Thursday, January 23, 2014

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

It is definitely winter fishing time on Norfork Lake. No ice fishing, but plenty of good open water fishing for striped bass, and brush pile fishing for crappie, largemouth, smallmouth and walleye. All species are in their winter patterns and winter locations. I haven't been out fishing much. Going to Sport Shows, the holidays and the super cold weather have interrupted my play.  I will be home bound for a while longer since my new Minn Kota I-Pilot trolling motor fell apart. Yes, the motor came right off of the shaft while fishing yesterday, cutting my fishing time short. This was only the second time I've had it out on the water since Santa brought it.:-(

Striped bass are roaming in the deep water channels about 55 - 70 feet down in 100+ feet of water. Live bait fishing has been slow, but vertical jigging with a spoon has been producing some nice fish for me. I was out on the lake Tuesday and Wednesday with success on both days. Yesterday I landed this nice 13 pound striper on a green backed spoon. I was jigging in 60 feet of water and had a couple nice arcs come under my bait, I dropped the bait farther down and this fish hammered it on the fall. The way the striper ran and the strength of this fish made me think it was much larger. The stripers that I have been catching are very healthy with fat bellies. I guess we all put on a few extra pounds in the winter! All the fish I caught were released to be caught another day. I checked out Float and Panther Creeks yesterday and found a ton of shad. The shad was so thick that every time I tried to jig my spoon I snagged a shad. Lots of bait, but I did not mark much in the way of fish. I left and headed back to the deep water channel in the Henderson area. The best winter locations for stripers this year and in past years has been from the 62 bridge back to the 101 Marina area.

The big slab crappie have moved onto the brush piles, but look for deep brush. I haven't been out bass or crappie fishing, but a few of my lake friends have been doing pretty well. Fish over brush that is 30 - 50 feet deep. Most of the time the crappie will be on the top of the brush, but occasionally the bigger slabs are down in the brush.

Largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass will also be holding out near the brush. Most of the time I catch them vertical jigging on the bottom. With all the bait back in Panther and Float Creeks, I bet these would be great areas to fish for bass. Typically in this cold water you need to slow down your presentation and a lot of time downsize your baits.

When you are planning your spring fishing trip destination, consider Norfork Lake as a great lake to fish for all species. Another great enticement to fish our lake is our second annual Norfork Lake Fishing Derby. You will have the opportunity to win up to $1,500 for a very small investment. Give me a call for details at 870-492-5113. The derby runs from March 1 to June 15.

The Norfork Lake level is falling slowly with some generation and currently sits at 553.56 feet above sea level. This is considered to be slightly less than the new normal pool of 553.75. The lake surface water temperature has fallen to around 43 degrees, but with the upcoming deep freeze we are to have, I expect this temp to drop a little more. The creeks and coves are stained and the main lake is clear with a slight green tint.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.