Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake fishing patterns are starting to change a little with the cooling of water. Since my last report most of my fish were caught in deep water 50 - 60 feet down, but over the last couple of days I have seen a movement of the larger fish to shallower water. It appears fish are starting to move to their winter patterns and locations which means you will need to start to down size your baits, as well as, your fishing line and slow down your method of fishing. During the winter months I typically use 4 pound test mono for black bass, crappie and walleye. I continue to use my 8 pound test mono line for striped bass fishing.

Lately I have been fishing more in the afternoons than the mornings but the bite seems to have been about the same either time. Over the last 3 or 4 days the bass bite has started to improve for  bigger fish. I have been vertical jigging with a 1/4 ounce spoon in 18 - 30 feet of water. I am trying to stay around brush piles. Sunday afternoon I was fishing a main lake point near our resort and landed 7 bass including this 20.5 inch largemouth. The others were all Kentuckies in the 12 - 15 inch range. Saturday evening was much of the same, but walleye was the fish  in the area biting. I landed this 22 inch walleye and lost two others at the boat. My netting techniques need to improve as I lost one as I was reaching for the net and the second cut the line when I was trying to scoop him up. All of the walleye were in 18 - 25 feet of water on the bottom. I was slowing jigging a small white spoon.

Crappie still appear to be some what scattered, but are starting to show up on brush in 30 - 40 feet of water. I have caught many crappie over the last couple of weeks, and most were caught in places where I did not expect to find them. I was striper fishing about a week ago around a sunken bridge and was spooning with a 1 ounce spoon off of the edge in 60 feet of water. I was dropping my spoon in bait that were 40 feet down and caught two nice white crappie. I caught one along a bluff line in 50 feet of water. Each time I really wasn't targeting crappie, but there they were. I have picked up a few in the normal spots, in and around brush, but still the numbers have been hard to come by. But that being said in order to catch a lot of crappie you need to keep moving from brush to brush after you catch a few. They are a very skittish fish and get spooked easily. I have only been using my 1/4 ounce spoon, but live small minnows on a slip float and also a small grub tipped with a crappie minnow will work great.
Striped bass fishing has been hit and miss for most, but there have been some nice fish caught. Luke was fishing with Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters and landed these two nice stripers up north in the Calamity area. Stripers have also been caught over the last couple of weeks in the Bennett's area, White Rock area, around the 101 bridge, Red bank area and Float Creek. As you can see they are scattered all over the lake and starting to feed. They have been alluding me, but I will find them! Six inch gizzard shad have been the best bait of choice, but shiners are starting to catch a few fish. If you find a school drop a spoon in the school and I am sure you will get hammered. I have also found big schools of white bass and hybrids on the deeper flats around our resort. (Hummingbird Hideaway) I have found them in 35 - 54 feet of water. When you do find the school there will be the big whites and some nice hybrids. I have tried the night bite a few times last week with no luck. I got hit a couple of times, but could not get a good hook set. I will go out a few times this week after dark to see if they are coming in to feed. I have been fishing until about 7PM, but who knows, they may be coming into feed after that. I have become a big sissy because it sure is starting to get cold as the sun sets! Hard to stay out too late.
When you are planning your spring fishing trip on Norfork Lake don't forget about staying at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. Why stay somewhere else when you can stay at a resort that the owner actually fishes most every day. We have very affordable pricing with clean and comfortable cabins that your wife and friends will enjoy. I will give you my best spots to fish and tell you the best fishing techniques to use at the time. I even like to get your cell number so I can give you a call on the lake if I get into fish. Where else can you get this service and comfort! Give us a call for reservations at 870-492-5113.
Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 542.45. Sporadic power generation. The lake temperature yesterday was 58.5 - 60 degrees. The main lake is clear with the coves and creeks a little stained.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake's fall fishing bite is changing for the better with the cooler water temperatures. The surface temperature ranged from 62 degrees to 64.5 degrees depending on the location on the lake and the time of day. The best bite is white bass with crappie and black bass not far behind. I have been fishing almost every day and yesterday I actually fished in the morning then went back out in the afternoon. What a life, but I guess someone has to do it! I strictly fished for stripers in the morning up north, with no success, but a friend landed a 25 pounder not far from where I was fishing. The striper bite has been slow, but fish have been caught in all parts of the lake. There has been some top water action in the mornings for stripers, but you need to be in the right place at the right time. Stripers have been caught over the last couple of weeks back in the Bennett's area, 6A area, Pigeon creek, Cranfield, around the bridges and so on. These are confirmed catches so you can see the fish are scattered with some schooling, but still a lot of fish just cruising the lake. I will keep plugging away at the stripers and will eventually find a consistent bite.

 As I mentioned above the white bass bass bite is getting very good. I fished two afternoons this week and have found schooling and feeding fish in 30 - 40 feet of water. I have been vertical jigging with a 3/4 ounce to 1 ounce spoon. When I find them schooled and in a feeding frenzy the color of spoon doesn't seem to matter. Last evening they were hitting the spoon on the fall. You have to be ready to set the hook as soon as you feel the fish attack the bait. I have been using my standard green or chartreuse and white spoon and also a blue and silver spoon. I have found the fish on flats in the mouths of coves. You will also find them on main lake flats from 30 - 50 feet. Electronics are sure nice in the search for the fish. The bite has seemed to stop as soon as the sun gets below the trees. I ended up landed 8 whites between 5 and 6PM. It was pretty windy so each time I caught a fish I would be blown off of my spot and then have to locate the fish again. It sure would be nice to have the wireless trolling motor with the anchor button on it. Some day! In with the whites are hybrids and striped bass. I caught a 20 inch striper last evening and released it to grow bigger.

The crappie bite has also improved. I have had the best luck on the bigger fish in the mornings. I find the fish in brush that is 30 - 45 feet deep. I have been using a 1/4 ounce white spoon. The crappie have been inside of the brush so you do get snagged up a lot, but if you just quickly twitch the spoon it typically frees up.

Smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass are getting aggressive. They are starting to move back to the banks to feed with this cooler water, but I have found the bigger largemouth out in deeper water, 35 - 50 feet down. I have vertical jigged up bass and have also gotten them on live bait when I am striper fishing. The bigger boys have been hitting my large gizzard shad with a vengeance. Rogue fishing slowed for me last week with the rise in the water temps, but this week it started to pick up again with the cold front that rolled though our area. As the water continues to cool the bass will be on the banks more and more. I have thrown my jig & pig a little and usually pick up a few smallies. I find the smallmouth on rocky bluff line points.

Catfishing is also picking up. I landed this nice 13.5 flat head on a 1/4 ounce spoon with 4 pound test. It was a good fight, but I finally won the battle. I was checking out some new areas off of bluff line points spooning in 45 feet of water when this guy engulfed the bait then the up and down battle began. The rod was doubled over and I thought it was going to break. Jug fishing is also picking up some very nice fish.
This time of year I vertical jig quite a bit. It is fun because you never know what type of fish you are going to catch. All species will hit the bait.
Again as the water cools the night bite will start. Striped bass, hybrid bass and walleye will be in very shallow water off of points that have flats off of them with deep water nearby. I use a Smithwick Rogue for this type of fishing. Cast your bait as close to the rocks as possible then reel back to the boat very very slowly and hang on. I will start to test those waters this week after dark.
Norfork Lake's level is falling slowing a currently sits at 543.77. The surface water temperature is around 63 degrees. The main lake is clear and the creeks and covers are somewhat stained. Partial generation is sporadic, but generation has increased with the cooler nights.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.