Fall fishing season is here on Norfork Lake with the winter fishing season just around the corner With fall comes cooler air temperatures which in turns lowers the lake water temperature. With the cool off, the fish start feeding heavily for the winter months and move to shallower water. And yes, it has been frigid for the last week, but I still braved the cold the last 3 days and fishing was good. This is a great time to stock up your freezers with some Norfork Lake fish for the winter.
The best bite on the lake is for striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass. If you get out at day break start looking on large flats in 25 feet of water and as the morning progresses keep going deeper. I have been catching a lot of fish from 25 - 45 ft of water. As the water continues cooling the bait will move to deeper water and the fish will follow.The bite this morning was good, but not as good as the last two days. I caught over dozen fish by 8AM, then decided to check out different areas to find the big stripers. Over the last week I have caught good fish on several flat areas. I have fished the 101 bridge and marina areas, Fouts area, Mallard, Cranfield, Steward Point and others. You can also find good fish going up river to the Calamity area and above into MO or head the other direction into the Bennetts area. Friday afternoon I headed into Float Creek and got into some huge schools of stripers in the 10 + pound range in 45 ft of water. My bait of choice has been a white 3/4 ounce spoon vertical jigging off the bottom. If you decide to cast for these species you might want to try a large Kastmaster or a Rooster Tail, but you will need to let if fall to the bottom and retrieve it slowly working it off the bottom. Swim baits will also work, but again work the bait off the bottom. When the evenings get warm enough for me to be out, I will start casting a suspending jerk bait for stripers after dark. I do believe the night bite has started.
Black bass have started their move to the banks to feed early and late in the day. Jerk baits are starting to work as well as crank baits. Jig and pigs are always a good choice especially once the fish go a little deeper during the mid day hours. The bass are feeding on crawdads so choose your colors appropriately.
Crappie are moving back to the brush. I have caught several nice fish on the tops of brush piles that are in 20 - 30 ft of water. Early in the morning they will be deep in the brush and as the water warms they will move up. Minnows are the best bait, but I like small spoons or a paddle tail grub tipped with a minnow. Remember as the lake continues to clear you may need to back off the brush and cast into it so you don't spook the fish.
Walleye have eluded me, but I really have not targeted them. You should be able to find them on the same brush piles as the crappie, but work your bait off the bottom. They will also be off both sides of main lake points.
Norfork Lake level is falling slowly and currently sits at 549.72. The surface water temperature has also fallen to 58 degrees with all the cool weather we have been having. The main lake is clear and the coves and creeks are still stained.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.