Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort


Norfork Lake is in the prime of the spring fishing season. Crappie and bass have both started their spawning process which will continue for several weeks, if not more. Cool fronts during this process do tend to slow things down. Walleye have completed their spawn and are starting to show up all over the lake. White bass should have spawned already, but from what I’ve seen with the few I have cleaned they are just starting to get ready. The cold February might have really messed with their cycle. Striped bass and hybrid bass will spawn soon if the water temperature rises a little more. Over all this spring is acting very similar to prior years which means a good bite for most species.

Crappie are currently being caught with three different methods.  Cast a small jig right into the shore line with a very light jig head. Let it fall slowly and twitch it out of the sunken brush until you feel a strike. Best areas are where there is dead wood sunken on the shore line or where the shore has a lot of sunken buck brush due the slight rise in the water level. You can also fish

brush piles that are 20 to 30 feet deep. The crappie have typically been on the tops of the brush or out along the sides of the brush. YA second method is to vertical jig a small spoon or a small jig with a very light weight jig head. Let it fall slowly and typically a crappie will pick it up before it stops falling. A live minnow with a slip float is also a good method for brush pile fishing. The third method (the one I prefer at this time) is trolling Berkley Flicker Minnows size 7 & 9. I slow troll with my trolling motor at a speed of 1.2 to 1.4 mph. I try and stay in 18 to 40 feet of water. There are schools of crappie out in the deep water staging for the spawn and when your bait goes through the school it gets hammered. The best areas to fish are back in coves and creeks that have brush pile throughout the cove.

Bass fishing has also been very good. The bass are up in shallow water feeding on bait fish and small bluegills. I have found them back in creeks and coves. A lot of the time they are all the way in the back in very shallow water. Try crank baits, soft plastic jerk baits and jigs worked slowly along the bottom. On

windy days spinner baits will work wonders. Top water action has started, but isn’t consistent at this time due the cool water. When I have found this action, it has been in the backs of creeks that the wind has been blowing into. Typically, you will find a lot of bait fish in the same area.

Striped bass and hybrid bass fishing is also picking up. Tuesday morning, I found some top water action for striped bass. The water was not boiling, but there were many fish individually busting the surface feeding on bait. I tried throwing a Zara Spook with no success and switched to a long 5 inch swimbait with a paddle tail and it was hammered. I did not let it sink very much, but only retrieved at a medium speed, letting it drop slowly as it came back to the boat. It is a blast when a big fish hammers the bait and just starts running in the opposite direction. All you can do is hang on until it decides it is tired of running. I have also found this species on main lake points early in the morning, as well as late in the day up in the sunken

buck brush feeding on shad. They tend to push the bait up to the shore line to make them easy pickings. Cast a swimbait or a fluke up into the brush with a steady retrieval to the boat and hang on.

The lake level has been falling slowly for the past week or so, but currently is stable due to power generation being reduced from 2 generators to just one. The current lake level is 557.72 Feet MSL which is only 4 feet over normal pool levels. The surface lake temperature ranges from the upper 50’s to low 60’s depending on the time of day. The lake is getting clear with just a slight stain. With the clearer water make sure you use clear or vanishing fishing line and as light a test line as you feel comfortable fishing with.

If you are looking for frequent fishing information on Norfork Lake, go to Hummingbird Hideaway Resort’s Facebook page. Daily posts of my fishing trip, as well as our guests. You will find some very helpful information.

 Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

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