This report is written by Lou Gabric, owner operator of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort on Norfork Lake. Open year round, Hummingbird Hideaway Resort has a cabin to fit your needs, whether it be vacation or a place for family and friends visiting you in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Call for more info. 870-492-5113.The Fall fishing pattern on Norfork Lake is in full swing. The water is cooling and the fish are healthy and becoming very active. Not only the fish are active, but the deer are moving and starting the rut. It is early, but the pre-rut usually starts mid to the end of October. I have seen a nice buck chasing a doe across the lake and what a great site that was. Hunters, don't forget about fishing, it is a great time of year to catch a lot of fish.
Striper fishing has continued to be very good. As stated in my last report (Oct 9th), I have been finding stripers and hybrids in two different type of areas. Look for the stripers and hybrids on large deep flats. You will find them in water from 38 - 55 feet deep and they will be feeding on the bottom. The best bite in this type of area is about an hour before sunrise to about an hour after sunrise. Live bait is a good choice, or you can vertical jig with a spoon which is my preference. I have also located large schools along deep bluff lines and typically at the ends of the bluff where the deep water channel swings close to the point. I have been finding these fish in 50 - 100 feet of water and the fish will be suspended 40 - 60 feet down and sometimes even deeper. Lately I have only been fishing in the mornings but last evening I ventured out onto the lake for the first time in many months. I started about 4 PM and I stayed very close to the resort. I graphed for about an hour in a lot of my usual haunts, but only marked a few fish. I then moved to a confluence where an old creek channel intersects with the main lake channel. I was out in the middle of the lake in 80 feet of water when I started to mark bait about 50 - 60 feet down. Then the fish showed up above the bait. I ended up landing 2 stripers and 3 hybrids in about an hour. I was vertical jigging. Trolling should also work at this time, but you will need to get your baits very deep, I would suggest 40 -50 feet down.
If you are a pan fisherman the big bluegills are biting and there are hundreds of them hanging around brush piles. Crickets has been the best baits, but small minnows and worms will also work. Small jigs tipped with a wax worm is also producing some nice fish. I have had several groups of guests at the resort over the last couple weeks and they have taken home many gallon bags full of filets. Bluegills are really good eating.
Bass fishing has also been very good. The top water action that I was finding during my last reporting period has slowed, but expect this to take off again very soon with the cooling of the water. You will find some fish along the banks early and late, but the main areas I have found big bass is in 30 - 40 feet of water feeding on the bottom. The bite after dark is also very good so get your spinners ready or your jig and pigs.
Crappie and walleye fishing has been slow, but should start up soon. The water temperature continues to fall which will bring these fish back to the brush. This will make it easier to find them.
Catfishing has been good on jugs and trotlines set in 10 - 30 feet of water. Live baits is the best, but cut bait is also working. Large schools of cats are also starting to roam the flats.
Norfork Lake's current water depth has risen to 550.41 from the rains last weekend. This level is about 3 feet below the seasonal normal pool. The creeks and coves are very stained and parts of the main lake also are stained due to the run off from the rains. The main lake will start to clear up rapidly. The water temperature is right around 70 degrees, but will continue to fall slowly with the cools nights we are having.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.