Currently the best bite for striped and hybrid bass is still located close to the dam and the fish are deep, from 60 - 80 feet down, either on the bottom or suspended out in the deep river channel. I fished by the dam area on Monday the 17th and had a great day of fishing. Live bait is working the best, but vertical jigging with a spoon is also catching a few fish. Trolling an umbrella rig or a large swim bait is also picking up some nice fish, but you need to get your bait down below the 50 foot mark.
The walleye bite is also very good. You can locate this species in several different areas and depths. If you like to troll with a bottom bouncing weight and a crawler harness, start checking out the sides of long points, as well as, along the deeper bluff lines and bluff line points. The walleye are moving out a little deeper and can be found in 30 - 40 feet of water. The thermocline is dropping down so the fish are following suit. The second location is in very deep water on the bottom. Monday I found a huge school of hungry fish 80 foot deep. I was fishing close to the dam out in front of a main lake point. I was on a drop off with the front of my boat in 80 feet of water and the back of my boat in 100 feet of water. I was getting short bites on live bait and losing them half way up. I even tried a stinger hook with no luck. I decided to start vertical jigging a white with a chartreuse back spoon and they loved it. I would drop it to the bottom then lift it up about 4 feet then let it fall again. They were eating the spoon on the fall and when I would start to lift the spoon up again I would feel the weight of the fish. I limited out in less than a half hour once I started this process.
The crappie bite slowed for me this week with the water warming about 3 - 4 degrees. The bigger slabs that were on the brush last week seemed to have moved off of the brush. They should start moving back in next week with the upcoming cool weather forecast.
I had a good day of fishing this morning for spotted bass and white bass. The medium size whites have schooled up on large flats. Early and late in the day you can find schools of fish from 12 - 25 feet of water. I was vertical jigging a 1/2 ounce spoon and catching one after another. The big jumbo whites will move onto these same flats as the water cools. At sunset you can find schools feeding on the surface. I found quite a few nice size spotted bass this morning while trying to find big crappie. I was jigging a 1/4 ounce spoon in and around brush piles. The spots were towards the bottom of the brush with a lot of small crappie and white bass on the tops of the brush. I also had a big battle with a 12 pound blue cat. This cat hammered my little spoon and I thought I was snagged at first, then he started to swim. 15 minutes later he gave up and came to the surface. I only have 4 pound test monofilament line on my reel with an ultra light rod. It was really fun. I was grinning the whole time during the fight!
Norfork Lake level is falling very slowly and currently sits at 551.83. The lake surface water temperature has increased slightly to 83 - 84 degrees. The main lake appears to be clear from the surface with some of the coves and creeks slightly stained. The thermocline has dropped to roughly 35 feet based on the temperature readings taken by the Norfork Lake Striper Club last week - (Thanks for the great information)
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.