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.

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