Friday, May 17, 2013

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake fishing has been on fire since my last report on 5/8/13. Fishing was good 9 days ago and has only gotten better. I anticipate that fishing will continue to improve with top water action getting better and better. I have been using 3 main baits. A fluke or bass assassin with a 5/0 worm hook unweighted, a Heddon Zara Spook junior size and live shad. You can use large shiners if you don't have a shad tank. Rogues, or a similar type of suspending jerk bait, are working the best for walleye. The best bite has been at sunrise and at sunset. If you are fishing mid-day, you may need to go a little deeper for all species. A jig & pig has been working well for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass for one of my guests.

All species are showing up in the same areas. It is fun to go out fishing without really knowing what you are going to catch. I just love this time of our fishing year!  Fish are being found from the mouth of the major creeks to half way back into the creeks. Some fish have started to move out to the main lake points. This is still slow to happen, but it won't be long. The shad are in the buck brush possibly spawning. As I have said before, find the shad and you will find fish. I have found shad just going crazy on the shore because the fish have them cornered and are having a buffet.

This morning was no exception to prior mornings. I landed several good size bass and lost two really nice hybids. The first was lost when I was getting ready to net the fish and had the hook that was in the fish break. I have never had a spooks hook break at the barb. I guess I was placing too much pressure on the fish to get him in the boat so I could get back to fishing. The next hybrid was next to the boat still acting up, but when I reached for the net it came unhooked. I finally changed out the broken hook after this fish got away! One of my guests was in a different part of the lake and came across a huge area of water just boiling with top water fish. It was a fun morning.

Overall the best bite has been for largemouth, smallmouth & spotted bass. Striped bass and hybrid are probable the next best bite with white bass, catfish, walleye and crappie rounding out the species being caught. Look for points in the creeks with sunken brush and I bet you will find a few catchable fish.

Norfork Lake is rising very slowly and currently sits at 558.8. The surface water temperature is also rising slowly and was in the mid to upper 60's this morning. The main lake is gin clear with some of the major creeks somewhat stained.

Don't forget, on the evening of May 25th, Cranfield Marina will be shooting off fireworks over the lake. Should be a great show. It is really fun to watch fireworks out of your boat. We still have several one bedroom cabins available over the Memorial Day holiday period. If you are looking for a great place to stay give us a call at 870-492-5113.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

The spring bite for Norfork Lake fishing is getting better and better as the weather stabilizes and warms up the water. The biggest issue for the late spring bite has been the huge weather swings that we have had for the last month. Just over the last 10 days since my last report we had major weather changes. Notice in the photos what people are wearing. These are all recent photos. We get several days in the the 70's and 80's and then a cold front to reverse the benefits the warm weather was giving. Hopefully we are over the cold weather and we can get down to a seriously good bite for all species.

The bass bite is definitely the best bite on the lake at this time. I am finding bass back in the major creeks on the shallow shoreline as well as along the deep bluff sides.  Free swimming live bait has been working great, but top water action is starting to take off with Zara Spooks. Flukes, swimming minnows and rogues are all still working. The fish are active so vary your retrieval speeds as I am finding that a fast retrieval or quick jerks have been working the best for me. I have been on the lake for the last five mornings and have fished from Float Creek, Fall Creek, Panther Creek, Bennett's area and the Cranfield area and have found bass (largemouth, smallmouth & spots) just about everywhere I try to fish.
Striped bass fishing has been challenging, but as you can see from the photos I am starting to find the fish. I have been fishing at one point on and off for the last week. The fish seem to be in this spot every morning sometime between 5:30AM and 7AM. By 7AM they are gone and I have not been able to find where they go. The bite this morning was fun. I had a couple of our guests out fishing with me and we landed 7 different species of fish including two stripers. Brian and Deb, guests from Tinley Park, Illinois, found some top water hybrids back in a creek this morning and landed this nice hybrid on a spook. The hunt is what I really enjoy about fishing. Very soon the thread fin shad will start to spawn in the sunken buck brush. When this happens the stripers will be going crazy like we typically get in the spring months on main lake and creek points. Stripers are being caught all over the lake, but mainly back in the major creeks where the bait is located.

I have not done any crappie fishing, but the spawn should be complete for most of the fish. In prior years after the spawn they have been located on brush in 20 - 40 feet of water. Live bait as well as jigs will be working. The lake is clear so you will need to stay away from the brush and cast into it.
Catfishing is starting to take off. This morning we landed a nice 8 pound channel catfish. I was dragging live shad through 10 feet of water and this big cat hammered the bait. I thought we had a striper on, as much as it pulled drag.  Trout lines and jugs are starting to catch some very nice size flatheads. The cat's are gearing up for their spawn.
We also landed a nice 19.5 inch walleye in the same area. Overall fishing for all species is picking up and will only get better. Who knows the night bite may start getting active. I'll have to start thinking about getting out at night!
The Norfork Lake level is rising very slowly and currently sits at 558.5. This is a great level for fishing as the buck brush is sunken in the water and will be great cover for the young fry of all species after the spawns. The main lake is gin clear with the backs of creeks and coves somewhat stained. Surface water temperature was in the low to mid 60's.
Plan your Norfork Lake getaway now. We still have a few cabins available for Memorial week end. Fireworks will be held near Cranfield Marina on Saturday, May 25. Happy fishing and see you on the lake.