Sunday, March 22, 2015

Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Spring has officially arrived and the weather is finally cooperating. Norfork Lake fishing is really starting to heat up. My daughter and I have been fishing the night bite over the last week and having a blast. We are throwing suspending stick baits after dark and slow rolling them back to the boat. We have been catching 7 to 8 stripers an evening from around 8 - 10pm. The bite is continuing after that but my daughter seems to get cold and tired around 10PM. :-) Remember to reel as slow as you can and reel all the way back to the boat. I get hits a lot of times next to the boat. One evening I landed a monster 28 pound striped bass and Keri landed a nice 12 pounder. A few days later one of our guests landed a 26 pound striped bass in the early afternoon throwing a soft plastic jerk bait. The best bite for striped bass is after dark, but the morning bite will start very soon as the water continues to warm. Top water action is on its way, but warmer water is needed. Check out my last report for details on how to fish for stripers after dark.

Largemouth and spotted bass fishing is also getting good. Start looking part way back in creeks and coves and watch for bait working on
the surface. The bass will not be far behind. Hard and soft jerk baits are working well. My guests slammed the bass this morning throwing pearl colored flukes with a weighted hook. In the early afternoon work some of the docks as the bass are coming under them for cover and bait fish. You will also find some nice bass around the shallower brush piles especially if the brush is on a point.

Crappie fishing is getting better and better every day. All the crappie fisherman that I talk with are doing very well in shallow water. The crappie are moving up to the shore line to start looking for their spawning areas and are on their typical pre-spawn feed. There will be a lot of the males in tight to the shore as they are the ones doing the search, but the big females will not be far behind. Crappie typically like 60 - 65 degree water to spawn and we are not too far away from that water temp. Now is a great time to catch crappie and have a lot of fun. Start looking back in creeks and coves where you can find dead timber and brush in shallow water. Cast out small grubs or swimming minnows with a light weighted jig head and reel back to the boat slowly. During your retrieval stop occasionally and let the bait fall, the crappie will hammer it during the fall. I also like to tip the plastic baits with a live small minnow for added action and scent. The fish are in 2 - 20 feet of water near brush anywhere from the surface and down 10 feet depending on the time of day . You still may find some of the big females down a little deeper in the brush. Yesterday around 2PM I was at my dock and my granddaughter yelled at me to look at all the fish. When I came over there were dozens of big slab crappies 2 - 10 ft down, stacked like cord wood. This is a great sign of the fish getting ready for the spawn.

I have caught a few walleye after dark slow rolling a jerk bait. One of my guests landed a nice 23 inch walleye last evening. Some of the walleye have spawned already and a few are still back in the creeks spawning. The night fishing for walleye will pick up everyday. Look for walleye in the same areas as the striped bass as they will be feeding up tight on the shoreline after dark. Jerk baits are working after dark, slow rolled. In daylight hours look for them along the bluff lines and also large flats. Crawler harnesses with bottom bounces will work. Drop shot rigs with large minnows will also work well.

Norfork Lake is still rising very slowly and currently sits at 554. 09. This is basically normal pool. The surface water temperature is in the low to mid 50's depending on time of day and location. The creeks and coves are stained, but clearing and the main lake is fairly clear.

It is time to fish Norfork Lake. The weather is great and the fishing is good. Give Hummingbird Hideaway Resort a call at 870-492-5113 to make your reservations and find out from me where and how to catch the fish. I am always excited to help my guests catch fish. If you haven't heard we are also running a fishing derby this year with a $300 prize for 3 different species as well as a chance to win a free one week stay. Give us a call for details or go to our website at .

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Norfork Lake Night Fishing Report

Night fishing for striped bass is one of my favorite methods of fishing in the spring. Every year around mid March the striped bass, hybrid bass and walleye move up to the shore lines after dark to feed. I have fished the last two nights with success each night. Two nights ago the big fish were up tight on the banks. I landed 3 nice fish, one walleye, two stripers and had quite a few other missed opportunities. I guess I am a little rusty and did not get good hook sets. My last fish of the night, around 9:30PM, just exploded on my bait in about 2 feet of water. I could actually see the fish come out of the water (amazing with these old eyes) roll over on the line and then, you guessed it, the line broke. Last evening was a good bite but the fish were on the smaller size, keeper size, but not big enough for me to keep. I had a blast both nights and hope to get out again this evening if the rain holds off.

The method I use to fish for these Norfork Lake monsters is to cast a 5 to 6 inch suspending jerk bait. There are many brands and many different prices, but all will work. I have used Smithwick Rogues as well as Spro's. I seem to get a little better action on the Spro's in colder water and the hooks are stronger. If you go with the Rogues you do need to change out the hooks and split ring to stronger ones or you will get very disappointed when both bend out and you lose that big fish. There are two different views on where to position your boat. The first is to get your boat close to the shore line and cast parallel along the shoreline. The thinking here is that you will keep your bait in the strike zone longer for those feeding fish. The second is to keep your boat as far away from the shore as possible and still be able to cast to the shore. I typically keep my boat away from the shore and cast into it. My belief is that I won't spook the fish with my boat and I have also found that the fish will follow the bait and hit it in deeper water and not always on the banks. Cast your bait as close to the rocks of the shoreline as you can. The retrieval method is simple, reel as slow as possible. If you think you are reeling slow, reel slower. Color choice of your bait is a personal preference, but I typically go with dark backs and light bottoms on overcast and new moon nights and lighter tops and darker bottoms on full moon nights. I have caught many fish on various colors, greens, blues, purples, orange, you name it. If your not getting hits on one color change out until you find the color they are looking for. We have a good selection of both baits for sale at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort.

Where to find these Norfork Lake monsters is the next question. I have recently been fishing part way back in major creeks. I start on secondary points and work both sides of the point along the shore line. Typically you will find the fish on long shallow points close to flats, but over the last two days I have also found the fish on deep bluff line points. Once the water warms up a little more they will move out to the main lake points and typically be feeding on the long shallow points. I find stripers and walleye all over at different times, but usually have to look a little. I have also found stripers in the backs of small creeks in very shallow water. I will usually mark fish and bait in the area that is active.

Norfork Lake water level is rising slowly with the rain and snow we have had over the last week or so and currently sits at 550.04. The surface water temperature is also on the rise and was at 46 - 47 degrees last evening. The water is turning very clear with stained water in the backs of creeks and coves.

We have cabins available for these prime spring weeks and week ends. I'll be happy to show you where I'm fishing and what I'm using. I really enjoy helping folks catch fish.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.