Norfork Lake Fishing Report by Lou of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort 870-492-5113 as of 3/3/20

The weather for Norfork Lake has finally changed for the better and has been stable for the last several days. The long-range forecast is for continued spring like temperatures and if it holds true the fish should get energized. The warmer weather has dramatically increased the surface water temperature to almost 50 degrees at daybreak and warmer during the daylight hours. I can definitely see a change occurring in some of our fish species.

I have mainly been striped bass hunting and fishing for the last several days. The last 2 days has been outstanding. The bait is still   I’ve noticed a few birds feeding heavily. When I reached them my graph lit up with fish. It was a huge school of hybrids. My first fish came on the shad colored Flicker Minnow, then I switched to casting a Kastmaster (blade type bait) and landed several others. By around 9AM the bait and fish both disappeared. This was the first large school of hybrid/striped bass I have found in some time, telling me that the start of the spring bite is not far off. This morning (3/3) I headed back to the same area and the bait and fish were gone. I moved to another creek looking for bait and decided to go all the way to the back. Once I got into about 15 feet of water, bait was all over the
place. I started to slow troll (roughly 1.3 mph) the Flicker Minnows. In 30 minutes, I had landed 5 largemouth and spotted bass and all were keeper size fish. I decided to head back to my original creek, but this time kept on travelling to the back of the creek. Once I reached 17 feet of water, my graph lit up with bait and big arcs. I threw out my two Flicker Minnows and started to slow troll again. It was not long until I hooked up, but lost the fish. The bite had started and each fish kept getting bigger. I ended up landing 5 striped bass and a couple of largemouth bass with the largest striper 14 pounds. Similar to the previous day, around 9AM the bait and the fish left the area.
predominately back in the creeks or some of the larger coves. Yesterday (3/2) I found large balls of shad in 30 to 40 feet of water halfway back in a major creek and on every bait ball there were at least 2, if not more big fish following. The bait that I have been finding has been anywhere from the surface down to 20 feet and sometimes to the bottom. Since the fish have been scattered I have started trolling a couple Berkley’s Flicker Minnow crank baits size # 7. My best colors have been the slick pearl silver (shad color) and the other is the
racy shad pattern. These baits dive to about 15 feet. I’ve had several fish hammer the bait and peel out drag then come off.

The best areas where I have found striped bass are back in the major creeks close to the creek channel. The large bait balls that I am finding, tend to be close to the creek channel. If you find a smaller creek that has some flowing water, check it out you will more than likely find bait and a good chance some nice fish.

One of the great things about the stripers hitting the Flicker Minnows is that I will be using the same baits trolling for crappie in similar types of areas in the next couple of weeks. For crappie fishing I try to troll close to the brush moving form brush to brush. Crappie will start to school very soon and will be roaming and staging for the spawn.

The lake was falling about 3 to 4 inches a day, but last evening our northern part of the watershed received a lot of rain and the lake actually came up about 3 inches with both generators running. Current lake level is 558.26 feet MSL. The lake surface water temperature is warming up and ranges from 49 to 52 degrees depending on time of day and
depth of water. The water in the mid-lake is stained, but you can see a constant clearing occurring.

Happy fishing and see you on the lake.

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