Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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

Norfork Lake fishing has been exciting as always. There have been fantastic days of catching along with some mediocre days, but it is always a great day to just be able to be out on the water. If you have been following my blog, I am sure you have noticed that I enjoy fishing for striped and hybrid bass the most whether they are located in deep water or shallow water, but I do fish for other species in order to keep up with their movements and patterns.

The striped and hybrid bass bite is really starting to improve. They are being caught in several different types of locations at varying depths. Yesterday (12/10) I spent the day checking out various areas, but mainly concentrated on the deep water channels. Bait is starting to move into the 80+ feet channels on the main lake and the stripers are either buried inside of the bait balls or are following. This is a typical winter pattern and as the water continues to cool, more and more bait will move into the deep water and suspend 40 - 60 down with the striped and hybrid bass hanging out close by. I did end up finding several large schools of fish following bait, which were suspended 50 - 60 feet down. I managed to land a nice hybrid and broke off a second fish. I was vertical jigging with a 1 ounce spoon. Another good fishing method at this time to target these suspended fish is to troll with umbrella / Alabama rigs or with just a single large swim bait. The main key is to be able to get your bait down to the fish at 50 - 55 feet. Using live bait has also been very productive. Today I was checking out various flats on the lake. I started at the 101 bridge flat and worked my way west to the Cranfield area, then headed northward to the Seward Point and Briar Creek flats. I found fish on all the flats, but it was mainly scattered white bass. At about 10:30 I was checking out a final flat and found a few arcs in 48 feet of water. I stopped and started to fish and my fish finder screen lit up like a Christmas tree with all kinds of fish. For the next 2 hours I vertical jigged with my 1 ounce spoon and also casted out a 1/2 ounce Kastmaster. I ended up landing a couple nice striped bass, a few hybrids, flat head catfish, largemouth bass and lots of jumbo sized white bass. I dropped my spoon and let it sit about 1 foot off of the bottom then place it in the rod holder, I then would cast out my Kastmaster and let it sink to the bottom and then retrieved it slowly with a stop, jerk and reel retrieval method. I would glance at my spooning rod on occasion and find that it was buried with a fish on. I had a great time with a great big grin on my face. :-)

The largemouth bass are also starting to move towards deeper water as the water continues to cool. This is normal for this species, as well as, for all the species in the lake. I have been catching some nice fat largemouth while vertical jigging for stripers in 50 feet of water. You can also jig around sunken brush piles in 30 - 40 feet of water and catch some nice fish. The third location is along the rock bluff walls. Cast out a worm, crawdad or a jig & pig to the shoreline and let it sink down the bluff wall. Most of the fish caught on plastics are in the 20 - 30 foot deep range. There are still a few fish up shallow, but most are deep following the bait, which is going deeper.

Crappie are still in their normal habitat for this time of year and will be found buried in brush during the morning and daytime in 30 - 40 feet of water. In the evening they will come up in the water column and may be only 8 - 15 feet down. You need to test different depths until you find that magic area where they are feeding. I have actually caught a few nice keepers on 50 foot deep brush piles over the last week, so don't hesitate to check out the deep areas for crappie.

Norfork Lake level is holding fairly stable. Generation has been sporadic. The current depth is 552.94. The main lake surface water temperature this morning ranged from 48.5 degree - 51.5 degrees. The lake cooled as I traveled northward. The main lake is clear with a very slight stain and most coves and creeks are stained. The lake is in excellent condition as are the fish.

If you would like to see a more frequent update on fishing activity on Norfork Lake, follow Hummingbird Hideaway Resort on Facebook.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

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

Norfork Lake's fall fishing pattern is slowly moving toward the winter pattern. As the water continues to cool the fish go deeper following the bait. Over the last week I have noticed the bait moving from around 28 feet of water to anywhere from 35 to 50 feet of water. The bite over the last week has been good for most species. There have been continuous cold fronts, then warm air then back to cold fronts. Each time a system moves through the area the bite is affected.

The best bite on the lake, in my opinion, is as follows: white bass, largemouth and spotted bass, crappie, but the hybrid bass and striped bass bite are starting to pick up. Walleye and catfish have both been sporadic, but I have seen good signs that both are ready to improve.

I have been having a lot of fun over the holiday week fishing with family members. Our resort was partially filled with my wife's side of the family and the remainder of the resort was filled with guests fishing for all types of species. I was really impressed that the cold weather didn't stop many of our Texas, Florida and South Carolina family members and they all were able to catch a fish.

White bass have schooled and are located on flats in 35 - 50 feet of water depending on time of day. Early in the morning they are typically in the shallowest. As the day wears on they move to deeper water on the bottom and also have been found in very deep water, but suspended in the same 35 to 50 foot range. In the afternoons, look in the mouths of deep coves for this species. Within these schools of whites are hybrid bass and striped bass. Most of the stripers and hybrids are still suspended from 15 - 35 feet down. I have been fishing flats and mouths of coves from our resort up towards the Red Bank area, as well as, from the 101 bridge flat up to Bennetts Bayou area. The best striped bass bite has been up in the Bennetts area, but stripers have been caught in Pigeon Creek, Cranfield area and the mid lake major creeks, Float, Fall and Panther. Vertical jigging a spoon, casting out Kastmasaters and live shiners have been the best baits for whites, hybrids and stripers.

Largemouth and spotted bass are being caught in many different types of areas and structures and are being caught on different types of baits. I have a lot of fun looking for schools of bass on the flats and they are currently being found in 35 to 48 feet of water. If you can find a slight drop off out on the flat it will be holding fish. When I find these schools I vertical jig with a spoon and at times will catch one after another. They are also located on the bluffs and close to the transition areas from bluff to chuck rock. Most will be suspended on the bluff, so casting rattle traps, spinner baits and crank baits will catch you some nice fish. They will also be on the drop offs along the bluffs so throw a jig & pig, Texas rigged worm or a crawdad, all will pick up some nice fish. Work the bottom along the bluffs 20 to 30 feet deep. The bite has been very light, so if you see your line start to move set the hook, or if you feel a slight heaviness set the hook.

Walleye are starting to show up on the flats in about 40 feet of water, with the other species and some really nice fish are being caught jigging a spoon.

The crappie bite has been very good. Look at brush in 30 - 40 feet of water, on the main lake, as well as, part way back into the creeks. Early in the morning and mid day the fish have typically been buried inside of the brush. Late in the afternoon after the water has warmed a bit, they have a tendency to move up in the water column above the brush. Live bait is the best, but jigging small spoons or paddle tail grub are picking up some nice 13 - 14 inch slabs.

Norfork Lake level is currently fairly stable with a slight fall one day then a slight rise the next and currently sits at 552.65 feet above sea level. The lake surface water temperature is falling slowly and currently is 53 - 55 degrees. The main lake is fairly clear with some of the creeks and coves slightly stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

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

Norfork Lake fall fishing sure can be a lot of fun. I will admit that if you want striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass you will spend some time looking for them, but once you find them it is well worth the time. Large schools of white bass are currently roaming the flats in the morning hours and during the day. They tend to move into deeper water late in the day and start to relate to points in the mouths of coves. I tend to fish many different areas of the lake looking for fish in order to try to help our fishing guests find and catch fish. I tell my wife that this is part of my job as a resort owner, which is why I need to be on the lake so much. :

White bass fishing, largemouth bass fishing and crappie fishing are the better bites on the lake as of today. I do expect the striped bass bite to improve very shortly, if what I saw this morning is any indication. I found schooling and feeding fish in 22 feet of water and at around 7AM the striped bass were all high up in the water column. Casting out a 1/4 ounce silver Kastmaster landed a nice striper for me. Then the whites showed up at all depths. Vertical jigging a spoon or Kastmaster was giving me many hookups. As the sun came up the fish continued to move deeper on the same flat. I finally lost the fish in about 35 feet of water. Top water action for white bass and hybrids is sporadic. I have not been fortunate enough to find this action, but several of my guests have gotten into some nice topwater action over the last week. Topwater action is happening somewhere on the lake, but you need to be in the right place at the right time! This will become more frequent based on past years experience.

The largemouth bite has been very good for me over the week. In the mid to late mornings I have found schooling bass in 30 - 40 feet of water on large flats. Vertical jigging for the bass has worked great. The schools that I have found have stuck around for well over 45 minutes so you can catch your limit very quickly. In the late afternoon I have changed tactics a little and moved into the secondary creeks. I have located large schools of bass as far back in the creeks as you can go, but still being in 27 - 30 feet of water. Secondary points in the small creeks have been productive locations, especially if the creek channel swings in close to the deeper shoreline. Jigging for these fish is working. I have also located some nice bass on the bluff lines where the bluff starts to transition to chunk rock. Crank baits on calm days and spinner baits on windy days are good baits to try. Jig and pigs are also working very well.

Crappie fishing has been good. Look for brush in 30 - 40 feet of water and the fish will be somewhere around the brush. At times they are buried inside of the brush and other times they will be suspended on top of the brush. Live bait is working great, but small spinners, jigs and crank baits are also producing some nice fish.

Norfork Lake's level is slowing rising with very little power generation coupled with rain for several days in a row. The lake level currently sits at 552.37. (Basically normal pool) The main lake is fairly clear and most creeks and coves are somewhat stained. The surface water temperature this morning was 62.5 to 63.5 degrees.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

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

Fall fishing on Norfork Lake is gearing up to be a great bite. Most species are biting really well, with big numbers being caught. You can have some great fishing times on Norfork Lake in October, November and December. Give Hummingbird Hideaway Resort a call to make your fall fishing vacation reservations at 870-492-5113.

I am kind of up in the air on what the best bite is, because crappie, largemouth, catfish and white bass are all biting really well. The slowest bite, at this time, is for striped bass, but today I did land 2 nice hybrids and 2 good striped bass on a nearby flat. Fishing is looking up for all species.

This time of year you are going to hear me talk a lot about vertical jigging with a spoon. I really enjoy this type of fishing because you can catch any of the species on the lake with the same bait and many times in the same area. I tend to use a 1/4 ounce spoon for crappie in and around brush piles with 4 pound test line. When I get into 20 - 30 feet of water I switch to a 1/2 ounce spoon with 6 pound test line. Then when I am fishing in 30+ feet of water I use a 3/4 ounce spoon on 8 pound test. I am a creature of habit and only use monofilament line, but I am hearing great things about P-line. When you find schooling, feeding fish, color of the spoon really does not matter (in my opinion) as long as the predominant color on the spoon is white. I tend to use spoons that are all white, white with a chartreuse back, white with a green back or white with a little red under the head.

White bass have started to school and feed heavily on some of the nearby flats. At daybreak I am finding this species in 17 feet of water and as the sun rises they move into deeper water. Today I was catching whites in 17 feet of water at 7AM, but by 9AM I was catching them in 48 feet of water, but still in the same general area. I was vertical jigging with a spoon. I am not sure if it was luck or by chance, but at 8AM I was fishing in 42 feet of water and the hybrids and stripers started to show up. I ended up landing 4 of them over the next hour along with many whites. I released all but 1 hybrid and a few white bass. As the water continues to cool all the species will move to the 30 - 50 feet depth even at daybreak. You will start to find the stripers in very shallow water in the dark as the water cools. Look for a night bite for stripers and hybrids once the water temperature gets into the low 60's.

The bass bite continues to be good. All types of bait are working in different types of areas. You can still catch some very nice fish on crawlers in very shallow water. If you like to fish bluff lines, jig and pigs, as well as, worms are working by letting the bait fall down the rocks from 10 - 20 feet of water. Spinner baits are working along the bluff lines up very close to the rock. Bass are also coming up for top water baits along the shallow sloping backs. I have caught a few nice bass 42 feet deep suspended in 70 feet of water close to a bluff. Most bass fisherman are telling me the ratio from short fish to keepers is about 60% shorts to 40% keepers, not bad!

The crappie bite is also continuing to be very good. They are in brush from 25 feet to 40 feet of water. One day they might be buried in the brush, then the next day they are 10 -20 feet down on top of the brush. Jigs are working with a spoon or a grub. I do like to tip a grub with a small minnow to increase the bite frequency.

Catfish are also biting very well. Over the last week, I had guests setting 5 jugs a night and on several occasions they had a nice fish on each. They were using cut bluegills for their bait and catching nice blues. While dock fishing for their bait a 10 pound blue hammered their small hook with a piece of nightcrawler.
I am getting a lot of inquiries about the turnover of the lake. Based on the Norfork Lake's Striper Club temperature and dissolved oxygen readings done on October 20th, the thermocline had dropped to somewhere between 55 - 60 feet. It will not be much longer until the total lake has turned over at all depths. This means the oxygen level is basically the same from surface to bottom, as is the water temperature. Norfork Lake's surface water temperature this morning was 68.5 degrees. The lake level is fairly stable and currently sits at 551.34 feet. The main lake is clear and some of the creeks and coves are somewhat stained.

Happy Fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

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

October sure is an exciting month to fish Norfork Lake. The bite for most species is good to very good. The lake has remained fairly stable over the last week which, helped the bite improve. Of course, don't forget about November and December as great fish periods for all species. Plan your Norfork Lake fishing vacation by calling Hummingbird Hideaway Resort.

The crappie have moved back into the brush. Find brush in 25 - 35 feet of water and it will be holding fish. You may need to bounce from one brush pile to another, as the bite will slow after you catch several fish. The crappie are suspended to or buried inside  the brush 20 - 25 feet down. Small jigs will work, as well as, small 1/8 to 1/4 ounce spoons. Live bait on a small grub or live bait on a hook with a slip float is always a great choice.

The walleye bite continues to be good in the dam area. The walleye that I have found are in 80 - 90 feet of water on the bottom. A few of them are starting to move up and are being caught in 65 feet of water in the same general area. Live nightcrawlers are catching fish, as well as, 1 ounce spoons vertically jigged. You can also bait a jig head with a plastic worm or crawdad and bounce it along the bottom in the 80 foot range. The second location for walleye is in 30 - 40 feet of water along a gradually sloping shoreline. Trolling a crawler harness or bouncing a spoon along the bottom will also work. A third place to find walleye is inside of or close to brush piles.

The bass bite has been very good over the last week. The larger fish have continued to move out of their deep water summer home into very shallow water to feed. Shallow shorelines that are holding bait will be holding feeding bass. If you find some sunken timber sticking up, there will be some bass hanging out. Your favorite plastics, such as worms, crawdads, or junebugs will work great. Work your bait along the bottom back to your boat and hang on. Good locations to fish for bass are back into the major creeks and larger coves where the bait has moved back to the area. They are biting great in 2 feet of water.

The majority of the striped bass and many of the hybrids have moved out of the dam area and have dispersed lake wide. I have found some smaller stripers back in major creeks along with the bigger hybrids, but no large schools at this time. With our upcoming cold front moving in, the lake will start to cool down fairly rapidly. The cooler water will get the stripers energized and they will start to school and feed heavily. This time of year there is typically a good striper bite up river in the cooler oxygenated water on the Missouri side of the lake. I have been finding some large hybrids back in major creeks feeding on shad. They have been mixed in with big schools of white bass.

