Friday, January 25, 2013

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

1 of 2 - 13 pound striped bass caught 1/24/13

Hybrids caught 1/20/13
Mr. Kassel with a 19 pound striper caught 1/22/13

Chuck & Roger 19 pound big fish 1/22/13
The Winter fishing bite on Norfork Lake has been outstanding over the last couple of weeks. It is hard for me to say what is the best bite due to the fact that I have been catching so many different species. Striped bass, hybrid bass, white bass and black bass have all been equally outstanding. We have had guests staying with us and catching fish with Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters as well as catching fish on their own. Now is definitely the time to get out on the lake and do a little fishing. This has been one of the best winter bites I have seen in a long time.

I have three main areas where I have been catching striped bass and hybrid bass. (Cranfield, Henderson and 101 areas) All these areas are from 1 to 3 miles of our resort.  It is great when it only takes minutes to get to my fishing hole. I have been using live shiners and have been vertical jigging with a spoon. Both methods have been working great and have produced some really nice fish. I have been using a 1 - 3/4 ounce spoon and working it very very slowly.  Many of my fish have hit the spoon when it's motionless. This shows how slowly you need to work the spoon. The fish are in small to large schools and are suspended from 30 - 50 feet down in 60 - 100 feet of water. You need to find the bait with your graph or if you happen to see a flock of sea gulls feeding, go fish in the same area as the birds. When I am using shiners as my bait, I tie on a 2 ounce weight with a 2 - 3 foot leader and a #4 kahle hook. I fish the bait straight down from the side of the boat and sometimes put out a balloon (float) on one or two rods to get the bait away from the boat. You need to keep your bait above the bait you mark with your fish finder. Stripers will come up after your bait, but typically will not go down after it, so make sure your bait is above the fish.

Chuck & Roger with Stripers, Hybrids and largemouth bass
3 of many Largemouth and spotted bass caught 1/20/13
The largemouth and spotted bass bite has also been outstanding. Currently the best baits for black bass have been a small spoon, wiggle warts, suspending jerkbaits and 3 - 4 inch paddle tail grubs & swimming minnows. The bass are coming up in shallow water (10 - 15 feet) early and and late in the day and will drop back to 25 - 50 feet of water other times. My bait of choice lately has been a 1/4 ounce spoon. I jig the spoon right on the bottom very, very slowly. I move from 20 - 50 feet of water with my trolling motor and slowly jig the spoon along the bottom. I have been catching many 12 - 14 inch spotted bass, one after the other, in 25 - 35 feet depths. Once I get to about 40 feet of water I have been getting some nice size largemouth and the bigger spots.  The biggest fish have come on drop offs. I have only fished along deep bluff walls and close to points of coves and also the points on small cuts in the bluffs.
2 of many White bass caught 1/24/13 
Another great bite has been for white bass. I have been finding massive schools of whites in 60 - 70 feet of water. The fish have been feeding on tiny shad and you can see the feeding frenzy from 20 feet down to the bottom. Good electronics really help you find the depth of the feeding school of fish. I have been using a 1 ounce spoon and a 3/4 ounce spoon and work the bait really slow. I find the school and drop my bait right into the fish. I slightly twitch the bait and bam a white hammers it. A great thing about finding the white bass is that you have also found the stripers and hybrids. Birds have been my friend the last couple of days. I see the sea gulls feeding, I pull up under the birds and the screen will light up with fish and bait. This morning I boated over 20 whites and 3 stripers, one 10 pounds, and two were only 6 pounds along with one nice 8 pound hybrid. It was a great morning. No photos this AM as I was just catching a releasing as fast as I could. Yesterday morning was even better, I landed two 13 pound stripers and many more than 10 whites (I lost count). The whites are not the little ones, they are the big 3 + pound fat fish. It looks like they are full of eggs getting ready for the February run. I only fished for 2 hours yesterday morning. It was a cold windy, wintry day. I was a frozen fisherman with frozen rod guides.  All fish were released. It was a ton of fun though:-)

I have been having so much fun catching stripers, hybrids, whites and black bass that I haven't left enough time to see what the crappie have been doing. I guess I will check them out soon.

Watch for walleye staging for their spawn. Start looking for them from Cranfield up to Calamity. You will typically find them in 30 - 40 ft of water off of points and drop-offs.

I better shut-up. As you can tell I am pretty excited about the great fishing. I am loving it!!

The Norfork Lake water level is currently fairly stable at 540.3. The main lake is getting gin clear and the creeks and coves are also clearing up. The surface water temperature this AM was 45 - 47 degrees. Periodic power generation.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Happy New Year to all.

I have been out of town a good portion of the time since my last report. But I had fun playing with my grand kids over the holidays and already miss them. I have also missed fishing Norfork Lake and I am finally back at it. I went out several times over the last week, but today was an all around great day. First off it was 58 degrees, can't ask for anything better for a winter fishing trip, and secondly the fish were very active.

I landed a nice 20+ pound striped bass on a live shiner. I was fishing in 85 feet of water and the fish were in a line of shad 60 ft down. I had my shiners set at 44 feet and 55 feet and was able to watch the fish come out of the shad to go after my bait. I missed two other good bites and had several other light pull downs. What I did find is that I needed to set the hook as soon as I saw the rod tip start to bend toward the water. I usually wait until the rod tip almost touches the water, but today if I waited too long the fish released the bait. The stripers are in their typical winter pattern and I am finding the fish in the typical winter locations. This fish that I landed was a very strong fish, it did not run a long way, but took a dive down, then did not want to budge from its deep water depth. It was a real tug a war, but I won. Places to look for stripers are part way back in creeks such as Float Creek, in the deep river channel in the Hendersen, Bidwell, 101 and 6A areas. They should be in the Cranfield area, but I have not checked this area out yet.

I fished for stripers for a couple of hours then I decided to switch to bass. My first location was a deep water bluff line close to a point on the main lake. The spotted bass bite was non-stop. I was vertical jigging with a small 1/4 ounce spoon in 28 - 40 feet of water. I ended up culling a few fish as they kept getting bigger. The spots all ranged from 13 - 15 inches. I caught a few largemouth bass while striper fishing. They were suspended at 30 - 40 feet in 85 feet of water. I also caught 2 in the same location that I was catching all the spotted bass, but the best location that I found was near brush in 30 - 40 feet of water.

The Norfork Lake water level is currently at 540.63 and rising slowly. The lake has remain stable for the last couple of days with no power generation. The main lake is clear with the creeks and coves somewhat stained. The surface water temperature was 49 degrees.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

PS. I can't seem to get this google blog to upload photos. If you would like to see pictures of today's catch go to Hummingbird Hideaway Resort's Facebook page.