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Arkansas Fishing Report

Lakes & Reservoirs

Lake Norfork Sponsored by
Date 21-Mar-19
Water Condition
Water Temperature  

Conditions : Lake Norfork: Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said, “What a weather week we just had. We started the week catching limits of stripers and hybrids and ended it with cold weather winds and very little fish activity. The threadfin that was abundant up on the flat past Fout was blown out, and the small hybrids and stripers are still around but have been very sluggish to bite. We did catch fish Saturday but the bite was very light and you had it get on the bite as soon as saw the hit.” The good news is the weather looks consistent and is warming, Tom says. Earlier this week in Bennett's Bayou it was 52-degree water and it will only get warmer. The bait and fish will move back into the creeks as the water warms. If you're looking for walleye, there is a strong bite from Calamity Beach to the 160 bridge. Both live bait and stick baits are catching limits of walleye. “With the water warming up I saw crappie being caught off the stickups in Bennett's today, you should be able to find them in good numbers by weeks end,” Tom said. Stripers and hybrids will start to feed now that the big front moved past. You will be able to catch fish in the Fout area, Big Creek above Reynolds Island and also Brushy Creek. “I caught fish around 6B in Bennett's Bayou. Shad, shiners, spoons and umbrella rigs have been catching all of the species. As the south winds begin blowing, start fishing the northern bays and banks. The night bite will start after that ,so fish the northern banks as they warm the fastest in the spring. These same patterns will happen in all the creeks on Norfork Lake.”

Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, “Spring has sprung on Norfork Lake. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous the last several days. The lake water temperature is on the rise and fish activity is increasing daily. It has been exciting to see the fish transition from the winter pattern to the early spring pattern.” He says bass fishing “has been awesome” with largemouth bass and spotted bass being the most abundant, with an occasional smallmouth mixed in. Crankbaits and jerkbaits are working very well. “(Tuesday) morning I got into an hours’ worth of great topwater action using a Zara Spook. The fun has begun for the early spring bite. I found topwater action partway back in a small creek on a shallow round point where the channel swings in. The fish were in 5-20 feet of water and chasing shad in a very large area. I landed a fish on about every other cast. The majority of the fish were short, but in an hour I landed six keepers with the largest well over 3 pounds. Yesterday, I was part way back in a major creek in a similar type of area, and found a lot of bass in 10-18 feet of water. My jointed tail, Flicker Shad, size 7 was working great. The fish were closer to the bottom with very little topwater in this location.”

The other type of area producing fish is shallow main lake points, especially if the channel swings in close to the point. Same types of baits mentioned earlier are working in these areas as well, he said. As the water level becomes more stable, more and more of the bass will move back into the creeks and will start staging for their spawn. That also means they really start to feed heavily.

The striped bass bite is also transitioning from the winter pattern to an early spring pattern. What this means, Lou says, is that the fish are moving out of the deeper water and are moving in close to the shoreline to feed. The striped bass’ move to the shallow water to feed has just started over the last several days. They are following the baitfish to their new feeding grounds. “This is also changing my fishing times. Over the last several days the best bite for striped bass has been about an hour before and after sunrise and similar times at sunset. This is also telling me that the stripers should be feeding after dark; so, if you like throwing a suspending jerkbait, now is the time to be out there. I myself have not been out after dark yet, but I will be soon.

“I have two different baits that I enjoy using this time of year. The one I use the most is a 6-inch swimbait with a paddle tail. I use a 3/8-ounce to half-ounce jighead. I cast it toward the shoreline and let it sink to the bottom, then use a steady retrieval back to the boat. The other bait I like is a suspending jerkbait. My retrieval method varies until I find out what the fish wants. I may retrieve it like a crankbait or work it as a jerkbait. I guess I have one more favorite bait in my arsenal, my trusty quarter-ounce to half-ounce Kastmaster. I typically change hooks out to one size bigger and add a feather trailer. This morning I landed two stripers in about 6 feet of water on a swimbait, along with a handful of large white bass. There was a few bigger fish hitting the surface, but very sporadically.

Lou says the topwater for striped bass will pick up over the next several weeks if the weather continues its warming trend. The best areas that he has found for stripers are main lake points that are very shallow on one side and deep on the other. Meanwhile, crappie fishing has been fair, he said. “My crappie fishing guests are catching quite a few crappie, but the bigger ones over 11 inches long are harder to come by. They have been landing around eight to 12 nice fish a day, along with many short ones. Small quarter-ounce spoons in white and green or white and chartreuse have been working for them. Live crappie minnows are always a great bait for crappie fishing. The fish are on brush at all different depths. You can find fish on brush from 20 feet to 35 feet deep. Crappie will be buried inside of the brush or suspended above the brush. You will need to keep fishing different depths until you start catching fish. Lately the crappie have seemed a little more timid, so you may have to move often to catch your fish.” Norfork Lake level is falling about 3 inches per day with both generators at the dam running. The lake sits at 555.29 msl as of Tuesday. This equates to only 1.5 feet above normal seasonal pool. The lake surface water temperature Tuesday morning was 52 degrees. It warms during the warm day and then cools again during the cooler evenings. The lake is mostly clear with maybe a 5- to 6-foot visibility. Some creeks are similar to the main lake clarity and other are stained a greenish tint. “Overall the lake is in great shape and the fishing is shaping up to be a fun spring bite.”

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: -

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