Saturday, March 24, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

The weather at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort on Norfork Lake is finally back to normal. Sunny warm days and very pleasant evenings. The forecast is for great spring type weather for the next week and so far there is no rain in the forecast. We had about 6 inches of rain earlier in the week which has brought the lake up about 10 feet. This level works out just fine, all launch ramps on the lake and boat docks are in normal operating mode. You just don't need to walk down any stairs from our parking lot to the boat dock. We have a large parking lot next to our dock to make it easy-on and easy-off. Our concrete launching ramp next to our dock is in good shape.

"You should have been here last weekend", I guess you all have heard that before. But last Sunday and Monday were very good fishing days. The crappie were up in 10 or less feet of water along with the spotted and largemouth bass. One of our guests was trolling a crawdad colored #7 shad rap at about 1 to 1.5 mph speed. The photo above shows some of the fish they caught. Look at the size of thoses crappie! I caught several crappie on a 5 inch rogue, while I was night fishing for stripers. This was also in 10 or less feet of water. The nite bite for stripers was in full swing. The bass were attacking rogues, swim baits and spinner baits. The fish were starting to break the surface and feed on shad. The spring bite was here. The quick rise in the lake level Wednesday and Thursday changed things up a little. The lake is still slowly rising, but is beginning to stabilize. The spring bite will be put on hold for a few days until the lake settles and the fish find their new feeding grounds. The fish are going to love all the new cover generated by the rise in water. I finally got to fish this morning or I guess I should say I graphed a lot of new territory. I did get several good strikes but missed all of them. Currently my suggestions are to find where the clear (or green) water meets the muddy water. Fish the clear water, the fish seem to stay in this area. During a rise in water the fish also tend to migrate back in the creeks. The muddy water should start to fall out over the next couple of days. Here is what you should expect to happen over the next few days. (1) Crappie will go back on the banks so cast grubs, road runners or small crank baits. Tip the grubs and road runners with a crappie minnow to enhance your bait. A minnow on a slip float will also work, keep trying different depths, but stay in shallow water. A few of the crappie had started to spawn, but I don't think many. They will be shallow as the lake warms again. (2) Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass will move in the brush to feed. Spinner baits seemed to be working really well today, from what I am being told by several of the bass fishermen and women staying with us. They are prefishing for a tournament being held tomorrow. Another thing to look for is flooded grass land. Over the next week or so the nightcrawlers will be crawling out of the ground and the bass with be in there feeding heavily. (3) White bass will move back into the creeks and top water action will start to erupt again. The water will need to warm up again (to the low 60's) for this to start up. (4)Stripers and hybrids will also start feeding in shallow water on mainlake and creek points that have a lot of sunken brush. Pitching live bait works great, but casting a fluke or a rogue has worked for me in the past. Find gaps in the brush and try to cast as close to the shoreline as possible. Work the artificial baits back to the boat as a jerk bait, but be erratic with your speeds, slow and fast. The night bite should take off again so get your rogues ready. (5) Catfish will start to move into shallow water to feed. If you like to jug or trotline this should be an excellent time to get out and catch some really good fish.

The Norfork Lake level currently sits at 562.12 and rising slowly. This is 10 feet above normal pool. Some generation, but minimal. The surface water temperature has fallen to 57 - 58 degrees. A drop of over 3 degrees. The mainlake is muddy from the Diamond Bay area up though the Cranfield area, I haven't heard about the dam area or farther up river. I did a lot of traveling this morning. The creeks and coves are also muddy, but the mud line is falling out of the coves and creeks. The muddy water has actually fallen out of our cove already. The whole lake should be a great green fishing color for a few weeks, then get back to the crystal clear water, which I am accustomed to.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

The Norfork Lake "night bite" is in full swing from what I experienced this evening. I ended up landing 2 stripers, 4 hybrids and a handful of largemouth and spotted bass. The photos are a sampling of what I was catching, but all fish were released.The big striper in the photo weighed in at 19.8 pounds. I fished a different part of the lake this evening and had a great time. I could hear fish breaking the surface all around me. The fish started to bite around 8PM and it didn't stop until I had to quit, I noticed it was already 10:30PM which is later than I normally fish. I didn't want to turn into a pumpkin!! The surface water temperature was in the upper 50's. I was throwing a bone/orange rogue.

This is a quick update to those that love to fish in the dark and also love catching big fish. It is time to plan your fishing trip on Norfork Lake. I caught myself smiling after landing the 20 pounder. This fish destroyed the lure, one hook was totally gone, a second hook was in the fish, but not attached to the lure and third hook was starting to bend out. This fish gave a really good fight. On another note, the whites have started their run and are being found back in the creeks.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Early spring fishing on Norfork Lake is starting to take off. Striped bass are hitting during the morning hours and the after dark "night bite" is getting exciting. Largemouth bass and walleye are in shallow water and the crappie should be staging for their spawn. What more can you ask for?

