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Norfork Lake Night Fishing Report

Night fishing for striped bass is one of my favorite methods of fishing in the spring. Every year around mid March the striped bass, hybrid bass and walleye move up to the shore lines after dark to feed. I have fished the last two nights with success each night. Two nights ago the big fish were up tight on the banks. I landed 3 nice fish, one walleye, two stripers and had quite a few other missed opportunities. I guess I am a little rusty and did not get good hook sets. My last fish of the night, around 9:30PM, just exploded on my bait in about 2 feet of water. I could actually see the fish come out of the water (amazing with these old eyes) roll over on the line and then, you guessed it, the line broke. Last evening was a good bite but the fish were on the smaller size, keeper size, but not big enough for me to keep. I had a blast both nights and hope to get out again this evening if the rain holds off.

The method I use to fish for these Norfork Lake monsters is to cast a 5 to 6 inch suspending jerk bait. There are many brands and many different prices, but all will work. I have used Smithwick Rogues as well as Spro's. I seem to get a little better action on the Spro's in colder water and the hooks are stronger. If you go with the Rogues you do need to change out the hooks and split ring to stronger ones or you will get very disappointed when both bend out and you lose that big fish. There are two different views on where to position your boat. The first is to get your boat close to the shore line and cast parallel along the shoreline. The thinking here is that you will keep your bait in the strike zone longer for those feeding fish. The second is to keep your boat as far away from the shore as possible and still be able to cast to the shore. I typically keep my boat away from the shore and cast into it. My belief is that I won't spook the fish with my boat and I have also found that the fish will follow the bait and hit it in deeper water and not always on the banks. Cast your bait as close to the rocks of the shoreline as you can. The retrieval method is simple, reel as slow as possible. If you think you are reeling slow, reel slower. Color choice of your bait is a personal preference, but I typically go with dark backs and light bottoms on overcast and new moon nights and lighter tops and darker bottoms on full moon nights. I have caught many fish on various colors, greens, blues, purples, orange, you name it. If your not getting hits on one color change out until you find the color they are looking for. We have a good selection of both baits for sale at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort.

Where to find these Norfork Lake monsters is the next question. I have recently been fishing part way back in major creeks. I start on secondary points and work both sides of the point along the shore line. Typically you will find the fish on long shallow points close to flats, but over the last two days I have also found the fish on deep bluff line points. Once the water warms up a little more they will move out to the main lake points and typically be feeding on the long shallow points. I find stripers and walleye all over at different times, but usually have to look a little. I have also found stripers in the backs of small creeks in very shallow water. I will usually mark fish and bait in the area that is active.

Norfork Lake water level is rising slowly with the rain and snow we have had over the last week or so and currently sits at 550.04. The surface water temperature is also on the rise and was at 46 - 47 degrees last evening. The water is turning very clear with stained water in the backs of creeks and coves.

We have cabins available for these prime spring weeks and week ends. I'll be happy to show you where I'm fishing and what I'm using. I really enjoy helping folks catch fish.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.



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Norfork Lake Fishing Report

Hummingbird Hideaway Resort will be represented at the St. Louis Boat and Sportshow. Stop by and make your spring fishing trip or summer vacation reservations. We will be happy to plan a memorable trip for you. If you are not aware of Hummingbird Hideway Resort's 2015 Norfork Lake Fishing Derby give us a call at 870-492-5113 or go to our website at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort for details.
 
Winter fishing on Norfork Lake for striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass had been fantastic this year, up until a few weeks ago. Around the first of February the baitfish started to move out of their winter pattern and so did the predators. I fished several days last week and found fish on large flats in 30 – 50 ft of water on the bottom and nothing in the deep water channels. I found big schools of roaming hybrids and whites. If I was lucky enough to get over a school of fish I had fun. There were a few striped bass mixed in with the hybrids. This movement of the fish is typical for this time of year, but may have occurred a little earlier than normal. Unless this current cold front changes things, what you can expect to happen over the next 4 weeks or so is that stripers will start to migrate back into the creeks. As the water warms they will continue to move farther back in the creeks. Typically at the end of February and beginning of March, I will find stripers in the Cranfield and Fouts areas at my end of the lake. They will also be up in the Red Bank and Calamity areas this time of year. They will be feeding on bait along the bluff lines. The night bite for the stripers will start around mid March as the water temp warms to 50 degrees or so. You need to start getting your stick baits ready for the slow roll night bite, it is a blast.

Black bass have also changed their patterns a little. You will still find some nice fish on the bottom in 50 feet of water, but I have caught a few big ones suspended at 20 feet over 30 – 40 feet of water along bluff lines. Throwing an Alabama rig for these suspended fish is working well. For the bottom feeders, pig & jigs or worms are a good choice. As the water starts to warm these fish will start to move up into shallower water.

Walleye are staging for their spawn. They can be found along the side of channels off of rocky points in 30 – 50 feet of water. They will move back into creeks and coves as the water warms a little more. The Calamity area and into Missouri waters is one of the favorite spawning ground for walleye in February. Dragging crawler harnesses or live shad are great baits. Sinking stick baits are a good choice for artificial bait. The night bite will also bring out the walleye fishermen. After their spawn, they will be on shallow points at dusk and after dark.

Crappie are both scattered and on deep brush piles. The scattered fish will be following bait so if you can find a good concentrations of bait, especially around docks, the crappie won’t be far behind. I have been asked numerous times when will the crappie spawn? The rule of thumb for the crappie spawn, is when the Dogwoods just start to bloom the crappie will be up on the banks spawning. In our area this typically happens toward the end of March to the beginning April all depending on Mother Nature.

The Norfork Lake level has fallen to 548.92, but currently is stable as power generation is just keeping up with the rise. The lake should continue to drop as the Corps prepares the lake for the spring rains. The water temperature was at 45 degrees, but I would suspect it to lower a few degrees due to the snow and cold rains we received last evening. The main lake was clear and the creeks are clearing.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

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