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

I hope all had a great Thanksgiving. Linda and I hosted Linda’s side of the family at the resort and we had a great time and ate way too much. One of our meals during the week was a Norfork Lake Crappie fish fry and boy was it good.

Norfork Lake fishing has had some ups and downs this fall with all the changing
 weather patterns. This was especially true last week when I fished with family members every day except when the weather was too rainy or too windy. We caught some fish, but it was definitely a difficult fishing week. The last frontal system past through us yesterday morning (12/3), so the lake had a day to stabilize and today was a fantastic fishing and catching day. I began doing a lot of graphing. I started out on the 101 Bridge flat and found a lot of bait out in 70+ feet of water, but very few fish. I headed back to the
 I was in 30 – 40 feet of water and was vertical jigging a spoon. After spooning up my first hybrid I decided to set out 2 down lines with live thread fin shad. I set one at 23 feet and the other was at 30 feet. It did not take long until the live bait was getting hit. To show how good the bite was, at one point I had my spoon on the bottom and saw that I missed a bite on a live bait. I set my spooning rod in a rod holder and started to reel in the live bait rod. I heard a rattling and saw my spooning rod double over. I landed a nice 10 pound hybrid. The stripers and hybrid have been very mobile, so you need to keep looking at the different flats on the lake, once you find the bait start looking around for feeding fish, if none move to the next
flat. The fish will be somewhere feeding. I often go back to the same flat where I had found bait and fish at a later time and many times the fish have gotten energized.

Cranfield Island flat and graphed, but saw little. I then headed back to the Pigeon Creek area and again found lots of bait and also found more fish, but the fish were scattered and did not appear to be feeding. I checked out a few other areas with little success until about 9:30AM. Once again on a large flat, I found streams of bait 20 feet thick with schools of fish on top of the bait. They did not appear to be feeding but within 15 minutes the bait began to scatter and more and more fish appeared in a feeding frenzy which lasted for the next 2 hours.

When you find the feeding frenzy of fish all species may be in the same area. Today I landed walleye and crappie on the spoon. Other days largemouth bass have been plentiful. With all the scattered fish I am marking, it might be a great time to troll. Keep your bait at 20 – 30 feet and stay in 40 to 70 feet of water. If you can stay on the bait, you will catch some nice fish. Umbrella rigs, A-rigs, swim baits or deep diving crank bait are good baits to troll with.

In general, crappie are still hanging in the brush on the tops of the brush. They will be anywhere from 8 – 25 feet down on brush in 40 feet or less. Don’t hesitate to check out some very shallow brush on these sunny days, the crappie may move up.

Bass fishing has basically stayed the same as my last report. Early and late in the day look up in 10 to 20 feet of water. Work a jig or worm slowly along the bottom.  As you know I like to find the deep bass. They will be in 25 – 40 feet of water on underwater drop offs or rock piles and will also be chasing the bait fish along with all the other species of fish.

Norfork Lake level is falling rapidly and currently sits at 558.96 feet MSL, The Corp of Eng. has
opened the flood gates to bring the lake level back to normal pool. The lake will be dropping about 5 to 6 inches per day for the next week or so, based on Corp. of Engineers communications. (Typically, with the lake level falling, the bait and fish tend to move out of the creeks to the main lake or at least to the mouths of the creeks.) The lake is somewhat stained and will stay this way until the water level stabilizes. The surface lake temperature this morning was 53.5 to 54.5 degrees.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

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