I have been fishing the "night bite" for the last 3 evenings and am catching walleye, largemouth bass, spotted bass, striped bass and the occasional gar. All fish except for the walleye have been released, some at the dock after their photo op, some at the fishing location. We had stuffed fresh Norfork Lake walleye last evening and it was really really good! Some of you may ask what is the "night bite"? The striped bass and walleye are on the shoreline feeding after dark. I have been casting Smithwick Suspending Rogues to the shoreline. I get the bait as close to the shore as possible. Then let the bait sit for about 15 - 30 seconds before I start to reel it back to the boat very very slowly. If you think you are going slow try to go even slower. I have even stopped reeling half way back to the boat to let the bait sit for a couple seconds. I typically go out around 7PM and return around 10PM to the resort. I'm sure the fish will still bite later if you want to fish though out the night. 10 PM is late enough for me. I use a 6.75 ft medium light action rod with a spinning reel which has 8 pound Ande green monofilament line. So far this year, I have been fishing main lake points that the wind is blowing into. Typically you find the wind will lay down after dark. This wasn't the case last night. I fish points in the Cranfield area, Benetts/Fout area, Bidwell area, Float Creek, and have gone as far as the Diamond Bay area. I like to venture out and try different areas of the lake. Last evening was very windy which made it very difficult to control both the boat and the cast. I did manage to land one nice 14.75 pound striper which had a belly on it bigger than mine! I also caught a 4 foot gar, no fight until it was sitting next to the boat then it decided it had enough, it flipped, cut the line and swam off with my lure! You never know what is going to hit your bait. The morning bite for stripers is also starting to take off. Jeff in the above photo landed this nice 28 pound striper yesterday morning fishing in 20 feet of water. I fully expect the topwater bite for stripers to start very soon. Have your topwater baits ready. We carry a good supply of rogues and topwater baits in our resort store at reasonable rates.
Walleye are also hitting at night. I caught this nice 20 inch fish Monday evening fishing the Cranfield area. Walleye fishing should just get better in this area soon. The fish have been spawning. The spawn should be complete soon if it isn't finished already. Walleye will start to move down river to feed heavily at night. Dragging a crawler harness works great or casting rogues up to the banks works for me. There are plenty of walleye fishing methods, use your favorite and it will work on Norfork Lake.

Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and spotted bass are all up in shallow water early and late in the day. Casting rogues, working the bait as a jerk bait is working. Any jerk bait lure, soft or hard will work. Casting the Alabama rig is also catching fish. It is more difficult to cast and work with, but it will catch fish once you find them.

I don't have much news on crappie as I have been targeting stripers lately, but they should be staging for their spawn. The water temperature is getting right and the dogwoods should start to bloom very shortly. Find brush and fish shallow.

The Norfork Lake water level is falling slowly and currently sits at 552.13 feet above sea level. This is only slightly above normal pool of 552. The Corps is generating heavily to bring the lake back to normal pool. The lake temperature is in the mid 50's. In fact, I found the water temperature would change by 3 degrees depending where I was last evening. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are starting to clear, but still a nice stained color exists.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

It seems like forever since I have been able to sit down and write up a Norfork Lake Fishing Report. I was starting to go though fishing withdrawal, but I am finally back on the lake. Fishing has really changed from my last report. The main change being that fish are starting to go into shallow water. I have been able to fish 3 days this week. The first day I spent traveling around the lake and doing a lot of graphing and looking with very little fishing. Day 2, I started out bass fishing just before sunrise. I started to throw a rogue on main lake points just outside of our cove. Largemouth and Kentucky bass were lying in wait. I began casting next to the bank and worked the bait as a jerk bait back to the boat. Most of my fish hit the bait half way back to the boat. I also started to see a lot of top water fish throughout the cove. I tried a little vertical jigging in 30 feet of water around brush with no success. I then headed back to the Bennett's area to see what the stripers were up to. I started fishing with live shiners about 30 feet deep, moved along a bluff line going between 30 and 60 feet of water and was marking plenty of fish. I ended up getting 4 hard bites, but as soon as I would get to the pole they released the bait. Today was day 3 and I decided to strictly fish for striped bass. It was a slow bite, but I finally landed this nice 15 pound Norfork Lake striped bass. I marked plenty of feeding fish, but they just seemed to ignore my bait most of the day. I was using live shiners. I did clean the striper and when I checked out what it had been eating I found it was just crammed full of small 1 inch fresh shad. I do know of several other nice sized stripers that were caught in the same general area that I was fishing. Fish have also been caught in Float and Panther creeks in the last several days. The night bite for striped bass should be taking off very shortly. I would like to see the water warm up a few degrees. This should happen very soon with the warm weather forecast.

Walleye fishing has also been really good up river. A couple of friends had a great fishing trip yesterday using with live chubs. Shiners and nightcrawlers should work as well. The walleye are in the middle of their spawn and should start moving down river very soon. The after dark rogue bite is starting to happen.

Crappie are over brush in shallow water. You will find them 5 - 20 feet down so try different depths until you locate them. Live bait has been working the best from reports that I have been getting. I was netting many nice size crappie back in the bayou in 10 feet of water while trying to find shad.

Start looking for several upcoming fishing events that will happen over the next couple of weeks. The white bass run and spawn should start to happen any time if not already. You will be able to find these fish on very shallow flats and in the backs of creeks, the smaller hybrids will also be hanging with them. The after dark bite for stripers and walleye with a slow rolling a jerk bait has already started, but will get much better once the water temperature gets closer to the mid 50's. Crappie will start to stage for their spawn. You will start to find the crappie in very shallow water along banks in coves and creeks. Look for fallen timber that is lying in the water.
This 6 pound 20 inch long trophy was born on Feb. 23, 2012. Jillian is my newest granddaughter. She is another reason for my delay in doing a fishing report. I spent several days in Texas after her birth. I had a blast playing with all 3 of my granddaughters. Jillian is definitely a keeper.

More fishing info next week as things change.

The Norfork Lake level is being held fairly stable at 551.88. The surface water temperature this morning before light was 49 in the main lake around the main lake bridges and was 51 - 52 degrees back around the 6A marker. The main lake is clear to slightly stained with the creeks and coves very stained. We have more rain in the forecast for tomorrow and several warm days to follow.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.