Tuesday, May 29, 2018

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

The holiday weekend was a very busy time for Norfork Lake. There were many fishermen and women out on the lake catching plenty of fish. Others were enjoying the great weather that we had by playing in the warm, clean and clear water of Norfork Lake. It appeared that all of our guests had a great time and no one wanted to leave.

The striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass bite has been outstanding for the last couple of weeks. There has been plenty of topwater action for all of these species. The best time for topwater action starts at sunrise, lasts for a couple of hours and then happens again at sunset. You may need to move around to find the white water, but they are coming up all over the lake at various locations and depths. If you only see one fish come up and you are close enough, cast a topwater lure because there will be more in the area and they will come up for your bait. Today I fished in a major creek and had a fantastic time. Landed 8 striper and hybrids using live thread fin shad. They were exploding on my free swimming baits and were also hitting baits that I had on with a 1/8 ounce split shot. I was moving slowly with my trolling motor about 1/2 mile an hour. I started fishing along a shoreline in 30 feet of water and started to catch hybrids. I then moved out to 60 feet of water and started to catch stripers. Swim baits and Alabama rigs are also working well to catch these fish. I am starting to mark big arcs suspended down 20 - 50 feet, so the stripers are starting to move down to the cooler water. As the water continues to warm the topwater action for the stripers will stop and then restart in the fall when the water starts to cool. The fish that I cleaned today were full of crawdads telling me they are feeding close to shore at some point during the day. The moon is full so I would assume they are feeding heavily at night.

The large and smallmouth bass bite is still very good. Topwater baits, flukes and jerk baits are all catching nice fish. In the mornings work the shallow water that has sunken buck brush. As the sun gets higher move out to about 10 - 20 feet of water and work the bottom with your plastics. Bluff line points are holding some nice smallmouth bass. On occasion you will find the bass out in deep water feeding on the surface and topwater baits will work great.

The walleye bite has also been good. They are being found inside of the sunken buck brush, as well as along deep bluff line where the channel is making a swing. Jerk baits, swim baits and casting spoons are all working.

The crappie bite has been fantastic under docks in the middle of the day and also after dark. Small jigs and spoons are catching fish as well as small minnows. The fish appear to be from 15 feet down up to the surface.

Norfork Lake level is falling about 3 inches per day with constant power generation. The current lake level is 564.59. The surface water temperature is on the rise and was in the low 80's this morning. The main lake is clear with some of the coves slightly stained

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The bite for all species on Norfork Lake has been outstanding for the last week. The lake has finally stabilized, the weather has stabilized, the threadfin shad are spawning and the surface water temperature has reached the 70's. Perfect fishing conditions.

Striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass fishing has been very good over the last 7 days. Currently the best bite has been from the start of dawn until the sun gets above the tree line. The same holds true for the evening bite which is just prior to sunset until it becomes dark. With the shad spawn ongoing, using live bait has been excellent. I have mainly been using free swimming shad. I either pitch the bait up close to the shore and let it swim or I have been slowly moving with a free swimming bait behind the boat while still staying in 20 feet or less of water. Main lake points that have a lot of sunken brush seem to be holding the most fish. There has been good topwater action for these species throughout the week. It may not be consistent in a certain location, but the stripers are coming up somewhere on the lake in the early morning and late in the day. Artificial baits that are working with my old standby method of walking the dog, are topwater baits, paddle tail swimbaits, flukes and blade type baits.

The largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass bite has also been excellent. The shad spawn, as well as their own spawn has been ongoing. The largemouth and spotted bass are inside of the sunken shoreline brush or just on the outside edge of the brush in the same locations as the striped and hybrid bass. Live bait is working excellent. Artificial baits that are producing some nice fish are a topwater bait worked on top of the brush, but one of the best bites is with a fluke type bait. Cast your fluke inside of the brush and just give it little twitches and watch the bass come up and hammer the bait. Plastics, such as a lizard with no weight or very little weight are also producing. A good color at this time is a dark green with some flakes in it.

Crappie fishing has also been good. Most of this species have spawned, but there are still a few that are full of eggs. A great place to catch crappie in the middle of the day is under a covered dock that has some sort of underwater cover. Live minnows are working the best, but small plastic jigs are also producing some nice fish. The crappie are also moving back to the brush. Look for brush in 20 - 25 feet of water and there will be fish.

Norfork Lake has finally stabilized and is actually falling slightly with 2 generators being run for approximately half of the day. The current level is 565.53. The surface water temperature has risen to the mid 70's and if the high daytime temperature continues, the water temperature will continue to rise. Currently our air temperatures have been in the upper 80's to maybe the low 90's during the day and the mid to upper 60's at night. The water is clear for most of the lake with a slight stain in some of the creeks and coves.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

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

Norfork Lake's spring fishing season is currently on fire. Top water action has started for large & smallmouth bass, white bass, striped bass and hybrid bass. Threadfin shad started to spawn several days ago and this got all the predator fish very energized. Fish are shallow inside of sunken buck brush in 3 - 20 feet of water. You can not ask for a better time to fish Norfork Lake. It is very exciting.

