Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort 870-492-5113

Norfork Lake fishing is transitioning from the summer fishing pattern to the fall fishing pattern. The crappie bite has been outstanding, bass bite is good, catfishing has been good, walleye bite is fair and the striper bite for most anglers has been slow.

My guests and I have been finding crappie on main lake brush piles. The most productive brush piles should be in 35 feet or less of water and the crappie will be inside of the brush and up to the top of the brush pile. As the water warms during the day the crappie are moving up higher in the water column and have been caught as shallow as 8 feet down, but still suspended over the brush or very close to the brush. Small live crappie minnows called tuffies are a great bait for catching crappie. Rig up a light action rod with 4 pound test line (clear or green) add a slip float and a small split shot. Set the slip shot about 2 feet above the bait hook. I typically use a #6 to a #10 hook with a little longer shank. If you can net your own bait small thread fin shad will also be outstanding. For artificial baits, I have been having good success with a 1/4 ounce spoon vertical jigging it at the depth where I see the fish or at the top of the brush. Small grubs with a twister tail or a paddle tail are also a great bait to use. I typically use my artificial baits without a float, but for some, adding a slip float may make it easier to find your depth and keep it consistent once you find the depth where the fish are feeding. When using a grub you can always add a small crappie minnow to the hook, which may get you more strikes.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing has been good and appears to be getting better every day. I am finding this specie in many different types of areas. Last evening I was crappie fishing over a brush pile close to a bluff line. As the sun was setting the bass starting feeding on the surface. Top water action lasted for about 20 minutes until the sun set below the tree line. Many of the fish coming up were small, but I did get to land a couple of 2.5 pound spotted bass. This morning as I was checking out some new brush on a bluff line point, I noticed many fish suspended 8 - 15 feet down. I tied on a wiggle wart and started to catch largemouth bass, but most were on the short side. Most of my bigger fish have come out of 28 - 30 feet of water on the bottom. I have been vertical jigging a 3/4 ounce spoon on the bottom either along a bluff line or a big rounded main lake point looking for walleye, and have run into small schools of large and smallmouth bass. Once I find these fish I can usually land 2 before the school moves on and I continue jigging. In general, very early and very late in the day, the bigger fish are moving up to the surface and some up along the shore line. Mid day they move down into 30 feet of water.

Walleye fishing has been fair. I have not been able to identify a good pattern except that all my walleye have come out of 28 feet of water either close to brush or close to a main lake bluff line point. I have only used a spoon and have been vertical jigging. A bottom bouncer weight with a crawler harness or a drop shot rig with a worm or minnow will also work. Deep diving crank baits that will get you down to the 30 feet level should also pick up a few nice fish.
Catfish are hanging around the brush piles in 28 - 35 feet of water. I have landed nice sized flatheads and channel cats vertical jigging a 3/4 ounce spoon. Crawler harnesses or drop shot rigs will also pick up some nice fish.

Striped bass fishing has been slow, at least for me. I have been able to land a few, but I have only actually targeted stripers a few times over the last couple of weeks. I found stripers on a large flat in the midlake area and landed several fish using live thread fin shad. I found stripers before sunrise in 20 - 30 feet of water on the bottom feeding. In addition, I have found small schools of stripers about 10 feet down in 20 - 40 feet of water. I have been setting 2 down poles with live bait at 20 - 25 feet and 2 free lines with only a very small split shot. I have landed stripers on both down and free swimmers. Once the sun comes up they disappear. I have also picked up several nice sized stripers while jigging my 3/4 ounce spoon. These stripers were close to brush piles or along bluff lines. This tells me we have a lot of scattered fish which will school up again once the water cools. A third area which I have not tried yet, but typically is productive this time of year, is up river in the Missouri waters. Look from Calamity area up to point 10 and beyond. I wouldn't be surprised if the stripers have even migrated farther up river since the dam in the Dawt Mill area has been removed.

Norfork Lake level is falling about 3 inches per day with the equivalent of one generator being run and currently is 557.72. This level is only 2 feet above normal seasonal pool. The lake surface temperature is ranging from 77 degrees in the morning to the very low 80's in the afternoon. The mid to upper portion of the main lake is clear to some what stained with the coves and creeks stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort 870-492-5113

The thermocline on Norfork Lake has been slowly dropping and currently is about 30 to maybe 35 feet down, and is holding most fish and bait species to this depth or shallower. If you plan to fish Norfork Lake take note of the thermocline level as lots of fish will hang at this level. Striped bass is the only species that I am aware of that will go way below the thermocline to reach cold water.

