Striped bass, largemouth and spotted bass, and crappie continue to be the best bites on the lake.
Striped Bass Fishing: Over the last week there has been a definite change in where to find the bait and then the fish. The bait had been concentrated out on the main lake in the deep-water channels, but they have recently made the move back into the major creeks and some of the smaller coves. With this movement of the bait the striped bass has been following. Some of the bait is also starting to move close to the shoreline. The bait movement has currently created 2 totally different areas to fish. I have found bait near the creek channel in 40 – 60 feet of water. The stripers have been very close to the bait, either above it or below it. Several methods of fishing have worked for me, so far. I have had luck vertical jigging a 1-ounce spoon or vertical jigging a 3-inch soft plastic jig. I’ve been using a mini version of a fluke called a Tater Shad, which is made locally,
with a 3/8-ounce jig head. Both the spoon and the Tater Shad need to be worked slowly with just slight twitches for the deeper water fish. The most important tip is to get your bait at the same depth as the fish to get the most bites. Another method is trolling A-rigs, crank baits or 5-inch swimbaits. Here again get your bait very close to where you are seeing the fish. Fish have also been found tight on the banks, especially at sunrise and at sunset. Some of the bait has moved very close to the shoreline or the fish have started to push the bait tight to the bank. Yesterday (3/1) I found feeding striper right on the bank. I casted out a Kastmaster (blade bait) and worked it back to the boat very slowly with a jerking motion. I replace the treble hook with a feathered treble hook which seems to attract more fish. You should also be able to use long minnow type crankbaits and swimbaits.
Bass Fishing: The largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass have moved up tight to the bank especially early in the morning and late afternoon. Other times they move off a little and will be 10 to 20 down. Various lures are
working such as swimbaits, crankbaits (rock crawlers and wiggle warts). On windy days don’t hesitate to cast a spinner or chatter bait. You will find them in both the clear water as well as the stained water. I found some nice ones the other day that had corralled some bait on the bank and I was getting hits on my Kastmaster 3 to 5 feet from the shore. We have some rain coming up this weekend, so after the rain head toward the running water coming into the creeks.
Crappie Fishing: This species is starting to school up and roam out in deeper water. They are still 10 to 25 deep. I have found this to be true with the white crappie. The black crappie still appear to be holding a little tighter to the brush. Trolling crank baits have started to work and will get better as the water warms a little more. Plastic jigs, spoons, and live bait are producing some nice fish.
Norfork Lake surface water temperature is rising very slowly
and is the 45 to 48 degree range. The lake level has been stable with a slight drop with intermittent power generation and currently sits at 554.19 feet msl. The lake is clear to stained depending on where you are at in the lake.
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Happy Fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake.