Saturday, September 29, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report



Whether you are fishing in the spring, summer, fall or winter, Norfork Lake offers plenty of different fish species to entice any angler. Fishing methods may change depending on the time of year and fishing depths are also be a key factor. When you are new to Norfork Lake it is always advisable to take a guide out to help learn the lake. If that is not possible talk to your resort owner or one of the local tackle shop owners for helpful tips on the current methods of fishing. We are almost at the end of the summer fishing season and are going into the fall cooler water fishing. Techniques for successful fishing have already started to change and will continue to change over the next couple of weeks as the lake continues to cool.
With the cooler water temperature it appears the fish are starting to head to underwater brush. This is a typical fall occurrence. Over the last couple of days I have worked several of my brush piles and have found some nice bass. A couple days ago one of my guests who was fishing with me used a wiggle wart to catch a nice 15 inch crappie by going across the tops of the brush. I have also spooned up a couple of walleye, but both were undersized. Brush pile fishing will continue to improve as the water cools. Catching the crappie was a really good sign.
Since my last report on 9/15/12 the black bass bite has been improving. I have had and still have guests that only fish for black bass. All have found fish in 20 - 30 feet of water and they have been working the bottom. Baits of choose have been Texas rigged lizards and crawlers in green pumpkin and strawberry red colors and pig and jigs using pork chunks instead of plastics. They have been working bluff lines and the points off of bluff lines. I have been favoring vertical jigging with a spoon and so far color has not made a big difference. I tend to use white and green or just white as my primary go to colors. Yesterday I was using a blue and silver that worked really well. Top water bass fishing has been starting to get better and better. Last week I found good top water action back in the Bennett's area and yesterday in the Cranfield area. Most of the top water bass are on the small size, but you can have a lot of fun catching many fish on a Zara Spook Jr. I also caught a couple of nice largemouth bass on a green crawdad colored Wiggle Wart. Yesterday was a fantastic day of fishing. The fish were biting on just about anything I threw at them. I have mainly been fishing off of bluff line points and I have started to go half way back into major creeks and fish points.
I got into a huge school of white bass. I was sitting in 50 - 60 feet of water off of a main lake bluff line point and the fish were in a feeding frenzy from 20 - 50 feet down. I was dropping a spoon through the school and they were hitting it on the fall. The bite lasted about 30 - 45 minutes then I lost the school. I actually found the fish by accident. I was throwing my spook at some top water fish and I glanced down at my fish finder and saw the school. It sure helps having electronics. I am spoiled! The schooling whites is another exciting sign of fall fishing.
The striped bass bite has been really erratic all summer long. One day the bite is great and the next the bite would be non existent. Currently stripers are being caught in the Dam area roaming in the deep water channel. I fished a couple of days last week and caught a 12 and 13 pounder, one each day. I found the fish in 165 feet of water and they were suspended 35 - 40 feet down. It will not be long until the stripers start to move up to the mid lake area. I think we will need the water temperature to drop a few degrees, but it should happen in the next week or so.

Catfish are hitting crawlers in 20 - 30 feet of water. Trotlines and jugs are working really well using live shiners, shad or bluegill.
The current Norfork Lake water level is 544.65 and is rising very slowly. Power generation has been minimal over the last couple of days. The lake surface water temperature yesterday morning was 74.3 degrees. The thermocline has dropped to 40 - 42 feet. The lake is still stained, but is starting to clear.
I am starting to get really excited about cooler water fishing.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

I am finally able to get out on Norfork Lake and fish a little more than I have the last couple of months. This means that I will be reporting a little more frequently than what you have seen lately. The resort business has been good this year so it has been keeping me  busy. Fall business continues to be steady. This is a good thing, but I have missed being out on the lake. This past week I have been on the lake 3 times, which is still off from my 5 - 6 times a week. Today is a non-fishing day since well needed rain has come again.

I have found that the best bite on the lake is largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass. Last Wednesday I headed back into the Fouts area and found alot of top water action. The bite didn't start until around 7:30AM, but when it did the fish were erupting everywhere. I used two different baits, my favorite top water bait, the Zara Spook Jr.(white body with chartreuse head) and I also started to use a Kastmaster blade bait (silver with white hair on the treble hook). I fished for a couple of hours and landed a dozen fish. The biggest one 19 inches long. I let the Kastmaster sink a little, but still kept it close to the surface. The fish would hit this bait no matter how I retrieved it. There were alot of small fish but it was really fun. I think I would have hooked up more if I had down sized my spook to a puppy. Thursday I headed up river a little and fished Stewart Point looking for walleye. I was dragging a crawler harness, but only caught 2 short fish. I switched to vertical jigging a spoon and found some nice sized bass. I found fish in 30 - 35 feet of water on the bottom, off of bluff side rocky points. I should have landed five  4 - 5 pound largemouth bass, but I guess I have forgotten how to land a fish with a spoon. Every time I hooked a fish I managed to get it up to the boat, then when I tried to lip the fish it would give a nice tail dance and spit the hook out, or when it got to the surface it would give a big head shake and there goes the hook. When the fifth fish did the same and swam off I just started to laugh and shake my head. I guess I need to practice much more. Yesterday was more of the same, I started on points up river and also headed back into the Cranfield area and worked rocky points with a spoon. Same results, I hooked up some very nice fish but they would get their freedom quicker than I really wanted them too! I was always planning to catch and release, but I did want a few photos! I have a guest who is strictly bass fishing and he has been landing many fish using soft plastics. Tony has been casting worms and lizards. Most of his success has been to stay in around 20 feet of water with his boat, cast parallel to the shore then bring the bait slowly back to the boat along the bottom. He has been catching smallmouth bass on the lizard and largemouth bass on the worm.

I haven't fshed for striped bass for a couple of weeks, but from what I hear, things have not changed much over this time. The biggest change is that they have gone just a little deeper, Look in the 30 - 40 feet water depths, both on the main lake points on the bottom as well as suspended in the deep water. When you are looking for the fish in deep water concentrate on the old river channel. Trollers are still catching fish, but you must get your baits down. Live bait fisherman are also catching fish by using the larger gizzard shad (5 - 7 inch) as bait.

Catfish are being caught by pole fishing using nightcrawlers and also on jugs and trotlines. I am seeing many nice 4 - 7 pound fish coming into our dock.

As the water cools crappie will start to migrate back to the brush piles in the 30 feet deep range. Keep checking the brush it will not be long.

The Norfork Lake level is holding fairly steady and sits at 544.74. There has been very little power generation over the last couple of days. The lake surface water temperature is falling slowly and is in the upper 70's to very low 80's. The water clarity is still very stained, but I am starting to see a little clearing.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.