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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

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

Norfork Lake's summer fishing pattern is winding down, but still trying to hang on with the hot weather we're having this week. If the future weather forecast has any validity, I predict that the fish will start to move more into a normal early fall pattern sometime next week. Hopefully my prediction is more accurate than the weather forecast usually is. hahaha! What I am trying to say is that the striped bass will soon migrate from the dam area and head northward toward cooler water, the larger slab crappie will start to move back into the brush, and the bass will start to feed more heavily in shallower water.

Currently the best bite for striped and hybrid bass is still located close to the dam and the fish are deep, from 60 - 80 feet down, either on the bottom or suspended out in the deep river channel. I fished by the dam area on Monday the 17th and had a great day of fishing. Live bait is working the best, but vertical jigging with a spoon is also catching a few fish. Trolling an umbrella rig or a large swim bait is also picking up some nice fish, but you need to get your bait down below the 50 foot mark.

The walleye bite is also very good. You can locate this species in several different areas and depths. If you like to troll with a bottom bouncing weight and a crawler harness, start checking out the sides of long points, as well as, along the deeper bluff lines and bluff line points. The walleye are moving out a little deeper and can be found in 30 - 40 feet of water. The thermocline is dropping down so the fish are following suit. The second location is in very deep water on the bottom. Monday I found a huge school of hungry fish 80 foot deep. I was fishing close to the dam out in front of a main lake point. I was on a drop off with the front of my boat in 80 feet of water and the back of my boat  in 100 feet of water.  I was getting short bites on live bait and losing them half way up. I even tried a stinger hook with no luck. I decided to start vertical jigging a white with a chartreuse back spoon and they loved it. I would drop it to the bottom then lift it up about 4 feet then let it fall again. They were eating the spoon on the fall and when I would start to lift the spoon up again I would feel the weight of the fish. I limited out in less than a half hour once I started this process.

The crappie bite slowed for me this week with the water warming about 3 - 4 degrees. The bigger slabs that were on the brush last week seemed to have moved off of the brush. They should start moving back in next week with the upcoming cool weather forecast.

I had a good day of fishing this morning for spotted bass and white bass.  The medium size whites have schooled up on large flats. Early and late in the day you can find schools of fish from 12 - 25 feet of water. I was vertical jigging a 1/2 ounce spoon and catching one after another. The big jumbo whites will move onto these same flats as the water cools. At sunset you can find schools feeding on the surface. I found quite a few nice size spotted bass this morning while trying to find big crappie. I was jigging a 1/4 ounce spoon in and around brush piles. The spots were towards the bottom of the brush with a lot of small crappie and white bass on the tops of the brush. I also had a big battle with a 12 pound blue cat. This cat hammered my little spoon and I thought I was snagged at first, then he started to swim. 15 minutes later he gave up and came to the surface. I only have 4 pound test monofilament line on my reel with an ultra light rod. It was really fun. I was grinning the whole time during the fight!

Norfork Lake level is falling very slowly and currently sits at 551.83. The lake surface water temperature has increased slightly to 83 - 84 degrees. The main lake appears to be clear from the surface with some of the coves and creeks slightly stained. The thermocline has dropped to roughly 35 feet based on the temperature readings taken by the Norfork Lake Striper Club last week - (Thanks for the great information)

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

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

Norfork Lake is in great shape and fishing has been very good. The lake is in the final stage of  summer fishing pattern. Some species will start to migrate to the cooler waters up in the northern parts of the lake. Other species tend to move into cover, as well as, start to feed heavily on large flats. As the water continues to cool, fish will become more and more active and start to move into shallower water. The lake is shaping up for a great fall fishing season.

