Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort

Summer fishing on Norfork Lake is in full swing. Our thermocline is well defined and is between 25 - 30 feet deep. Why is this important? The water temperature is hot down to the top of the thermocline then it starts to get cold below it. All fish like the cooler temps and will hang out just under the thermocline, stripers are well below the thermocline. Of course there will still be plenty of fish up close to the shore line, but most of these will be on the small size. Striper fishing continues to be very good. But as in all types of fishing you will have your good days and bad days. Typical for this time of year stripers start to migrate south, but you can still find stripers and many hybrids in the mid lake area. My success over the last week has come from creek areas. I have been fishing part way back into creeks at a hard channel swing with water depths of 60 - 90 feet. Schools of fish are roaming and feeding on shad. If there is no bait back in the creek move on and check out another. There are large schools of whites and hybrids suspended from 25 - 40 feet down. The larger stripers that we have caught are typically deeper at 50 - 60 feet down, and some even deeper laying on the bottom. I have been using live thread fin shad over the last several weeks. This morning we caught many fish and lost many others by break-offs and slow hook sets. Lately I have found that if you are not on the pole when it starts to go down and get the hook set immediately the fish will spit out the bait. You have to be ready as most bites are light. Vertical jigging with a spoon is also producing many fish. The hard part about spooning is getting to the depth where the fish are. I have spent a lot of time with my spooning rods counting down so I know how many seconds it takes to get to a certain depth. You can also drop it to the bottom, then crank up to the proper depth, typically one revolution is about 2 feet. Casting out rooster tails, grubs and swim baits will also catch you fish. Again you will need to know how long you need to let the bait sink to get it to the proper depth then use a slow retrieval back to the boat. There is still a good top water bite at day break for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. You will also pick up some nice white bass and hybrids. The top water action dies down around 7AM or when the sun gets above the tree line. It does seem that if you're in an area with good top water action the stripers will be below these fish feeding on the scattered shad. When the top water stops the stripers move out and the bass move deeper. Norfork Lake is rising very slowly and currently sits at 571.98. The Corps is generating 1 generator for 10 hours or 2 generators for 5 hours, which helps, but is not enough to negate the rise. The surface water temperature this morning was 88 degrees. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are somewhat stained, but clearing. Overall the lake is in great shape for all types of water sports. Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

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