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Arkansas Fishing Report

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Lake Norfork Sponsored by
Date 16-Jun-17
Water Condition
Water Temperature  


Conditions : Lake Norfork: Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said Norfork Lake fishing has been good over the last couple of weeks. All species are biting, but the typical pattern for this time of year is different. The higher-than-normal water level is keeping the baitfish inside the sunken trees and brush, and the fish are loving it. Plenty of places to hide and feed. The predators are, as you would guess, up inside of the brush with the baitfish. Striper fishing has been excellent from the southern portion of the mid-lake area down to the dam and east of the dam partway back into Big Creek. Main lake points, as well as secondary points back into the creeks and coves, have been the best areas to find the striped bass. Early in the morning you can find stripers and hybrids up tight to the sunken trees and brush feeding on shad. If you can find an area with the shad flipping back in the brush, all species of fish will be in the area feeding. As the sun rises over the tree line, the stripers tend to move out into deeper, cooler water. They will still be off the points, but will move out to find water temperatures in the low 60s, which at this time is about 40-45 feet deep. Surface water temperature is close to 80 degrees. Live bait is working the best for him, Lou said. He’s been using live threadfin shad, gizzard shad or larger shiners. Artificial baits that have worked have been swimbaits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Lou says he attempts to get the bait down to the tops of the sunken buckbrush and try to retrieve along the tops of the brush anywhere from 10 feet to 25 feet of water. Once the stripers go deeper, vertical jigging with a spoon will start working. So far though, Lou says, he can't seem to beg a bite on a spoon, but they will work before long.

Lou adds that both largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing have been good. Early and late in the day they are up tight on the sunken brush. Lou says he has had luck over the last week casting a Zara Spook into the brush and slowing walking the dog back to the boat. Lou says he’s called up many fish by this method. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are also working very well. Try to get a deep-diving crankbait so it will get down to the tops of the brush in 10 to 25 feet of water. The fish are inside of the brush feeding on shad.

Walleye fishing has increasingly gotten better and better. Troll crankbaits on the old shoreline just off of the sunken brush in 20-25 feet of water. Lou had a group of guys down last week and they were using this method of fishing. They landed well over 20 walleye, many keepers. Firetiger was their most productive crankbait color pattern. The walleye are also moving onto the flats in the 15-30 feet water range. Using a Lindy rig with nightcrawlers has been working. You can also drop-shot a large shiner, keeping it just above the bottom in the same water depth of 15-25 feet.

Crappie and bluegills are up in the sunken brush. There has been some nice fish caught on crankbaits as well as spinnerbaits. Live bait will be the best, but the fish are very hard to reach. They have moved very deep into the brush, but working the edges of the sunken brush and especially under sunken Willow trees are holding some nice fish.

Catfishing has been excellent. Limblines, jugs and trotlines are all producing some really nice fish. Norfork Lake's current water level is falling slowly and is at 574.95 as of earlier this week. The current surface water temperature is in the high 70s. Parts of the lake are clear (far north upriver and far south east of the dam). The remainder of the lake is slightly stained with a greenish blue color. Parts of the mid-lake area around the two bridges are still showing a slightly brown tint of stain. Overall the lake is in great condition and is getting back to normal. Lou said he is noticing very little floating debris, but caution is still advised as always.

Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters says Norfork Lake is turning back into the great lake she has always been. The water is clear and the temperature is 80 degrees and will be going up due to the warm weather they will be having. The stripers are also moving into their summer pattern. You can still catch shallow fish before the sun comes up, but then they are moving out onto flats feeding on crawdads. Tom says he has been running a planer board with a 6-inch gizzard shad shallow over the brush and fishing in 25 to 30 feet of water. Hybrids are providing the best early bite. They are great fighters but right now they are on the smaller size so Tom and crew are letting them go because they can survive warm water. As the morning progresses, move out to the 40- to 50-foot range; the stripers are on or very close to the bottom. Place your baits a foot or two above the stripers. Right now they are running six downlines and are having three and four hookups daily. The bottom part of lake is the most productive from Woods Point toward the dam; they are producing lots of stripers. Tom’s son, Sean, joined him for a double trip on Sunday. Sean had the Kalchik family, who were taking their father out for his 80th birthday. They told Sean when they were leaving the dock they wanted to catch at least 80 pounds of stripers. They limited out with 12 and had close to 100 pounds of stripers. It was a great birthday present the boys gave him. Tom’s client, the Blair family, are locals. John is a local photographer who just happened to shoot Sean’s wedding. None of them – John, Trish, or Ean – had fished for stripers but was eager to catch one. After a couple of misses they got the hang of it and they caught their first striper and limited out with nine fat ones. So both parties had a great Sunday fishing on Norfork Lake.

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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