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.