There has been some really nice spotted (Kentucky) bass caught over the last week. The bass are being found in two main areas; up in the flooded buck brush and suspended over deep water close to structure. I went out bass fishing this morning and found some nice bass suspended down 10 - 20 feet in 60 - 100 feet of water. Bluff line points and the mid lake bridge columns are great places to check out. I also went out  this evening for a few hours. There are plenty of bass feeding on shad up in the flooded buck brush. Top water baits, plastics and crank baits are all catching nice fish. Live bait has also been doing very well in catching bass.

This evening I found the white bass nursery. Norfork Lake had a great white bass spawn this year, if what I saw this evening is any indication. At first the whites were in about 16 feet of water on the bottom, but as the sun was lowering in the sky the whites started busting all over the lake chasing and feeding on tiny shad. Most of the whites that I found were small, but it was a blast catching one fish after another. I started out jigging a spoon on the bottom, but as the fish starting hitting the surface I switched to a Kastmaster. If this year is like prior years the big whites will start to show up very soon.

Striped bass fishing has slowed, at least for me. I have been striper fishing only about 1 day a week. I was limiting out each time, until my last trip out on Labor Day. I found alot of fish down 80 - 90 feet on the bottom and some suspended in deeper water but I only got one light bite on my thread fin shad in a 2 hour period. The boat traffic over the holiday weekend may have affected the bite. There has been a few stripers caught suspended down 30 feet over deep water in the dam area, as well as, in the mid lake area. Typically around mid September, the stripers in the dam area start to migrate north for cooler water. More and more stripers will show up in the mid lake area, as well as, up around the Missouri border. The upcoming cooler nights and days will help lower the water temperature which will benefit all species of fish.

Norfork Lake level is falling about 3 - 4 inches per day with 1 generator being run continuously during the day and currently sits at 561.71. The surface water temperature this evening was 81.5 degrees. The main lake is clear with the creeks and coves stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort - 870-492-5113

Norfork Lake fishing is in its summer pattern and fishing methods should be very similar for the next month.

The striped bass bite continues to be good for most out on the lake. The easiest and most productive method of catching stripers at this time is with live bait. Live threadfin shad, shiners and small bluegills are all working well, with shad being the best type of live bait. I am currently finding large schools of stripers lying on the bottom in 70 feet of water. The best areas to find the stripers at this time are on points and large deep flats in the dam area and at the start of the Big Creek area (Long Point, Koso, Thumb, Point 1, Hudson) and also on the flats out in front of Sand Island in the Jordan area. Artificial baits are also producing striped bass. Try vertical jigging with a spoon or a 3 inch (or so) grub with a 1/4 or 3/8 ounce jig head. If you're jigging keep the action of your bait moving slow, use small twitches of the bait and work them slowly on the bottom. It is hard to feel the bite so be ready to set the hook with the slightest heaviness of your line while moving the bait. Trolling swimbaits and 4 - 5 inch crank baits are also producing some fish.

A second area to catch hybrid bass and on occasion striped bass is in 25 feet (+ or - 5 feet) of water. The lake thermocline is roughly at 25 feet with good oxygenated water from the shore line out to 25 feet with about 80 - 84 degree water temperature though out this water column. Most of the bait fish that I have found is in this 0 - 25 feet range so as you would guess it is holding lots of fish. I have found some schooling hybrids in the mid lake area in the 25 feet range feeding on shad. With this shallower water all types of artificial baits will work. I had a friend trolling deep diving crank baits and ran into schools of nice striped bass on points in the mid lake area.

The walleye bite is getting good. Most walleye are being caught in 18 - 25 feet of water on the bottom. Trolling a crawler harness with bottom bouncing weights are catching some nice fish as are deep diving crank baits such as a Flicker Shad. If you're using crank baits use about a 4 inch minnow imitating crank. If you just have shallow diving cranks you can always add some inline weight to get your bait down to the 20 feet level. I have always had the best luck when the bill of the crank digs into the bottom of the lake a little. Walleye are showing up all over the main lake including points and large flats. I have used thread fin shad set on the bottom and have picked up a few walleye. I have also caught walleye while I am striper fishing in 70 feet of water. Yesterday I did not land any walleye, but on 4 different occasions I set my hook on a light bite to bring up only my weight and leader with no hook. I would guess that I was getting numerous walleye bites.

