Norfork Lake summer fishing has been slightly different from prior years. The fish are in their summer pattern, but in my view point they're in an early July pattern. Let me explain, typically in August the lake temperature is in the upper 80's to low 90's, but currently the lake is only in the low to mid 80's. This is not bad, we are still finding stripers and hybrids starting around the 62 bridge & Robinson flat area all the way down to the dam, not only at the dam as is typical for this time of year. Crappie are still on 30 foot brush instead of being suspended out in deep water and there is plenty of top water action for largemouth, smallmouth, spots, white bass and some striper and hybrids. All species are still shallower than normal, which is good.
I have been fishing the Robinson flat area and the dam area catching hybrids and stripers from 38 - 50 feet of water sitting on the bottom. My grandaughter (top photo on the right) caught her first hybrid bass in this area and was really excited. Today I fished in the dam area and the fish erupted all around me. Big whites and medium to small size stripers were flying out of the water chasing small shad. I landed 9 fish and kept the two in the second photo because they both swallowed my spook too deep to retrieve. I also spooned up several stripers in 48 feet of water on the bottom. While spooning I noticed that the fish were not hitting the spoon on the jerk up or the fall, so I started letting it sit on the bottom and twitch it a little. I could feel a light bite then would set the hook. If you are live bait fisherman get out on the lake by 4:30AM, the bite is really strong in the dark. Spooning for stripers is just starting to take off so have a spoon ready to vertical jig and of course your top water pole.
Crappie fishing has been good, which is very unusual for this time of year. They are still sitting in brush that is at the 30 feet level. Also you can find them under docks especially if the dock has brush under it. My dock is just stacked with them, 4 - 6 feet down. Live minnows are working very well as are small jigs tipped with a minnow. If the lake warms to its normal temperature, I would speculate that he crappie will move off of the brush.
Catfish are also being caught on jugs, trotlines and pole fishing. Flatheads are hitting the best. You will find them around brush in the 30 ft of water during the day and in the shallow water feeding at night.
White bass are starting to school. I couldn't say this last week. You can find some good top water action early in the morning or at sunset. This action can be found at all ends of the lake. Two days ago some of my guests said they saw great top water action close to the 101 bridge and this morning I found them in the dam area. Use your topwater bait when you see then erupting and spoon for them when you find them deeper.
Black bass are hanging out around the 30 ft brush as well as along the deep bluff lines. You will find them on the bottom or suspended 30 down. Early and late in the day they will be up closer to the shore line in shallow water feeding. There is also a good topwater bite early and late in the day. Check back in the major creeks.
The Norfork Lake level currently sits at 552.9 and is falling slowly at about 2 inches per day. This level is approximated 3 feet below the new normal pool. The lake surface water temperature this AM was 83.5 degrees. The main lake is clear, and creeks and coves are stained.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.