Tuesday, September 14, 2021

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

Norfork Lake fishing is still in its summer time fishing pattern, but cooler nights are starting to slowly lower the water temperature. This summer has not been typical for some species in the lake especially striped bass. Typically, by this time of year the fish are in 80 feet of water and lying on the bottom. This year you can find striped bass cruising in the deep-water channels in the dam area and the fish are suspended 30 to 35 feet down. Trolling with down riggers, lead core line or snap weights have all been working very well to help get the bait down to the target depth of 30 – 35 feet. Swim baits, jigs with long trailers and crank baits have all been catching fish.

I have been mainly fishing for walleye for the last several weeks. Long main lake points have been holding walleye at 30 to 33 feet depths. I have been vertical jigging with a ½ ounce spoon starting around 5:30AM in the morning, then I switch to slow trolling Berkley Flicker Minnows. When you are vertical

jigging with the spoon you need to bounce the bait off the bottom. It seems that most of the fish have hit the spoon on the fall, or immediately as the spoon hits the bottom. Be ready to set your hook. My method of trolling is by using my trolling motor and traveling 1.2 to 1.4 mph. I cast my bait out about 50 feet from the boat, then I clip on a 1-ounce snap weight and let out another 50 feet of line. I use a #7 Berkley Flicker Minnow tied onto 8-pound test monofilament line. This method and bait is getting down to the 30 feet strike zone. Colors have varied for me depending on what the weather is like. On sunny days the white or the white & chartreuse lures have worked the best but on cloudy days a darker color, such as purple seems to work better. Walleye can be found all over the lake at this time as they do not migrate due to water temperature and oxygen levels like striped bass do.  Find long main lake points that have a deep side and a shallower side, especially if the shallower side leads into a large flat. In general, I have found a walleye on every point I troll, but some points seem to hold numerous fish while other points just a couple.

Bass fishing has been improving daily. I have been catching some big spotted bass while trolling for walleye with the Flicker Minnows. Over the last couple of days, I have been finding small schools of big largemouth bass in the same walleye areas, but they are in 34 feet of water. Vertical jigging with a spoon for these deeper largemouth is picking up a few really nice fish. This morning (9/14) I found one of these schools. I hooked into and lost 4 nice fish before I finally got one of them to the surface. It proceeded to jump clear out of the water next to the boat and shake off the hook. At least I found out what I was hooking into. 😉 I have also found largemouth pushing shad back against a bluff wall and feeding heavily. You will find largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass in shallow water early and late in the day. Crank baits, jig and pigs, spinners and chatter baits are all producing some nice fish along with working a worm along the bottom. A final area where I have found largemouth and spotted bass is out in deep water


chasing shad on top. What you will find is a group of fish feeding heavily on the surface for a very short time, then they go down and come up again 100 feet away. This bite seems to be happening mid to late morning. I went to an area where I found topwater action about 4 days ago and they were still there. I looked around saw an area where the fish seemed to be coming up more frequently. I sat and waited and the fish kept coming up. Most were smaller largemouth, but I did get to land a nice 4 pounder. I was throwing my silver Kastmaster with a feather trailer. I like this bait because I can cast it farther than any other bait that I have.

Crappie are moving back onto brush. I have not done a lot of crappie fishing, but I have checked out several big brush piles, back in creeks, as well as on main lake points. The fish have been suspended from 10 to 20 feet down over brush that is 30 feet deep.  I was jigging with a ½ ounce and a ¼ white spoon and both caught fish. Fish were all in the 10-inch range. The bigger slabs might still be roaming out in

their summer time rock ledge hideouts. It will not be long until the brush is full of big slabs. W need a little cooler water temperature.

The surface water temperature this morning was 82 degrees. The lake level is currently at 555.84 ft MSL and continues to fall slowly. Main lake is mostly clear and the creeks and coves are slightly stained.

For a frequent fishing update on Norfork Lake go to Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page.

Enjoy Norfork Lake and have a great time fishing.


Thursday, June 17, 2021

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


Norfork Lake is transitioning from the spring bite to the summer bite. In essence, the fish are going deeper as the water warms. This morning the surface temp was 84, but I don’t think this temp extends too far down at this time. As the warm water goes deeper a thermocline will form and continue to go deeper as the water temp continues to rise.

Overall, the fishing for most species on Norfork Lake has been very good. There is still a very good topwater bite for largemouth bass, as well as for striped and hybrid bass. I would assume the topwater activity for striped bass will not last much longer unless we get some cooler weather. It does not look like that will happen. I have mainly been using two different baits for topwater activity; my Kastmaster (blade type bait) and a Zara Spook Jr. Today I strictly used the Kastmaster as there was a lot of small debris floating and that is not conducive to using a Zara Spook. When I see fish chasing shad on the surface, I try to cast my bait just past the activity. When the bait hits the water. I count down 2 seconds then I start the


retrieval with a jerk, then pause, then reel, then pause and start it all over again back to the boat. You have to see what the fish are looking for speed wise. The topwater activity for the striped bass starts around 5:30AM and may last until about 6:30 to 7:00AM. Once the fish stop chasing shad on the surface they start to going deep. I am marking fish anywhere from 30 feet to 80 feet deep. 40ft down seem to be a good place to set up your bait. Live bait is definitely working the best, but vertical jigging a ¾ to 1 ounce spoon is starting to pick us some nice fish. If you like trolling, an umbrella rig is working really well. Keep the bait 35 to 45 feet down and you will catch some nice stripers. A-rigs, deep diving crank baits and large swim baits are also working well, but you will more than likely need to add some in-line weight to get deeper. Using a down rigger would be the easiest.

The largemouth bite has been very good. There are lots of fish


up in the sunken brush, but many of them are shorts. The top water for this species also starts at sunrise and typically has lasted longer than the striped bass topwater activity.  I have found that the fish chasing shad close to shore are predominantly shorts, but if you look out in the same area in deeper water and notice fish chasing shad, you’ll find the bigger fish. Today I caught some real nice bass in 120 ft of water, roughly 50 yards away from the bank. The bass also are going deeper as the sun gets high in the sky. Start working the bottom when they go down, in 15 to 25 feet of water

Best areas for me have been main lake points in the mid lake area. I have always had the best luck finding fish on the points that have a deep-water channel swinging in close to the point. The fish are also back in several of the major creeks that are located in several different areas of the lake.

If you are looking for almost daily fishing activity on Norfork Lake, go to our Facebook page for


Hummingbird Hideaway Resort. I post daily fishing reports of what I am doing, as well as our guests.

Norfork Lake level is fairly stable at this time and is rising less than 1 inch per day. The level is currently 573.02 feet MSL. The surface water temperature was 84 degrees this morning and the clear is fairly clear.

If you are looking for a great vacation call Hummingbird Hideaway Resort at 870-492-5113. Norfork Lake is all about fishing, playing or just relaxing on the water.

Happy fishing.



Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

 



Norfork Lake is in the prime of the spring fishing season. Crappie and bass have both started their spawning process which will continue for several weeks, if not more. Cool fronts during this process do tend to slow things down. Walleye have completed their spawn and are starting to show up all over the lake. White bass should have spawned already, but from what I’ve seen with the few I have cleaned they are just starting to get ready. The cold February might have really messed with their cycle. Striped bass and hybrid bass will spawn soon if the water temperature rises a little more. Over all this spring is acting very similar to prior years which means a good bite for most species.

Crappie are currently being caught with three different methods.  Cast a small jig right into the shore line with a very light jig head. Let it fall slowly and twitch it out of the sunken brush until you feel a strike. Best areas are where there is dead wood sunken on the shore line or where the shore has a lot of sunken buck brush due the slight rise in the water level. You can also fish


brush piles that are 20 to 30 feet deep. The crappie have typically been on the tops of the brush or out along the sides of the brush. YA second method is to vertical jig a small spoon or a small jig with a very light weight jig head. Let it fall slowly and typically a crappie will pick it up before it stops falling. A live minnow with a slip float is also a good method for brush pile fishing. The third method (the one I prefer at this time) is trolling Berkley Flicker Minnows size 7 & 9. I slow troll with my trolling motor at a speed of 1.2 to 1.4 mph. I try and stay in 18 to 40 feet of water. There are schools of crappie out in the deep water staging for the spawn and when your bait goes through the school it gets hammered. The best areas to fish are back in coves and creeks that have brush pile throughout the cove.

Bass fishing has also been very good. The bass are up in shallow water feeding on bait fish and small bluegills. I have found them back in creeks and coves. A lot of the time they are all the way in the back in very shallow water. Try crank baits, soft plastic jerk baits and jigs worked slowly along the bottom. On


windy days spinner baits will work wonders. Top water action has started, but isn’t consistent at this time due the cool water. When I have found this action, it has been in the backs of creeks that the wind has been blowing into. Typically, you will find a lot of bait fish in the same area.

Striped bass and hybrid bass fishing is also picking up. Tuesday morning, I found some top water action for striped bass. The water was not boiling, but there were many fish individually busting the surface feeding on bait. I tried throwing a Zara Spook with no success and switched to a long 5 inch swimbait with a paddle tail and it was hammered. I did not let it sink very much, but only retrieved at a medium speed, letting it drop slowly as it came back to the boat. It is a blast when a big fish hammers the bait and just starts running in the opposite direction. All you can do is hang on until it decides it is tired of running. I have also found this species on main lake points early in the morning, as well as late in the day up in the sunken


buck brush feeding on shad. They tend to push the bait up to the shore line to make them easy pickings. Cast a swimbait or a fluke up into the brush with a steady retrieval to the boat and hang on.

The lake level has been falling slowly for the past week or so, but currently is stable due to power generation being reduced from 2 generators to just one. The current lake level is 557.72 Feet MSL which is only 4 feet over normal pool levels. The surface lake temperature ranges from the upper 50’s to low 60’s depending on the time of day. The lake is getting clear with just a slight stain. With the clearer water make sure you use clear or vanishing fishing line and as light a test line as you feel comfortable fishing with.

If you are looking for frequent fishing information on Norfork Lake, go to Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page. Daily posts of my fishing trip, as well as our guests. You will find some very helpful information.

 Happy fishing and see you on the lake.








Tuesday, November 10, 2020

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

The fall fishing season on Norfork Lake has started. This means to me that all species start feeding heavily for the cold winter months. But the best part is that most species school up to feed. When you get into a feeding school of fish, you’ll have a blast.

For me the bass bite has been the best over the last week. You can find this species all over the lake and in several different types of areas. The area that has been best for me is in 30 to 40 feet of water on the edges of large flats. Typically, this is close to a ledge or at an area that gets deeper very quickly. Use your GPS to find contour lines that are very close together on the outer edge of the flat which will show the contour lines farther apart. The bait likes this type of area and the bass will be feeding heavily. I like to vertical jig with a spoon, from ½ to 1 ounce depending on the wind conditions. Drop shot rigs with a small worm should work great. A second method that is still working is to cast out a crankbait that dives 12 to 15 feet deep. The fish might be on bluffs or on the


shallow side of the lake. White with a chartreuse back has been the best colors for both crankbaits and spoons. The old standby, worm or jig fishing, is also catching some nice fish.

Over the last week white bass have started to show up in large schools more consistently. You may find this species feeding on the bottom, suspended, or just cruising through the area. I am finding whites in a variety of depths, but recently it seems that 30 to 40 feet is the magic number. The easiest time to catch them is when they are feeding on the bottom. I vertical jig with a spoon and the best thing is that when you are jigging your spoon you may catch any species in the lake especially if there is lots of bait around.

Crappie fishing has been pretty good. One thing that I have noticed is that the schools of crappie are roaming around and not necessarily holding tight to the brush. So, don’t hesitate looking out from the brush especially if the bite is tough. Jigging with a small


spoon or a small grub is working great. You can also use live bait. When I have marked crappie on my graph, they have been suspended down 12 feet to close to the bottom. You either need to see them on your graph or keep trying different depths until you find the one where the fish are feeding.

Striped bass and hybrid bass fishing is picking up, but still isn’t consistent. They can be found back in some of the major creeks, such as Bennett’s Bayou and also up river from the Calamity area up to the Udall area. They are starting to school and if you find them feeding you will catch fish. I am starting to find both stripers and hybrids on the flats where I have been fishing, but it is the beginning of this pattern. Very soon large schools will show up on the flats early in the morning and then again in the evenings, if prior experience holds true. I have caught this species on swim baits, as well as spoons. I have found them in the same depths as the other species, but don’t hesitate checking in deeper water as they will continue to


move around to follow the bait fish.

I have not been very diligent in writing a fishing report lately, but if you want some great fishing tips and to see what is currently biting, like Hummingbird Hideaway Resort on Facebook and you will get frequent fishing updates on Norfork Lake.

The lake level is falling slowly with periodic power generation and currently sits at 555.8 feet MSL. The lake surface water temperature has been fairly stable and was 64 degrees this morning. This temp should start to fall again with the cool front entering our area as I am writing this report. The lake is clear, but still somewhat stained in our area. The farther south you go the clearer the water gets.

Happy fish and see you on the lake.




Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Norfork Lake fishing in October can be lots of fun, but also can be inconsistent. There are many changes going on in the lake which effect the movement of the predator fish and bait. The water temperature starts to cool and the main thing is that the lake turns over. The lake is in the process of turning over, but it has been very gradual. The thermocline has dropped to somewhere between 50 and 60 feet and will continue to fall until the lake totally flips. 

