Tuesday, October 31, 2017

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

Norfork Lake is in its fall fishing pattern and the fish are starting to go deeper as the water temperature cools. One of the most exciting things about fishing in the fall is that the fish are on the feed and you can get into monster schools of feeding fish. Hopefully we will also see some topwater feeding going on this fall, but that does not necessarily happen every fall.

Striped bass fishing is starting to show great signs that the cooler water temperature has schooled them up and they are starting their feeding frenzy for the upcoming winter cold months. I have scouted a lot of different fishing areas of Norfork Lake and have found that many shad have been moving back into the creeks. The last 2 days I have found large schools of striped bass and hybrid bass feeding in 30 - 50 feet of water. The hybrids that I have found are schooled and typically suspended 10 - 20 feet down and when I get into striped bass they have typically been deeper. I have been vertical jigging a 3/4 ounce white and green spoon and have also been using a couple of down poles with live bait.. Today I ran into a school of fish in 47 feet of water and all my live bait poles got buried at once and I also hooked into a good fish on my spoon. After about a 5 minute fight the fish on the spoon unhooked, then I went to the live bait rods and landed 2 fish from the 3 rods I had set out. Not bad. hahaha It was hectic. Creeks you should check out are Fall, Panther, Float and back in the Bennetts area. If you find  a lot of bait there will more than likely be fish close by. Heading up river check out the flats in the Briar Creek area and up into Missouri. There are a lot of whites, stripers and hybrids from the Calamity and Barren Creek area to just south of point 10 and up to Cane Creek. Don't be afraid to get inside the coves in shallow water 16 feet or so, there have been stripers jigged up in the shallower water.

Largemouth bass fishing is also picking up. I am still finding schools of feeding fish in 30 - 40 feet of water on large flats. When you get lucky enough to find these schools you have the chance of picking up many 3 - 4 pound fish in a big hurry. I have been jigging a spoon, but casting out a Texas rigged worm or jig & pig will catch you some nice fish. The bass have started to move to shallower water early and late in the day. Look to the deep bluff lines and get down to 10 - 20 feet and you will find some feeding fish. Along with the largemouth will be  smallmouth bass. Crank baits are working in some areas and as always, back in the Bennetts area is a great place to work crank baits in the shallower water.
Crappie fishing is still good and they have also started to go deeper. The other day I was fishing a 40 foot deep older brush pile that had timber lying on the bottom. The crappie were right on the bottom next to the timber. When you do fish brush piles for crappie they will typically be at the top of the brush, but if you can get down deeper inside of the brush you are more likely to pick up the bigger slabs. As normal, late in the day the crappie move up in the water column over the brush and may be 6 - 8 feet down. I guess you can tell by the above you need to check out all depths until you find the one that is most productive.

I am still picking up walleye on the flats in 30 - 40 feet of water. As with the other species, I am catching them on a spoon jigging it off the bottom. Crawler harnesses with a bottom bouncer are also working well.

Norfork Lake level is falling ever so slightly and currently sits at 553.07. The surface water temperature this morning was 65 degrees and typically will rise a degree or two as the day wears on. The creeks and coves are stained and the main lake is a little off color, but overall the water clarity is a great fishing color. It does appear the lake is turning over and I believe it should be very close to completion. I received an oxygen report from our Striper Club on the 20th of October and the good oxygenated water had dropped to 50 - 55 feet and at that time the water temp down to 55 ft was 72 degrees. The water has cooled drastically since that time adding in the turnover process.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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

oFishing Norfork Lake is starting to get real exciting. The fall bite is improving every day and will get better and better as the water cools. The lake is dropping roughly a 1/2 degree a day with this current cool front and I am looking forward to the lake surface temperature reaching the 60's. All species will become very aggressive and start to feed heavily for the upcoming winter months. I am starting to find large schools of feeding fish and they will attack anything that comes in front of them.

