Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Norfork Lake Bass Fishing Report

Black bass fishing on Norfork Lake contiunues to be awesome this winter, along with the air temperature that is currently 65 degrees, I'm having a great winter. Amazing January weather! In the last two days I have caught over 40 largemouth and spotted bass, in just a couple of hours per morning. This morning's big fish was 5 pounds and yesterday I got a 4.5 and a 3 pounder. The high water over the last several years is starting to show its impact on the black bass and crappie population and size. I have found the best bite starts at sunrise and is lasting for me until about 10:30AM. It has been working out well since that's time to head back to the resort anyway. During this time the fish are feeding heavily on teeny tiny shad. This morning there was a lot of top water action in the cove I was fishing, but they wouldn't touch any top water bait I thew at them. I think the size was just too big. I ended up throwing a Zara Spook puppy, but even this bait is 10 times the size of what they are feeding on. All the fish I caught came from vertical jigging a white and a white/green 1/4 ounce spoon. I have also found that the spoon does not need to move quickly, slow twitches and slow falls are working the best. I have also downsized my equipment to 4 pound test on a light action spinning rod and reel. Yesterday most fish were caught in 25 - 30 feet of water and today they were a little shallower 20 - 25 feet of water. I have been fishing coves back in East Pigeon Creek that have brush near by. The bait has been thick and so has the bass. I also caught 2 walleye, but both were just a 1/2 inch under size.

All the fish that I have caught the last couple of days have been released at my dock or where I was fishing.

The Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 552.25. The Corps is generating a little more frequently causing the lake to drop slowly. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are still stained from the rain we had last week, but they are starting to clear. The Norfork Lake surface water temperature this morning was 46.5 degrees.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Norfork Lake Crappie Fishing Report

Norfork Lake has been outstanding for winter Crappie fishing. The fish are hanging around brush piles that are sitting in 25 - 35 feet of water. The crappie that I found this morning were suspended from 15 - 25 feet down and would hit almost anything I threw at them. No live bait was used just artificial. I was in the back of Float Creek where the water was really stained. The mud line has dissipated and left the water in great fishing condition. Color in the water is not normal for Norfork Lake. It is typically gin clear, but I will take this stained water when I can get it. One good reason that I like the murky water is that the fish don't get spooked as easily. You can sit on one brush pile and catch many fish without moving to another brush pile. I first started vertical jigging with a 1/8 oz. spoon (white) and caught two immediately. I decided to experiment with different tackle that I sell in our store. I switched to a Bobby Garland double silver rainbow baby shad and caught two more. I then switched out to a curly tail Roadrunner (white/chartreuse) and caught two more. I was very slowly vertical jigging the spoon and the Baby Shad and the fish hit the bait when it was motionless. They would pick it up and just start to move slowly. The hook needed to be set quickly because the bite was light. If I waited they would spit out the hook. I found this out the hard way on several bites :-( I cast the Roadrunner beyond the brush and let it sink, then retrieved slowly, then stopped to let it sink and retrieved again. With this the bites were much more aggressive, it may have to do with the spinner getting a reaction bite. I switched out to a 3/4 ounce spoon when I got into 40 feet of water and picked up several nice size spotted bass. I fished one brush pile for about an hour before the bite stopped. The crappie and bass were caught between 9 and 10AM, but I was on the lake by about 6:30AM looking for striper without much luck! I did fish the mouth of our cove first thing this morning. As I was heading out I was graphing in about 50 feet of water and marked bait and a lot of arcs. I tossed out a couple of live shiners and also started to vertical jig with a spoon. The live baits were attacked quickly by largemouth bass. I caught 3 very quickly then headed out on my quest for stripers.

The 2.5 inch + rainfall we had the other day has caused the lake to rise almost 1 1/2 feet since Wednesday. This just takes us to a little above normal pool.

The Norfork Lake level is rising and currently sits at 552.33. The surface water temperature was 46 - 47 degrees this morning. The main lake is still clear, but the creeks and coves are very stained. Generation is happening very sporadically during the day.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Norfork Lake Bass Fishing Report

