water from the bottom to suspended out in deep water, but still close to the shore. Look for areas where the channel swings into the shore. I have been catching bass on live bait as well as vertical jigging with a spoon.

I am starting to find big schools of white bass back in major creeks in 23 to 50 feet of water. The schools will be solid with fish and scattered bait. Live bait will work, but vertical jigging and casting out a spoon has been working the best for me. Small spinners or blade baits should also work well. Along with the white bass will be hybrid bass and smaller striped bass. I have found some of the larger hybrid bass in 28 feet of water feeding on crawdads off of main lake points. Again, spooning and live bait have worked the best for me.

Striped bass have been very difficult for me to find and when I do find them they don't seem to want my flavor of bait.  I have found some very large schools of stripers out in deep water and also in shallow water at 30 feet. It seems that the shallow stripers are starting to move out to deeper water. I will start to concentrate my hunt to deeper water and hopefully I will start to find feeding fish in these locations. It is becoming that time of the season when the stripers start to move to 40 - 80 feet of water and they will usually be found on the bottom.

The crappie bite has also slowed which is not unusual for July and August. I have had several guests bring in several nice size crappie caught with live minnows around the bridges and also trolling back in creeks with a small jointed Rapala.

Last evening one of our guests brought Linda and me a plate of bacon wrapped fish with some really nice tasting seasonings. They cooked the fish on a charcoal grill. It was some of the best tasting fish we have ever had. I will get the recipe and pass it along in our website's blog. It is definitely a must try meal!!

Norfork Lake level is resting at 549.24 which is a little less than 3 feet under normal pool of 552. There has been some generation each day, but minimal. The lake surface water temperature is still holding in the mid to up 80's. The cooler evening temperatures have been offsetting the extremely hot day time temps. The lake is still stained, but you can see it trying to clear.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake fishing is in a transition period with fish going from their spring pattern to their summer time pattern. This basically means fish are moving to deeper cooler water. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, crappie and walleye have moved out to 20 - 28 feet depths and the striped bass have moved even deeper. This doesn't mean fishing is harder, it just means you just need to change your fishing tactics. In fact, warm weather fishing is often easier as some species start to school up.

The striped bass bite has started to get very good. I am finding large schools of fish in 30 - 50 feet of water and on occasion they will be suspended in 100+ feet of water. This is the time of year that a good graph is very helpful in locating fish. I rely on my Lowrance HD unit heavily. Typically if I don't mark fish I end up moving to a different location until I mark fish then the fun begins trying to get them to eat. I have been out striper fishing for the last three mornings with success. This AM was the slowest day for me as I only landed one 15 pound fish and lost two other. I guess I am getting spoiled when I say "I only caught one 15 pound fish"! Yesterday I caught several in the 10 pound range and Friday AM caught fish with the big one being 20 pounds. I have been using live shad, but large shiners will also work. I am finding stripers along bluff lines close to a point. Concentrate on main lake points as the stripers still have not moved back into the creeks, at least I have not been able to locate them in the creeks. Also big flats are holding fish. They are located 35 to 40 feet down in 35 to 50+ feet of water. Find the bait fish and the stripers will be under shallower bait and on top of or inside of the deeper bait. This is also when vertical jigging a spoon starts to work. When you find fish free fall the spoon through the fish then reel up to the depth they are located. Jig the spoon up and down (I find being erratic with the jigging works for me) a few times then reel up and start over. If you like trolling try trolling the new Alabama rig, but you will need to get the bait down to around 30 feet of water. Let out a couple hundred feet of line and you may also need to add in-line weights. Lead core line will work to get you down as will a down rigger. With all the above talk about deeper fish, I did get into topwater stripers several times yesterday morning, but each time I went for my rod with a spook, one or two of my down poles would take off.

Smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass are in the 20 - 28 feet range of water typically hugging the bottom. I have caught fish on the banks throwing a Wiggle Wart, but all the fish I have caught this way have been small. The bigger bass have moved out to deeper water. I am finding  bass in similar locations as the stripers, but closer to the shore. Main lake points are still the best and if they have brush on them even better. Jig and Pigs, swimming minnows, grubs and other plastics are good choices at this tme, work back to the boat slowly along the bottom. Of course if you like using live bait, your numbers of fish caught should increase. Some topwater action is still occurring early in the mornings.
Walleye are in the same locations as the bass, main lake points. Slow trolling or drifting a nightcrawler harness is producing nice fish. Leaches will also work very well. I am being told that using leaches in Norfork Lake is OK per the Game and Fish. This is a change from what I have been told in the past. You might want to double check with the Game and Fish for yourself before using them.

Crappie are around brush that is in 25 feet or shallower water. They are continually moving to different depths and locations around the brush. You will need to test depths, whether they are on top of the brush, inside of the brush or outside of the brush. Slip bobbers using a jig tipped with a minnow or just a minnow is working well. Some of our guests fished with both Harvey Hall and Jay Smith on Friday and had a great time. They all caught many nice slabs. Hopefully I will have photos soon.

Catfish are doing really well on jugs and trotlines baited with live shiners. I saw several very large fish come into the dock this week that were caught on crank baits and jig and pigs. All were flatheads.

The Norfork Lake level has fallen to 551.2 since my last report, but has been very stable for the last several days. Sporadic power generation is occurring, but minimal. The lake surface water temperature has fallen a few degrees over the last couple of day. I was geting75 - 77 degree temps this AM. in the main lake. Creeks and coves will be warmer. The lake is still stained, but seems to be trying to clear.

