Wednesday, December 20, 2017

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

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Norfork Lake striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass are still in their fall pattern, but you can see signs of the bait and fish starting to transition to their normal winter patterns and locations. As the water cools the bait tends to move out to deeper water and gets to a depth typically 40 - 60 feet deep. As you can guess, the big predators move with the bait.

Over the last week I have concentrated on finding and trying to catch our trophy fish in Norfork Lake, striped bass. Normally this time of year I fish large flats in the lake in 35 - 50 feet of water. Cranfield Island flat, Mallard Point flat, 101 bridge flat, and Big Sandy Flat east of the 101 Boat Dock are my typical fishing holes. This year it has been a little different from prior years. My guests and I have found large schools of striped and hybrid bass on these flats, but it has been hit or miss. If the bigger fish are not there you can just about be guaranteed that  white bass will be on the flats. Some of the whites I have caught are in the 2 - 3 pound range. I moved around the last week and started fishing way up creek near 6B in Bennetts Bayou and found stripers were  but they started to move out towards the main lake during the week. Large schools of stripers moved a couple of miles out of the creek to slightly warmer water and are located south and east of the 6A marker. in 35 - 50 feet of water. Yesterday (12/19) I decided to check out a creek in the mid lake area. The water gets a little warmer as you head south. I started fishing a little before sunrise and saw shad flipping. When I got closer to the bait a large school of fish showed up. I had 2 live bait poles out with threadfin shad and was vertical jigging with a spoon. I hooked up on all three rods at the same time. What a fun dilemma! My fish on the spoon came unhooked and one of the live bait poles broke off, but I did manage to land a really big hybrid. I could see the bait starting to move out of the cove so I followed. I ran into the school again and landed a couple more hybrids and a couple of whites. The fish continued to move out and I found them one more time. It was a lot of fun for an hour or so. After that I moved out to the main part of Float Creek and marked bait with scattered bigger fish and got plenty of bites on my live bait, but they would only take the back half of my baits so no hook ups after the early morning schools of feeding fish. A friend was trolling in the same area and the fish were loving it. He had one hook up after another, it was fun watching. The scattered fish were suspended about 10 - 20 feet down, but as the morning wore on I was marking them close to the bottom around 35 - 40 feet deep.

Norfork Lake water level is falling slowing with sporadic power generation and currently sits at 549.84 feet above sea level. The lake surface water temperature ranges from 52.5 degrees to 54.5 degrees depending what part of the lake. The water is still stained with the main lake having about a 5 - 6 feet visibility. Great fishing conditions on Norfork Lake at this time.

Hummingbird Hideaway Resort's  annual fishing derby has come to a close with a lot of fun for our guests during the year. The winners of each species won $350. The winner of the big striped bass was John James of IL, big crappie winner was Joe Cebula of KS and the big smallmouth bass was won by Debbie Biesboer of IL. The winner of the free week stay drawing was Karen and Dan Solverson of WI. Congratulations to all. Details about our 2018 Derby will be coming in the new year.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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

Norfork Lake fishing has been good, but different from prior fall seasons. Fish are located pretty much in the same areas as prior years, but they are much more scattered rather than schooled up in tight schools of feeding fish. When I find a school of fish they are located at all depths and not bunched up. This is not a bad thing, but does make me change my fishing tactics a bit.

Striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass are being found in several different types of areas. They are located on the flats and the striped bass are also scattered in deeper water back in the major creeks. I typically start out in the morning at sunrise and start checking out the flats near our resort, Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. I first check out the Mallard Point flat, I may go to the Cranfield Island flat, then head to the 101 bridge flat and if needed I motor over to Big Sandy flat a little past 101 Boat Dock. I am looking at depths from 25 feet of water out to 45 feet of water. What I have found the last couple of days is that the fish are in 25 - 30 feet of water at sunrise and  seem to stick around for an hour or two. As the morning wears on they move out to deeper water and yesterday (12/11) at around 11AM I found them in 42 feet of water. I have caught big hybrids and big whites on the flats, but the stripers that I have caught on the flats have been small. The bigger stripers will move to the flats very soon. The last couple of days I fished the 6B area and landed a really nice striped bass on live bait, but yesterday (12/11) I fished the same area and the bait and fish had disappeared. I believe the 53 degree water has gotten a little too cool for the shad so they are migrating out to deeper water, and the stripers are following. I marked lots of shad and many striped bass in front of Fouts marina as I was heading back to the Big Sandy area. The stripers are scattered throughout the area making them tough to catch with a spoon. Trolling or casting A-Rigs or swim baits may be the easiest method to pick up these scattered fish and as always live bait will work wonders, but you will need to keep moving around until you come across the fish that want to eat. The stripers that I have found in deeper water are still suspended from 15 feet of water down to 40 feet of water and typically near bait. You will run across that big school of fish so when you do, vertical jigging a spoon will work great. I have not been up to the Red Bank area, but I would think the fish that have been up in the Missouri waters are also migrating somewhat south to a slightly higher water temperature.

Largemouth bass fishing has been a little tough, but you can pick up some really nice fish in deeper water. For about the first hour as the sun is rising there are many bass up in shallow water. Many of the bass are small, but you will pick up the occasional nice sized fish. Shallow diving crank baits, jerk baits and topwater baits are picking up a few fish. As the sun rises the fish are going a little deeper. Start casting out a jig and pig in 15 - 25 feet of water along bluff line points and in areas where the channel is swinging in close to shore. Another good location is close to sunken brush. I was striper fishing with live bait the other morning and also jigging a spoon. I got into about 25 feet of water and started to pick up a few largemouth off of the bottom. On those windy days go to the wind blown banks and try casting a spinner bait.Windy days are always a great time to pick up some really nice fish.

Norfork Lake level is dropping slowly with some power generation going on and currently sits at 550.68. The lake surface water temperature is dropping slowly. It ranges from 55.5 degrees on the main lake to 53 degrees back in the major creeks. The water is clearing slightly on the main lake with maybe 5 - 6 feet of visibility to stained in the creeks and coves.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.