The bite continues to be good for most species in the lake, especially striped bass, largemouth bass and crappie. It really surprised me that after the lake temperature dropped about 3 degrees it didn’t affect the feeding habits of the fish. What the drop in water temperature did was to make the bait move to other areas of the lake, but not necessarily far away from where they were. The fish will follow the bait.
Striped bass fishing continues to be strong. Yes, you will need to do some searching, but if you find some bait, I just about guarantee you will find striped bass nearby. The best areas to find these fish have been back in major creeks, deep flats and today I found them in the old river channel in the main lake area. In the creeks they have been on or very close to the banks first thing in the morning. After the sun gets over the tree line, they seem to concentrate more in the creek channel. Their depth will depend on the depth of the bait. The deeper flats have
started to hold more bait in the 40 to 50 foot range. The fish again relate to the depth of the bait. I have found that the stripers seem to be on the flats late morning. The bait that I found today was in the old river channel which, in this area, was roughly 70 feet deep. The bait was 20 to 40 deep and varied. The fish were at the same depths. The striped bass that I found today were in large schools that appeared to be feeding. My bait of choice for the shallower fish, say from the shoreline out to 30 feet down, has been casting a Kastmaster blade style bait. I do replace the hook with a feathered treble hook. I think that gives it a closer resemblance to a injured live shad especially if you work it in a twitching motion. I reel back to the boat very slowly letting it sink more as it is being retrieved. For deeper fish, I have been vertical jigging with a spoon or a small 3-inch plastic jig with a 3/8 ounce jig head.
Crappie fishing has also continued to be very good. Of course,
crappie as most species go through a feeding cycle. If you find them and they are not feeding, you will need to wait them out until they get energetic again or move to the next brush pile. Small spoons or small crappie jigs and of course live minnows are all working very well. The best brush has been in 20 to 25 feet of water and the fish will be on the tops to buried within the brush. You will just need to keep working different depth until you find that magic area.
I have not done a lot of bass fish lately, but they do appear to be going shallow. Crank bait, wiggle warts, soft plastics, and a-rigs have all produced some nice fish. As the water temperature continues to rise back in the creeks the fish head back to the warmer water. Today I fished a brush pile to see if crappie were there. No crappie, but the brush pile was inhabited by some nice size largemouth bass. They loved my Tater Baits Electric Monkey crappie jig. The bass were buried inside of the brush
towards the bottom. I can’t believe I could pull these beasts out of the brush with 4-pound test.
Norfork Lake surface water temperature is rising very slowly after the 3 degree drop from last weekends storms. The lake temperature was 48 - 52 degree this morning. The lake level has been stable with a slight drop with intermittent power generation and currently sits at 554.05 feet msl. The lake is clear to stained depending on where you are at in the lake. If our current forecast holds true, we have another deep freeze arriving Friday afternoon. I guess I will be out seeing where the bait moved to next Sunday.
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Happy Fishing and enjoy Norfork Lake.