Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

It has been a fun week fishing Norfork Lake. We have had several fishing guests at the resort this week and we all were catching fish. The bite for striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass is good. Vertical jigging with a spoon is a good method to catch these species this time of year. Big schools of fish are roaming large flats in 44 - 55 feet of water. Once you find the fish all you need to do is drop your spoon and jig it up and down bouncing it off of the bottom. If it is a school of feeding fish it won't take long until your spoon has been taken, then you need to make sure you give your rod a good jerk to set the hook. Electronic fish finders are very helpful this time of year as you are looking out in the middle of the lake for these fish. Sometimes mother nature helps you out and you find a flock of seagulls diving into the water feeding on shad. More than likely there is a school of feeding fish under the feeding birds. This only happens during the late fall and winter months as the seagulls are a migratory bird. Live bait is also working using either gizzard or thread fin shad. If you don't want to go out and net your own shad you can purchase brooder shiners. They will work very well in the cold water months. If you are live bait fishing you need to set your baits from 30 - 40 feet deep. Trolling is another method of striper fishing, but you need to get your baits down to the same depths as the live bait. Best places to look for stripers/hybrids and white bass are the big flats near the 101 bridge area, Big Sandy back in the 101 Marina area and back past Fouts Boat Dock. My bite really hasn't started until around 8AM and it can last till noon or later, as it did today. Later in the day the fish start to move to mouths of creeks and coves as well as out to the river channel in 60 plus feet of water.

Largemouth and spotted bass are also schooling. I have found large schools of fish in similar areas as the stripers, as well as, part way back into creeks out in the middle.  Look in 40 - 50 feet of water for these fish. When I can find a slight drop off on a flat that is near or on an old creek channel I have typically found a lot of fish and they don't move off this area as fast. One morning I caught over a dozen largemouth in the 2.5 - 3.5 pound range. Some bigger largemouth are starting to move in shallow to feed early and late in the day. This is a good time to break out your jerk baits and give it a try. On windy days a spinner bait is working great, but the old standby, a jig and pig, will always pick up some nice fish.

Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 552.44. The lake surface water temperature is also falling and currently is in the 54 - 55 degree range. The lake is still stained, but is a great fishing color.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Photo's taken over the last week.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I hope all had a great Thanksgiving holiday. My wife and I hosted a family reunion for her side of the family and we had a great time with 29 family members. I had the opportunity to fish with many different family members during the week. We had a lot of fun but did get a little cold at times. We caught fish most days. It was a real joy watching the ones that don't get to fish often land a fish on their own. No better feeling than seeing those big smiles and shaking arms.

Norfork Lake has entered its fall fishing pattern. The only big change over the last couple of weeks is that the fish have started to move into shallower water. Stripers, hybrids and whites are being found on 20 - 45 foot flats. The flats are holding bait fish at all different depths depending on the time of day and big schools of stripers, hybrids and whites are roaming at all different depths feeding on the shad early in the morning as well as in the evening. It is a big challenge finding the schools of fish and it will take some time watching your electronics, but when you find the fish it is a blast. We had 4 on at the same time a few times. My group has been vertical jigging with a spoon bouncing it off the bottom, but if you mark fish suspended, reel up to their depth and hang on. Areas where I have been fishing has not changed from my last report. Start looking on the flats around the 101 bridge up to the Red Bank area, as well as, from the 62 bridge up to the Fouts area. Check out the Robinson flat as fish are starting to move in. There has been some isolated top water action for striped bass and if you are in the right spot and ready you will pick up a few fish.                                                                                       Largemouth
bass are starting to school part way back in creeks and coves. I found some nice schools of bass on the bottom in 30 - 35 feet of water. We were vertical jigging and hooking up one after another. Nice 2.5 - 4 pound fish were being boated. Spotted bass will also be schooling up this time of year. Spinner baits have worked well on the windy days and crank baits are also working on main lake points, as well as, secondary points.
Crappie are becoming more aggressive. Look at brush in 20 - 40 feet of water. You will find the bigger slabs in the deeper water inside of the brush and other nice fish will be suspended above the brush. Small spoons, grubs and live bait are all working at times. Live bait is still your best bet.

Walleye are in similar areas as the stripers, hybrids and whites. We have been catching quite a few walleye in 30 feet of water vertical jigging, but the majority of the fish are short.

