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

Norfork Lake along with the majority of the country, in my opinion, is in constant weather change. After a frontal system rolls through our area it typically takes a day or two for the fish to get active again. Once this happens the fish feed with a frenzy, but then we have a new system roll through to start the cycle all over again. I will be the first to admit that I am really ready for spring to get here. I am totally tired of the cold weather and need a little consistent warmth for my fishing days. :-)  Last Saturday, I found fish feeding heavily in 44 - 48 feet of water on a large flat in the Cranfield area. I did not get out until late morning due to the below freezing temperature early, but once it reached around 29 degrees I headed out. The fish stuck around until mid afternoon and I got to land well over 40 fish between hybrid bass, striped bass and white bass. Vertical jigging with a 1/2 to a 1 ounce spoon was my bait of choice. I was also casting out a 1/2 ounce blade bait with a feather trailer and landed some nice fish with it. Once the fish leave the flats they tend to scatter through out the deeper water, staying suspended 30 - 50 feet down. You will still catch fish, but not necessarily the numbers.

Crappie fishing has been fairly good as of late, but still the frontal systems have affected their bite. I have landed some really nice slabs 30 feet down near the sunken brush piles. I typically use a 1/4 ounce spoon and jig it very slowly in and around the brush piles on the bottom. Live bait with a slip float or a minnow tipped to a small curly or paddle tail grub will work great.

The big white bass that I have been catching are full of eggs. I would assume they are staging for their upcoming spawn, which will happen shortly. The males should be way back in the creeks or up river in the shallower water awaiting the right timing and water temperature. Bennett's Bayou is a great place to get into the white bass run or up river around the AR/MO border. They also tend to head back into some of the larger creeks and coves.

Walleye should also be gearing up for their spawn. February is usually the time for this to occur. The AR/MO border area is a good area to find the spawning and pre-spawning fish. If we can get some nice weather, the first hour before sunrise and an hour before and after sunset are great times to fish for walleye in shallow water. Throw a suspending rogue or use soft plastic swim baits.

Norfork Lake level is on a slow rise and currently sits at 561.92 feet. This is approximately 8 feet over normal seasonal pool. The surface water temperature ranges from 43 - 46 degrees depending on your location and time of day. The main lake has a greenish stain along with most of creeks and coves. The water clarity heading up in the Bennett's area is stained brown as is up river once you're past the Cranfield area. A lot of the brown water has dropped out and the remainder will follow suit quickly.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

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