There has been a really good bite for bass. Largemouth and spotted bass can be found all over the lake. If you like top water fishing, throw your favorite topwater bait onto points where you can see sunken brush still out in the water. The fish are inside of it and will come up and slam the bait. Spinnerbait, lipless crankbaits, regular diving crank baits and jigs are all working in different area. The bass are also on the bluffs, especially on points of large coves or small cuts in the bluff wall. Smallmouth bass are starting to show up as well. Keep your eyes open for topwater action. The bass will chase shad out in open water just about anywhere, but especially on the large flats. 

Crappie fishing is also picking up nicely. This species has been moving back to the brush and they can


be found at varying depths. Brush in 15 feet of water out to brush in 35 feet of water may be holding crappie. Small spoons, small twister tail or paddle tail grubs and live minnows on a slip float are all working. The fish can be at any depth over the brush from 7 feet down to the bottom. The depth of the fish will vary depending on the time of day. 

White bass have finally come out of the depths of the lake and are showing up in different locations. Last evening, I was checking out a large flat outside of a cove and starting to hear what I thought was surface feeding fish. I could not see any, so I started to head toward the sound. I finally saw white water on the other side of the lake along a long deep bluff line. There were schools of whites feeding heavily. They didn’t stay up long, and kept moving around. I stopped the boat in an area where I had seen the fish come up and waited. It was not long before they came up again and again. I had my ½ ounce


Kastmaster tied on and started to cast. I worked the bait in a jerk, stop and reel motion and kept it close to the surface and they loved it. From about 5:45PM until 6:45PM they were active. When it started to get dark the topwater in this deep-water area stopped. I heard some activity on the shallow side of the lake and headed that way. I found hybrids and whites feeding heavily in very shallow water, 5 ft or less. The hybrids were coming completely out of the water at least a foot above the surface, it was amazing to see and very fun to catch. Top water baits, such as a Zara Spook would have worked great, but I can cast a Kastmaster farther. 

Striped bass fishing has been very inconsistent. I have found them off a large flat in the mid lake area,


as well as, out in very deep water. On the flat the fish were in 45 to 55 feet of water suspended to the bottom and in the deep water they have been suspended 35 to 60 feet down in 100+ feet of water.  I have caught fish in this area has been by vertical jigging a ¾ to 1-ounce spoon. Live bait may work better. As the lake continues to cool and the turn over completes this species will become very active and start to feed very heavily. 

The surface lake temperature has ranged from 69 degrees to 73 degrees depending on location and time of day. The lake is still falling about 3 to 4 inches per day and currently sits at 557.05 feet msl. The water is stained, but does start to clear more as you head south. I forecast a great fall fishing season so get ready to have some fun. 

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The bite for all species on Norfork Lake is getting better and better. September fishing can have its challenges due to the changing water temperatures, changing lake levels, and frontal systems, but all species are biting. Not necessarily every day, but I believe they call that fishing. The striped bass bite is getting pretty good. Crappie are moving back to the brush so at least you know where to find them. The walleye bite has been good, but it does take some work to locate them. The bass bite is almost always good whether you like to catch them in shallow or in deep water. 

Striped Bass fishing has really improved over the last week in various parts of the lake. I have found two different patterns for this species, but time of the day may have something to do with it. Early in the morning, occasionally starting before sunrise, I have found stripers on large flats feeding heavily on shad. They can be anywhere from 20 feet of water


out to 40 feet towards the bottom. They are starting to school and when you find that large school of fish it is a fantastic bite. Other times the fish are scattered out and it takes a little bit more effort to catch them. The early morning bite seems to last no later than 8am or so. This morning after the bite slowed on the flat where I was fishing, I decided to check out a different type of area for the striped bass. I have caught fish out in deep water along a bluff wall in past years, and this year appears to be the same. I was in 120 – 150 feet of water and the fish were suspended down 35 – 40 feet deep. I found a large school of feeding fish once in this area, but most of the time I was marking 1 to 3 fish at a time. I have been using several different methods to catch striped bass. I have been slow trolling a Berkley Flicker Minnow, size 7 & 9, with a 1-ounce snap on weight about 50 feet behind the bait with another 50 feet of line out. (This method is mainly for the flats.) I am also starting to

vertical jig with a ¾ ounce spoon more often than I troll. I have jigged up stripers in both of these areas. The hardest part about fishing for suspended fish with a spoon is getting it down to the right depth. If you have a  fish finder than picks your spoon up, this makes it simple, but if it does not, you need to either count down your bait, my rod and bait takes 8 seconds to get down to 40 feet, or drop it to the bottom and count the cranks up until you get to the desired depth. The stripers will continue to move around and as the water cools and the lake turns over the fish will be in many different types of area. 

