Sunday, December 20, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

 Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukhah to all my family, friends, followers and fishing enthusiasts.

Fall fishing is slowly coming to a close on Norfork Lake and the winter pattern is starting to emerge. Stripers, hybrids and whites have moved from the shallow flats and are moving to the deeper flats in 60 - 70 ft of water. A lot of the same flats but start looking out farther in the lake. If you have a GPS on your boat you can look at the contour lines to see the areas to fish. This migration of the fish is typical for this time of year. The amount of daylight hours as well as the water temperature causes the bait and fish to move into their comfort zone. The bait has started to move out of the backs of creeks and into the deep water of the creeks as well as the main lake. You will still find stripers, hybrids and whites in the major creeks, but start looking in the deep water channels especially if the old  river channel swings in close to a bluff line. Large schools of stripers and hybrids are roaming and chasing small 2 - 3 inch bait fish. You might consider using smaller baits at this time. The schools that I have found are suspended down 30 feet and on down to the bottom. A good graph on your boat is definitely a big plus this time of year. I have been mainly vertical jigging with a spoon as shown in one of my photos. I typically have my bait on the bottom jigging and when I see suspended fish above my bait I reel up to them and start jigging though the school of feeding fish. Be ready when you are reeling up to the fish because you never know when a striper will attack your bait and try to yank the rod out of your hands. I am speaking from experience. :-) I have been fishing several different locations, Float and Panther Creeks, Howard Cove Area and Cranfield Area. I have been working the flats as well as the deep water in all these locations.

Largemouth bass have moved up into the shallow waters to feed. Some nice fish are being caught in 10 - 20 feet of water. I have also noticed a little top water action early in the morning close to the shoreline, both back in creeks, as well as on points of the main lake. Crank baits, spinner baits and of course plastics worked along the bottom have been producing fish. This all being said I have also caught some nice size largemouth vertical jigging in 50 - 70 feet of water. This tells me these fish are also starting to move to their winter pattern. In the past once the water gets in the 40 to low 50 degree range the bass tend to go deep and hang close to brush and deep rocky bluffs and points.

Crappie are moving into the the brush and under and around docks. There are some nice fish being caught off of my dock as well as brush in 30 - 40 feet of water. As the water cools a little more, start looking for this species in 50 foot brush piles. I have caught some really big slabs during the cold winter months on deep brush piles.

Norfork Lake water level is falling slowly and currently sits at 554.72. The Corps is currently running 1 generator and dropping the lake approximately an inch a day. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are still stained but are starting to clear. As the water level stabilizes the water will become very clear. The surface water temperature this morning was 55 - 57 degrees depending what part of the lake I was on.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

A big Congratulations go out to Hummingbird Hideaway Resort's 2015 fishing derby winners. John Fink of St Louis, Mo caught the largest Striper of 39.5 inches on March 20th, Rob Bruce of Troy, MO co-shared the largest Crappie of 15.5 inches on May 17th, and Ron Adams of West Plaines, MO co-shared the largest Crappie of 15.5 inches and also caught the largest Largemouth of 20 inches both on July 6th. Steve Holderman of Augusta, KS won the free week stay at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. Great job to these winners and all that entered our Derby. We are planning for next years Derby to start March 1, 2016. Watch our website and facebook page for details. Photos of winners below.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird HIdeaway Resort

 I can honestly say the fall bite is on. If you are looking to catch a lot of fish,  with live or artificial bait, you need to come to Norfork Lake. If you need a place to stay at reasonable winter rates call 870-492-5113. Yes, the weather may be cool and sometimes rainy, but it is a great time to find active fish. Over the last week big schools of striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass are roaming the large flat areas in 30 - 50 feet of water. For the last 5 days the bite has been consistently good with a lot of fish being caught. I have been mainly vertical jigging with a spoon, bouncing the spoon off the bottom or when I see suspended fish reeling up to them and jigging in the school. There has been some top water action for stripers with a few fish surfacing while feeding on shad. When I see the fish come up I have been using two different lures. I cast out a 1/2 ounce Kastmaster and let it sink down to about 15 feet. I then retrieve with a stop and go motion, twitching the rod tip on occasion. I have also thrown a Zara spook and walk the dog back to the boat. Electronics are definitely helpful this time of year. You will need to graph an area until you find the fish then start fishing. They will continually move so you are searching a lot. There is also another natural fish finder and it is the seagulls. If you notice these birds diving into the water go close to where they are feeding and you will find feeding fish. This natural occurrence only happens in the fall and winter while the birds are here. They migrate away from our lake in the late winter or early spring. Trolling a 5 - 6 inch swim bait will also catch you some fish. Set your baits at different depths starting at around 20 feet and down to 50 feet. Adjust your depth to where you are seeing the fish and of course to the depth where you start catching fish. Live shiners, thread fin shad and gizzard shad are also working very well. The shiners will be the easiest as you can buy them at a local bait and tackle shop. You may be asking yourself where are these flats that Lou keeps mentioning, so here you go. In the mid lake area, then going up river: southeast of Robinson Island, northwest side of the 101 bridge, in front of Mallard Point, east side of Cranfield Island, Seward Point, in front of Briar Creek, East of Howard Cove going towards Talbert Point. There are definitely other areas down toward the dam, going farther up river, or back in the Bayou area but the listed flats are the ones I will be fishing until the fish go into their winter pattern. The other locations where stripers will be found are part way back into the major creeks. I have been having too much fun on the flats and have not had a chance to check them out, but typically they are there, especially with rising water.

