Wednesday, May 31, 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, but this years high water event has made it a challenge. Last week I concentrated my fishing from the Diamond Bay area down to Hudson Point. I found all the bass species in all my normal late spring/early summer haunts. Main lake points, such as, Tick Point., Point 2, Thumb Point, Point 1, and Hudson Point. are examples of areas that I have found  holding fish. All species of fish are inside of or very near the sunken brush and trees. The fish will remain near the sunken brush as long as the shad stay inside the brush. This will more than likely change once the lake warms enough to create a thermocline. The early morning bite has been the best.  I really haven't been out fishing in the afternoon for quite some time.

I am getting back out on the lake after the holiday weekend and this week I am concentrating my fishing areas to the mid lake area. Yesterday morning I fished the major creeks in the mid lake area and caught stripers and largemouth bass, but all were on the short side. Today I stayed out on the main lake and fished points that have a lot of sunken trees out in the lake. At around 6:30AM I found a point  where the shad was flipping all over the place. I was fishing with live shad (large shiners will also work) and started flipping the shad between the trees. For the next 2 hours it was pretty much none stop action. All the bass species were feeding in 2 - 20 feet of water. I ended up landing 6 stripers, 3 hybrids, numerous whites, a couple nice largemouth bass and a 5 pound channel cat. The biggest challenge I have in fishing inside of the brush is that the brush tends to keep a lot of my fish after I get them hooked up. I went through 20+ hooks this morning, but it sure was fun. The stripers up in my area are starting to feed again and fatten up. I caught no skinny fish this morning all fat and healthy looking.

There is still good top water action down off the points in the dam area. I saw very few fish coming up yesterday or today in the mid lake area. Live bait appears to be the best method for catching all species of fish at this time, but some artificial baits are working. Swim baits of all sizes are working, spinner baits and shallow diving crank baits for largemouth, and spooks for top water action. Vertical jigging with a spoon is starting to work out in 40 feet of water once the shad moves away from the brush. The fish have been below the shad. I had a guest last week that likes to troll umbrellas rigs as well as swim baits. He had success in all parts of the lake keeping his baits around 20 - 25 feet deep.

The current Norfork Lake level is 577.08 and is dropping about 2 - 3 inches per day with both generators running full time. The main lake, creeks and coves north of the Robinson area are stained to a light brown color, but the brown is falling out steadily. The lake is stained down to the dam and is clear east of the dam. This morning the lake surface water temperature was in the low to mid 70's. Last week there was very little floating debris, but as of yesterday there was lots of floating timber west of the 101 bridge to Robinson area. I have had no problem out on the lake, but as always you need to be extremely vigilante when on the water and slow down when you notice floating debris. Remember to be safe and always wear your life vest.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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

It has been a real roller coaster ride on Norfork Lake for the past 2 weeks. On April 29 the lake started to rise until it reached the top of the flood pool. Missouri had devastating floods which eventually ended up in Norfork Lake. The lake became muddy from north to south, but the muddy water is finally starting to fall out and the lake is stable. The high water will be with us for quite a while, but high water is not a bad thing. Most species had completed their spawn prior to the high water so the newly born fry will have plenty of places to hide making future fishing even better. Fishing will continue to improve daily over the whole lake as the mud settles out and the water turns to a great stained color for fishing.

I have traveled most of the lake over the last week and have found good fishing water starting in the midlake area down to the dam. It appears that the brown water is falling out from the backs of the creeks and working its way out to the main lake. The farther south you travel on the main lake the clearer the water gets.