If you are Facebook followers you can get up to date fish catches from me and our guests with some fishing info, so log into Facebook for Hummingbird Hideaway Resort and like us.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Spring fishing on Norfork Lake has been good for the last week and the weather has been even better. The best bite, in my opinion, on Norfork Lake is largemouth and spotted (kentucky) bass. Second is striped bass fishing. Bluegills, crappie, walleye, white bass and catfish are coming in on a regular basis.
I have seen many 2.5 - 5 pound largemouth bass and very large k
Kentuckies coming into the dock. Kentuckies are a very good eating fish and makes a great fish taco. Live bait, either large shiners or shad, are the best baits to use to get numbers of fish, but artificial baits are also working. I have been finding the black bass in  2- 27 feet of water on main lake points. At sunrise and sunset you will see some top water action so keep your favorite topwater bait ready for action at all times. My favorite color lure is a white body and a chartreuse head in the Zara Spook Jr. size. Clear and bone colors also work very well. I am sure other colors will also work, but I just haven't tried them. Other baits that have been working are jig & pigs, plastic worms and crawdads, spinner baits on windier days and some crank baits. Bass are feeding heavily on crawdads so this should help on you color selection.

Things have not changed much on the striped bass fishing. Fish are being found on main lake points in 25 - 40 feet of water. In the very early part of the mornings you may find them right on the bank. The problem is that one day the fish are on a point but the next day they are gone. You do have to do a lot of moving around until you locate the fish. I have mainly been using live shad, but several of my guests have caught stripers on big shiners. The umbrella rig or Alabama rigs are also working very well. Most of my guests that are fishing with these rigs are trolling them at a slow speed. You need to stay in 20 - 40 feet of water and make sure they are getting down to about 10 - 15feet. The stripers are still scattered all over the main lake. I am fishing main lake points and large flats in about 25 feet of water. Very soon the stripers should start to move back in the creeks, so keep checking.
Catfishing with jugs and trotlines are producing many nice fish. Every morning I see jugs bobbing up and down all over the lake.

Crappie are being caught over brush piles that are in 20 - 30 feet of water. The fish will be suspended so keep changing your depths until you find the level they are feeding at. Live minnows and jigs tipped with a minnow are working well.  If you can find some timber that is sticking up out of the water, check it out for crappie.
I don't have a lot of information on walleye, but I have caught several in the same locations as the bass and stripers. They should also be on the shallow flats so start dragging a crawler harness to pick up a few tasty meals.

Norfork Lake level is at normal pool of 552.01. Sporadic power generation is occurring to maintain this level. The surface water temperature is in the mid to upper 70's. The main lake is starting to look a little clearer, but the creeks and coves are still stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Fishing on Norfork Lake is getting better and better every day. The best part of all of it is the weather, it has been in the 70's during the day and 50's at night. It is really hard to ask for nicer fishing weather than what we are currently having. I have been doing really well on the lake as have our guests. All species are being caught on a regular basis. Undoubtedly the best bite on the lake is the largemouth and spotted bass bite. In second place is the striper and hybrid bite. Catfish are not far behind. Crappie, bluegill, white bass, walleye are all being caught.

I fished this morning and had a really good day. I landed a 16 pound striper, two 8 pound hybrids, broke off another big fish and missed one other. My break-off was the fisherman's fault, I noticed too late that my line was wrapped around the tip of my rod. Boy did it make some noise when the line snapped. I also caught 8 largemouth and spotted bass and missed numerous others. Today I strictly fished with live shad. There was a little top water action, but they only came up when I was fighting a fish. Figures!! I am finding stripers and hybrids on main lake points in 10 - 50 feet of water. I also look for points that have the deep channel close by. The stripers seem to like the deep water near as easy escape. The hybrids are feeding on crawdads so you will find them closer to the bottom. The stripers are still hitting free swimming baits. I have been
pitching the bait close to shore then letting it sit for a while. I then pull the bait off of the shoreline using my trolling motor. I have gotten many hits when the baits starts to move away. I am also placing a small split shot about 2 feet up from the hook and dragging it slowly across the point in 25 - 40 feet of water. The hybrids and bass are feeding on the bottom so I am picking up fish with both methods. If you can't get or keep shad, larger brooder shiners are the next best bait. Bass just love them and stripers and hybrids will also hit the shiners.

Smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass are in the same areas as the stripers and hybrids. It doesn't get better than this. Fish for both species in the same manner. I have also found that when the striper bite stops and they move on, the black bass start to get more aggressive. Fishing is great!

Catfish have been hitting jugs and trotlines set with live bait as well as cut bait. I have seen  many good fish coming into out dock that were caught in our cove. I still like live bait over cut bait. I typically use live shiners, shad or crawdads for catfish. I did forget to mention that the black bass are also feeding on crawdads.

Crappie are being found suspended over brush in 20 - 30 feet of water. They will be at different depths so you will need to keep testing until you start to catch fish. They tend to move higher in the water column as the sun warms the water.

Norfork Lake water level currently sits at 551.8, which is almost normal pool. Periodic power generation is occurring to maintain this normal pool level. The surface water temperature this morning was in the mid 70's. The main lake is somewhat clear, but all creeks and coves are stained. We did have a cold front roll through the area at the beginning of the week. This frontal system slowed the bite, but the weather has been stable ever since and the bite is getting strong again.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.