Crappie have moved under my dock and have also moved onto the brush piles in 30 - 40 feet of water. These fish will be at different depths depending on the time of day. Live crappie minnows are working the best, but small jigs with a paddle tail or a twister tail are also doing well. I like to tip my jigs with a minnow for maximum presentation.

Bass are also moving into the brush as well as up to the banks. Jerk bait time is for the most part here, so start throwing those stick baits. Spinners are also producing fish, but best method is still working your plastics along the bottom slowly. The bass are active so keep changing your retrieval speeds until you find the one they like.

Norfork lake is rising slowly with the 2+ inches of rain we received over the last 3 days. The current level is 559.0. Sporadic power generation is occurring, but I expect a continuous generation to occur shortly to bring the lake back to normal pool of 553.8. The creeks and coves are stained with the main lake partly stained to clear depending on location. The surface water temperature this morning was 58 - 59 degrees.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Norfork Lake has gone through a lot of changes over the last week, but the fish have seemed to adjust very quickly. The lake has risen over 4 feet and we have had some really cool nights. The lake temperature has finally hit 59 degrees and should continue to fall slowly. Over the last week I have mainly fished for stripers, hybrids and white bass. I have had success with all these species.

I am still finding stripers, hybrids and whites on the large deep flats from 30 to 50 feet of water. Vertical jigging with a spoon is working the best for me, but live shad, as well as shiners should also work. Today I was graphing in 50 feet of water and not finding anything, but then
I looked in toward the shoreline and saw that fish were starting to bust the surface. I moved into 30 - 35 feet of water and found a lot of whites on the bottom with stripers hitting the surface. I starting to cast out a 1/2 ounce Kastmaster with a feather on the hook and landed a small but legal striper. My daughter and granddaughter were jigging with spoons on the bottom and the whites started to hammer their spoons. That was it for me with casting :-) We all caught whites. Trolling has also been very productive for a couple of our guests. They had their downriggers set at 30 and 50 ft and were catching nice size fish on a 6 inch swim bait at both depths. They were mainly trolling the deeper water close to the old river channels. I have not been able to check out the major checks, but typically the stripers move back into the creeks especially after a rise in the lake level. I will check it out over the next day or so.

Catfish are also feeding heavily. My guests were catching lots of cats on worms and chicken livers. They would check them in the morning and usually land 5 or 6 cats then they would rebait and check right before dark and catch a bunch more. They lost one of their floats, and on Sunday afternoon I was fishing out on the Mallard flats and saw a float out in the middle of the lake. I checked it and found their name on the float, pulled it up and there was a nice channel cat on the end. I released the fish and will save the float until they return next spring.

I have not been bass or crappie fishing over the last week so not much news on that from here. I will let you know once I have a chance.

Norfork Lake level has risen to 558.0 over the last week, but power generation is starting to occur so I would suspect the Corp. will start dropping the lake level. The lake surface water temperature has fallen to 59 degrees and should continue to fall slowly with our cool nights. The creeks and coves are stained (a great fishing color) and the main lake is semi clear.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird HIdeaway Resort

Norfork Lake fishing has been OK over the last 2 weeks. All species are biting once you find them. Large schools of stripers, hybrids and white bass are cruising the lake feeding on shad. Crappie and bluegills are hanging around brush piles and largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are starting to move to the banks, but a lot of the larger bass are still suspended chasing shad. Catfish are hitting worms and small bluegills very aggressively.

