Summer like weather is hanging on longer this year than normal. I’m really getting anxious waiting for the fall fishing season to begin. Even with the warm water temperature, my fishing guests and I have been doing pretty well fishing for a variety of species in Norfork Lake. Crappie, largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill, catfish and walleye are all being caught.
The crappie bite is still one of the better bites at this time, with several of the big slabs starting to show up. Crappie are being caught from 15 feet down to 35 feet, suspended and on the bottom in and around large brush piles. The best areas have brush from 22 feet of water out to 35 feet of water. You will be able to stay in one area longer with the brush covering such a large depth range. What I try to do is start in the shallow part of the brush and fish close to the bottom. As the sun gets to the tree tops, I move a little deeper and will start to find fish suspended toward the top of the brush. But once the sun gets high in the sky the fish seem to move I currently have several guests fishing for pan fish with live minnows and crickets. They are doing quite well catching big blue gills, along with some nice crappie and bass. The best depth so far for my guests have been 25 – 30 feet towards the bottom close to or inside of brush piles. If you are not getting bites you need to move to another brush pile. The bite may stop after you catch several fish and if it does, make the move then come back to this brush after you give it some time to rest. I have been using a ¼ ounce white with chartreuse back spoon, as well as, ones with a pink and green back. These colors seem to be my go-to colors, but if the bite seems to be slow, I do switch out to other colors until I find one that the fish are wanting.
I currently have another fishing guest that is strictly fishing for bass. The bite has been good for him, but he does have to work for them. He has been fishing a dark colored 10 inch worm and working it in shallow water. His best areas have buck brush that is still under water or large under water rocks close to the shore. Yesterday he did land a nice 5.5 pound largemouth bass, but most fish he has caught are in the 2 – 3.5 pound range. A few days ago, another guest was crappie fishing and saw topwater action occurring along a deep bluff line across the lake from him. He headed that way and started to throw a Zara Spook and landed several nice 16 to 17 inch largemouth bass. These fish were out in 80 feet of water chasing shad at about 9AM on a sunny day.
I have also been spending quite a bit of time looking for striped bass and walleye. The striped bass have totally eluded me at this time, but I am finding walleye, but all have been short. My best areas for walleye have been on points off the rock bluff walls in 20 to 30 feet of water. I have caught these fish vertical jigging a ¾ ounce spoon off the bottom.
From what I can see on my depth finder the thermocline has dropped to somewhere between 35 and 40 feet. Over the last several days I have found many fish on the bottom at this depth. This is one of the main reasons I have started checking out deeper brush and have actually caught crappie 35 + feet deep on the bottom. The better bite for crappie is still on 25 to 30 feet deep brush. As the lake continues to cool, what we call a lake turn over will happen and fish will then have the freedom to move around at any depth. Basically, this means the oxygen level will be high at all levels and the water temperature will become more consistent from top to bottom.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.