Overall the fish are on the shoreline inside of the newly sunken brush and trees. Live bait has been working exceptionally well. Threadfin shad and large shiners are both working. I have been using a number 6 kahle hook with no weight and pitching the bait into openings between the trees. I have also been moving slowly right outside the trees in about 15 - 20 feet of water and dragging the baits behind the boat, again with no weight. Today I was fishing on a point down in the dam area and hooked into a big fish. The fish started to run for deep water and I knew I had a big striper. This fish came very close to spooling me. After about a 20 minute battle, I landed a 40 inch 30 pound striped bass. I was only using a 7 foot medium light action rod with a spinning reel filled with 8 pound monofilament line. Light tackle makes the battle a lot of fun. Friday I fished the midlake major creeks. I was about half way back in a creek where the water became clear to stained. I fished channel swing points pitching live bait up in the brush. I was fishing with several of my guests and we landed almost every species in the lake. I have also been using some artificial baits. Today I landed a nice striper on a 5 inch swim bait with a 3/8 ounce jig head. I cast the bait into opening and try to get it as close to the new shore as possible and then reel back to the boat. Jerk baits, either soft plastics or hard baits will also be working well up in the brush. The best bite for me is early morning. I've been told that the afternoon bite seems to be slow. As our lake water warms look for the stripers to move away from the shoreline and go to a little deeper water. Monday morning a couple of our guests found some really good topwater action for striped bass. They got to their fishing spot and could see the fish exploding as they approached. Once the topwater stopped they put away their Zara spooks and proceeded to pitch live bait into the shore and continued to catch fish.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing is also improving. These species are located in  the same areas as the striped bass, you will find them inside of  the sunken brush and trees. I have had the best luck catching fish by finding sunken buck brush in about 10 to 15 feet depths, letting my bait sink down to the tops of the brush and then working it back to the boat. I have caught many fish on the fall of the bait. Creature baits worked along the brush will pick up some nice fish. Again find the stained to clear water and start fishing.

I have not heard anything about crappie, but I am sure they are inside of the brush feeding on shad. You may need to pull out your 12 foot long cane pole to be able to get to the crappie inside of the brush along the banks .

The Norfork Lake level is holding steady at 577.03. The Corps of Engineers is running all generators for the major part of the day to keep up with the inflow and hold the lake stable. The water surface temperature is in the low 70's. The lake is muddy (but clearing slowly) from the Robinson area to the Cranfield area and up river, as well as from from the bridges up to the Bennetts area. The lake is stained, a little south of the Robinson area and continues to become clearer the farther south you go.

There is still floating debris in the lake, mainly concentrated around the Mallard Point area though Cranfield and up river as well as back in the Fouts area. We are to have a strong South wind so a lot  of this debris will be pushed to the shore until a north wind or no wind happens. As always, be careful when on the lake.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

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

Facing north just west of the 101 bridge at 6AM
Facing west looking into Five Fingers Cove at around 7AM
Facing South looking into Diamond Bay at around 8AM
Facing northwest on south side of Robinson campground 9 AM
Hi All, I guess you have heard and seen photos of the high water on Norfork Lake. Due to the questions and concerns about Norfork Lake I have decided to give you all a little detail about the lake's current condition. To start off Norfork Lake and Hummingbird Hideaway Resort are open for operations and running as smoothly as possible. Yes, the flood that started on Saturday April 29, 2017 increased the lake level up to the top of the flood pool of 580 feet above sea level. It has since been lowered 3 feet. It was amazing that prior to 5PM on the 29th we virtually had no rain, but north of us had been getting dumped on starting early on Friday, April 28th. The lake was rising maybe an inch an hour, but at 5PM Saturday, April 29 I noticed a 12 inch rise in the lake level. I thought this had to be incorrect information on the Corps. of Engineers lake level report, but it was correct. All though the night the lake continued to rise a foot an hour and I had a lot of fun keeping up with the dock. But I did, with help from several of my guests, and was able to keep the dock accessible for our guests. This sudden and tremendous inflow of water into the lake brought along lots and lots of debris. Each day you see less and less floating debris, but there are tremendous amounts of dead wood laying along the shoreline and back in some of the small coves. As long as the lake continues to drop, this debris on the shore will stay put and not create a problem. I was really getting depressed with the brown looking water, but several things have changed my outlook. I finally got my boat back from the shop and was able to see that the lake is starting to clear. I headed out this morning at 6AM to start breaking in the second new power head on my 2 year old motor (??) I spent 4 hours on the lake. Three of those hours looking
around and only one hour of fishing. By the way, I did catch 4 nice largemouth up in the flooded trees. Here is what I saw this morning. The lake is still brown from Mallard point to just past Robinson campground. As you head south you can definitely tell the brown water is starting to fall out. By the time I reached Duck Blind Point (past Robinson) the water was stained to slightly off color, by Diamond Bay it was just stained. The back of Diamond Bay was much browner than the main lake. I did catch some nice bass back in Diamond. The floating debris that I found today was mostly small, but there are still some big trees floating. Most of the debris that I found was close to the 101 bridge on the west side, some in between the 2 bridges and also in front of and slightly south of Robinson Campground. After that it was mostly smooth sailing. The debris keeps moving as the wind changes so always be very vigilant when  out on the lake. After Diamond Bay I headed back into Fall Creek. The farther back I went the clearer it got. Back by Buzzard Roost Marina the water clarity was its normal clear with just a slight green stain. (I also caught a nice largemouth in Fall.) I then headed back into Panther Creek and it was slightly brown, but could tell it was trying to drop out and clear. I headed back home and the debris on the west side of the 101 bridge had moved from the south side of the lake to the north side.  I came up the south shoreline without difficulty. Of course when out on the lake, I would suggest you not go full speed at this time until all of the debris disappears off of the lake. I have heard the Cranfield area is still brown with floating debris as is the Fouts area. I am sure these two areas will be clearing of both the mud and the debris shortly. The other major area of the lake east of the dam has very clear water.  Point 1 back though Big and Brushy Creeks did not have the tremendous inflow of water so the mud did not affect this area. How long it will take the lake to get back to normal will depend on the weather. The water will remain high until the rivers start to recede back into their banks as Norfork Lake is a flood control lake. The launch ramps are open, but some of the floating debris is making them difficult to use. I launched my boat yesterday at the Henderson deep water ramp. I had to clear out some of the debris by hand then just used my trolling motor and a long pole to move the debris out of the way. Once though I trimmed my motor back down and headed to our dock. The below photos are of our dock and resort area. Both easily accessible and ready for your use. I will try and keep you updated of any significant changes to Norfork Lake.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to call us at 870-492-5113. Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