Stripers, hybrids and white bass have schooled up and are starting to fatten up for the upcoming cool winter months. You can find large schools of fish roaming large flats in 40 - 50 foot depths. I have been vertical jigging with a spoon. It does take some time to locate the fish, but when they are found they're a lot of fun. The biggest challenge has been that as I find them and catch a few, the school swims off and I'm back trying to locate them again. I have also found large schools of stripers in the mouths of coves, late afternoons in 70 feet of water suspended 20 - 30 feet down. Find a cove that the wind is blowing directly into, then if you find suspended bait start looking for the stripers cruising and feeding. For some reason these large schools of stripers are hitting my spoon only when I reel up through them. Trolling is also working in the afternoon. One of my stripers this evening came from trolling a swim bait about 20 - 25 ft down.

Not a lot of change in largemouth bass fishing from my last report. I am still catching these fish in 27 - 33 feet of water. Work a jig and pig or any plastic bait along the bottom. I have been casting out my spoon and bouncing it back to the boat along the bottom, this method is catching some nice fish. I am starting to mark some nice suspended bass along bluff lines down about 15 - 20 feet. Crank baits should start to work before long.

Catfish are biting very good on green worms and small bluegills. Jugs & trotlines are working the best.

Some crappie and bluegill can be found in and around sunken brush piles 25 - 30 feet down. The fish will be suspended over the brush, but mid day look deeper in the brush. Small grubs or a small spoon jigging in and around the brush will catch you a few nice fish. Crickets are the best for the bluegills.

The lake level is holding fairly stable and currently sits at 553.23. Sporadic power generation is occurring during the day. The surface water temperature is falling slowly and current is 63 - 64 degrees. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are still stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort


The fall fishing season on Norfork Lake is starting to take off. The stripers, hybrids and white bass are schooling and following the bait fish. I have fished the last 7 days with success each day, but as usual some days are better than others. I have been fishing anywhere from my cove then going east of Cranfield and also north of Cranfield. All my fishing areas have been within .1 to 8 miles from our resort. This isn't to say fish are not in other areas of the lake, I am sure they are, but I can only cover so much water in a day. The continual weather pattern changes effect the fish and the locations where you will find them. On windy days go into the wind blown creeks and coves especially if the wind has been blowing into the area for several days. Wind blown banks are also a great place to check.

I have had good success for stripers, hybrids and white bass. One of the biggest changes that I have noticed is that the better bite for me has been mid day. I typically sunrise and sunset times, but for whatever reason it is different right now. I am sure the feeding time will change soon so I guess you all will need to fish from sunrise to sunset. :-) Earlier in the week I was finding them halfway back in creeks and coves in 30 - 40 feet of water. As the week progressed I noticed the bait fish were moving out to the mouth of the creeks and coves and also into deeper water. Yesterday I found a lot of bait on the bottom in 40 - 50 feet of water and the fish were in the area. The biggest challenge that I have had is that when I find a big school of feeding fish and hook up immediately, but by the time I get the fish in the boat the school has disappeared. I continually move around in the same area slowly until I find the next school of fish. They may be close to the bank or out in the middle. Over the last week I have only been vertical jigging with a 3/4 ounce spoon. Color really doesn't matter much when you get into a school of fish, but I typically use a spoon with the predominant color being white. As the lake water cools the bait will start to migrate out to the main lake and the fish will follow. It will not be long before fishing the big flats will become the main areas where I will concentrate my fishing habit.

Bass fishing has also been good. My main area of success has been part way back into creeks and coves, vertical jigging a spoon in 25 - 35 feet of water. Here again I move slowly jigging as I move trying to keep the spoon as vertical to the bottom as possible. Casting out a jig & pig or really any plastic bait on the bottom in the 15 - 35 feet water range will bring up some nice fish. Two days ago I landed a nice 20 inch largemouth that I released immediately. Walleye will also be in the same area. Yesterday I landed 3 walleye, but all were 1/4 - 1 inch short of the 18 inch minimum length limit.

Not a lot of news on crappie fishing. I pick up a few strays while striper fishing. I did catch a nice 15 3/4 inch crappie in 50 feet of water the other day. I have heard you can find them on 20 - 35 feet deep brush, but here again one day they are there, but the next day gone. As the water cools they will start to associate more to the brush piles than they currently are.

