Norfork Lake has been a lot of fun fishing during the last week. Nothing has really changed much since my report last week except that the lake surface temperature has dropped another degree. The best bites on the lake have been for crappie, other panfish, largemouth and spotted bass and walleye. The striped bass are still scattered out all over the lake making it very difficult to come up with any pattern.
Crappie fishing has been really good. You will find this species on brush in 24 feet of water out to 40 feet of water. They can be at any depth over the brush. The last couple of days, I have been catching some nice slabs 30 feet down over 40 feet deep brush. The best bait for catching large numbers of fish is live crappie minnows. Find the depth of the fish and slowly drift over the brush and hang on. Small 1/8 – ¼ ounce spoons has been my choice of bait and I have been vertical jigging the spoon over the tops of the brush. A few days ago, I could only get a bite if the spoon touched the brush and as soon as the spoon hit the brush a crappie attacked it. Small curly tail or paddle tail grubs are also working and sometimes tipping
the grub with a small live minnow gets the fish a little more aggressive. I have mainly been catching white crappie on the brush with only getting a few small black crappie. This morning I started fishing a few 40 feet deep brush piles and only found a few crappie. I then started trolling a #7 Berkley Flicker minnow on a shallow shore line with many small cuts and points. I was getting my bait down to about 30 feet and was staying in 30 to 38 feet of water. I only made 2 passes of this shore line and landed 3 nice 14-inch black crappie. It appears the big slab black crappie are still scattered out, but they will move into the big brush piles shortly.
Bass fishing has also been very good. This species is mainly being caught in very shallow water, but can also be found out in deeper water. Texas rigged long dark colored artificial worms have been working the best. Pitch the worm up to a shoreline that still has sunken brush. The largemouth seem to be hiding next to the brush, then come out to ambush the worm as it
passes by. Other baits that are working in the very shallow water are square bill crank baits, spinners and chatter baits. Some topwater baits are also triggering bites on occasion. Two days ago, I was scanning a large flat that had some brush out in 40 feet of water. When I got into about 28 feet of water, I started to mark large schools of fish. I dropped a ¾ ounce white spoon and immediately the bait got hammered as it hit the bottom. It was a nice 17 inch largemouth. For the next 45 minutes I got to land many nice largemouth bass. The fish were spitting up very small thread fin shad and crawdads. This type of largemouth schooling in a feeding frenzy out in deeper water has been historically common this time of year. They do seem to move around, but when you happen to find them, you will have a blast.
Walleye can also be found feeding very close to the shoreline out to 40 feet of water. The depth they can be found in seems to change daily so it does take some graphing to find them. It appears for me, that 30 feet
deep on the bottom has been the best depth. My best method to catch walleye is trolling a #7 or a #9 Berkley Flicker Minnow. You need to get the bait down to 30 feet, so either use a down rigger, lead core line or an inline weight. Each method is a learning process.
Norfork Lake surface water temperature was slightly less than 77 degrees. The lake has become fairly stable with just a very slight drop. We are currently at normal seasonal pool. The lake is slightly stained form the mid lake area and heading north.
Happy Fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake.