Thursday, April 18, 2013

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

The Norfork Lake spring fishing bite started a little slow this year, but is starting to pick up. The drastic weather changes that we have had has played havoc on the fish as well as all the fishermen & women. Winter clothes one day and the next you need shorts and a tee shirt.
Today we have a frontal system coming though that I think may be good for fishing. Very little lightening in the area with a light gentle rain. The rain should help stain up the coves and creeks making it easier to catch fish. If my dock is any indication of the numbers of fish and the size of fish, Norfork Lake is in great shape. The water is gin clear and on any day you can count over 15 largemouth bass with over half of them well over keeper size. Large crappie and numerous bluegill are swimming around under the dock. Just try your luck at catching one of the dock fish, they seem to look at you and smile!

Crappie fishing has been the most popular targeted species in the last week. I have seen many people bringing in big slabs to the dock, but not in great numbers. Crappie are currently spawning and can be found on the banks as well as shallow brush piles. Go back in the major creeks and try to find some stained water with dead wood sticking up in the shallows. The crappie will be around this dead wood. I suggest using crappie minnows on a slip float. Stay as far away from the brush as you can and cast into it and bring back to the boat slowly with slight twitches. Roadrunners and small grubs should also work in the same method. The fish are in 10 - 15ft of water and may only be down a couple of feet. After you catch a few off one brush pile the bite will seem to stop so move to the next pile. Check back in Bennett's Bayou, Pigeon & East Pigeon Creeks, Float Creek, Panther and Fall creeks. I haven't been targeting crappie, but when I go out in the late afternoon and start casting a rogue up to the banks I have caught a couple of nice slabs each time out. It is amazing to me that a 15 inch fish with attack a 5 inch bait.
Bass fishing has also been picking up, in fact it is probably the best bite on the lake at this time. All methods of fishing for bass is working. They are moving very shallow in the mornings and evenings to feed with a little top water activity. They will drop back into to 15 - 20 ft of water during the day. You can find some really nice spotted bass hiding in brush at the 30 feet level.

Catfish are starting to hit trotlines and jugs. Live shiners and small blue gill are working very well. You should find them in shallow water as their spawn is upcoming soon.

White Bass are starting to show up in the backs of creeks and coves. Find some shad and I bet there will be white bass and the smaller hybrids feeding on them.

Striper fishing has been up and down. There has been some really nice fish caught but the numbers are down for this time of year. I am still attributing this to the constant weather fluctuation turning the bite off and this should and will change very shortly. I have mainly been fishing in the late afternoon and after dark. Two nights ago I was fishing with one of my guests back in Bennett's and noticed a fish coming after some bait. We both switched from a rogue to a spook and started casting in all directions. On one cast Grant had his bait almost back to the boat when a huge eruption occurred and the fish missed, but in a blink of an eye the fish slammed the bait again and inhaled the spook. Grant had a great fight in catching his largest striper in 30 + years of fishing Norfork Lake with a nice 20+ pound fish. After that, the bite was slow with us only catching a nice 15 inch crappie. Yesterday, one of our guests saw a little swirl back in a small cove and casted a Rattle Trap at it. As soon as the bait hit the water the fish took off. He tried to slow down the fish with no luck and it finally spooled him. Bruce has since gone out and got a reel that holds more 8 pound test line than his other one. Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters and Russ Breckenridge has fished a few of our guests and have landed some nice fish. I have also fished in the Cranfield area after dark and have been catching medium size hybrids. The fish are still scattered from Cranfield, Bennett's to Big Creek. Find bait and you should find the stripers. They should start to move out of the creeks shortly as the shad seems to be spawning and will move out after the spawn. Start looking for stripers on secondary points in the creeks. Spooks, rogues and flukes are all good baits at this time of year cast into the bank.

Norfork Lake level is staying fairly stable with slight fluctuations due to intermittent power generation and currently sits at 553.61. The currently normal pool has risen to 553.8 due to minimum flow being enacted. The surface water temperature is in the low 60's up at my end of the lake to the high 60's back in the creeks and slightly cooler at the south end of the lake. The main lake and most coves are gin clear. Some staining may occur with the rain we had today.

Don't forget about the Norfork Lake 2013 Fishing Derby that is currently going on until May 31st. You could win $500 for the longest fish in each of 5 different categories. When checking into your resort ask them about the derby and how to enter. The cost is only $20 per species. So far all species are wide open with no monsters being measured in. The winner could be you!

Some other lake news is that Cranfield Marina will be shooting off fireworks over the lake again this Memorial Day week end. Mark your calendars for the evening of May 25th. They will be held just south of the marina and only minutes from our resort. Last years fireworks were fantastic and they have told me this year will be even better. Give us a call for your Memorial weekend reservations while we still have a few openings

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

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