Crappie fishing has been good, but has had its ups and downs, I believe due to the various frontal systems that has gone through our area. The best areas have been brush piles that are in 20- 30 feet of water. The fish will either be suspended on the top of the brush or

buried inside of it. Small jigging spoons or small plastics with a twister tail or a paddle tail are working great. Live minnows either on their own or tipped on a plastic jig will also work well. I have found crappie on both main lake brush, as well as, brush back in a creek. 

Walleye fishing has slowed a little, but we are still picking up some nice ones, along with a lot of shorts. Early in the morning and prior to sunrise

they are being caught on long rocky points that jet out into the lake. They have typically been on the sides any where from 16 feet deep, down to 32 feet deep. During the day and late afternoon, they seem to be in 25 to 34 feet of water. Crawler harnesses with a bottom bouncer or trolling with a minnow style crankbaits are both working. Drop shot rigs should also work with either a nighcrawler or large minnow. As the water cools, they will move up tight onto the shoreline and casting for them will start to work better, especially early and late in the day. 

Bass fishing has been good and they are being found in many different areas. Casting topwater baits, spinners and buzz baits are working for the very shallow fish especially where there is

lots of brush still under watewr. There will be many shorts in shallow water, but there will also be a few lunkers. Jigs and worms are also working along the bluffs and out in 15 to 30 feet of water. Vertical jigging spoons will pick up some nice fish. Work the deeper water, as well as, jigging near or on brush. Several days ago, I was trolling my Flicker minnow out in 80 feet of water and picked up some really nice largemouth that were suspend down 25 feet. Bass are on main lake points, as well as, back in the creeks. 

Norfork Lake level is falling and currently sits at 561.18’ MSL. The lake surface temperature this morning was in the high 70’s. The main lake and creeks are stained but should start to clear as the lake continues to cool.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The summer time heat had been forecast to cool down, then we get a beautiful summer type day in the upper 80’s. Fishing has been going on steadily during the summer but I haven’t had much time allotted to fishing. Over the last couple of weeks. I have been able to get back to somewhat of my normal routine, but I’m still not totally there yet. At least I have been out on the lake 4 or 5 times a week and actually have even been out in the afternoons, which is rare for me. I am mostly an early morning fisherman.

At this time, it appears that bass fishing is the best bite, with walleye running a close second. Crappie fishing is improving and I think it will take off shortly. If you are a bluegill fisherman the bite is very good.

I have been mainly trolling Berkley Flicker Minnows, size 7, in 25 to 32 feet of water. I am trolling at 1.4 mph with my trolling motor. I am still using 8-pound test monofilament line. I let our about 50 feet of line then add on a snap weight with a 1-ounce sinker. I then let out another 50 feet of line. My bait is getting down to around 25 feet of water. With this method of fishing I have caught almost all species in the lake, except for striped and hybrid bass. The type of area that has been best for me is the long shallow main lake points that jet way out into the lake. I try to follow the ridge of the point or stay slightly off to one side or the other keeping in the strike zone depth. My main goal lately has been looking for walleye. The best part


of fishing this method is that if the walleye are not biting at the time, there will be largemouth bass and spotted bass to take up the slack. On two different occasions over the last week the channel catfish were hammering the baits. I bounce around different areas of the lake, from the midlake area, then up northeast to the Cranfield area, and then farther up river. I have been able to catch a lot of walleye, but a lot of them have been short. I believe I have landed more keeper size  bass over the last couple of weeks than I have in a long time. If you are not into trolling, you can cast out a jig or worm and work it back to the boat along the bottom. Vertical jigging a spoon will also work for all these species. I would use a ½ to ¾ ounce spoon and move around slowly jigging along the bottom.



Crappie fishing is also getting good. Today one of my guests was checking out a couple of his go to brush piles and landed 6 nice keepers in the 12 – 13 inch size range. He missed many others. The bottom of the brush needs to be in 25 – 30 feet of water and the best brush piles come up to about 15 - 20 feet of water. The crappie were on the tops as well as buried inside of the brush. Small ¼ ounce spoons were working for him, but small grubs or just crappie minnows should work as well.

 I have not been striper fishing since the beginning of August, but will get back to it shortly. There are several areas in the midlake area where this species will show up shortly. There are currently scattered stripers roaming the deep waters in the midlake area, as I have marked them and one of my guests got to land one trolling a deep diving crank bait.


 Norfork Lake level is falling about 2 – 3 inches per day and currently sits at 562.73 feet MSL. The surface water temperature is starting to drop slightly and currently is in the very low 80’s. The water is stained throughout the lake, but this will clear up as the water cools.

 Happy fishing and see you on the lake.