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.