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Arkansas Fishing Report

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Lake Norfork Sponsored by
Date 29-Nov-18
Water Condition
Water Temperature  


Conditions : Lake Norfork: Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said Norfork Lake's striper bite continues to stay strong. The stripers, hybrids, largemouth, and white bass are feeding heavily right now. Greg at Hand Cove Resort tells me that the crappie bite near and over the brush piles is heating up. Speaking of brush piles, Greg also told me that many of the Norfork Lake brush piles are getting a “makeover” beginning the first of the month. Watch for more details to come. I fished three days this past week and caught all the species in every area I fished. Right now I have been starting on the flat pass Fouts marina early and then later in the morning I move close to the channel alongside Fouts marina. Early the fish are in the 30' range and as the morning evolves they move into deeper water. Most of fish I have been catching are from 20 feet to the bottom. If you're lucky you run into a massive school of stripers and hybrids. That's when the fun begins. All the rods will get hit at once and if you’re quick enough you can put 2 or 3 in your boat. They are hitting shad, shiners, and spoons plus some people are trolling umbrella rigs with swim baits and catching some. The fish are still in the channel from the turn past Fout Marina to 6B however they are also being caught on the flats up near Cranfield Island, Howard Cove past Blue Lady, and the Fout area. Float Creek will begin to hold fish as the water turns colder. Stripers tend to congregate near and in the four corners area of 5A. We are using shad but shiners will be an effective substitute to shad. The best method is downlines set off the bottom about 2 feet. I also had one rod set about 20 feet down to catch the roving hybrids that are in the higher water column. Float and Panther Creeks should also hold stripers plus Big Creek. Follow the same pattern, find the shad and the stripers are nearby.

Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake's fall fishing pattern is slowly moving toward the winter pattern. As the water continues to cool the fish go deeper following the bait. Over the last week I have noticed the bait moving from around 28 feet of water to anywhere from 35-50 feet of water. The bite over the last week has been good for most species. There have been continuous cold fronts, then warm air then back to cold fronts. Each time a system moves through the area the bite is affected. The best bite on the lake, in my opinion, is as follows: white bass, largemouth and spotted bass, crappie, but the hybrid bass and striped bass bite are starting to pick up. Walleye and catfish have both been sporadic, but I have seen good signs that both are ready to improve. I have been having a lot of fun over the holiday week fishing with family members. Our resort was partially filled with my wife's side of the family and the remainder of the resort was filled with guests fishing for all types of species. I was really impressed that the cold weather didn't stop many of our Texas, Florida and South Carolina family members and they all were able to catch a fish. White bass have schooled and are located on flats in 35-50 feet of water depending on time of day. Early in the morning they are typically in the shallowest. As the day wears on they move to deeper water on the bottom and also have been found in very deep water, but suspended in the same 35-50 foot range. In the afternoons, look in the mouths of deep coves for this species. Within these schools of whites are hybrid bass and striped bass. Most of the stripers and hybrids are still suspended from 15-35 feet down. I have been fishing flats and mouths of coves from our resort up towards the Red Bank area, as well as, from the 101 bridge flat up to Bennetts Bayou area. The best striped bass bite has been up in the Bennetts area, but stripers have been caught in Pigeon Creek, Cranfield area and the mid lake major creeks, Float, Fall and Panther. Vertical jigging a spoon, casting out Kastmasters and live shiners have been the best baits for whites, hybrids and stripers. Largemouth and spotted bass are being caught in many different types of areas and structures and are being caught on different types of baits. I have a lot of fun looking for schools of bass on the flats and they are currently being found in 35 to 48 feet of water. If you can find a slight drop off out on the flat it will be holding fish. When I find these schools I vertical jig with a spoon and at times will catch one after another. They are also located on the bluffs and close to the transition areas from bluff to chuck rock. Most will be suspended on the bluff, so casting rattle traps, spinner baits and crank baits will catch you some nice fish. They will also be on the drop offs along the bluffs so throw a jig & pig, Texas rigged worm or a crawdad, all will pick up some nice fish. Work the bottom along the bluffs 20-30 feet deep. The bite has been very light, so if you see your line start to move set the hook, or if you feel a slight heaviness set the hook. Walleye are starting to show up on the flats in about 40 feet of water, with the other species and some really nice fish are being caught jigging a spoon. The crappie bite has been very good. Look at brush in 30-40 feet of water, on the main lake, as well as, part way back into the creeks. Early in the morning and midday the fish have typically been buried inside of the brush. Late in the afternoon after the water has warmed a bit, they have a tendency to move up in the water column above the brush. Live bait is the best, but jigging small spoons or paddle tail grub are picking up some nice 13 - 14 inch slabs. Norfork Lake level is currently fairly stable with a slight fall one day then a slight rise the next and currently sits at 552.65 feet above sea level. The lake surface water temperature is falling slowly and currently is 53-55 degrees. The main lake is fairly clear.

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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