The striped and hybrid bass bite is improving daily. Fish are being caught by several different methods of fishing. Live bait has been productive  by casting out a threadfin shad, gizzard shad or shiner with no weight or just a very small split shot. Top water baits such as a Zara Spook are working very well during top water activity as is casting a lure next to the buck brush and calling the fish up. Soft plastics such as flukes or swim baits are also catching some nice size stripers. Some of the best fishing times for striped bass is from about one hour before daybreak through 8 to 9 AM, if it's a sunny day. It might last longer if the day is cloudy and/or rainy. During the afternoon and evening hours it appears the fish are out in deeper water. At times you can find a school that is feeding on shad on the surface, in the middle of the lake. Today  fishing was good all over the lake. I know of 4 different areas  that were producing striped bass for many fishermen and/or women. Lake flats in 15 - 25 feet of water, main lake points with sunken brush on it, and towards the backs of creeks and large coves. Top water action has been fun, but it does not necessarily mean that they will come up in the same area every day.

The large and smallmouth bass bite has been excellent. Some of the bass have spawned and others are on the beds and still others are staging. It is a really fun time to fish for bass on Norfork Lake. Top water baits are some of the favorite baits being used. The old stand by soft plastics work along the bottom in 8 - 20 feet of water is catching fish. With the higher water level creature type baits are working, being cast right in front of the sunken buck brush. Let the bait sink and typically a bass will ambush the bait before it hits the bottom. Bass are being caught all over the lake with points in creeks and coves being some of the best spots.

The white bass bite is still very good. There has been some great top water action for the whites in the morning and evenings. Top water baits, blade type baits and spoons are catching some nice fish. Flats and back in the creeks are great areas to look.

Walleye are being caught early and late in the day. They are located with most of the other predators, close to the sunken brush on the shore feeding on shad.

The lake level is rising very slowly, maybe 1 - 2 inches per day. There has been power generation daily, but only for about 6 hours a day. The over all lake is very clear. Today I was sitting in 20 feet of water watching fish swim by on the bottom. You may find some stained water in some of the creeks and coves, but not much. The surface water temperature is rising. Today it started out in the high 60's and rose to the low 70's during the day.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

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

As promised spring has arrived. The water temperature is rising and the lake is clearing up nicely. If you like stained water it is becoming harder to find. The forecast for the next ten days looks like late spring type weather, highs in the upper 70's and lows in the 50's and 60's.  The best news is that the bite has started and will only get better. Crappie and bass have started to spawn. Top water has definitely started for largemouth and spotted bass. Shad should spawn any day now, so everything will heat up. I am getting excited!

If you are looking for top water action, it has started. Be on the lake as the sun starts to rise and the largemouth bass will start erupting. Head back into coves and the major and secondary creeks until you start seeing the shad on your graph, typically in about 20 - 25 feet of water. I was in an area a little before sunrise and started throwing a Smithwick Rogue up to and inside of the shoreline brush. I would jerk twice and let it sit for about 10 seconds. As soon as I started to crank my reel a bass would hammer it. As the sun started to rise I could see the shad starting to flip on the surface and then the feeding frenzy started. I started casting a Zara Spook and had a blast. The top water action only lasted about 30 minutes or until the sun got above the tree tops then the fish shut down. I moved to a different creek and in the similar type area found shad jumping out of the water. Could not see any fish so I switched to a Kastmaster (blade type bait) I casted into the shad and let it sink about 10 feet down. My retrieval method was jerk, pause, reel then start over again back to the boat. This method was very productive for bass and hybrid bass. The fish were right outside of the sunken brush. Today a guest found good top water action at noon then again later in the day in the same creeks as I had fished the day before. Things are really starting to heat up.

Crappie are currently spawning and can be caught close to the shoreline, anywhere from 3 feet to 10 feet of water. Small jigs tipped with a minnow are working great. Cast your jig next to the sunken brush and let it sink. Work your bait along the bottom very slowly and the the crappie will suck it in. One of my current guests has a basket full at the dock that he had caught earlier.

Flathead, walleye and big white bass are also in the creeks. 15 - 25 feet of water is the magic depth for these species. Vertical jigging with a spoon has been working great. I have been using a 1/2 to 3/4 ounce spoon. The fish will mainly be on the bottom, but some of the big schools of whites are suspended 10 - 15 feet down.

Shad are really close to their fist spawn of the year. Once the spawn begins you will start seeing the fish come out of the creeks and move to the main lake points. But don't ignore the creeks as there will also be shad spawning in the sunken brush  all over the lake.

Norfork Lake level is fairly stable and currently sits at 562.61. The lake surface water temperature is rising and is in the low to mid 60's. The main lake and most creeks are clear. You can still find some stained water way back in some of the creeks. The lake is in great shape. I think we can look forward to an exciting May fishing season.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.