Bluegill fishing is still very good with crickets being the bait of choice. Find brush in 20 - 30 feet of water and drop the bait down from 15feet to the bottom and you will catch some nice big slabs.

Catfish are biting good on trot lines and jugs using live bluegills as bait. Coves and creeks are a great place to set up. I have also picked up the occasional catfish while vertical jigging with a spoon. They do give a great fight.

Norfork Lake level has finally stabilized at 553.72 which is basically normal pool. Very minimal power generation has occurred over the last several days. This will be a great thing for fishing as the continual draw down of the lake has effected the bite. The lake surface water temperature is 66 - 68 degrees depending on the location on the lake. The main lake is clear with the creeks and coves stained. The clearing of lake will start to happen as the water cools.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Norfork Lake's fishing pattern is entering into its fall phase. Striped bass are continually moving and not being very consistent in their feeding location. Over the last week I have covered most of the central to northern parts of Norfork Lake from the Robinson area, up to the state line and also back though the Fouts area and all areas in between. The most notable thing is that the bait has moved back into the creeks with very little bait being found in the main lake area. I have found scattered stripers back in the creeks feeding on small 2 inch shad. I have also noticed a few scattered fish along the deep bluff lines in the main lake. My guests and I have caught stripers back in the creeks during the early morning hours as well as the afternoon. Both live thread fin shad as well as vertical jigging with a spoon has been working once you find the fish. As the water temperature continues to fall the fish will become more aggressive in their feeding habits and will start to school. Any time now you will find stripers feeding after dark up close to the banks. If you decide to try the night bite get a few suspending jerk baits and cast as close to the shoreline as you can, then retrieve to the boat very slowly. I will start fishing after dark this week with the full moon.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are biting fairly well. The bigger bass started to move up into the sunken brush a week or so ago, but has since moved back out. I believe their move to deeper water occurred due to the drop in the lake level. Most of the sunken buck brush is now exposed or is out of the water. You can still find a few areas with brush out in the water, but I can only catch small fish in these areas. One of our guests loves to throw a jig and pig and is doing quite well. You will catch a lot of short fish, but the bigger ones are also in the area. You will be able to find some good bass in and around brush piles in 30 - 35 feet of water. Vertical jigging with a spoon will start to work as the water temperature continues to cool. In general, soft plastics are working the best worked along the bottom starting in 10 - 15 feet of water out to 40 feet of water.

The bluegill bite is still very strong. If you want to fill up your freezer with a lot of tasty fillets get some crickets and fish around 20 - 30 feet brush piles.

I am finding a lot of schooling white bass back in the creeks feeding on the the bait fish. Most of the whites are small to medium sized fish, but are a blast to catch. Spooning has been working very well.

Crappie fishing has also been inconsistent. One of my lake friends caught 20 one day and then the next day they were gone. They are still roaming through the deeper water going from brush to brush. Keep checking out all your brush piles and you will find them.

Norfork Lake water level continues to drop 3 - 4 inches per day. The lake level currently sits at 556.72 which is only about 3 feet above normal pool. Normal pool is expected to be reached by month end. The lake surface water temperature is also falling and this morning was 70.3 degrees. The water temperature will continue to fall with our cool night and normal day time temps. The main lake is clear with the creeks and coves stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Over the last couple of days I have seen 10 deer crossing the lake. If this continues we are going to need someone to direct traffic!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird HIdeaway Resort

Norfork Lake fishing is in transition to the fall fishing pattern. This basically means that fish can be and are at any depth in the lake. The fish will soon start to school up and  feed heavily for the winter months. Over the last 3 days I have noticed that the largemouth and smallmouth bass are moving to the shoreline. With  the lake still about 6 feet over normal pool we still have buck brush under water. The bass are up in this brush. I have fished several different methods for bass; top water, casting a chatterbait and casting a shallow diving crankbait. All 3 baits have produced some nice keeper size large and smallmouth bass as well as many short fish. I've been fishing the wind blown main lake points as well as secondary creek and cove points. The fish are up tight to the bank. You will catch lots of bass, but most will be on the short side.

Bluegill are along the shoreline near sunken brush piles in 20-30 feet of water. A couple of our guests fished yesterday afternoon and brought back a basket full of nice sized bluegills. Crickets are deadly.

White bass can be found back in the major creeks following the shad. I haven't found any top water action lately, but the trollers are having fun. Last week I had a big group of guys here fishing in their club tournament. They caught many whites, largemouth and smallmouth bass during their stay. A few of the guys were trolling a deep diving crankbait, removing the end hook and replacing it with a leader and a small Rooster Tail. The whites loved it.

