Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Norfork Lake winter was abnormally tough for all winter time fishermen. I think it would have been easier to fish if we had had ice on the lake. Winter, I hope, is gone and spring is coming slowing, but still it will be here very very soon. Another cool front arrived yesterday, but the weather outlook is now back to spring type temperatures which will help to warm the water and get the fish active.

Striper fishing has been picking up every day. Until the main lake warms a bit more the best locations to find stripers are back in the major creeks where the water is warmer. Look back in the Bennetts area, up river around the state line, and more than likely back in Big Creek. I do not have any personal confirmation on Big Creek, but I do on the other two areas. The night bite has started with suspending jerk baits. Both a bone color or firetiger have been working well. A week ago I just slammed the stripers on stick baits. I landed 16 and lost as many more. The bite started at dark and was still going on when I left. I fished the same area two nights ago and caught 3 stripers, but the bite did not start until after 10PM. I think the rise of the moon is affecting the timing of the bite. I ended this trip when my boat started to ice up. I fished an early morning bite Saturday and caught one. I was on the lake at 4:30AM and tried a different area. The fish were there, but I could only get one taker. Live bait fishing has been slow, but it appears that is starting to pick up. The same areas that I fish in the dark are still holding fish during the day.

The cooler water temp is also affecting black bass fishing. Some fish are coming shallow to feed, but the bigger fish are holding out in deeper water and may be starting to stage for their spawn. I would still work deep brush piles and also look for suspended fish under the bait in open water. I have caught a few nice fish down 15 - 25 feet feeding on shad sitting in 80 feet of water.  They are a little more difficult to catch, but vertical jigging has worked for me. Jigging a spoon or small grub in brush is also working. Jerk baits are starting to work and will get better as the water warms. Crank baits are picking up some nice fish. For shallow fish you will need to get back in the warmer stained water.
Crappie fishing has also been affected by the cooler water, but I have noticed an increase in the numbers of fish starting to be caught. Look for brush in 20 - 30 ft of warmer water, there will be crappie on them. I was up at the state line about a week ago looking for walleye with no luck, but jigged around a few shallow brush pile, I landed 10 crappie in about an hour with most being in the 9.5 to 10.5" size range. The monster crappie caught by Clay was a 3lb 15oz fish, caught in open water with thread fin shad.  
Walleye should be up the river and back in the major creeks spawning. It will not be long until they start to move out and the night feeding bite will begin for walleye.
White bass are being found back in the warm water mainly in the the afternoon after the sun has warmed up the shallow water. Small spinner baits are working.
The Norfork Lake water level is falling slowly when generation occurs and rises slowly when the generators are shut down. The current level is 553.68. The main lake water temperature ranges from 44 - 47 degrees, back in the creeks are 2 - 5 degrees warmer. The creeks and coves are stained due to the heavy rains a week ago and the main lake is mainly clear.
The Norfork Lake 2014 Fishing Derby is in full swing and continues until June 15th. For a minimal registration fee you could win up to $1,500 for catching the longest striped bass, largemouth bass or crappie. In addition to the large prize money you could also win a free weeks stay at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort by staying with us. Another benefit to your stay with Linda and me is that you will be staying at a very nice & friendly resort that has an owner (me) who fishes most days and can help you find and catch fish. You will get first hand fishing info and not word of mouth!
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.