Pan fish are also in the 0 - 25 feet of water range. If you can find some brush pile in 20 - 25 of water you will find some crappie, but most are roaming the flooded shoreline trees feeding on shad. Crickets are working well for blue gills in the shallow water.

Catfish are showing up at all depths. I have caught cats in 70 feet of water when striper fishing, as well as in 20 feet of water while walleye fishing. They are roaming all over the lake.

A week ago I had a family that love to bow fish. I sent them over to a point in the Cranfield area and they had a blast. The best part of this group is that they clean and eat what they shoot. I have never eaten gar before, but they tell me they are excellent eating as long as they are cleaned properly. I took a cleaning lesson one afternoon when they were cleaning their catch and saw that you end up getting a nice white fillet with no bones after you are done. I guess I will have to try cleaning one next time I land a gar. I typically cut the line and release them when I do catch one.

The Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 566.3, which is about 11 feet above normal pool. The surface water temperature is ranging from 82 - 85 degrees depending the time of day. The main lake looks fairly clear with the creeks and coves stained.

Our regular road down to our dock is finally clear of water and totally usable and our boat ramp is usable for launching of boats and PWC. We have a good portion of our parking lot available again so it is really easy to walk onto our dock. This is a great time of year to visit Norfork Lake as it is not very crowded and the lake is in great shape for all you lake lovers. The water is warm and all your favorite water sports are ready and waiting for you  - swimming, skiing, tubing, fishing, ect. Come down and fish a little and play in the water a little. You will have a fantastic time. Hummingbird Hideaway Resort has cabins available for your Norfork Lake vacation. When you check in I'll be happy to point out my current favorite fishing spots. I can also help you find a guide if you would like a guided trip.

Happy Fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort 870-492-5113

Norfork Lake fishing has not changed much over the last couple of weeks, which means the striped bass bite continues to be strong in deep water and all other species are biting in 0 - 20 feet of water.

I haven't had a chance to fish my normal 5 days a week, but when I have had the chance to get out the bite has been strong. Striped bass are being caught from south of point 2 to the dam and east of the dam to the Jordan Island area. The larger stripers are being caught in 50 - 70 feet of water. They're lying on the bottom early in the morning as well as during the day. Live bait is working very well but several artificial baits are also working. Vertical jigging with a spoon, as well as, jigging with a small 3 inch grub (green or off white) on the bottom. The main tactic at this time is to move your bait very slowly along the bottom. Keep your bait small and move it slowly and you will catch fish. Trollers are picking up some nice stripers, but again you will need to get your bait down below 45 feet.

I have been watching many nice sized largemouth bass swimming around in about 3 feet of water early in the morning in front of our dock. Our gravel parking lot is still partially under water and the bait fish and small blue gills are loving the warm water. Bass are having a field day feeding at will. I guess what I am trying to tell you is look for those flooded roadways early in the morning and cast out your favorite plastic bait (Crawdad) or swim bait and you should pick up some nice fish. I am also noting some bass hitting the surface early in the morning as well as at sunset.

Walleye fishing has also starting picking up. The best water depth is around 18 feet on large rounded points. Use a crawler harness with a bottom bouncer or drop shot a live minnow to pick up some nice fish.

Blue gill are also in the 18 feet of water depth. Crickets have been one of the best baits at this time.

Hybrid bass and white bass have been sporadically erupting in the mornings. I have gotten reports from all different areas of the lake with top water action. There has been some nice sized hybrids and mid sized whites coming up and feeding on small shad.

