Sunday, September 22, 2013

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

The fish in Norfork Lake are still in their summer pattern, but changes should start to occur over the next several weeks. (In my opinion). Norfork Lake fishing continues to be very good for striped and hybrid bass. The stripers are still 70 - 90 feet deep typically on the bottom. You may be able to find them suspended in deeper water, but still at this 70 - 90 foot level. The best location is in the dam area, but look the fish to move to the mid-lake area as the lake cools. Live bait is working the best, but trollers and spooners are catching a few good sized fish. If you're trolling you will have most luck with a down rigger in order to get your bait down to the 80 foot level. Using in-line snap-on weights are very difficult to use to get your bait down to the proper depth.

Walleye are being found in the same location and water depth as the striped bass. Yes, walleye are being caught in 85 ft of water, on the bottom, either with live bait or vertical jigging with a spoon. Look at the size of those deep water walleye in the 3rd and 4th photos. I have started to look for walleye in shallower water around brush with no success, but it won't be long.

I went looking for bass this morning. I first started vertical jigging a spoon around brush part way back in major creeks not far from Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. I caught a few 14.5 inch largemouth, but nothing much exciting. I finally moved away from brush to a hump that is surrounded by deep water. I found schooling bass in 32 feet of water chasing bait. I ended up spooning up 4 nice size largemouth in the 17 - 18 inch range and released all. They were nice size fish, but very skinny. I look for them to start feeding more and getting much more active as the lake water cools. There was also some top water action with nice size bass, but of course always a little too far away for me to cast into them. I always have my spook rod handy every time I go out fishing just in case I'm in the right spot at the right time.

Crappie fishing has been good most of the summer. Unusual, but the lake water was cooler than normal. Look for crappie in brush that is in 30 feet of water. The fish will be inside of the brush or at the top. You will need to keep working different depths until you find the feeding zone. I did catch 2 crappie this AM, but both were undersized. Use a 2 inch swimming minnow or grub with a curly tail or a paddle tail attached to a 1/16 - 1/8 ounce jig head. Tip the artificial minnow with a live crappie minnow for best results.

Catfish are also holding up in the same locations as the bass and crappie. They will be on the bottom so drop a nightcrawler or vertical jig with a spoon. I hooked into a really nice size fish this AM. I fought this fish for about 5 minutes and could see it on the graph about half way up when it came unhooked. It was not running like a striper so my bet was that it was a good sized cat. Jugs and trotlines are also catching some nice cats.

The Norfork Lake level is dropping very very slowly and currently sits at 554.9. This is basically normal pool. The Corps is generating a few hours each day causing this slight drop, but generally the lake is very stable. The surface water temperature this morning was 78.5 degrees, it will warm up slightly during the sunny afternoons. Assuming the forecast holds as it currently is look for the surface water temperatures to continue to fall. The main lake is generally clear with the creeks and coves stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake striped bass and hybrid bass fishing has been on fire the last 4 weeks. As you can see from my photos, striper fishing has been the targeted fish for our Hummingbird Hideaway Resort guests and me. The stripers can be found on the bottom in 65 to 85 feet of water in the main lake toward the dam area. You will also find them suspended 60 - 80 feet down in 100 - 150 feet. of water. There is a good bite in the morning as well as the afternoon. I have been mainly fishing two methods, live thread fin shad and vertical jigging with a spoon. Live bait has definitely been the best bite, but I usually have 4 live baits out versus one spoon, 4 times the opportunity. It has really been a blast with many doubles and triples on at the same time. Lately most of the fish that were will not swim away. If you get a floating fish make sure you pick it up and eat it for dinner. Striped bass is really good fried or baked. Once you have your limit of 3 striper/hybrid in the boat per fisherman you need to target another species or call it a day.

The next best bite on the lake is crappie. Yep I did say crappie. Very unusual for this time of year, but I guess the cooler than normal water temperature and the better than normal oxygen level and relatively shallow thermocline has made the difference. I talked with two crappie fisherman on the lake this morning and the first one had several in the boat already at 6:30AM and the next person had limited out on crappie. John, with the limit was fishing brush piles with a hair jig and finding the fish in about 25 feet of water. The crappie are ranging from 10.5 inches to 12 inches, not monsters, but respectable fish
Today I did change gears from striper fishing to try and find walleye. Ever since we had the rise in water back in early August, the walleye disappeared for me, and today was not different. No walleye, but I did run into several large schools of white bass in about 36 feet of water. The problem with these schools is that they are moving very quickly and not staying in the same location. I would spoon up 2 or 3 then lose the school. I was working main lake points in 25 - 40 feet of water. I'm hoping that when the lake stabilizes from its current fall and gets a little cooler, the walleye will move back to the brush.

I have not been bass fishing, but I did notice something very interesting this morning. I was marking many bass suspended at 20 - 25 feet deep is all depths of water. They were not on the bottom, at least where I was fishing, but hovering just above the thermocline level. Throwing a deep diving crank bait or a weighted swimming minnow should catch you some very nice fish. The arcs were good size for bass. There is also on most mornings good top water action for bass, so have your favorite top water bait handy. Today, however, was one of those days and very few fish were coming up. The bass are on main lake points as well as back in creeks off of secondary points.

The Norfork Lake water level is falling slowly and currently sits at 555.82. A foot or so above normal pool. One generator is running most of the day. The lake surface water temperature was 85 degrees this AM. The main lake is clear with the creeks and coves somewhat stained.

A quick note to all those lake loving enthusiasts. It is still summer on Norfork Lake, the water is warm, the day time temperatures are warm, and the lake is calm. There is still plenty of time to plan a little lake vacation. Our pool is open and cabins are ready for your stay. Give us a call at 870-492-5113. Priceless vacation memories made affordable at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.