Monday, June 24, 2013

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake fishing is still in its spring fishing pattern, but the fish are starting to transition to their summer fishing pattern. You may ask what in the heck am I talking about? In the spring the fish seem to migrate back into the creeks where the water is warming quicker and the bait is spawning. The fish are typically scattered and in shallow water (surface to 30 feet down) and can be right on the shore line. As the water warms in the main lake the fish start to school and move out to deeper water and into the main lake. Norfork Lake will get a thermocline and the fish will typically stay at the thermocline level and above it. Norfork Lake's current thermocline is around 30 feet, but with the warmer daytime and evening temperatures the thermocline will typically drop to around 40 feet and sometimes lower. Over the past couple of days I found fish half way back in creeks to the mouth of creeks and some fish are showing up on main lake deep flats. In my experience, this pattern change is the start of the summer fishing pattern. The above is an over simplification of spring and summer fishing, but hopefully you get the gist of the process.
Striper fishing has been really good for a lot of fishermen. Live bait fishing is working really well with larger baits working the best on the bigger fish. Gizzards in the 6 - 8 inch size are currently the best bait for the bigger strippers. Yesterday I fished with my sister-in-law and nephew and we caught a nice striper on a large gizzard shad, the hybrid on a thread fin, missed another good fish and landed a largemouth on a threadfin shad. Baiting was really tough so I only had 6 baits, but they all produced. Thread fin shad (typically smaller in size) are working great with the smaller stripers and the hybrids. As the stripers continue to school thread fin shad will become the bait of choice. With this transition to the smaller baits, vertical jigging with a spoon starts to work really well. Friday I found schooling fish around 8:30AM and they stayed in one area for about and hour and a half. I spooned up 4 stripers in the 6 - 10 pound range and lost 5 others. All fish were released except for the 10 pounder in the above photo.  I am slow to regain my jigging techniques so I loose a lot of fish. With the spoon, the fish were hitting it on the fall, so if you are not quick enough to set the hook you will not get a good hook set and lose the fish. Some fisherman are trolling umbrella/Alabama rigs. The trick to this fishing technique is to get it way behind the boat. Several hundred feet may not be far enough. The reason for this is to help get the bait deep enough and to keep your boat motor from spooking the fish. I am finding all the stripers 30 - 50 down in 50 - 100+ feet of water so how ever you are fishing you need to get your baits down to the 30 - 50 feet range. Start at 30 then go deeper as the sun comes up.
Bass fishing has also been really good. Largemoth and spotted bass are still coming up early and late in the day so have your top water bait handy. While we were striper fishing yesterday morning I notice a few fish coming up. I started throwing my clear Zara Spook and landed 4 nice largemouth bass in the 2.5 - 3.5 pound range. These fish were out in 100 feet of water, but still close to shore as the channel swings in tight on the the bluff wall where I was fishing. Crank baits and swimming minnows are also working great early and late in the day. Mid day bass will be down in deeper water 15 - 30 feet and usually concentrated around brush. Work your Texas rigged worms or Jig & Pigs slowly along the bottom in 15 - 30 ft of water.

Crappie are starting to become hard to find. With the warmer water they will typically go to deep brush and deep ledges off of the bluff lines.  You can still find some really nice crappie around docks when the bait is coming into the docks. Their feeding habits continue to change. Over the last couple of weeks my dock crappie have been caught throughout the day, but never at the same time day after day.

White bass fishing has been great when you can find the fish. They are schooling and in the same depths as the stripers. Some of the whites will still be coming up early and late in the day. Check back in creeks and also on the deeper main lake flats. They will be schooling and feeding on shad. Vertical jigging will work great once you find the whites.

I have not been walleye fishing, but June is typically one of my favorite months to fish for walleye. They will be on main lake points and flats. Drag a crawler harness along the ridges of the points from 15 feet to the thermocline or vertical jig with a spoon at the thermocline level.

Catfish are in shallow water. Trotlines and jugs are producing some really nice fish.

The Norfork Lake surface water temperature yesterday morning was 84 - 85 degrees and will continue to warm. Our air temps is forecast to be in the 90's during the day and low 70's in the evening. Can not ask for anything better. The main lake water if very clear with some creeks and coves  a little stained. The lake is dropping slowly and currently sits at 559.38, The Corp is generating power 12+ hours per day. It is estimated the lake will be back to normal summer pool of 556.8 around July 6th.

It's not too late to plan a trip to Lake Norfork this summer. Give us a call to see what we have available. 870-492-5113

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake fishing has been exciting this spring. I love living in the Arkansas Ozark Mountains. Come stay at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort and experience the fishing fun I have almost every day.
Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing has been outstanding. The numbers and the size of the bass in Norfork Lake is getting better and better, year after year. Top water action has been good at sun rise and again at sunset. I have been catching most of my bass on Zara spooks and unweighted flukes, and am finding good fish on main lake points, as well as major creek points. If the point has good sunken brush in the water try fishing it. Mid day bass fishing you will need to go a little deeper. They are moving out and going down to 18 - 30 feet of water. Find some brush at these depths and you will find some really nice fish. Try using a jig and pig, Texas rigged worms, or your favorite bait. Work the bait along the bottom. For fishing after dark, throw a black spinner bait. I expect the bass fishing to remain the same for the next couple of weeks. Keep your top water baits ready and have fun. Billy's big bass in the photo above is going to become a wall mount. It was very nice 23.5 inch fish, if I am remembering correctly.
Striped bass fishing has gone though many changes since my last report. Top water action for stripers is slowing, but has not totally stopped. I have seen several big fish chase shad on the surface the last couple of days, but they seem to stay about 20 feet farther away than I can cast. Look for this top water action on the shoreline, as well as out in deep water. The feeding frenzies can happen in any depth of water. Most stripers are being found part way back into the major creeks. A few fish are starting to show up on main lake points which is a normal occurrence this time of year. The stripers are starting to go deeper. If you are a troller or live bait fisherman you will need to fish from the surface down to 40 feet of water and maybe even deeper. The fish are at all depths. Yesterday morning I landed 2 nice stripers, both suspended at 30 feet down in 70 - 80 feet of water. The fish that I cleaned yesterday were full of crawdads. This is telling me they are feeding on the bottom so get your spoons ready. I expect to see the stripers and hybrids start to move out to the main lake points and flats. Start looking for fish in the Robinson area as well as the dam area. Striped bass, hybrids and white bass should start to school before long. They will be feeding on the bottom so if you like to vertical jig with a spoon get it ready.

Catfish are moving into shallow water to feed. Use live bait, either large shiners, nightcrawlers or small bluegills. Jugs and trotlines are working very well.

Crappie are scattered, but starting to show up on brush in 20 - 30 feet of water. They will be at all different depths, so the trick will be to find the right depth. Live minnows are working the best. Some real nice crappie are showing up under my dock in about 25 feet of water.

Overall the prediction for fishing Norfork Lake is good to very good for the next couple of weeks!

The Norfork Lake level is rising slowly and currently sits at 560.47. There has been 6 - 10 hours of power generation over the last couple of days. The water surface temperature was 75 degrees yesterday morning. The main lake is clear and back in the creeks and coves the water is somewhat stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.