Norfork Lake level is falling around 2 - 3 inches per day and currently sits at 568.86. The lake is clear to its normal green summer time tint. The surface water temperature has reached 90 degrees, plus or minus a few degrees.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort 870-492-5113

Norfork Lake striped bass fishing has been really good for the last month and should continue for some time. I have been spending most of my fishing time catching stripers. My daughter and granddaughter have been visiting and we have been having a blast. It is so much fun watching young fishermen and women take to the sport. I have been keying in on striped bass in 55 - 65 feet of water on the bottom. This is where I have been finding the bigger fish. I have caught a few suspended fish down 40 - 50 feet in deeper water, but they seem to be the smaller fish. Live bait has been working exceptionally well, but artificial baits are also picking up some good fish. For artificial baits use a 1 ounce spoon and vertical jig it off of the bottom or if you see suspended fish reel up to them and jig at their depth. Trollers are also picking up some nice fish. The trollers are mainly using swim baits with 4 - 6 ounces of weight attached to the line with a snap on weight. If you have a down rigger get your bait down to 50 - 60 feet of water. The best places to start looking for stripers is on main lake points especially the points that go out a long way into the lake. Fish the edges of the point where it drops off to the 60 feet of water + or - 10 ft. As the sun comes up go out a little deeper. The main area to find the stripers is south of point 2 to the dam then east of the dam towards Jordan Island.

Largemouth bass fishing has been up and down. The best place to look for them is back in the creeks. If you can find a stand of trees that are out in 10 - 15 feet of water there will be lots of bass in the area. One good place to fish for largemouth is back in Pigeon Creek where there is a large grove of trees in the water. Crank baits, soft plastics and tube jigs are good choices to use for your bass fishing.

Crappie appear to be scattered though out the sunken shore line. live bait is a good choice or small jig casted into the brush and bringing them out slowly.

Norfork Lake level is currently 572.54 feet above sea level and falling a little more than 2 inches per day. The main lake is clearing nicely and the creeks and coves are still somewhat stained. The lake surface water temperature was 86 - 87 degrees early this morning.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort - 870-492-5113

Striped Bass fishing on Norfork Lake has been outstanding for the last couple of weeks. This year the stripers are in the summer pattern a little earlier than normal. You can find the striped bass in 40 - 55 feet of water close to the bottom. Early morning, after sunrise, I have been finding large schools of fish feeding heavily on shad. As the morning wears on the stripers are staying at this same depth, but will be hugging the bottom. Small live bait is working the best for me, either threadfin shad or shiners. For my live bait poles I am using a 2 ounce weight with a swivel on both ends, then I tie on a 4 - 5 foot leader with a # 6 hook. Yes, this is a very small hook, but I try to match the hook to the bait so the bait can still swim around. I drop the bait to the bottom then give 2 cranks of the reel to lift the weight off of the bottom. Best places to fish are from point 2  back to the Sand Island area. Start looking for the stripers on the points and both sides of the points and when you find them hold on!

The largemouth bass bite is also very good. They can be found all over the lake. The best areas to start fishing is part way to all the way back into the creeks and coves. The largemouth are up in the sunken brush early and late in the day and move out to 20 - 30 feet of water during the sunny part of the day. Swim baits, plastic worms, crank baits and spinner baits are all working well at times for the largemouth bass. The largemouth will also come up for a topwater bait early in the morning.

Crappie, bluegills and walleye are all feeding inside of the sunken brush early and late in the day. The crappie and bluegill stay inside of or on the edge of the brush during the day. The walleye are starting to move out onto the flats into 20 - 40 feet of water. Live bait is a great choice for all these species.

Norfork Lake level is falling slowly with sporadic power generation and is dropping 1 - 2 inches per day. The current level is 573.15 feet above sea level. The majority of the lake is clear with the creeks and coves partially stained. The lake surface water temperature was 81 - 82 degrees this morning.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort - 870-492-5113

Norfork Lake fishing has been good over the last couple of weeks. All species are biting, but the typical pattern for this time of year is different. The higher than normal water level is keeping the bait fish inside the sunken trees and brush and the fish are loving it. Plenty of places to hide and feed. The predators are, as you would guess, up inside of the brush with the bait fish.

Striper fishing has been excellent from the southern portion of the mid-lake area down to the dam and east of the dam part way back into Big Creek. Main lake points, as well as, secondary points back into the creeks and coves have been the best areas to find the striped bass. Early in the morning you can find stripers and hybrids up tight to the sunken trees and brush feeding on shad. If you can find an area with the shad flipping back in the brush, all species of fish will be in the area feeding. As the sun rises over the tree line the stripers tend to move out into deeper, cooler water. They will still be off the points, but will move out to find water temperatures in the low 60's, which at this time is about 40 - 45 feet deep. Surface water temperature is close to 80 degrees. Live bait is working the best for me. I've been using live threadfin shad, gizzard shad or  larger shiners. Artificial baits that have worked for me have been swim baits, crank baits and spinner baits. I attempt to get the bait down to the tops of the sunken buck brush, and try to retrieve along the tops of the brush anywhere from 10 feet to 25 feet of water. Once the stripers go deeper vertical jigging with a spoon will start working. So far though, I can't seem to beg a bite on a spoon, but they will work before long.

