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Arkansas Fishing Report

Lakes & Reservoirs

Lake Norfork Sponsored by
Date 22-Jan-15
Water Condition
Water Temperature  

Conditions : Lake Norfork: Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said a warming trend started mid-week and the fishing conditions changed overnight. The water temperature is in the mid-40s. Stripers, hybrids and white bass continue to school, but moved from the Blue Lady area and back to the main lake in front of the Henderson Marina. There is an old road bed that starts at the marina and goes across to Panther Bay. The stripers and hybrids follow it, and schools of bait roam along the roadbed. Another spot is the north side of the Highway 62 bridge; large schools of bait and stripers are roaming up and down the length of the bridge on the shaded side. Once the sun hits the north side of the bridge, the shad go deeper and the fish disappear. Stripers are being caught from 30 to 105 feet deep. Here’s a trick I learned from an old timer when using threadfin shad in the winter. The water temperature is in the mid-40s and when you catch the small bait they stress out and die very quickly. To solve this problem I purchased an aquarium water heater that is undersized, my tank is 50 gallons so the warmer was for 30 gallons. You want to warm the water but only about 15 degrees. My bait lived all day when the water was warmed. Norfork Lake remains at 1 foot below the old normal fall/winter pool. The water visibility is stained in the creeks and pretty clear in the main channels.

Lou Gabric of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Surface water temperature is in the mid 40s. The main lake is clear and the creeks and coves are still stained. Fishing is good for most species. Striper fishing has been good. Bait and stripers are both suspended 40 to 70 feet down in 80 to 120 feet of water. The stripers will be on top of the bait, buried in the middle of it and sometimes on the bottom of the bait stream. My favorite winter spot for striped bass is anywhere from the Higway 62 bridge columns down to the Howard Cove area. The fish and bait are moving to different spots throughout this area. Four days ago, I was marking bait and catching stripers in front of Howard Cove and for the last several days they were located between the two bridges. Vertical jigging with a spoon is working very well as is live bait. The white bass bite is also very good. You will find them in the same location as the stripers. The whites will typically be buried in the bait down 60 feet deep. Vertical jigging with a spoon or live bait is working. When jigging with a spoon, only light twitches are needed and you need to be ready to set the hook; the bite is very light. The same slow presentation for striped bass is working. The bite for largemouth and spotted bass is good. Look for these fish at points on the deep water bluff lines. I have found bigger fish in 40 to 50 feet of water and the smaller ones up in 20 feet of water. I like to vertical jig with a spoon, but jig-and-pigs as well as grubs are working well. Use a ¼-ounce or a little larger jighead. Cast your bait out and let it fall to the bottom, then work it back slowly. Watch your line as the bait falls since the fish may pick it up at any time. Crappie fishing has also been OK. Crappie are being caught on the deeper brush piles in 40+ feet of water. Crappie are suspended on the tops of the brush. Small spoons, grubs or live minnows are all good baits this time of year.

Guide Steve Olomon said the main lake is pretty clear and the creeks are clearing up. Look for the stripers close to the river channel and the deeper creek channels in 30 to 100 feet deep. Find the baitfish and the stripers will be close. Sometimes they are right in the schools of bait, so get your bait or jigging spoon to them. The hybrids and some nice whites are mixed in along with the stripers. Bass are hitting a flat tail grub on a ¼-oz. jighead. Try along the bluffs and out on the end of the bluff. Cast it out and let it fall. Slowly pump it a few times and if you don't get bit, reel it up and throw it out again. Sometimes they will hit it on the fall so watch your line for that little jump. There are some fish up on the steep banks that will hit a Wiggle Wart or jig fished around 30-40 feet of water. If you see a school, drop a jigging spoon or try a finesse worm on a drop-shot rig.

Tailwaters - Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said there was wadable water every day with limited generation most mornings. The tailwater has fished well recently. With the cold weather there was less pressure. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18-22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (size 14 and 16) like the green butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis).The fishing is better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday. There was little fishing pressure on Dry Run Creek. It has been a great time to fish there. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10).

Reported by: Arkansas F&G

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About: - Norfork Lake is located in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The 20,000 plus acre lake is known for its clear, clean waters, and is a popular Arkansas vacation destination. Norfork offers good fishing for both largemouth and smallmouth bass, white bass, stripers, crappie, bream, walleye, and catfish. Mild winters enables anglers to enjoy fishing throughout the year.
  • largemouth and smallmouth bass
  • white bass
  • stripers
  • hybrid bass
  • crappie
  • bream
  • walleye
  • catfish

Misc Info: -

Lake Norfork Elevation

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