Monday, December 10, 2012

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

There has been a lot of change to the fishing patterns on Norfork Lake since my last report. Fish are starting to move to their winter patterns and locations. The lake has cooled to the mid 50's which will make the fish more sluggish so you will need to consider that when you fish Norfork Lake. With cold clear water fishing you will still need to use clear, green or vanishing lines in 8 to 10 pound test for stripers and 4 pound for everything else. You need to slow your retrieval methods and presentations whether you are vertical jigging or casting. I am still using monofiliment line.

Largemouth and spotted bass have moved closer to the shoreline. I have caught a few nice fish on jerk baits and crawdad colored wiggle warts, but most of the bigger fish have come from vertical jigging in 35 - 42 feet of water. A lot of you may still feel this is deep water, but the big fish were in 50 plus feet of water not long
ago. I have noticed a few suspended bass, so when you find them throw a swim bait and get it down to their depth. The bigger bass have come from vertical jigging a spoon on the bottom. I have been using a 1 ounce to a 1/4 ounce spoon depending on water depth and the amount of bait in the area. The 1 ounce spoon seems to be working the best at the 40 feet level, but I have been using the 1/4 ounce more and more lately. The bass have also moved into and around brush piles. I have caught most fish off of bluff lines that have a secondary point (small cuts in the bluff line forming points), or at the end of the bluff line where a cove or creek begins. If there is brush in the area even better. I have found nice fish both on the main lake and also back in the major creeks.

Striped bass have also started to move more to their normal winter patterns. They have started to school and feed on small shad. I have caught stripers on both live shiners as well as a 1 ounce spoon. When I have found the fish schooling the spoon works the best. The schools have been suspended from 20 - 40 feet in 50 - 60 feet of water. I have caught stripers in the Red Bank and Float Creek areas, in or close to the channel. Other normal winter haunts for striped bass will be in the Cranfield area, Henderson area, Bidwell, 101 area and the Bennett area.
.The big Crappie are starting to move into brush in 30 - 40 feet of water. They may be suspended over the brush or inside of the brush. A lot of times it depends on the time of day and whether or not the sun is shining brightly. I have caught most of my fish vertical jigging with a small spoon around brush in 40 feet of water. Small grubs tipped with a small minnow, as well as minnows on a split bobber will work. We will start to see bigger schools of crappie in the brush. You still will need to work several brush piles because as normal, after you catch a few fish on on brush pile they seem to stop biting. When they stop biting move to other brushy areas and then come back to your first brush pile.
Walleye have also moved into shallow water areas, especially early mornings and late evenings. Vertical jigging has worked for me, but slow trolling a crawler harness will also do the trick. You will find walleye in the same brush areas that you are fishing for crappie. It will not be long until the walleye start their spawn. If you like fishing for walleye, up north around the Arkansas - Missouri border is a great place to fish for pre spawn and spawning fish.
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 for all Norfork Lake species almost every day. We have very affordable pricing with clean and comfortable cabins that your wife and friends will enjoy. I will show you my favorite 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.
The Norfork Lake level is dropping about an inch a day and currently sits at 541.58. They seem to generate about 1/2 of the day in 2 - 4 hour increments. The lake surface water temperature is in the mid 50's. The main lake is clear with the creeks and coves slightly stained.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.