Large and smallmouth bass fishing has been good. Early and late in the day they are up tight on the sunken brush. I have had luck over the last week casting a Zara Spook into the brush and slowing walking the dog back to the boat. I have called up many fish by this method. Crank baits and spinner baits are also working very well. Try to get a deep diving crank bait so it will get down to the tops of the brush in 10 to 25 feet of water. The fish are inside of the brush feeding on shad.
Walleye fishing has increasingly gotten better and better. Troll crank baits on the old shoreline just off of the sunken brush in 20 - 25 feet of water. I had a group of guys down last week and they were using this method of fishing. They landed well over 20 walleye,  many keepers. Fire tiger was their most productive crank bait color pattern. The walleye are also moving onto the flats in the 15 - 30 feet water range. Using a Lindy rig with night crawlers has been working. You can also drop shot a large shiner, keeping it just above the bottom in the same water depth of 15 - 25 feet.

Crappie and blue gills are up in the sunken brush. There has been some nice fish caught on crank baits as well as spinner baits. Live bait will be the best, but they are very hard to get to. They have moved very deep into the brush, but working the edges of the sunken brush and especially under sunken Willow trees are holding some nice fish.

Catfishing has been excellent. Limb lines, jugs and trot lines are all producing some really nice fish.

Norfork Lake's current water level is falling slowly and is at 574.95. The current surface water temperature is in the high 70's. Parts of the lake are clear( far north up river and far south east of the dam). The remainder of the lake is slightly stained with a greenish blue color. Parts of the mid lake area around the 2 bridges are still showing a slightly brown tint of stain. Overall the lake is in great condition and is getting back to normal. I am noticing very little floating debris, but caution is still advised as always.

All of our guests are enjoying the great summer weather and beautiful Norfork Lake. Plenty of lake and pool swimming is going on. The kids, as well as the adults are having a blast skiing, tubing, wake boarding, surfing and just plain old relaxing on the lake! Oh yeah, don't forget about getting a line wet and catching a few fish for supper. Norfork Lake is waiting for you and your family!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Norfork Lake Conditions as of 6/1/2017 by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Calamity area at launch ramp
Red Bank Area

I had not been up river since the high water event of April 29th, so yesterday afternoon Linda and I took a little boat trip from our dock to the Calamity area. (I hear you can take a boat ride all the way to Dawt Mill. We planned on this, but the weather did not cooperate) I was pleasantly surprised that the water clarity, from just north of Cranfield all the way to Calamity, is back to Norfork Lake's clear blue water. We noticed very little floating debris along the way so if this is any indication I would have to say Norfork Lake is finally getting back to normal. (Except for the high water which just makes for a very big lake and plenty of room to play.)

Across from the walleye rearing pond cove before Cranfield
The Cranfield area water clarity is slightly stained. As you head from Cranfield towards the Robinson Campground area the water is stained with a slight brown tint. There is a little more floating debris starting at Mallard Point, between the two bridges and in front of Robinson campground. The debris appears to disappear south of the Robinson area. The water clarity after Robinson campground becomes slightly stained and as you head south the water is clear. The major creeks in the mid lake area are clear to slightly stained.

Cranfield Island
As for the floating debris which has been changing daily, I would have to say the majority of the debris will be sticking to the shoreline. The lake is being drawn down about 2 inches per day and if this continues the debris will get trapped on the shore and not be able to work its way back out onto the lake. The current lake level is 576.67.

With what I have been seeing over the last couple of days, I think Norfork Lake is truly getting back to its normal self.

We took a few photos along the way so you can see for yourself what I am talking about.

Mallard Point
The final note for you lake lovers and players, the surface water temperature was 81 degrees yesterday afternoon. Just perfect for all the summertime skiers, tubers and swimmers. Norfork Lake is calling your name so come play!


Hummingbird Hideaway's cove and dock

Hummingbird Hideaway's dock