Thursday, October 31, 2013

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Happy Halloween all! Today was a Zara Spooktacular fishing day!

In my last Norfork Lake Fishing Report I mentioned that the big stripers and hybrids will move in shortly, well today I have confirmation! This morning was a day to remember. I caught 8 stripers and 4 hybrids all on a Zara Spook. Top water action galore and it lasted the whole time I was fishing. I found the fish heading back into a major creek on a shallow flat. The stripers were skyrocketing out of the water chasing shad. They were feeding on very small 1 inch shad, but had no problem hammering my Zara Spook Jr. (white with a chartreuse head). The schools of fish were roaming and feeding in 20 - 60 feet of water. When I got in deeper water I could see huge schools of fish under the boat so dropping a spoon and vertical jigging would have worked great. Get out on the lake at sunrise and if you find the fish, the top water action should last until the sun gets above the trees, but today was very overcast and lightly raining so the action lasted much longer. The same action should also occur in the afternoons around sunset time. Remember the clocks fall back 1 hour this coming Sunday. Other baits to try would be a blade bait such as a Kastsmaster or a spinner bait like a Rooster Tail. I like the blade baits a lot because you can cast them a mile. When the stripers go down start looking in the 30 - 50 feet of water, both on the bottom and also suspended in deep 100 foot channels.

Crappie have been biting pretty good lately. I have been using a 1/4 ounce jigging spoon in and around brush piles. The crappie are on the top and within the brush. What I have found is that after I catch a couple of crappie the bite stops, so all I do is move to the next brush pile and catch a couple more fish. You can limit out on nice 12 - 14 inch fish, but you do need to keep moving. Small swimming minnows and twister tail or paddle tail grubs will also work, tip them with a live minnow for better action. Live bait with a slip float will also work well. You will find the fish in 20 - 30 feet of water suspended from 6 to 25 feet down.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are starting to move in to shallower water. I have caught some nice spots in the brush piles while crappie fishing. Today I found the largemouth bass along a deep water bluff line chasing shad on the surface. My Zara Spook did the trick. Once they go down try using crawdad colored crank baits or one of my favorites, a jig and pig. The after dark bite has been the better bite for bass lately.

The bigger white bass are starting to show up in similar areas as the stripers and hybrids. I got into some top water action a few evenings ago in a deep water channel close to the shoreline. I found several schools of fish that would erupt for a few minutes then go back down to erupt again in a different location in the same general area. I have also found them on a big flat in 30 - 40 feet of water. Early morning or late afternoons have been the best fishing times for me.

Walleye fishing ?? at this time. They should start to show up in shallow water once the water cools a little more.

It is looking to be a very good fall fishing season, so make your plans to get out on the lake and if you need a place to stay give Hummingbird Hideaway Resort a call 870-492-5113 and book a room. I will give you all the fishing information you need to help make it a successful fishing trip. The fall leaf color this year is also one of the best I have seen in years. Pretty scenery and good fishing, what more can you ask for!

The Norfork Lake water temperature was 67 degrees this morning and holding steady until the next cold front rolls through. The lake level is currently at 552.53 and is dropping very very slowly with slight power generation and small minimum flow releases. There has been a slight increase in the lake level today due the rain. The main lake is clear with the creeks and cove somewhat stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake fishing has finally started to go into its fall fishing pattern. The Striper Bass and Hybrid Bass are moving to the mid (near Hummingbird Hideaway Resort) and upper portions of the lake and they have finally come up from their 80 foot depth dormancy. The lake is cooling and it appears the lake has, or is in the process of turning over.

Over the last couple of weeks striper fishing has been slow to say the least, but that is starting to change. In the past several days I have found stripers and hybrids in the mid lake area 35 - 50 feet down, either on the bottom or suspended in deeper water. I am not marking schools of fish, but see several fish at a time and they are starting to become aggressive. The last striper I caught that was lying on the bottom in 90 feet of water, came up to the boat without any fight, but the fish I have caught over the last couple of days have hammered the baits and have given great fights pulling out drag continuously. They have become rejuvenated:-) I have been fishing with live shad set at 35 - 40 feet down and moving around slowly. Trolling for stripers will become very productive as it is much easier to get your bait down to the 40 feet level. Trollers can use down-riggers or snap on weights to get to the proper depth. Vertical jigging may still be a little more difficult as the fish are still scattered and not schooled up. This is not to say you can not catch a striper jigging a spoon or some other similar bait.

Most other fish species that my guests and I have found are in shallower water and typically close to sunken brush piles. Concentrate on brush in 25 - 35 ft of water and the fish can be at any depth close by the brush. Crappie fishing has been fair to good over brush with a small 1/16 ounce jig , 1/4 ounce spoon or a small minnow with a slip bobber worked around and in the brush. Crappie, bluegills, walleye and catfish are all in this similar area. I landed this 25 pound flathead catfish on 4 pound test monofilament line with a 1/4 ounce spoon. It was a blast landing, it took me 45 minutes of being drug around the lake. I saw the fish 4 different times and each time it saw me and took a dive back to the bottom. Once in the net I gave out a loud hoot and if anyone else was in the area I bet they thought I was a crazy man. If your after crappie, typically the bite will slow after you catch a few fish, when this happens move to the next brush pile and catch a few more. This is my tip to you.

White bass have started to school on main lake flats. A couple of my guests had a blast several different times, landing many whites on a Kastmaster. Top water action galore. The biggest problem is that they are still the smaller whites not the big 2 - 3 pound fish. The bigger whites will start to show up as the lake cools in the same and similar areas. Top water actions for the bigger whites and stripers could happen at any time.

I have fished for black bass several times over the last couple of weeks and have caught quite a few fish. Most on the short size. So I guess what I am trying to say I have not been able to figure them out, yet. There has been some top water at sunrise and sunset. My spook worked great. Some of my bass fishing guests have caught nice fish throwing a jig and pig and plastic worms. Most of their fish came anywhere from 10 to 25 ft down and typically on rocky points and the deep bluff lines. The bass fishing will pick up with the cooling of the water and they will continue to move closer to the banks. In a few more weeks depending on the water temperatures, jerk bait time will begin.

The Norfork Lake surface water temperature has fallen to 74 degrees and warms slightly during the day. A cold front is coming into the area this week so I predict the water temp to be in the upper 60's by the beginning of next week. The main lake water is clear and creeks and coves are stained. As the water cools the water will continue to clear up. Not much water outflow from power generation, but small flows are occurring due to minimum flow. The lake is falling very slowing and currently sits at 553.15.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.