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.