The lake level has risen slightly and currently sits at 552.86 The surface water temperature is falling slowly and is currently 59 - 60 degrees. Most of the lake is stained with the main lake the clearest. I believe the lake has finally finalized its turnover so the lake clearing will begin.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Norfork Lake striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass fishing is finally acting like it should for the fall fishing period. (About one month late due to abnormally warm water temperature) Over the last several days these species have moved out of the 30 - 40 foot water depth into 40 - 50 feet of water. The reason for this is that the bait has moved out to this depth range. I am finding large schools of fish on large flats from the 62 bridge area and heading up north. Look at the flat areas around the 101 bridge, Mallard Point, Cranfield area, Steward Point, and Briar Creek area. I haven't had time to check yet but the Robinson flat and the Fout area flats should also be holding some nice fish. The striped bass bite is still good up river on the Arkansas/Missouri border. These fish up river will stick around there until the water cools off. The fish will then take off to find water more in their comfort zone. I have mainly been vertical jigging a spoon, but trolling swim baits and umbrella rigs should work as long as you get the bait down in the 30 - 40 foot range. Live bait should also work set at 35 and 40 feet deep, but stay in the 45 - 55 foot water depth area. I haven't been out fishing after dark, but a few others have tried it and the stripers and the bait are not moving up to the shoreline at this time. Once the water cools off a little more and gets closer to 60 degrees I believe there will be a good night bite using suspending stick baits. I have not noticed any top water action for stripers yet, but it will happen any time now.

Largemouth bass are at all depths at this time. You can find fish up close to the banks, suspended along the bluffs and also out feeding in the same water depth as the stripers. Yesterday I jigged up 2 nice 3.5 pound largemouth bass in 50 feet of water on the bottom. I guess if you are a bass fisherman you have a lot of choices. The top water bite for largemouth has been sporadic but I have found some nice fish surfacing in the morning around the bridge columns as well as on bluff line points.

I am finding a few nice walleye in the same 45 - 50 foot water depth while fishing for stripers. You should also be able to find them near 40 feet deep brush as well as in shallower water on the flats early and late in the day.

Crappie are on 30 - 40 feet. deep brush piles. But the best advice I can give is that after you catch a few on a brush pile the bite seems to stop. This is time to move to another brush pile and catch a few and them move on. They seem to spook easily in the cooler clearer water. You can return to a brush after you give it some time to rest.

For daily fishing information and tips on Norfork Lake follow Hummingbird Hideaway Resort's Facebook page.

Norfork Lake level is holding fairly stable and currently sits at 552.68. The water is cooling slowly and was 67 degrees this morning. The creeks, coves and part of the main lake are still stained and will stay this way until the lake finishes its turnover and cools off more.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Norfork Lake is still entering the beginning stages of the fall fishing pattern, but this is unusually late compared to prior years. The warmer than normal ambient temperature has kept the lake water warmer for a longer period of time this year. A positive note is that I finally recorded 69 degree water outside of Hummingbird Hideaway's cove this morning. The surface water temperature is dropping a little each day. The lake is slowly turning over and has good oxygen down to 65 feet with the water temperature approximately 70 degrees from surface to 65 feet. A complete lake turnover will be complete very shortly. A big thank you goes out to the Norfork Lake Striper Club for collecting this water data and distributing it to its members.

Striped bass fishing is slowly picking up close to Hummingbird Hideaway Resort each day as the water cools. I am finding feeding stripers in 35 - 40 feet of water on large flats at sunrise then again in the afternoon. I have also found large schools of big fish lying on the bottom in 55 - 65 feet of water outside of the old river channel, but these fish are not feeding. I believe they are conserving their energy waiting for cooler water. Striped bass like water temperatures in the lower 60's. In mid to late September the stripers that were in the dam area moved north. Some move up river to the AR/MO border to the cooler water and others move out to the deepest coolest water they can find that they can survive in. Once these deep fish feel the water is cool enough for them, they will start to feed heavily and this is what I really call the fall pattern and things will get real exciting. It won't be long. I am also starting to see some signs of top water action mainly for white bass and largemouth and spotted bass. This top action will increase with the cooling of the water and the striped bass will also start coming up to the surface.

Walleye fishing has also been picking up again. Today we vertically jigged up 8 walleye, but only two were keeper size. I am finding this species in the same location where I am fishing for stripers, 35 - 40 feet of water on large flats. Dragging a crawler harness or a drop shot rig with a crawler or minnow will also pick up some nice fish.

Largemouth and spotted bass fishing has also been good. There has been some top water action after sunrise around the bridge columns and also on rock bluff line points. These are sporadic and may not occur every day. I have found some nice fish on the bottom off of bluff line points in 20 - 30 feet of water and also hanging around 30 foot brush piles. Crank baits are picking up lots of fish with most being on the short side, but there will be the keeper in the mix. Jig and pigs and plastic worms are also working in 15 - 30 feet of water.

Crappie fishing has been picking up on brush piles in 30 - 40 feet of water. This species will be at all depths over the brush or right inside of it.

Catfishing with jugs has been working well. Several of my guests caught quite a few quality fish using night crawlers. They set their jugs in 30 - 40 feet of water.