The white bass bite has been really good back in the major creeks and on the large flats. Large schools of fish are feeding and vertically jigging a spoon will catch you plenty of fish. Keep your eyes open for top water action for whites and largemouth bass early in the morning. Have your top water bait or a Kastmaster handy to have loads of fun.

Norfork Lake water level has fallen slightly (5.4 inches from last report) and currently sits at 551.15 feet. The lake surface water temperature has remained fairly stable over last week and was at 78.5 degrees this morning but will increase slightly during the day. The main lake clarity is getting deeper and the visibility appears to be around 7 - 10 feet down. The coves are also starting to clear. The current thermocline appears to still be roughly 40 feet down.

Fishing is getting exciting and will continue to get better and better as the cooler weather cools off the lake water temperature

If you are looking for a daily update of what is happening fishing wise on Norfork Lake, follow Hummingbird Hideaway Resort's facebook page for daily activity updates.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

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

Norfork Lake is entering into the early stages of its fall fishing pattern. What I have seen over the last week is the following: (1) The majority of striped bass that had migrated close to the dam during the heat of the summer months have scattered and have started to show up all over the lake. (2) Threadfin shad have started their move back into the creeks and onto the large flats. (3) Top water action is increasing for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, as well as, white bass, hybrid bass and striped bass. As the surface water temperature continues to drop, fish activity will only increase. This is a fun time to fish because you can catch so many different species of fish all in the same area once you find the baitfish.

At this time, I would have to say the bass bite is one of the better bites on the lake. This species has become very active and can be found in different types of areas. The last two days I believe I have landed over 2 dozen bass between spotted bass, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. I have found feeding bass right along the shoreline back in a major creek feeding on shad. When I see them feeding on the shore I cast my Kastmaster (blade bait) right up on the shoreline and bring it back to the boat in a jerking motion. I landed a nice 3 pound smallie this morning fishing this method along with many others. The reason I like the Kastmaster is that I can use it for all species. I can jig it off the bottom, work it for topwater action and let it sink for the suspended fish. I do replace the hook with a little larger hook that has a white feather trailer on it. The second type of area I am finding bass in is out in about 40 feet of water if the shad are in the area. I have been catching these fish vertical jigging with a 1/2 ounce green and white spoon. When you find shad in the 40 feet range you will have the opportunity to catch almost any species in the lake. One of our bass fishing guests has been doing quite well on bass and he has mainly been using plastics, worms and June bugs. His biggest fish has come out of 2 feet of water, which weighed roughly 4 pounds.

White bass fishing is also outstanding at this time. Early and late in the day you can get into some nice topwater action out on the flats. In the early morning I am finding white bass in 20 feet of water breaking the surface. As the morning wears on I have been moving back into a creek and am finding large schools of whites out in 40 - 55 feet of water. These fish will be at all depths. My favorite way to fish for these deeper fish is by vertical jigging a 1/2 ounce spoon. The best thing about fishing for whites is that the hybrids, stripers, spotted bass, largemouth bass, catfish and walleye will all be in the same area. The same 1/2 spoon is catching all these species for me. Yesterday (10/1) was a great day of fishing and catching. I was checking out some new areas looking for fish. I went back in a major creek and started to see bait fish about 40 feet down, then the fish showed up. In about an hour and half of fishing I landed well over 30 fish. Big hybrids were in the mix and I had the opportunity to land 5 along with some nice spotted bass and largemouth bass. Granted the majority of the fish were whites, but it sure was a lot of fun. Today was another good day of catching, but the hybrids were smaller. I only landed one striped bass since they were scattered, but I will start to find them schooling very shortly.

Pan fishing is also picking up. Crappie have moved back onto the brush in 30 - 40 feet of water. This morning when I was checking out a new area for stripers I decided to fish a brush pile for a while. I quickly landed 4 crappie in the 10 - 11 inch range using a 1/4 ounce spoon. All were released on site. The brush was sitting in 35 feet of water and the fish were on the bottom next to the brush. In the afternoon crappie have a tendency to move up on top of the brush and can be 10 to 20 feet down, so you do need to check out all different depths until you start seeing your pattern. Bluegills are up in the brush in the same depth. Some are on the bottom and others are suspended. Crickets are one of the most productive baits for bluegills.