I will be doing an updated fishing report in a few days, but the fish are biting and our guests are catching fish.

Hummingbird Hideaway's Dock, 5/3/17, after the increased lake level

Hummingbird Hideaway's Resort pool (which is open)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

The last 2 weeks on Norfork Lake has been very interesting to say the least. We have gone from great spring weather, to cold fronts, to a major rain event which increased the lake level to the top of the flood pool. Fishing was fantastic up through last Saturday morning then the severe weather started to impact the lake. Norfork Lake started rising a foot an hour at around 5 PM Saturday and continued to rise until the flood gates on the dam were opened to increase water evacuation. As of today, the lake is stable and is slowly falling and is currently at 578.65. There is still some floating debris, but a lot of it is starting to blow into the shoreline and as the lake drops it will get hung up in the flooded trees. The lake is navigable, but when out on the lake be very cautious and observant of floating debris. The water north of the 101 and 62 bridges is still dirty and the clearer and stained water starts just south of the 101 and 62 bridge. Hummingbird Hideaway Resort is in great shape and open for business. Our dock is easily accessible with electric and the fish cleaning station still in operation.

Now for what I know about current fishing conditions on Norfork Lake. The flooding of normally dry land, has forced nightcrawlers to come to the surface and the fish are starting to have a feast. If you are a catfisherman the combination of dirty water and a large supply of worms is ideal to catch many cats. I have had guests fishing from the shoreline off of a flooded roadway below our resort and landing some  nice catfish. Limb lines and trot lines will also be a great method to catch big numbers of cats.

Today a couple of our guests ventured out on the lake after sunrise and found some clearer water. They were fishing with shiners and caught a nice smallmouth and largemouth bass. If you can find a flooded field or cow pasture that had been grassy you will clean up on bass feeding on nightcrawlers and crawdads. Each stable day will help increase the bite and get the fish very active.

I have not heard a lot about striper fishing since last weekend's rain, but from prior high water experience you will need to find the clearer water. Shad will be in the trees and the stripers will be on the edges of the flooded trees feeding on the shad. It may take several days for the fish to get used to their new surroundings, but if it is similar to past high water years the fishing will become really good.

I myself have not been able to get out on the lake with all the new resort work this rain created, but I hope to get back at it towards the end or the week. I will keep you posted and give you updates as soon as I can.

The Norfork Lake level currently sits at 578.65. The water temperature this morning was in the mid 60's. A lot of the lake is dirty, but you will find some nice stained and clear water back in some of the major creeks and in the southern part of the main lake.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.