Norfork Lake is still in its summer fishing pattern, but I can see that things will start to change very soon. Most species of fish are in 20 - 35 feet of water and you can find the bigger stripers 90 feet down on the bottom, but as usual the deep fish are very lethargic and hard to catch. That doesn't mean you are not going to catch stripers. From what I have seen and caught, stripers up to around 12 pounds have stayed shallow throughout the summer. You can catch good numbers of fish early in the morning and also at sunset. These fish are aggressive and ready to eat. I have had the best luck finding stripers early in the morning, still dark, at depths of 25 - 35 feet. As the sun comes up the stripers disappear to the depths of the lake. Live bait is working the best, but I have jigged up a few of these fish over the last couple of weeks. The best area to find stripers at this time is within a mile of two of the dam. Hybrids are scattered throughout the lake. I haven't found any huge schools lately, but both in the mornings an evenings I have found nice size fish off of main lake points. Last week I was looking for whites in the Cranfield area and ran into some nice hybrids in the 7 pound range and caught 5 as the sun was setting.
White bass fishing has been good over the last couple of weeks. The best bite appears to be from mid afternoon until the sun sets. I have gotten into some nice top water action for the medium size whites late afternoon. This has been the nice top water when an acre of water just starts to boil and it has lasted up to an hour. Kastmasters and spooks have worked great. The hard part has been that there is no consistency on location. One day they are in a certain spot and the next they are gone. I have found top water fish in Pigeon, Briar, Cranfield and in the Robinson area. I have also heard of other areas of the lake. The most favorable time has been as the sun is setting. This gives you about 1/2 hours of fun fishing. A few days ago I caught 8 whites on a blade bait. I was marking fish at all depths, so they could have also been spooned up.
Walleye fishing continues to be pretty good. I have been dragging a crawler harness in 23 - 30 ft of water. Concentrate on large flats as well as main lake points. The biggest issue that the majority of the fish being caught are less than 18 inches. With the numbers of fish being caught I can see Norfork Lake being a premier walleye lake over the next year or so.
Bass fishing is starting to get a little better. I have found nice schooling fish back in the major creeks off of secondary points. Over the last couple of days I have started to mark a lot of bass suspended 10 - 20 feet down off of deep bluff lines. This is telling me that crank bait time will start to heat up soon.
The big blue gills are also in the 25 feet range. I have caught many of the big thumpers while dragging my crawler harness and they are very aggressive. Big gills are also under my dock as one of our guests caught ten 2 days ago on crickets.
Crappie are starting to move back to the brush, but the water temperature needs to cool a little more to make it a good bite. Jay Smith (Crappies Only Guide Service) took a couple of his relatives out a few weeks ago and they had a blast. They found the fish over 25 - 35 feet deep brush with the fish were suspended 20 feet down. Live minnows worked the best.
The lake level is falling 2 - 4 inches per day and currently sits at 564.94. The surface water temperature is also falling and this morning was 78 - 79 degrees. With our cool nights the temp. should continue to fall. The main lake is fairly clear, with a little color and the creeks and coves are stained.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.