Saturday, December 21, 2013

Norfork Lake Fishing Report


I was going through fishing withdrawals, but finally was able to get back to my favorite past time. I can report that fishing Norfork Lake at this time should yield you great results. All species of fish are being caught in big numbers. Live bait and artificial baits are working.

Several species of fish and bait are not in their normal winter pattern. What has been typical for past winters is large amounts of bait suspended about 40 - 60 feet down in the old river channel in 80 - 150 feet of water. Normally stripers, hybrids and whites are above, under or inside of the bait. Assuming that this winter is normal, which is a big assumption, I think we will start to see this happen when the surface water temp falls below 50 degrees. We are currently in the low 50's. Other species such as crappie and the black bass species will start to migrate to deep 40 - 50 ft brush and hang out throughout the winter months. Crappie and bass at least for me are still in 20 - 30 ft of water with a few being found 40 ft down.

Yesterday was a fantastic fishing day for all. Stripers, hybrids, white bass, spotted bass and largemouth bass were  found in the mouths of coves and creeks. I found a cove not far from our resort that had a lot of seagulls feeding on shad at day break. The bait was all the way back in the cove and I could see fish coming up to feed. Slowly the bait migrated out of the cove toward the main lake. The fish followed the movement of the shad, as did the birds. By staying with the bait I caught several species of fish. I was vertical jigging with a spoon in 45 to 60 ft of water and the fish were feeding at all depths. A group of my guests came over and was fishing the same area and slammed the fish. The two photos on the right is a sample of their catch and the top photo was some of my catch. Good day!! I lost a couple of big fish that just came unhooked.

After a couple of hours of catching fish in this area I decided to do a little crappie fishing. Again I was just vertical jigging with a small 1/4 spoon over brush. I picked up some really nice slabs in 20 - 40 ft of water. All of my fish came within the brush, but I was marking some suspended crappie 10 - 20 down. Live bait would have worked great for these guys. The crappie were hitting the spoon really light. I could hardly feel when they would suck in the bait and if I didn't set the hook quickly I lost the fish. Today my guests went out and had a good day of crappie fishing. Photo of their catch is to the right. They were casting out a small grub/minnow with a 1/16 ounce jig head and letting it sink until it gets to the right depth, then retrieve a little then let it sink again.

The Norfork Lake surface water temperature is in the low 50's. The lake currently is on a quick rise due all the rain we have had since last evening. The lake level currently sits at 554.11. I expect another foot or so rise before things start to stabilize. The main lake is clear with the creeks and coves stained.

Keep in mind the 2014 Norfork Lake Fishing Derby starts March 1, 2014 and ends June 15, 2014. For details give me a call at 870-492-5113 or you can go to our website at and click on the Derby link at the top.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.