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

Norfork Lake is still in its summer fishing pattern. This typically lasts until around mid September, when the striped bass will then scatter and heads to the cooler water northward. The lake currently has a thermocline which has set up around 25 - 30 feet. There is warm water down to the thermocline then the water temperature drops drastically below the line. Many of the fish species hang out right around the thermocline, so fishing in 20 to 35 feet of water will produce some nice fish. Overall fishing has stayed fairly consistent since my last report.

The biggest change has been with the striped bass. They are going deeper, at least I am finding the larger fish on the bottom in around 60 - 70 feet of water. This is not to say you will not find striped bass shallower. One of our guests at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort was jigging a 1/2 ounce chrome Kastmaster in 35 feet of water the other day and landed a nice 15 pound fish. I am marking fish from 35 feet down to the bottom. My fishing time typically is from around 5:30AM until about 9:30AM. In the dark I have been using live shad set at 35 and 45 feet deep. I have found large schools of fish cruising around in the dark. As the sun comes up they do tend to go deeper. When they go deeper I switch to a spoon and start to vertical jig at the depth where I find the fish. When I find a large school I also cast out a large Rooster Tail type spinning bait. Cast the bait out and let it sink to the bottom, then reel up though the fish and hang on. The striped bass are being very aggressive at this time and are hammering the baits and are giving a great fight. One major item to remember is that most of the striped bass you catch at this time will die if you release them due to the temperature of the water. So when you catch a fish you should keep it and when you get your limit, switch your fishing tactics and fish for other species. Catch and release at this time is not a good idea for striped bass at this time. Trolling is also picking up some good fish. You will need to get your baits down to below 35 feet to catch some decent fish. I have been fishing points from a little south of point 2 down to the dam and a little east of the dam up towards Jordan area.

Walleye fishing has also been good, but they are at all depths. I have caught walleye in 50 feet of water as well as at 20 - 30 feet of water. A crawler harness with bottom bouncing weights is working well, as well as, deep diving crank baits as long as you can get them very close to the bottom. Brush piles in 30 - 40 feet of water are also holding some nice fish.

Bass fishing has been fair. I have picked up some nice spotted bass, as well as, largemouth bass in 25 - 35 feet of water by vertical jigging a spoon. Brush piles are also holding some fish. Early and late in the day you can also get a few nice bass on topwater back in the creeks and coves.

Norfork Lake is holding fairly stable on water depth. Currently the lake depth is 552.41. The main lake is clear and some of the creeks and coves are stained. The current surface water temperature is in the mid 80's.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

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