Fall fishing is in full swing on Norfork Lake. The stripers, hybrids and whites have moved into their fall patterns and will stay in the same general areas though November and into December. Of course this being said, if mother nature throws some really cold weather at us dropping the lake temperature into the mid to low 50's all bets are off. You are probably asking yourself "what the heck is he talking about"? From prior years fishing experience, I am seeing that the fish are moving into the same types of areas that they typically move to in the fall. This has been the same fall pattern year after year. Start looking for stripers, hybrids and whites from the 62 bridge up though the Bennetts Bayou area, and also from the 101 bridge though the Cranfield area up to and a little past the the MO/AR border. In the early mornings and afternoons fish can be found on large flats in all water depths, 20-50 feet of water typically feeding on the bottom. Large schools will be roaming these flats so electronics are very helpful. Once the sun comes up they typically move closer to the old river and creek channels so start looking in 50 - 70 feet of water, but still on the bottom. Over the last 4 days, I along with my fishing guests, have found stripers, hybrids and whites in these types of areas. The morning bite has lasted 2 - 3 hours and the evening bite seems to kick off around 3PM. Today after we lost the fish in the flats I started to look in the the deep channels and found roaming schools on the bottom at 50 ft close to bluffs. I am also very hopeful that we will get some consistent topwater action. This morning a handful of big fish came up on the flats, but it was sporadic. It could happen at any time. Slow rolling a suspending stick bait after dark will also be effective soon. A few more degree drop in water temperature and I believe the night bite will get active.
Crappie are moving back to brush piles in 20 - 40 ft of water. I caught a nice 14 inch slab with 3 other 11 inch crappies two evenings ago. I was jigging 15 - 20 ft down on the tops of the sunken trees. You will also find many of the big bluegills in these same brush piles. Black bass and walleye will also be hanging in the same areas, but you typically will need to get closer to the bottom of the trees for these species.
Most of the walleye that I have caught are still out in open water. I have spooned up several keeper size walleye along with a bunch of short ones in 40 - 50 ft of water. I catch these while striper fishing.
I have noticed big largemouth bass (3 pounders) roaming the shore line at dusk feeding on minnows and bluegills. I always check both sides of my dock walkway when walking onto my dock and I see several each evening. I have not targeted black bass lately, but these shallow fish tell me it is almost jerk bait time.
The Norfork Lake water level is falling very slowly and currently sits at 550.34 which is a little more than 3 feet under the seasonal normal pool. The water surface temperature this morning was 66 degrees. The creeks and coves are still stained and the main lake is somewhat stained, but clearing.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.