Striped bass fishing is finally starting to improve. I am finding schools, as well as, scattered fish feeding on the bottom on large flats. I have been fishing several different flats from the mid lake area up to the Red Bank area. Today was a little slow with the high pressure arriving after the cool frontal system arrived the other day. I did manage to find a really nice 31.5 inch striped bass on the bottom that gave me quite a battle. I don't think he knew he was hooked until he saw the boat, then the excitement started with one run after another. Very healthy and energetic 12 - 13 pound fish. I gave him his freedom at my dock after the photo. During the last full moon there was a very early morning (in the dark bite), but recently my bite has not started until almost sunrise and I am finding feeding fish all the way up to noon or a little after. I use my electronics to find the bait fish then I start jigging a spoon off the bottom. Today was a little slow, but the large schools will become increasingly more common as the water cools. Live bait is working very well, either thread fin shad, gizzard shad or shiners. I am still using a down line for my live bait with a 1 - 2 ounce weight, a 3 - 4 foot leader and a small #4 size hook. A larger hook should be used if you have the bigger gizzard shad. Match the hook size to the bait. I have mainly been vertical jigging with a 1/2 to a 3/4 ounce spoon. All colors seem to be working as long as the predominant color is white, but as you know, my favorite color is white with a chartreuse back. Feeding along side of the striped bass are the hybrids, white bass, largemouth bass, spotted bass, walleye and catfish. You never know what you are going to catch when you are jigging a spoon. I think this is why I like fishing this method so much.

Crappie fishing is still good. Find brush in 25 - 35 feet of water and the fish will be on the top of the brush or buried inside of the brush. In the late afternoons the fish may come up in the water column to the warmer water so start dropping your bait down about 8 feet and keep checking deeper until the fish start to bite. I have been using a small 1/4 spoon in white/chartreuse, but other colors will work. Small grubs tipped with a minnow will work very well or just use a minnow with a slip float. The bigger white crappie are finally starting to move into some of the brush. Several 13 - 15 inch crappie have been caught recently but most of the crappie are in the 10 - 12 inch range which is a great size to clean and eat.

Bass fishing continues to be pretty good. I have done exceptionally well a couple of days. While striped bass fishing on the flats my guests and I have run into large schools of feeding largemouth bass and spotted bass. These have not been the little guys, all have been in the 2.5 - 4+ pound range. I have found these fish in about 30 feet of water at all different times of day, from just after sunrise to 2 in the afternoon. Other areas to check out are along bluff walls using jig & pigs or Texas rigged worms. I had some bass fishing guests in last week and they had a blast catching topwater bass up on the Missouri side of the lake. They caught a lot of short fish, but some keepers were in feeding with the little guys. Crank baits are also producing a lot of bass, but many are short fish.

Norfork Lake level has been stable for the last week and is currently at 553.44 feet above sea level. Sporadic power generation is being used to maintain this level. The current level is a little under normal seasonal pool. The surface water temperature this morning was 73 degrees and the lake temperature is falling slowly due to the current cooler weather. The main lake is clear to partly stained and the creeks and coves are stained. Great fishing conditions for all species and a perfect time to take that much needed lake fishing vacation.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Crappie and bass are biting exceptionally well on Norfork Lake at this time. The last month has been one of the best crappie bites I have seen in quite a while. The crappie have schooled on sunken brush and are at all depths, depending on the depth of the brush.  I have a couple of sunken trees where I have been fishing that has branches that are only 10 feet under the surface, and other brush piles are coming up to about 20 feet. Most of the time I am catching the crappie on the top of the brush no matter of the depth. I have been jigging a 1/4 ounce spoon (white with a green back), but others are jigging with a hair jig or little grubs with a twister or paddle tail. Live crappie minnows with a slip float are also working really well. I am catching very few short crappie, but the majority of the fish are just in the 10 - 12 inch range. One of my guests did land a nice 14 inch crappie last weekend.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are starting on their fall feed. They are feeding on small minnows as well as crawdads. This morning I was vertical jigging with a spoon along a bluff line in 20 - 30 feet of water and ran across a small school of smallmouth bass laying on the bottom. I marked the fish with my depth finder and then they starting attacking my small 1/4 spoon. I ended up landing three very nice smallies,  they sure are a lot of fun to battle on a light weight rod with 6 pound test. I also landed several other small largemouth bass in the same type of area. One of my guests this morning, for a hour, caught largemouth and spotted bass in 30 - 32 feet of water on a large flat area. His fish were feeding on crawdads. He was vertical jigging with a 1/2 ounce spoon. Last week I had a family out bass fishing, their son had lots and lots of fun landing many bass. His best bait was a Texas rigged worm worked along a bluff line. His fish were coming out of 15 - 25 feet of water and most on the bottom.