Stripers and hybrids are on the move and are starting to school. Sunday morning I was fishing a deep bluff line point and had huge schools of fish show up. I had live thread fin shad down 30 & 50 feet. I was also jigging a spoon. The live bait poles started to get hammered, but the bites were not super aggressive. I managed to land 2 hybrids in the 6 - 7 pound range and missed too many to admit.:-) I had several good bites at 50 feet, but sad to say I missed all of them. I suspect the deeper fish were the stripers. These schools of fish are constantly moving so if you are in the right place at the right time you will see more fish than you know what to do with! I keep checking my normal fall haunts as these fish will eventually get more consistent on these feeding locations as the lake water temperature lowers. These fish will be at all depths from along deep water bluffs to deep flats. Top water action for striped bass and hybrid bass typically starts when the water temp gets into the 60's.

The current Norfork Lake water temperature this morning was 73 - 74 degrees. It should continue to fall each day. The lake level is at 560.46 and continues to fall 3 - 4 inches per day. Normal pool is 553.75. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are stained, but starting to clear with the cooler water temps.

It looks to be another great fall fishing season.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

PS: All my fish over the last couple of weeks have been released on site and I am no good at taking selfies. :-)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Norfork Lake is still in its summer fishing pattern, but I can see that things will start to change very soon. Most species of fish are in 20 - 35 feet of water and you can find the bigger stripers 90 feet down on the bottom, but as usual the deep fish are very lethargic and hard to catch. That doesn't mean you are not going to catch stripers. From what I have seen and caught, stripers up to around 12 pounds have stayed shallow throughout the summer. You can catch good numbers of fish early in the morning and also at sunset. These fish are aggressive and ready to eat. I have had the best luck finding stripers early in the morning, still dark, at depths of 25 - 35 feet. As the sun comes up the stripers disappear to the depths of the lake. Live bait is working the best, but I have jigged up a few of these fish over the last couple of weeks. The best area to find stripers at this time is within a mile of two of the dam. Hybrids are scattered throughout the lake. I haven't found any huge schools lately, but both in the mornings an evenings I have found nice size fish off of main lake points. Last week I was looking for whites in the Cranfield area and ran into some nice hybrids in the 7 pound range and caught 5 as the sun was setting.

White bass fishing has been good over the last couple of weeks. The best bite appears to be from mid afternoon until the sun sets. I have gotten into some nice top water action for the medium size whites late afternoon. This has been the nice top water when an acre of water just starts to boil and it has lasted up to an hour. Kastmasters and spooks have worked great. The hard part has been that there is no consistency on location. One day they are in a certain spot and the next they are gone. I have found top water fish in Pigeon, Briar, Cranfield and in the Robinson area. I have also heard of other areas of the lake. The most favorable time has been as the sun is setting. This gives you about 1/2 hours of fun fishing. A few days ago I caught 8 whites on a blade bait. I was marking fish at all depths, so they could have also been spooned up.

Walleye fishing continues to be pretty good. I have been dragging a crawler harness in 23 - 30 ft of water. Concentrate on large flats as well as main lake points. The biggest issue that the majority of the fish being caught are less than 18 inches. With the numbers of fish being caught I can see Norfork Lake being a premier walleye lake over the next year or so.

Bass fishing is starting to get a little better. I have found nice schooling fish back in the major creeks off of secondary points. Over the last couple of days I have started to mark a lot of bass suspended 10 - 20 feet down off of deep bluff lines. This is telling me that crank bait time will start to heat up soon.

The big blue gills are also in the 25 feet range. I have caught many of the big thumpers while dragging my crawler harness and they are very aggressive. Big gills are also under my dock as one of our guests caught ten 2 days ago on crickets.

Crappie are starting to move back to the brush, but the water temperature needs to cool a little more to make it a good bite. Jay Smith (Crappies Only Guide Service) took a couple of his relatives out a few weeks ago and they had a blast. They found the fish over 25 - 35 feet deep brush with the fish were suspended 20 feet down. Live minnows worked the best.

The lake level is falling 2 - 4 inches per day and currently sits at 564.94. The surface water temperature is also falling and this morning was 78 - 79 degrees. With our cool nights the temp. should continue to fall. The main lake is fairly clear, with a little color and the creeks and coves are stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.