The weather and the fishing on Norfork Lake has been very good. Largemouth and spotted bass fishing has been really good this winter. The fish are in their winter pattern so you will need to slow down your retrieval methods. With the colder water the fish have slowed down so you need to slow down as well. Yesterday I was using two methods to fish for bass; vertical jigging a spoon, and  throwing a 2.5 inch grub/swimming minnow. I found that after lifting the spoon off of the bottom to let it fall, most of my hits came when the spoon was on the bottom motionless for a few seconds. I then would start to pull up and the fish would be on the line. Basically I found that I had to slow down my jigging speed. I was jigging in and around brush piles in 30 - 40 feet of water and the best fish were found on both main lake and creek points. My second method of fishing was with a 2.5 inch Berkley Powerbait with a T tail with a 1/4ounce jig head. I have found this bait to be very versatile. I can work it on the bottom as if it was a worm or I can let is sink to a certain depth and retrieve slowly working it as a swimming minnow. With this bait you can fish for the bottom feeding fish as well as the bass that are suspended. I was using the T tail minnow around the same areas as I was vertical jigging. Yesterday I caught bigger fish jigging and the smaller ones came on the T tail minnow.
I caught well over 20 bass yesterday between my morning and late afternoon outings. I usually only fish once a day, but yesterday was so beautiful and warm that I had to go out again. The above photo shows the average size that I was catching, but of course there were the little guys in the mix. I have gotten reports from a few friends that they have been using wiggle warts and doing well casting along the deep bluff lines.

Today the weather has changed to lots of rain. This may be a very good thing for Norfork Lake. So far today we have had close to 2 inches of rain and have more in the forecast for this evening. The lake will be on the rise and the off color water will increase back in the creeks. One good rule of thumb is to find where the muddy water line and the clear water line meets. Fish in this area and you will find fish.

Norfork Lake has risen over 4 inches since last evening and should rise more unless generation increases a lot.The lake level currently sits at 551.37. Sporadic power generation, just a few hours at a time. The lake surface temperature was 47 - 48 degrees yesterday evening and was 46 degrees in the morning. The main lake was very clear and the creeks and coves getting clearer. This will change over the next couple of days due to the run-off.

If you like Cajun food, gumbo in particular, check out the blog on our website. Linda made seafood gumbo today with Norfork Lake striped bass. It really hit the spot. The recipe can be found at http://hummingbird-hideaway.com/

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

The black bass and crappie bite on Norfork Lake has been outstanding. Even though most people in the area hated the high water that we had in 2008 and 2011, it appears the fish in Norfork Lake benefited. It appears that the high water years have increased the population of bass and crappie and has also increased the size of the fish. This winter I have caught more big bass and big crappie on a routine basis then I have in prior years. Maybe I'm just becoming a better fisherman. (lol) I haven't fished much since my last report, but when I did get out I did well. I have had the best luck on the morning bite verses the afternoon bite, but still am catching fish both times.Today I landed this nice 6.05 pound largemouth with a white 3 inch Berkley's paddletail grub (similar to a swimming minnow). I was using a 1/4 chartreuse jig head on the grub and casting the bait toward the shore line, then working it slowly back to the boat along the bottom. This big boy hit when the bait was roughly in 25 - 30 feet of water. I thought I had a very large catfish on the line because it was fighting so hard to stay on the bottom and not come up. I also spooned up several nice bass from the bottom in 30 - 40 feet of water. Along with the grub and spoon I casted a wiggle wart and caught 4 bass, but all were undersized. Today I fished Float Creek along bluff lines and around brush piles. A week ago I fished in the Diamond Bay area and caught many bass right at sunrise. The bite lasted over an hour in one area. Photo 3 above is an example of the size of fish caught that day. I typically release all fish, but today I cleaned the Kentucky bass and two of my crappie for dinner.

Crappie have also been hitting. Today I caught 5 crappie, all in the 11 - 13 inch range and kept two to eat. I was using a 3/4 ounce spoon fishing for bass and a big crappie slammed my bait in 41 feet of water. I decided to downsize the spoon to a 1/4 ounce spoon to see if the crappie bite would improve and it did.  I was fishing in brush in 35 - 45 feet of water and the fish caught were inside of the brush. I have also caught nice crappie using a small curly tail grub as well as my Berkley's paddle tail grub. Retrieval methods that I use are to cast and slowly retrieve with stops along the way to let the baits drop and I also work the grubs vertically like the spoon.

Striper fishing has been another story. The stripers have outsmarted me for the last several weeks. It appears they have moved out to the main lake in deep water chasing shad. I usually start each of my fishing trips targeting stripers but if I can't find them in an hour or two I tend to switch to other species. That was the story today, but I will take a 6+ pound largemouth any day:-) I think all the various fronts, cold, warm then more cold and warm fronts have gotten the stripers confused. Hopefully things will stabilize this week and the striper bite will start to happen again.

Linda and I attended the Collinsville Fishing show in Collinsville, IL a week ago. We met many new fishing men and women that want to try their fishing expertise in Norfork Lake. We also welcomed the chance to renew friendships with past and current guests. Our next show will be in Tinley Park, IL (a little south of Chicago). This fishing show is held at the Tinley Park High School and is being held February 11, 12th. If your in the area stop by and say Hey.

The Norfork Lake level is fairly stable and currently sits at 551.67. The surface water temperature was 46 - 48 degrees this AM. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are still a little stained, but starting to clear. The Corp of Engineer is running generators sporadically during the day and maintaining lake level.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.