Striped bass fishing is still off, at least for me, but with the upcoming cooler weather, I believe we will see some activity in this species over the next couple of weeks. I did get into some feeding hybrids last Friday in 18 feet of water several hours before sunrise. The striped bass are still scattered though out the lake waiting for a water temperature that makes them feel good.

The surface water temperature is holding around 76 degrees in the early morning and rises a few degrees with the heat of the day. Cooler weather is on its way so we should start seeing a steady fall in water temperature over the next week. The lake level has reached normal pool and generators are being run sporadically to maintain this level. The stabilization of the lake should help improve the bite for all species. The creeks and coves are stained and the main lake appears to be clearing to clear.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

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

Norfork Lake is trying to cool down a little. For the second time in the last month the lake surface temperature has dropped to around 76 degrees in the early morning. If this cool down continues it will help energize the fish and help make the fall bite take off.

The striped bass bite for me is good one time out and non existent the next. Today was one of those good days, but the fisherman (me) was having difficulty getting a good hook set and when I did have a good fish on I was breaking off. I guess I still need more practice. :-) I was fishing with live thread fin shad. I managed to land 5 striper/hybrids, but should / could have had many more. All but one hybrid were released. The bite started around 5:15 AM and lasted until about 7AM. I was fishing in 25 - 35 feet of water and the fish were at all depths. One of my trolling guests is starting to pick up a few nice stripers later in the mornings in 100 feet of water. The fish are still 25 - 30 feet down. When you find shad in the deep water there more than likely will be some stripers hanging close by.

The crappie bite is still decent, but not great. There are crappie on brush in 23 - 30 feet of water and the fish are anywhere from 8 feet down to the bottom. You just need to keep fishing different depths until you find the level where the fish are feeding. I have found some big white crappie scattered on the big sandy flats. Live minnows on a slip bobber is a great method, but jigging a small hair jig or a spoon has also been working.

Walleye are scattered though out the lake and are shallow before dark then in about 25 - 30 feet of water the rest of the time. Crawler harnesses with a bottom bouncer or a drop shot rig are working very well. Today I landed a nice 22 inch walleye on a live minnow in 27 feet of water.

Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are also scattered though out the lake. There are a lot of smaller fish on brush piles (great spawn the last 2 years). I have been finding the larger fish in about 28 feet of water lying on or close to the bottom along bluff lines and also close to bluff line points. I have been vertical jigging a spoon looking for walleye when I run across big bass. Drop shot rigs with a jig or plastic crawler should also work. I have also noticed many suspended fish 10 - 20 feet down along the bluff lines. I have caught some of these fish with my spoon, but most are small, with a few bigger fish mixed in. There has been some top water feeding going on early in the morning and then again at sunset. All sizes of fish are feeding at this time when you run across this action.

Catfish are also at this same 25 - 35 feet depth. Today I landed 2 really nice channel cats while striper fishing. They really do not want to come off the bottom once you get them hooked. Lots of fun.

I guess in a nutshell the bite is basically the same or very similar to my last report and I don't expect much change until the water cools down into the 60's. There are many fish that can be caught at this time, but you do have to work for them. Work (hahaha) that is what I tell my wife when I head out to go
fishing. :-) I am going to work!!!

Norfork Lake level is falling slowly, close to 2 inches per day with slight power generation. The current level is 554.68. The main lake is somewhat clear, but the creeks and coves are stained. The current surface water temperature this morning was 76.5 degrees.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.