The crappie bite is improving daily. I am starting to find some nice size crappie in brush located 30 - 35 feet deep. Most of the crappie I have caught lately have been 25 - 30 feet down in or near brush. In the afternoon the fish are coming up in the water column so you might check out anywhere from 15 - 30 feet deep over or near brush. You will still find some nice slabs roaming the flats following bait fish. My fishing method of choice has been to vertical jig a spoon. I have been using a 1/4 ounce to a 1/2 ounce spoon. I have also downsized my fishing line to 4 and 6 pound test, low visibility monofilament line. My favorite color choices for spoons has been all white, white with a chartreuse back, or white with a red throat. Small grubs with a twister tail would also be a good bait choice in similar color schemes as mentioned above. Live bait, as usual will work great with a small slip float.

White bass fishing has been very good. Lately I have started my mornings fishing a large flat in the Cranfield area right before sunrise. Large schools of white bass are roaming the flats chasing shad. I have found this species in 18 feet of water out to 40 feet of water. The fish are suspended from the surface down to about 30 feet. I have mainly been vertical jigging a 1/2 ounce spoon. There has been some topwater action in the mornings right at day break, but the afternoon topwater bite, right before sunset, has been better. When you get into topwater action throw your favorite topwater bait or a blade type bait. I mainly been use a Kastmaster (blade bait) when I know the fish are close to the surface. I can cast this bait a long way and I can also let it sink if the fish go down.

Walleye fishing has also been good. Trolling a crawler harness with an inline spinner and bottom bouncing weight has been picking up some nice fish. One day they are in 25 feet of water then the next they move to 35 feet of water. Keep checking different depths until you start picking up some fish. I have caught walleye as deep as 65 feet on the bottom while striped bass fishing over the last week. You will also find some walleye in or near brush in the 30 - 35 feet range. Live threadfin shad was the bait that I had down. The walleye are located lake wide so you do have plenty of choices.

Striped bass fishing is still good in the dam area. Live bait is working the best, but vertical jigging a one ounce spoon is also picking up some nice fish. The striped bass are 60 - 70 feet down on the bottom, but you will find some schools of fish suspended in the deep channels, but still 60 - 70 feet down. Before long the striped bass will start their northward migration to the cooler water.

The surface water temperature of Norfork Lake has dropped a little from my last report. In the morning the temperature has been 81 with a slight rise during the daylight hours. The lake level is remaining fairly stable and currently sits at 552.14 feet. The main lake is clear on the surface and some creeks and coves are slightly stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

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

Fishing on Norfork Lake has remained consistent over the last couple of weeks. The best bite on the lake has been for striped and hybrid bass. Walleye and white bass are not far behind.

Our fishing guests over the last week have had a great time catching and getting great fights from Norfork Lake's striped bass. I, however fished this morning with a couple of guests and the bite was way off. We found a lot of fish in 65 - 75 feet of water. Most were laying on the bottom. We managed to land 2 nice hybrids and a very nice walleye, and  had a handful of other bites which we missed. Very slow morning compared to the last 3 days. The best location to find striped bass is near the dam off of points and on the large flats. Large schools of fish are cruising the area and when you get on them you will typically get a fish. Live bait (gizzard shad, threadfin shad and large shiners) is working the best.  Vertical jigging with a spoon is also generating some nice fish. As I have stated in the past, if this year is typical to prior years the striped bass will start their north bound migration during the second half of September.

Walleye have been showing up consistently in  60 - 70 feet of water with most found on the bottom. Live bait has been picking up some nice 22 - 26 inch long fish. Spoons are also catching some nice walleye, as is trolling with down riggers or using inline weights to get the bait down to 50 - 60 feet of water.

White bass are still coming up all over the lake at different times of day. I have found schools of whites erupting while fishing for striped bass in the dam area. They are also coming up in the late afternoons in the Cranfield area and all the way up to the Red Bank area. The best places I have found for whites are large flats. Look in 25 - 35 feet of water and if you find bait you will find the whites. Jigging a spoon has worked for me when I find these fish on the flats. Early mornings and late afternoon have been the best times to find this species either on top or down deeper.

The Norfork Lake surface water temperature was 83.5 degrees this morning and as normal will rise slightly during the sunny part of the day. The lake level is holding fairly stable and currently sits at 552.08. The main lake is clear with some creeks and coves stained.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.