Norfork lake level is holding fairly stable at 552.6. The surface water temperature is slowly falling and was at 69 degrees this morning. The lake starting at the bridges and up north to MO and Bennett's area is stained, with the main lake slightly clearer. The lake is clearer as you head south.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird HIdeaway Resort

Norfork Lake fishing pattern is trying its hardest to get into the fall pattern, but Mother Nature has thrown us a curve. We have had unseasonably warm weather with highs in the mid 80's and lows in the low 60's which is almost 15 - 20 degrees above average. It has been great for the vacationers enjoying the area still being able to wear shorts and t-shirts, but it is confusing the fish. I am conflicted because I do love this warm weather, but I am also ready for the fish to start feeding heavily for the cold weather. I guess I will enjoy whatever nature brings my way.:-)

I have been fishing for striped bass and doing OK until the last couple of days. I am finding good fish in the mornings and late afternoons, but they are not real aggressive in biting. I have been fishing on some of the flats heading up river, but today I decided to check out other areas where stripers are typically biting at this time. I found a lot of big fish suspended at 40 - 55 feet in 120 feet of water off of deep water bluffs. I dropped live bait as well as jigged a spoon, but had no takers. I feel these fish are hovering in the deepest, coolest water they can get to, that still has good oxygen. From the last oxygen report that I have seen, at depths below 55 feet the oxygen level is very low saying the lake has not totally turned over at this time. The good news for fishing is that assuming the current long term weather forecast is correct the weather will cool starting this Thursday or Friday and stay at normal temps. The lower ambient temperatures will lower the lake water temperature and allow the lake to finish it turnover and the fish will truly start their fall feed. It won't be long.

Even though the striper bite has slowed for me the largemouth bite has been excellent. Today I found surface feeding fish around the bridge columns and had a blast. Any top water bait would have worked, but I had a Kastmaster tied on so I starting casting. Every cast for 45 minutes I either caught a good sized fish or had a bump and missed it. Crank baits are working for the suspended fish and plastics worked along the bottom are also working well. Deep water bluffs either in a cut or at a point are great areas to catch some nice fish. I have also picked up some nice bass near brush piles jigging a spoon in 35 feet of water.

The crappie bite is also pretty good. I have caught some nice slabs on a 35 - 38 feet deep main lake brush pile. The fish were suspended 20 - 25 feet down on the top of the brush pile. Sunrise and sunset are two great times to catch crappie, but you can also pick up some fish during the day.

Catfish are biting well for a couple of my guests using jugs set in 30 - 40 feet of water. Their best bait so far has been night crawlers.

The surface water temperature is in the 72 - 74 degree range which is slightly higher than my last report. A rise in lake temp is not normal for this time of year. The lake level is fairly stable and currently sits at 552.55. The creeks and coves as well as the flats on the main lake are stained. The deep water of the main lake appears to be clear on the surface.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Norfork Lake's fall fishing pattern is under way. The lake is finally starting to cool down, but additional cooling is needed to bring on the full blown fall pattern.

Striped bass are biting well up in the coolest water at the Arkansas / Missouri border. Live shad (big ones) are working the best set at 12 - 18 feet, but trollers are starting to pick up a few fish on big swim baits. The stripers up north seem to be cruising in the shallow water and not necessarily in the old river channel. A few nice stripers and big hybrids are starting to show up on the big flats from the Cranfield area up to the Red bank area. Vertical jigging with a spoon is working the best as the fish are hugging the bottom in 30 - 40 feet of water. The fish are showing up all day long starting at sunrise up to sunset. This doesn't mean they are biting all day long. Over the last week I have caught stripers and hybrids at sunrise, at noon and tonight I found them around 4PM. I guess you need to fish all day long to be there when they are biting. Just take a cooler along with some water and sandwiches. :-) I try to vary the time I'm fishing so I can know what's going on different times of the day. It's a fun time of year when you never know when the bite is going to happen. I have a fishing prediction that over the next week the lake will cool to the upper 60's, the lake will finalize its turnover and the striped bass will start to show up on the large flats starting in the Robinson area up to Missouri and also up towards the Fouts area. Inaddition topwater action will increase.

One of the main reason I like to vertical jig with a spoon  this time of year is that all species will be found in the same areas and at the same depth. I also like flat fishing, but it can be a little tedious so patience and good electronics do help a lot. Over the last week except for one day up river fishing with gizzard shad, I have been vertical jigging flats in 28 - 40 feet of water. This evening, as well as, yesterday morning I landed walleye, white bass, largemouth bass, crappie, hybrids and stripers. What more can a fisherperson ask for. Big schools of fish are just starting to show up and this will be more commonplace as the water continues to cool.

