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.