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.