Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort 870-492-5113

As promised spring has arrived. The water temperature is rising and the lake is clearing up nicely. If you like stained water it is becoming harder to find. The forecast for the next ten days looks like late spring type weather, highs in the upper 70's and lows in the 50's and 60's.  The best news is that the bite has started and will only get better. Crappie and bass have started to spawn. Top water has definitely started for largemouth and spotted bass. Shad should spawn any day now, so everything will heat up. I am getting excited!

If you are looking for top water action, it has started. Be on the lake as the sun starts to rise and the largemouth bass will start erupting. Head back into coves and the major and secondary creeks until you start seeing the shad on your graph, typically in about 20 - 25 feet of water. I was in an area a little before sunrise and started throwing a Smithwick Rogue up to and inside of the shoreline brush. I would jerk twice and let it sit for about 10 seconds. As soon as I started to crank my reel a bass would hammer it. As the sun started to rise I could see the shad starting to flip on the surface and then the feeding frenzy started. I started casting a Zara Spook and had a blast. The top water action only lasted about 30 minutes or until the sun got above the tree tops then the fish shut down. I moved to a different creek and in the similar type area found shad jumping out of the water. Could not see any fish so I switched to a Kastmaster (blade type bait) I casted into the shad and let it sink about 10 feet down. My retrieval method was jerk, pause, reel then start over again back to the boat. This method was very productive for bass and hybrid bass. The fish were right outside of the sunken brush. Today a guest found good top water action at noon then again later in the day in the same creeks as I had fished the day before. Things are really starting to heat up.

Crappie are currently spawning and can be caught close to the shoreline, anywhere from 3 feet to 10 feet of water. Small jigs tipped with a minnow are working great. Cast your jig next to the sunken brush and let it sink. Work your bait along the bottom very slowly and the the crappie will suck it in. One of my current guests has a basket full at the dock that he had caught earlier.

Flathead, walleye and big white bass are also in the creeks. 15 - 25 feet of water is the magic depth for these species. Vertical jigging with a spoon has been working great. I have been using a 1/2 to 3/4 ounce spoon. The fish will mainly be on the bottom, but some of the big schools of whites are suspended 10 - 15 feet down.

Shad are really close to their fist spawn of the year. Once the spawn begins you will start seeing the fish come out of the creeks and move to the main lake points. But don't ignore the creeks as there will also be shad spawning in the sunken brush  all over the lake.

Norfork Lake level is fairly stable and currently sits at 562.61. The lake surface water temperature is rising and is in the low to mid 60's. The main lake and most creeks are clear. You can still find some stained water way back in some of the creeks. The lake is in great shape. I think we can look forward to an exciting May fishing season.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

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