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.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Spring time fishing on Norfork Lake has been very exciting over the last 10 days. Last week we had a large group of fishermen from the Kansas City area. They had a great time fishing for striped bass. Last week the best place for stripers was from the Diamond Bay area to the dam. This group's bait of choice was to troll the new Alabama rig baited with 3.5" swimming minnows. This method proved to be very effective. We had a lot of weather changes during the week which affected the bite, but they ended up landing some very nice stripers. The top two photos are examples of the fish caught by this group. Live bait was also working, but the Alabama rig was outfishing live bait. This is not the usual case, but last week it was. Stripers are on the move and being found at different depths.  This gives you a lot of options to check out with your electronics. I have found fish on the shoreline as well as 30 feet deep on the bottom. I have also marked fish in the channels down deep. Look for the bait fish and you may find the fish. I have caught fish and have reports of other fish being caught in the mid lake area as well as up in Bennett's and over toward Cranfield. This is a normal occurrence for spring fishing. This morning I hooked into a nice size fish, but after about 5 minutes of fight the hooks on my spook bent out and the fish escaped. Yes, I said on my Zara Spook, I have been finding top water action for black bass as well as stripers. Keep your eyes open when you're traveling in your boat. I had several fishing trips over the last week and we had a lot of fun catching hybids, stripers, walleye, smallmouth, largemouth and spots. The third and forth photos are some of the fish we caught.

Bass fishing has still been very good. I am finding largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass on main lake and secondary creek points. Early in the morning they are very shallow as well as pushing shad to the top. Caught several the last two morning  on Zara spooks. I fished with Grant this morning and caught fish on top water as well as on grubs and live bait. This  morning live bait was definitely more productive than artificial baits. But artificial baits are working, crank baits, spinner baits, jig & pigs, swimming minnows, you name it and it will more than likely catch some bass.

The crappie bite is good most days. My guests are catching a few off of my dock during the middle of the day. They fish on the lake early in the morning and in the evenings, then they get out of the sun under the dock and catch crappie and bluegills. What a life. Crappie are also being found over brush that is in 15 - 25 feet of water. The fish will be suspended over and around the brush so try different depths. Live minnows is working the best.

The Norfork Lake level is basically at normal pool 551.95. Power generation has been sporadic but is holding the lake level steady. The surface water temperature is in the up 60's to low 70's, but will be warmer in shallow water. The lake is clearing but still stained.

The fish are biting!

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.