The best places for crappie are on brush piles that have been sunk in 25 - 40 feet of water. The crappie will be anywhere from 10 - 30 feet down. The hardest part of crappie fishing at this time is finding the best depth to catch the fish. Live minnows are working great, but vertical jigging a small spoon or jigging small plastics tipped with a minnow is also working very well. If it is blue gills you are wanting, work the same brush piles as for crappie, but use crickets for the bait.

Largemouth bass are all over the place. You can find them suspended 15 - 20 feet down off of the deep bluff lines. They are also laying on the bottom early and late in the day on the shallow banks.  You will also find some nice fish hanging around the crappie brush piles. Crank baits are picking up some nice suspended fish and plastics of all kinds are working for the bottom feeders. The bass hanging around brush are hitting spoons or drop shot rigs.

Norfork Lake is falling slowly due to one generator being run for a good portion of the day and currently the level sits at 552.84. The surface water temperature has been on a roller coaster ride. With the very hot days we have recently had the temperature has risen slightly and this evening was around 75 with the morning temperature around 73 degrees which is a couple of degree rise over the last couple of days. The creeks and coves and main lake flats are stained with the rest of the main lake is clear.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.



Monday, October 3, 2016

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Norfork Lake fishing has been a little tough the last couple of weeks, but there are bright spots. The lake is finally starting to cool off and is currently in the upper 70's, but still warm for this time of year. The pan fish have moved back to the brush and the largemouth bass are starting to move in tighter to the shoreline.

Fishing for crappie and bluegill is one of the better bites on the lake. The pan fish are on 30 feet deep brush piles. The crappie will be at all depths, but most will be 15 - 25 feet down. Vertical jigging a small spoon and jigging a grub are working very well. Live bait is also a very good choice. The bluegills are also 20 - 25 down over and around the brush. Crickets are one of the best baits to use to catch big numbers of bluegill.

Large & smallmouth and spotted bass are also a good bite. Main lake deep points have been one of the best areas for me over the last couple of days. You will find these species at all depths down to 30 feet. There has been a little topwater action at sunrise and again at sunset, but they are still coming up for a Zara spook even if you don't see them surfacing. Most of the bigger fish are suspended 10 - 20 feet down and a few of them are lying on the bottom. There has been a variety of baits working over the last week; deep diving crank baits, jig and pigs, and vertical jigging a spoon.

Walleye are biting fairly well. I have caught walleye in almost all types of areas. You will find them in 25 - 35 feet of water on the bottom. My favorite bait has been a 1 ounce spoon jigged off of the bottom. I have been catching walleye along the deep bluff lines especially close to a point, on big flats and also on points on the shallow side of the lake. As I said they are all over the place, but all at the same depth.

White bass are starting to school up. I have found small to medium sized schools of white bass in coves at sunrise and sunset. I have found these fish in 18 - 25 feet of water. Vertical jigging a spoon has been working for me. These schools are moving and chasing shad so you have to do a lot of looking, but when you find them you catch several.

The striped bass and hybrid bass bite is still off. These fish moved from the dam area in the later part of September and have been very difficult to find and when you do find them they are unwilling to bite. They have scattered out, but should start to school up very soon. As the water temperature continues to fall the striper bite will continually get better.

The Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently is at 553.31. The surface water temperature is 77 - 78 degrees and falling very slowly. The creeks and coves are stained and the main lake is clear.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Norfork Lake is in the final stages of the late summer fishing pattern. As the lake water cools and the oxygen returns to all depths the fish will scatter to all parts and depths of the lake. The surface water temperature is slowly falling each day and I would expect to see upper 70's very soon.

There has been little change with fishing since my last report. Striped bass fishing is still the
best in the dam area. The early morning and late afternoon bites are the best and the fish continue to be caught in 25 - 35 feet of water whether on the bottom or suspended in deeper water. I am starting to find a few stripers heading up river and also back in the mid lake creeks, but no big schools at this time. It will not be long. Live shad, either thread fin or gizzards are working the best, but vertical jigging spoons and casting blade baits worked on the bottom are also picking up some nice fish.

The biggest fishing change has been with largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. I have located some nice topwater action at sunrise, but it only lasts 30 - 60 minutes. It's plenty of time to have some fun with a spook. The best place for me has been back in a creek that has the old river channel swing in close to shore. The fish are hitting a little bit of everything when they are active. I have been using a fluke, rattle trap, Kastmaster and a Zara spook and all of these baits have landed some nice fish. Most of my big spotted bass have hit live bait set at 24 feet.

Large flats are another good area to fish. Look in the 25 - 35 feet depths and you will find scattered schools of white bass, largemouth bass, crappie, catfish and walleye. I have been vertical jigging a spoon on the flats and once I find the bait I find the fish right in the same spot.
Norfork Lake water depth is falling very slowly and currently sits at 553.74. Periodic power generation is occurring daily. The lake surface water temperature is also falling slowly and was in the low 80's this morning. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are still stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.