Tuesday, January 24, 2017

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

Norfork Lake's winter fishing pattern is in full swing. The bait fish are in the deep water channels of 80 - 100+ feet and the bait are suspended 50 - 70 feet down. Striped and hybrid bass can be found following the bait fish whether it is on the main lake or back in the major creeks. For most of last week I was fishing in the 62 bridge area, mainly to the south of the bridge. Later in the week the fish moved in between the 2 bridges. Today I was only marking a few stripers, so after a couple hours of looking and fishing with minimal success I decided to move into Float Creek. Immediately I was marking large balls of shad with small schools of stripers following. For the next hour it was total havoc on my boat. I was by myself with 4 live bait poles out. I had doubles on several times and ended up boating 5 stripers, but missed as many. I had bait set at 40, 50 and 60 feet deep, but all my strikes came from the 40 and 50 feet deep baits even though I was marking many fish 60 + feet deep. Today was the first day in over a week that vertical jigging with a spoon would have worked great since I saw multiple fish at one time at same depth. Large shiners, big river chubs and thread fin shad are the best choices for live bait. I had to clean one striper this morning since it could not swim away and found that its belly was full of 1 - 3 inch thread fin shad. If this winter is typical, the fish should stay at this depth and in these areas for the next 3 - 4 weeks. Towards the end of February and beginning of March the major creeks will be great places to look. The fish will start to go toward shallower water following the bait.

Small and largemouth bass, as well as, Kentucky bass fishing has also been good. The bass can be found along the deep water bluff lines. I have found many bass suspended 30 - 50 feet down in 60 feet of water. Early and late in the day they are moving in a little tighter to the shore line 15 - 25 feet deep, but still on the bluffs. You can vertical jig with a spoon, but this method can be difficult with suspended fish. Try casting out a grub, small spinners or blade baits to catch these suspended fish. On the windy days throw a spinner bait. Jig & pigs, other types of plastics and deep diving crank baits are also a good choice for the fish that move in tighter to the shore early and late in the day. Another good place for the Kentucky and Largemouth bass is near deep brush piles. Work the bottom with a spoon around the brush and you will pick up some nice fish.

Crappie are on and near the deep water brush piles. Look at sunken brush in 30 - 50 feet of water. The crappie will be inside of the brush (these are typically the bigger ones) as well as suspended over the brush. At times you will find them only 10 feet deep, but I have more success at 20 + feet deep this time of year.

The Norfork Lake level is currently stable, but has been falling slowly and sits at 547.88. The water temperature is fluctuating between 48 - 50 degrees. The warm days and nights are rising the water temperature slowly. The main lake is clear in most areas and the creeks and coves are stained. Currently Norfork Lake is in excellent fishing condition and the fish that I have been catching are fat and energetic. Make your plans now to come catch a few!

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

I hope everyone had great holidays and I wish all a fabulous New Year.

I have finally been able to get out on Norfork Lake. A holiday vacation and then cold weather kept me off the lake for a couple weeks, but I'm glad to be back!  Fishing on Norfork Lake has entered the winter phase of the fishing cycle, meaning the shad are going into deep water and the fish are following. In mid December I was catching fish on large flats in 40 - 60 feet of water. Over the last week I have found large schools of striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass out closer to the main river channel or main creek channels. I have been catching stripers in 60 to 100 feet of water and the fish are suspended 30 - 60 feet deep. My favorite winter time bait is a spoon. I find the fish and drop a spoon down to their depth and start jigging the spoon up and down. With cold water the jigging method should be slowed down. The fish are still active, but are starting to slow down and don't necessarily want to chase it. You can also troll with swim baits or Alabama rigs. The hardest part about trolling is getting your bait down to the correct depth. Down riggers, lead core line or in-line weights are different ways to get your bait down while trolling. Live bait is also working very well. During the cold months I use big shiners. The stripers seem to like them just fine. Over the last week I have found stripers in the major creeks such as Float and Panther. You will also find stripers from the 62 bridge area down to the Howard Cove area. The best part of winter fishing you do not necessarily need to be fishing at the crack of dawn. Monday afternoon I found large schools of feeding fish a 1 pm and it lasted all afternoon.

I will have a report on bass and crappie fishing on my next report as I have been concentrating on striped bass over the last week. I did pick up a nice crappie 70 feet deep while striper fishing. They can be anywhere in the cold water.

Norfork Lake surface water temperature Monday afternoon was 48.5 degrees. I do expect a slight rise in water temperature over the next several days due to the warmer than normal days and nights. Norfork Lake level is falling slowing and currently sits at 548.53. Periodic power generation is occurring during a large portion of the day. The main lake is clear, but the creeks and coves are stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.