Fall fishing is loads of fun and will continue to get more and more exciting. As the lake temperature drops more and more fish will be feeding on the banks and you will have the opportunity to find large schools of striped bass feeding on the surface. There will typically be a decent after dark bite for striped bass soon. Use a suspending jerk bait. So much to look forward too over the next couple of months. The fall bite has started and it's gearing up to be a great fishing season.

Norfork Lake level has fallen slightly over the last report, but basically is stable and currently sits at 551.60 feet. Norfork Lake surface water temperature has also fallen slightly during the last week and ranges from 77 in the morning and increases to around 80 in the warm afternoons. The main lake appears to be clear with about a 7 - 8 foot visibility from the surface, but some the creeks and coves are stained. 

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

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

There have been a few changes in fishing on Norfork Lake since my last report. First of all, the surface water temperature has dropped to 79 degrees at sunrise but increases slightly during the daylight hours. Secondly, the thermocline is dropping very slowly and currently sits in the 35 - 40 foot range. The drop in the thermocline at the end of summer is very common. Thirdly, the bigger bass are finally starting to come out of their deep water summer pattern and are feeding in shallower water early in the morning.
Norfork Lake's walleye bite continues to be outstanding. There have been several methods of fishing for this species at amazingly different depths. Near the dam you can catch walleye in 80 feet of water plus or minus 10 feet. The fish are lying on the bottom or very close to it. Live bait and vertical jigging with a spoon are both working well. If you are vertical jigging with a spoon you don't need to work the bait fast. Drop it to the bottom, then lift the bait 3 to 4 feet off the bottom by raising your rod, then let it fall back to the bottom. Repeat until your bait gets real heavy then reel in your fish. A third method that is also catching a few walleye is trolling swim baits with down riggers. This deep water bite for walleye will not last much longer so you better get on the lake and catch a few. The second location is in shallower water 30 - 35 feet, again on the bottom or close to it. This morning (9/25) I found several nice walleye off of a shallow sloping bank out in the main lake area. The walleye are starting to move onto the flats at approximately 32 feet of water level. I caught my walleye by moving slowly with my trolling motor and stayed in  30 - 35 foot range. I kept bouncing my 1/2 ounce spoon off of the bottom. You can also troll slowly with a crawler harness with a bottom bouncing weight. It is amazing how many walleye there are in Norfork Lake.

Striped bass are still in the dam area in deep water. Live bait is working the best, but spoons and trolling swimbaits are also catching a few good fish. This species is also in the 80 foot range on the bottom or suspended in the deep water channel, but they are staying at the 80 foot level plus or minus 10 feet. I don't expect these fish to stick around in the dam area much longer.

The largemouth and spotted bass bite is improving quickly with the cooling off of the water. I am starting to find and catch larger sized fish in shallower water. This morning I found some good topwater action for bass close to the start of a large flat. The fish were at all depths. Some were chasing shad next to a chunk rock shoreline all the way out to the start of a flat. I was sitting in 30 feet of water and could see fish coming up in 10 feet of water, as well as, out in 60 feet of water. Most of the deep water fish were whites chasing shad, but there were some nice spots mixed in. I was casting a 1/4 ounce Kastmaster with a feather trailer. There was a lot of bait in the area and the bass stuck around for well over an hour. I ended up leaving with the fish still exploding. What fun!

Norfork Lake level is holding fairly stable with minimal power generation and currently sits at 551.74. The lake surface water temperature has dropped to 79.4 this morning based on my depth finder. The main lake is clear and some of the creeks and coves are somewhat stained. Norfork Lake is in great shape.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.