Norfork Lake fishing has been good over the last week or so. Striped bass fishing has improved the most, and as the water continues to cool the striped bass bite will only get better. Stripers & hybrids have started to school up and feed for the cold winter months. The biggest change for this species is that they have started to go deeper to feed. There is a lot of bait that has moved out to deeper water and you can find them from 40 to 60 feet down in depths of water from 40 to 100 feet. The easiest for catching them is if you can find the bait on the bottom. That makes vertical jigging much easier than trying to catch a suspended fish. I am still finding this species on moderate to deep flats. Try and find some structure on the bottom whether it be a drop-off, old foundations or some rotten timber that has sunk over the prior years. Jigging a spoon, ice jig and a plastic jig is working. Many times, the fish will hit the bait on the fall, so if your line goes slack, set the hook quickly. Live bait is probably working the best at this time because it is much easier to catch that lone fish with live bait than trying to drop a spoon in front of his mouth.
Largemouth bass fishing has also been very good for me. The fish I am finding and catching are in 30 to maybe 36 feet of water relating to underwater points, small drop-offs, small humps or to nearby brush piles. The areas that I have found to be the best are typically out in the middle of the lake. Small schools are feeding at different times of day. When you find these feeding fish it has been very normal to land 5 to 10 nice size largemouth in a very short period of time. Just remember when you jig up a bass and are reeling it up to the boat do not let the fish jump out of the water. If they do get to jump 9 times out of 10 you have lost the fish. You can also find bass in tighter to shore and fishing jigs and worms are working for these shallow fish.
The white bass bite has also been good. You will find them in the same areas as the stripers and largemouth. Vertical jigging a spoon in 35 to 45 feet of water has been the best method and depth to catch this species.
Catfish have also been biting very well out in deeper
water along with the largemouth bass, striped bass and white bass. I have caught some nice flatheads over the last week from 26 feet of water out to 34 feet of water. Vertical jigging a spoon will catch this species along with the channels and blues.
The main reason I enjoy vertical jigging in the fall is that you never know what you might catch. All species in Norfork Lake will be roaming and feeding on the flats at the same depth and time of day.
Crappie are in their typical areas, inside of or on the tops of sunken brush. Find brush in 30 to 40 feet of water and vertical jig a small spoon, cast out a small plastic grub or drop live crappie minnows to the tops of the brush.
Norfork Lake is falling slowly and currently sits at 551.66 feet msl which is roughly 2 feet below normal seasonal pool. The surface water temperature has fluctuated from 55 to 57 degrees over the last several weeks and this morning was close to 57 degrees. The lake is slightly stained to clear.
Happy Fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake.