The cold weather this week should make the lake finalize its turnover, which makes the temperature and oxygen level the same from the top to the bottom of the lake. The oxygen and lake temperature information was provided by Norfork Lake Striper Club on October 28, 2019.
The bite continues to be good for bass, crappie and bluegills. White bass fishing has been getting really good over the last few days for the medium sized whites. Vertical jig with a ½ to ¾ ounce spoon to catch the whites. They will be on the bottom or suspended 15 – 25 feet down. The biggest change since my last report is that the bait has moved out to the flats in 20 – 50 feet of water. This is the main reason the white bass bite is taking off. As the surface water temperature continues to drop into the low 60’s, I would expect to start seeing more frequent topwater action for some of our species in the lake.
The largemouth and spotted bass bite has been good and you can find them in a couple of areas. The bass continue to be shallow, very close to the shoreline. Shallow, sloping banks has still been the best, but they are showing up more and more on the rock bluff lines. Crankbaits are working very well, as are soft plastics. Cast your bait right next to the shore and retrieve back to the boat. Work your plastics slowly along the bottom. The fish are still using the sunken buck brush to help them hide, so don’t hesitate casting right up into the brush. If you like to throw topwater baits, the fish are coming up for them. The topwater baits are working early in the morning. Cast your bait, such as a Zara Spook up to the shoreline then use a walk-the-dog retrieval method back to the boat. There is still some topwater action for bass in the mornings and evenings but it has slowed a little at this time. A second area that has just started to be good is on large deeper water flats. I have found some nice schooling, feeding bass in 20 to 40 feet of water. It does take some time watching your electronics to find the schools. My best method for these deeper fish is to vertical jig a spoon. You will catch one after another once you find the school. Staying on the school of feeding fish is difficult to do, but if you get lucky enough to stay on top of them you will have a blast for a long time.
😊 I am still using a ¼ ounce spoon. Firetiger, white and chartreuse, white and green and white and pink have been my best colors. The fish have been from 10 – 20 feet down over brush and you need to be on the brush as I am not finding any on the outsides of the brush. The crappie will start to move around a little more as the water cools and will come shallower in the evenings. The bite has not started for me until around 8:30 – 9:00AM, but I have not tried in the dark with lights out.
The bluegill bite has been good. I typically catch a few nice ones on my ¼ ounce spoon while crappie fishing, but fishing with crickets is the best. Best areas have been in small cuts in the bluff walls especially if there is some brush in the cut. You will find them anywhere form 15 – 30
Striped bass fishing is still the slowest bite. Not unusual for this time of year, but that bite should take off shortly. Once the lake finalizes its turnover and cools a few more degrees the bigger fish will move to the flats. This is not to say I have not been catching stripers and hybrids. There are large schools of this species out on the flats in 20 – 50 feet of water feeding on shad along with the whites. The issue is that most of the fish are on the short side at this time. There are a few nice size fish in side of the schools of smaller fish and you will hook up on occasion. It is still a blast to catch a 17 – 20 inch striper on light tackle, if you are looking for some fun action. Look for bigger stripers back in the major creeks, such as Big Creek, Bennett’s Bayou and up river around the state line.
Norfork Lake level continues to drop slowly and currently sits at 555.58 feet MSL. The lake surface temperature this morning was 66 – 68 degrees depending where I was located. The main lake is fairly clear and the creeks and coves are somewhat stained.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.